Eagles Wake-Up Call: Containing Cam Newton

Cam Newton. (USA Today Sports)

Cam Newton. (USA Today Sports)

Looking at last year’s game, it seems safe to say the Eagles figured out Cam Newton. The Panthers Pro Bowler registered a quarterback rating of just 15.3 against Philadelphia, in part because he was sacked nine times and ran the ball twice for six yards.

But as Newton has led the Panthers to a surprising 5-0 start this season, the Eagles have little reason to reflect on last year — largely because the quarterback had an ankle injury.

“We faced a different Cam,” Chip Kelly reportedly told Carolina media yesterday. “We haven’t spent a lot of time looking at last year just because I don’t think Cam was at 100 percent last year when we played them.” Read more »

All-22: Washington’s Game-Winning Drive

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports.

Bill Davis wasn’t angry, but as he talked to reporters Tuesday before practice, he did want to clarify that his defense didn’t give up Washington’s game-winning touchdown drive because they were tired.

“I honestly don’t see it that way,” he said. “In talking with the players, we are in great shape. There was nobody talking about being gassed. It’s not an excuse that we’re going to rely on, even though the question isn’t about an excuse. I really believe, guys, that we are in great shape.”

The Eagles were on the field for more than 41 minutes, or nearly 70 percent of the game. Even using Chip Kelly’s preferred method of analyzing number of plays and not time of possession, the Redskins dominated the ball (79 vs. 51).

But if you ask Davis, his three starters — Brandon Bair, Mychal Kendricks and Byron Maxwell — leaving the game with injuries was far more important. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: On the 2014 Draft Class

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Today’s question comes from reader Jeffrey via email. He had a lot to say, so I will just paraphrase here to give you the gist:

I was reading your roster projection, and it made me think about what a colossal failure the 2014 draft has been. Other than Jordan Matthews and Beau Allen, it was total trash. Champions pick Pro Bowlers on Day 3 and don’t totally blow first-round picks. Chip Kelly’s player selection in the draft could be his undoing. Would love to hear your thoughts.

We projected roles for rookies last week, so might as well go over second-year players today. Here’s a player-by-player look at where things stand with the guys taken in the 2014 draft.

Marcus Smith, OLB – I have joked all offseason that I’m the only person on his bandwagon if anybody wants to give me company. The truth is there are not a lot of positives to point to so far. Only one first-round pick played fewer snaps than Smith last season. He jumped around from outside linebacker to inside linebacker. And this spring he’s battled a groin injury. Best-case scenario for 2015 is that Smith improves and gets on the field as the third outside linebacker behind Connor Barwin and Brandon Graham. Maybe he flashes pass-rushing potential, displays his versatility and competes for a starting spot in 2016.

But there are obviously no guarantees that those things happen. Smith has the measurables and appears to have the work ethic. It is just a matter of putting it all together. If he gets beaten out by Travis Long for the No. 3 OLB job, the cries of “bust” will be deafening. Read more »

Running Diary: Eagles Practice Observations

Brett Brown and Chip Kelly.

Brett Brown and Chip Kelly.

Here’s what we saw during Eagles OTAs on Monday.

12:25 – A shoutout to Andy Reid off the top today. We’ll start with injuries. DeMeco RyansMarcus Smith IIEarl Wolff and Julian Vandervelde are working off to the side. Fletcher Cox and Darren Sproles are not here. The Eagles did not provide any reasons why. The OTAs are voluntary.

12:30 – I hate to keep providing video of the defensive linemen, but they are the guys who have been practicing closest to us. Here, they’re working on their pass-rush and their hands with Jerry Azzinaro. Read more »

Eagles Rookie Review: Player-By-Player Breakdown

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys

Below is a player-by-player look at how the Eagles’ rookie class performed in 2014 and what to expect going forward.

Marcus Smith (1st round, 26th overall)

He got on the field in eight of 16 games. Smith was inactive twice and a DNP-coach’s decision six times. In all, the Eagles’ first-round pick played just 68 snaps all season.

Smith started the season at outside linebacker, but switched to inside linebacker after the Eagles were decimated by injuries. At times, Billy Davis tried to use him in a specialized role in sub packages, but Smith’s head appeared to be spinning, and that experiment didn’t last. Read more »

For His Mom, Beau Allen Opens Up

IMG_7394                                                     (Courtesy of the Philadelphia Eagles)

Thanks to a most timely bye week, Beau Allen was able to travel back to the Twin Cities to be with his mother, Susie, for her 50th birthday. Now gainfully employed by the Philadelphia Eagles, the 22-year-old was able to treat his folks to dinner for the first time.

“We spent a lot of money and he was just proud and thrilled to take us out for my birthday celebration,” Susie said.

The 50-year mark holds extra significance in the Allen family. Susie’s dad died at the age of 46 from a pulmonary embolism a week after falling out of a tree while deer hunting. Her mom passed away two years later following a battle with cancer at the age of 49.

“My [older] siblings are always joking, when the baby makes it to 50 they’ll be very happy. So I made it,” said Susie.

There was a time, however, where it looked like she might not.
Read more »

Eagles Add Pistol To Toolbox For 2014


Chip Kelly believes his job is to provide players with answers.

If he hasn’t armed them with solutions to their on-field problems, he has come up short as a coach.

Last year, there were many answers as the Eagles had one of the top offenses in the league, setting franchise records in points, yards and a number of other categories. There were occasions, though, where opposing defensive coordinators stymied the Birds’ attack.

So the offseason has been about adding layers to the offense. The foundation remains the same: spread ’em out and run the ball until the opponent forces you to do something else. But there will be new wrinkles added in 2014. Some might be obvious in four days when the Eagles host the Jaguars. We might not see others until November or later, depending on the rhythm of the season.

Either way, it seems likely that one of the wrinkles revealed itself in the preseason: the pistol. Read more »

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