Photo | Jeff Fusco
McManus: Todd Herremans
Alex Henery was college teammates at Nebraska with Ndamukong Suh and says he has been texting with him this week as the Eagles get set to welcome in Suh’s Lions. Henery noted that when he and Suh were at Nebraska the Cornhuskers faced a Nick Foles-led Arizona club in the Holiday Bowl back in 2009. Nebraska rolled 33-0. Henery remembers Suh creating all sorts of problems for Foles.
“I think he was 0-for-20 or something,” said Henery.
Actually, Foles was 6-of-20 for 28 yards with an interception. Read more »
Asked why the Eagles’ pass-rush has seen a boost in recent weeks, defensive coordinator Billy Davis pointed to continuity.
“I think the guys just keep getting better and better as the weeks go on,” he said. “The guys, they are fresh, they are rolling them in, so everybody gets the different one‑on‑ones. I think the stunts are being executed at a higher level right now because the guys have been with each other and doing it at full speed for awhile. We have been healthy, so the same guys are lining up next to the same guys and that helps continuity.”
According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Eagles have pressured opposing QBs on 15 dropbacks per game since Week 6, the second-highest total in the NFL.
Pressuring Carson Palmer was critical in last week’s 24-21 victory over the Cardinals. The Eagles came up with five sacks, four QB hits and created disruption throughout that led to turnovers and other negative plays. Those things will factor in heavily once again this week against Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions.
Below is our weekly look at how the team’s pass-rushers are performing. Read more »
In Chip Kelly’s final season at Oregon, the Ducks’ defense led the nation in takeaways with 41. They finished second in that category in 2010.
In his two-year stint as defensive coordinator in Arizona, Billy Davis’ units were sixth in takeaways both seasons, generating 59 in all. He had similar success in that department as DC in San Francisco.
The 2013 Eagles are currently ninth in the NFL with 22 takeaways, and gaining steam. Nine of those have come during this current four-game winning streak.
What is it about the concepts and teachings of this coaching staff that helps create a turnover-friendly environment? Let’s take a look: Read more »
Chip Kelly stood at the podium late Sunday afternoon and prepared to answer questions about his team’s performance against the Arizona Cardinals.
“It looked like the offense had a lot of trouble after that touchdown drive to start the second half-” a reporter started before Kelly interrupted.
“Can we go positive with the first question on a win?” he joked.
About 10 minutes later, the Eagles’ locker room opened up to reporters, and while it was clear that players were happy to have gotten a win, they knew there were plenty of mistakes that needed to be corrected.
After putting together an impressive 13-play, 82-yard drive to start the third quarter, the offense stalled in a big way. The Eagles totaled 22 yards (not counting penalties or kneel-downs) on six drives. They managed just five first downs during that stretch and did not move more than 16 yards on any single possession.
“We try to stay out of this situation,” said LeSean McCoy. “We just have to do a better job of closing out the game. We have gone through this a couple of times and we just have to do a better job.” Read more »
Put simply, Larry Fitzgerald is an Eagle killer.
He has faced Philly five times in his career (including once in the postseason), and has racked up 35 catches for 570 yards and nine touchdowns. That’s seven catches, 114 yards and nearly two touchdowns per game on average. Those nine TDs are a personal high against any opponent outside of the NFC West.
“Oh, that’s news to me,” said Fitzgerald during a conference call with Philadelphia reporters. “It’s just another game to me, against a good football team, a well-coached football team, a team that’s right in the thick of the fight for the NFC East division race, and we know this game has huge implications for both teams.”
In a sense, Cary Williams (6-1, 190) and Bradley Fletcher (6-0, 200) were signed for games just like this one. (Same for next week when Calvin Johnson comes to town.) Chip Kelly gravitates towards big, physical corners in part because, quite simply, they match up better against big, physical receivers. Fitzgerald (6-3, 218) and Michael Floyd (6-2, 220) are about as big as this Eagles team has seen. Read more »
We went through the offense yesterday. Here’s a position-by-position look at where the Eagles’ defense stands going into the final five games.
The guys up front have been the key to the defensive improvement. Cedric Thornton leads all the team’s linemen with 58 tackles and has looked like a natural in the two-gap scheme since Week 1. He’s versatile, powerful and has been perhaps the Eagles’ most consistent defensive player all season long.
Fletcher Cox has really come on and has 13 tackles the past two weeks. He has three sacks and leads the team with 19 hurries; no other player has more than eight. Bennie Logan has been a huge upgrade over Isaac Sopoaga at nose tackle. He’s got 15 tackles in the last three games. That’s just three fewer than Sopoaga had in the first eight games.
Vinny Curry, Clifton Geathers and Damion Square round out the rotation. Curry has been the team’s most productive pass-rusher and is tied for the team lead with four sacks. Read more »
After a rocky start to the season, Billy Davis and his assistants have done an excellent job of coming up with ways to maximize the abilities of the Eagles’ defensive players.
The scheme change has been dramatic, and there are still areas in need of a talent upgrade in the offseason. But overall, Davis’ group has made great strides throughout the course of the season.
The leader of the group is DeMeco Ryans, and according to Pro Football Focus, he’s logged more snaps than any other defensive player in football. Ryans is outstanding against the run. That has never been in question. And as we’ve written about at length, he makes the calls on defense to get everyone set up. Without him on the field, there would likely be a lot of confusion up front.
Ryans, however, is not a great cover linebacker. Offenses that can get him matched up man-to-man against a running back or tight end will have an advantage. In zone, Ryans often tries to keep opponents in front of him and limit the damage after the catch.
But there’s another way he’s contributing in coverage too – by disrupting shallow routes over the middle. Read more »
Here are five Eagles numbers that matter to get you through the bye week.
1 – The number of incompletions on passes thrown to DeSean Jackson in the last three games. According to Pro Football Focus, Nick Foles has targeted Jackson 14 times, and 13 of those have been completions for 312 yards. On the season, Jackson has caught 68.2 percent of the passes thrown his way. That number has never been higher than 61.3 percent during his first five seasons in the NFL.
And it’s not like the Eagles are dinking-and-dunking to Jackson. He has a league-leading 19 catches of 20+ yards on the season and is averaging 17.0 yards per catch. That would be his best average for since 2010.
Chip Kelly has done a masterful job of maximizing Jackson’s ability as a big-play threat while making him a more efficient receiver. Read more »
From Chip Kelly on recruiting to Billy Davis’ personal satisfaction to Eagles playoff scenarios, here are three leftovers.
1. There are probably certain aspects of the college game that Kelly misses now that he’s 11 games into his NFL career. But recruiting is not one of them.
Kelly was asked about how he, personally, is holding up going into the bye. And he made it clear that he prefers the NFL calendar to the college calendar.
“My schedule, the day the season was over, was a lot worse than my schedule here because you’re planes, trains and automobiles recruiting from Sunday night until Friday afternoon and hustling back and practicing, getting a practice in Friday afternoon, practice Saturday, practice Sunday, get back on a plane and fly around the country chasing down recruits,” he said. Read more »
Entering the 2013 season, the identity of the Eagles’ defense was a mystery.
New scheme, new coordinator, new assistants and six new starters.
Four games in, they seemed to be developing an identity: a unit that would give up a lot of yards and a lot of points and was very much a work-in-progress.
But times have changed. In the last seven games, the ‘D’ is allowing just 17.4 points per game. And there’s been an unexpected consistency too. No opponent has scored more than 21 against the Eagles since Week 4.
“The thing that jumps off the table or the film is the effort our guys are playing with,” Billy Davis said. “They view themselves as a high-effort defense. We’re not a bunch of Pro Bowl names, pretty faces. We’re scrapping and keeping people out of the end zone. It’s hard work and high effort that’s getting it done.” Read more »