Eagles Wake-Up Call: The Thursday Factor

NFL: NFC Wildcard Playoff-New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles traveled to Seattle for a Thursday night game back in December of 2011. Trevor Laws predicted that his team was poised to “blow out” the Seahawks but it went the other way on him, as Seattle cruised to an easy 31-14 win at CenturyLink Field.

Recognizing the difficulty of playing all the way across the country on a short week,  the NFL established new guidelines for scheduling Thursday night games following that season. With the exception of an occasional divisional matchup, teams are no longer asked to travel more than one time zone to play a Thursday road game.

Dallas is just a time zone away but the Eagles still have to hop a nearly four-hour flight for their Thanksgiving showdown with the Cowboys this week. The fact that Dallas played in New York on Sunday night should help balance the travel factor out some, but it’s a challenge nonetheless.

The Eagles hope that they are designed to deal well with the quick turnaround, particularly as it applies to physical recovery and game-plan installation. Read more »

All-22: Forming the Wall And Stopping the Stretch

stretch2b_all22_112514

Billy Davis was asked Tuesday about the difficulty in making potential scheme changes, given that teams are approaching Week 13.

“It’s tough to change who you are at this point in the season,” he said. “You have to stick with what you have success with and try to correct and get better at the things you’re struggling with.”

Davis’ comment applies to teams around the NFL. In the offseason, coaches assess personnel and decide what they want their squads to look like from a schematic standpoint. They then practice, tweak and practice some more. Wrinkles can be added, and ideas can be scrapped. But as we approach Thanksgiving, for the most part, identities have been established.

And for the Dallas Cowboys, that identity is clear: A balanced offense that is finding success running the football on a weekly basis.

The Eagles, meanwhile, are a team that focuses on stopping the run. Read more »

All-22: Zeroing In On the Eagles’ Defense

matthews1a_all22_112014

Billy Davis pointed out during the summer that part of the reason the Eagles play a two gap 3-4 is because it’s the most effective scheme against a lot of the things Chip Kelly likes to do on offense.

And as we all know, Kelly likes to run the football.

So almost every week, when the coaches are game-planning for their opponents, they emphasize stopping the run. A rare exception was last year’s playoff game against the Saints when Davis decided to guard against the pass. But the Eagles defensive coordinator did not make that same exception for Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.

“I don’t think he came out with any intention to run the ball to start with,” Davis said. “I was anticipating some running game coming.

“I think a lot of people try to establish the run early. Green Bay has really worked for a balanced attack. A balanced attack means you run a little bit more than they did. But it wasn’t long until you knew right away they were going pass, pass, pass. He was checking into some runs, I think, but I think they were looking at our presentations, so it makes us have to have a little broader plan against them. Again, I could have done better with the plan, too.” Read more »

Notes: Davis Considered Pulling Fletcher

Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch - USA Today

Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch – USA Today

Billy Davis suggested at his press conference Tuesday that he contemplated pulling Bradley Fletcher from the Packers game.

“I was watching him close, waiting one more. What do I do? Do I make a move?” said Davis. “And then you watched him come out and play in the second half. He made those same plays that beat him in the first, he was on it, he played the ball, his press was better. He got better and fought through it, and he is a mentally tough human being. I was very impressed with the way he finished.

“A lot of corners have a lot of outs. They don’t keep fighting and battling. I have a lot of respect for Fletch and how he responded.”

Is he still your guy going forward? Read more »

Eagles Defense Fails Big Test

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers has a way of making opponents look foolish, particularly in his own backyard. In five games at Lambeau Field this season, he has completed 67 percent of his passes, thrown for over 1,400 yards and tossed 18 touchdowns and no interceptions for a sterling quarterback rating of 138.1. The Packers have made a habit out of throttling teams at home, outscoring their last four opponents 128-9 in the first half.

The Eagles, you could say, were just another victim.

But that’s not a particularly satisfactory answer for a team with high aspirations. Each of the other four teams that left Green Bay humbled currently have losing records. The Eagles are considered a cut above. Their defense was playing well of late and was coming off a dominant performance against the Panthers.

Billy Davis wanted to test his group against the best, and it failed across the board. Read more »

Zone Read: Eagles-Packers, the Day After

Photo Credit: Benny Sieu - USA Today

Photo Credit: Benny Sieu – USA Todays

GREEN BAY, Wis. — In all likelihood, this particular line of questioning was nothing new for Mark Sanchez.

Having made 64 career starts, the Eagles’ quarterback understands there will be ups and downs, praise and criticism, wins and losses. Six days ago, the story was about second chances and reinventing himself under Chip Kelly. Today, the conversation focuses on a team that failed to measure up against one of the NFC’s best.

“Now we’re gonna find out who we are, what kind of team we have,” Sanchez said, his left hand wrapped after taking some big hits early against Green Bay. “It’s easy when you’re on the other end of this thing like we were last week. You’re on national TV, and everything’s going great. You can’t miss and score a lot of points, and defense and special teams score. That’s fun, and it’s easy. But now it’s tough. This is gonna be a really good test for this team. So I’m excited because I think we have the type of players that can bounce back from this.”

Sanchez’s final stat line read 26-for-44 for 346 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He was sacked three times and charged with two lost fumbles (although one and maybe both didn’t appear to be his fault).

The defense looked like a unit that had no chance against Aaron Rodgers. But in a game where the Eagles needed the offense to keep it competitive, they got a clunker from that side of the ball. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Three Numbers That Matter

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Below are three Eagles numbers that matter.

85.9 – The Birds’ chances of earning a playoff berth, according to Football Outsiders. According to the Web site, they have a 73.2 percent chance of winning the division, while the Cowboys are at 26.2 percent.

The Eagles have a 42.9 percent chance of earning a bye in the first round and a 22.5 percent chance of making it to the Super Bowl. That’s the top mark in the NFC and second in the NFL to only the Broncos.

That’s a roundabout way of saying the Eagles are well-positioned to make a run. They face the Packers, Seahawks and Cowboys (twice) in the next five weeks. Big games ahead and big expectations for this team in Chip Kelly’s second season. Read more »

« Older Posts