When asked to describe Connor Barwin, second-year player Vinny Curry pointed to the impact his teammate has made during the week.
“He’s definitely brought a lot of different things to this team,” Curry said. “He’s a leader in so many different ways. He’s all about team camaraderie. We all get together and do dinner every week. The front, the D-Line, the inside linebackers and the outside linebackers. And that’s something he brought to the team. And just look at us now, guys out there making plays. Everybody’s happy, everybody’s jumping around, compared to last year. See what I’m saying? It’s just fun to be a part of.”
If having weekly dinners together led directly to defensive success, every unit in the league would be lining up for unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks. But there’s no denying that the Eagles had a toxic mix of personalities in the locker room last year, specifically on the defensive side of the ball.
Juan Castillo and Jim Washburn were fired in-season. Jason Babin was sent packing. And the defensive backs spent most weeks pointing fingers at one another.
“I think what we honestly lacked a lot on defense last year was leadership,” said center Jason Kelce, who played with Barwin at Cincinnati. “And I think that wasn’t DeMeco [Ryans’] fault. A lot of that was the defensive line and the DBs that we had in there were kind of very selfish groups, and that rubbed off on the ‘backers and everything else. Read more »
There is a portion of Chip Kelly‘s practice called “Clutch Period.”
The music gets turned up as loud as it can go, x-amount of time is put up on the clock, and the first team offense is pitted against the first-team defense. Kelly’s group is trying to score before time expires. Billy Davis‘ unit is trying to get off the field.
It was a familiar feeling, then, when the defense was called on with 3:26 remaining and given the task of keeping RGIII and the Redskins out of the end zone.
“Honestly, Coach Kelly puts us in situations like that every day,” said Vinny Curry. “We’ve been prepared for situations like that, and that’s why you never see anyone on the defense panicking.” Read more »
After the Eagles’ 15-7 loss to the Giants in Week 8, Chip Kelly’s message to his team carried a tone of optimism.
The offense had managed just three points in two weeks. Outsiders were taking jabs at Johnny College Coach left and right. And the quarterback situation appeared to be a complete mess.
But Kelly wasn’t about to make any drastic changes. The focus would be on better execution, not the scheme.
“I think we stuck to what we like to do,” said wide receiver DeSean Jackson.
“One thing I can say about Chip is he’s not really into switching up too many things. He feels very confident and comfortable with the system and what we’re able to do out there. At times, teams do a good job of challenging us, but just sticking with it and getting the same opportunities and just knowing maybe one time they might guard us or they might be on our play, but as long as we’re able to keep grinding on it and stick with what we know to do, eventually it’s gonna open up.”
And it did. The Eagles put up 76 points in their next two games. They now find themselves in a first-place tie with the Cowboys, and the offense appears to be on a roll. Read more »
In the last six weeks, the Eagles are allowing just 17.7 points per game.
Before the season started, a stretch like that seemed unlikely. After the team gave up 33 to the Chargers in Week 2 and 52 to the Broncos in Week 4, it seemed even more unlikely.
But Billy Davis, his assistants and the players have turned things around. Overall, the defensive is allowing 24.4 points per game (20th) and 5.6 yards per play (22nd). Football Outsiders still has the Eagles’ D ranked 28th overall.
So while no one would deny that there have been massive improvements from the beginning of the season, the question is: With six games left, where is this defense?
As always, we go to the tape for answers, breaking it down category-by-category. Read more »
Pat Shurmur fielded question after question about the Eagles’ replay process Tuesday, specifically as it applies to the missed challenge opportunity in Green Bay. Something just doesn’t add up.
Shurmur explained that there are quite a few coaches in the booth that have their eyes on the monitor. If there is a play that warrants a challenge, a coach will relay the info to Shurmur, who will pass it on to Chip Kelly. On the Jarrett Boykin catch, no one in the booth saw an angle that convinced them to speak up. Read more »
On their first drive of the game, the Packers set up with a 1st-and-10 from the Eagles’ 31-yard-line.
They were in ’12′ personnel with two tight ends and Eddie Lacy in the backfield. The rookie running back had picked up 21 yards on his first four carries as Green Bay entered field goal range.
DeMeco Ryans lined up at his usual spot at middle linebacker about 4 yards behind nose tackle Damion Square. Seneca Wallace took the snap from under center, turned to his left and handed the ball off. As Lacy looked for a hole, Ryans flowed to his right.
Left tackle David Bakhtiari tried to get to him, but was unsuccessful. Ryans diagnosed the play, got downhill and planted his helmet into Lacy’s mid-section, knocking the 231-pound rookie backwards and onto the ground at Lambeau Field.
Lacy would manage just 54 yards on 19 carries (2.8 YPC) the rest of the day. And Ryans, with a game-high 13 tackles, was a big reason why. Read more »
When addressing the media after his team just dropped 49 points against the Oakland Raiders, Chip Kelly wanted to make one thing clear: The offensive explosion was not the result of some magical play-calling elixir he had concocted in the wee hours of the morning at the NovaCare Complex.
Rather, it was something a lot more simple.
“We called a lot of plays that we’ve called the last two weeks,” Kelly said. “We just executed ‘em. I think that’s the biggest thing.”
The masses are searching for answers on the day after the Eagles earned their fourth victory of the season.
How can an offense that scored three points in two weeks all-of-a-sudden look unstoppable?
How can a quarterback who was a complete disaster two weeks ago come back and play the best game of his life? Read more »
Editor’s note: The Zone Read is a weekly feature that will publish the day after every game some time before noon. It will feature dispatches from the locker room, thoughts on what went down, play breakdowns and more. If you have feedback or suggestions, e-mail Sheil at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Through the first four weeks of the season, the Eagles’ offense had something to hang its hat on: the run game.
LeSean McCoy was gashing opponents – 468 yards on 78 rushes (6.0 YPC). The scheme was sound. The blocking was great. And the marriage between McCoy and Chip Kelly’s offense looked like one that would carry the Eagles all season long.
Many coaches break the season up into four-game segments. And the second quarter for the Eagles has produced a ground game that looks pedestrian. In the last four, McCoy has carried 78 times for 265 yards (3.4 YPC). Yesterday against the Giants, he carried 15 times for 48 yards (3.2 YPC). In the first half, he managed just 7 yards on six carries.
“I just gotta try to be more consistent, making plays when plays are granted, taking them,” said a frustrated McCoy, standing at his locker in front of a group of reporters. “Today was a little better, but not good enough. I had so much success against the Giants for so long, so it bothers me. I’ve gotta get it going. It starts with me. I need to make better decisions, which I’m not.”
Asked if he’s trying to do too much, McCoy said: “I think it’s a little bit of that, doing my own thing sometimes and just not making the plays. The plays, they’re there, they’re available. Just not getting it done.” Read more »
Editor’s Note: This new feature will post every Friday and replace the old Cheat Sheets. We’ll bring you nuggets from the locker room, scouting reports on the upcoming game, reader e-mail and more.
It was after midnight by the time Jason Kelce had fired up his iPad and loaded the coaches tape to see what had gone wrong.
Hours earlier, he had been on the field at MetLife Stadium during one of the more frustrating games of his young NFL career. The Giants came up with a gameplan to stop the Eagles’ most popular run play: the inside zone read. The biggest factor in their success? Stunts by the defensive tackles that kept Kelce off-balance all game long.
“I was kind of checking, hitting refresh every single minute to see when it would come up,” Kelce said. “Very frustrating game for me. I knew I played bad even during the game. I knew the stuff wasn’t going well for me and that we tried some things to fix it, but I felt like they had a good take on when to do it and when not to do it. So we didn’t really handle it well throughout the game, me in particular.” Read more »
Back in the spring, new Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis was asked if he had spent time looking at Jim Johnson’s scheme and concepts.
“He had some great dynamic pressures, and I’ve studied a lot of them,” Davis said. “They were out-of-the-box thinking. But when you really break him down, it was more guys up in the A-gaps with the illusion of pressure than actual [sending] more than four rushers.
“There were times that he brought more. …But he did a great job of keeping offenses off-balance through both pressure, illusion of pressure and non-pressure. And you need all elements to attack an offense because there’s some times you pressure some of the stuff Coach [Chip Kelly] does, you’re going to get eaten alive.”
Davis’ comments serve as a good launching off point to examining what’s working well for the Eagles on defense. Last week, they were able to keep Tony Romo off-balance and free up rushers all game long, both with the blitz and the threat of the blitz. Read more »