Game Review: Eagles Defense Vs. Lions

NFL: Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles

Here is a position-by-position review of the Eagles’ defense after having reviewed the All-22 tape.

DEFENSIVE LINE

* This group led the charge. Joique Bell needed 23 carries to gain 69 yards (3.0 YPC). And the Lions failed to gain more than 8 yards on any single run. Cedric Thornton was outstanding, leading all defensive linemen with six tackles (per team stats) and a forced fumble, which the Eagles turned into a takeaway. Thornton helped blow up a Bell run that gained 3 in the second and was disruptive throughout. Read more »

Zone Read: Eagles-Lions, the Day After

NFL: Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles

Chip Kelly and his coaching staff worked all week on a special gameplan to neutralize the aggressiveness of the Detroit Lions’ defensive front.

Screens, draws, read-plays that would have left linemen unblocked. Those were all part of the plan as of Sunday morning.

“We had a lot of plays in the gameplan to attack their scheme and attack a lot of their explosion and things like that,” said center Jason Kelce. “I was excited to run them coming into the game because I thought they were awesome. But the weather really took them out of their typical way that they played football because they couldn’t get their footing, they couldn’t get upfield as fast.

“I think the coaches got to some more downhill stuff and some more vanilla stuff where we could just kind of get together and get double teams and get moving vertically.”

The word vanilla has been used in the past as a jab at Kelly’s offense. On Sunday, vanilla was what saved the Eagles. Read more »

Eagles-Cardinals Injury Report

Earl WolffHere is the Eagles’ injury report for Sunday’s game against Arizona:

Out: S Earl Wolff (knee)

Probable: S Colt Anderson (ankle), CB Bradley Fletcher (pectoral), LB Mychal Kendricks (knee), LB Jake Knott (hamstring).

As you can see, the Eagles exit the bye in pretty good shape. Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Slowing Fitzgerald A Big Task

eagles-cary-williams-hazingPut 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 »

Self-Scouting: Taking Stock Of the Defense

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay BuccaneersWe went through the offense yesterday. Here’s a position-by-position look at where the Eagles’ defense stands going into the final five games.

DEFENSIVE LINE

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 »

Eagles Healthy Entering Stretch Run

Eagles LB Mychal Kendricks at practice points at cameraThe Eagles are in pretty good shape from a health standpoint as they enter the home stretch.

Mychal Kendricks (knee) and Bradley Fletcher (pec) participated in practice Tuesday after sitting out against Washington. Both are expected to play Sunday against Arizona. Jason Peters (quad, pec) was also a go.

Earl Wolff was the only player sidelined. The rookie safety is still dealing with a knee injury. Chip Kelly does not expect him to be ready for Sunday, and was unsure about his availability beyond that.

“You’ve gotta have all hands on deck, and I think it is a good situation,” said Kelly. “I wish we had Earl [also] but besides that…The guys have done a really good job of taking care of themselves and putting themselves in position, so when we get out there today everybody except Earl will go.” Read more »

Making Sense Of the Eagles’ Inactives

kendricks_940_100113The following Eagles are inactive for today’s game against the Washington Redskins: QB Michael Vick, WR Damaris Johnson, CB Bradley Fletcher, safety Earl Wolff, LB Jake Knott, OT Dennis Kelly and LB Mychal Kendricks.

The good news for the Eagles is that Jason Peters is active and expected to start. He was listed as questionable with a pair of injuries (quadriceps, pectoral). If Peters has issues, Allen Barbre will step in. The Eagles also have Matt Tobin active, along with backup guard/center Julian Vandervelde. They usually go with only two backups on gameday, but because of Peters’ injury, they are going with three today. Read more »

Injury Report: Peters, Kendricks Questionable

Eagles Tackle Jason Peters without helmet at practiceHere is the Eagles’ injury report for Sunday’s game against Washington:

Out: LB Jake Knott (hamstring), S Earl Wolff (knee)

Questionable: CB Bradley Fletcher (pectoral), LB Mychal Kendricks (knee), T Jason Peters (quadricep, pectoral), QB Michael Vick (hamstring)

Probable: TE Brent Celek (hip), S Patrick Chung (shoulder), WR Riley Cooper (knee), DE Cedric Thornton (knee).

Plenty of injury concerns for the Eagles. Read more »

Making Sense Of the Eagles’ Inactives

Bradley FletcherGREEN BAY, Wisc. – The following Eagles are inactive for today’s game against the Packers: QB Michael Vick, CB Bradley Fletcher, RB Matthew Tucker, LB Jake Knott, OT Matt Tobin, OT Dennis Kelly and WR B.J. Cunningham.

The big one there is Fletcher, who suffered a pectoral injury last week. With him sidelined, Brandon Boykin is likely to start on the outside. But the key will be what the Eagles do in nickel. Read more »

Vick Doubtful, Fletcher Questionable

Michael VickHere is the Eagles’ injury report for Sunday’s game in Green Bay:

Doubtful: QB Michael Vick (hamstring), LB Jake Knott (hamstring)

Questionable: CB Bradley Fletcher (pec)

Probable: CB Rashad Carmichael (groin), S Patrick Chung (shoulder), WR Damaris Johnson (ankle), T Jason Peters (pectoral, shoulder), RB Chris Polk (shoulder, knee), DE Cedric Thornton (knee), G Julian Vandervelde (knee).

Vick is not playing in this one. Chip Kelly on Thursday indicated that Vick is not all that close to a return.

The player to keep an eye on is Fletcher. He has been a steady presence in the Eagles’ secondary and leads the team with 12 passes defensed. The Eagles could put Brandon Boykin on the outside if Fletcher can’t go, though that would weaken them in the slot. Carmichael and the recently-signed Marsh are the other corners on the roster. Fletcher is confident that he’ll be able to play.

Thornton practiced in full the past two days after sitting out Tuesday and Wednesday. Expect Earl Wolff to start even though Chung is listed as probable. Read more »

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