Here is the first installment.
Player I’ll be watching:
McManus: Mychal Kendricks.
Here is the first installment.
Player I’ll be watching:
McManus: Mychal Kendricks.
Brandon Boykin’s rookie season was not all that complicated.
His role on defense was easily defined. When opposing offenses were in three- or four-receiver sets, he entered the game, played the slot, and for the most part, did a really good job.
But with a dramatic scheme change and a new defensive coordinator this year, Boykin might as well be wearing a red-and-white striped shirt instead of a green-and-white jersey on gamedays.
If those numbers are any indication, the rookie is gaining on the struggling veteran.
“I really appreciate [the way the coaches are working me in,] said Wolff, who was also part of a three-safety look Sunday due to depth issues at corner. “Every rep is an opportunity. Regardless of how many reps I get, if it’s 10, if it’s 20, if it’s five, I just want to go out there and take advantage of every single opportunity I get.”
The question is when Wolff will be prepared to take over the spot on a full-time basis. According to Chip Kelly, the fifth-round pick out of N.C.State isn’t quite ready for that workload.
“I think Earl’s growing,” Kelly said. “We’ll continue to grow him, but he’s still making some mistakes out there and I think they’re bringing him along and are excited about what his future is, but we still don’t think he’s ready to play the whole game.”
Wolff said he still needs to work on seeing the entire field instead of “zoning in” on his half. He sounded relatively pleased with his tackling through two games but recognizes he needs to get better in all areas.
Allen and Wolff both had their issues against the Chargers. There is no great answer for Kelly and Billy Davis right now, so they are choosing to rotate the two safeties.
Does that hurt continuity?
Cornerback Brandon Boykin said that corner-safety chemistry is a real thing, and comes into play particularly when the defense is running zone. (The Eagles use zone coverage quite a bit.) Eventually, Kelly could settle on just one player for that position. Would that make the defense more comfortable?
“I guess it would if you’re just out there with that person for the entire game,” said Boykin. “But the way that we’ve done it and the way I think we’re going to continue to do is just rotate guys.
“I think you’ve just got to know what kind of person and what type of player they are, their strengths and weaknesses, how vocal they are, things like that. In practice we get a chance to rotate and be with both of those guys. We know their different types of playing styles.”
Boykin said the main difference between having Wolff in versus Allen is that the secondary makes sure it stresses communication even more to make sure the rookie understands everything that is happening.
Indications are that the Eagles aren’t interested in bringing in a veteran like Kerry Rhodes at this time. Kelly was pretty frank in saying that there weren’t any safeties on the market that they are particularly enticed by, and they want to give some of the younger players, like Wolff, an opportunity to play and grow. And so, at least for now, they are choosing to roll with the safeties they have despite their early struggles.
Kelly was asked if one of these safeties will take over the spot full-time eventually this season.
“I don’t predict the future. It’s all up to them and how they play,” said Kelly. “If one guy runs away with it and continues to make plays then they’ll continue to be on the field, but if we’re not getting the production we need out of that position, to do it just for the sake of continuity doesn’t make sense to us.”
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If you missed the game review on the Eagles’ offense, click here.
Here’s what we saw from the ‘D’ after having re-watched Sunday’s contest.
* The Eagles used three-down fronts and four-down fronts. They blitzed, and they dropped eight into coverage. Nothing worked. Philip Rivers carved them up, completing 36 of 47 passes for 419 yards and three touchdowns.
* In last year’s scheme, Fletcher Cox looked like he had a Pro Bowl ceiling. So far in this year’s scheme, he’s been pretty quiet, although Cox did have some moments in the second half. He stopped Danny Woodhead for no gain in the third. He got some pressure on Rivers on third down in the fourth and hit Rivers on the final drive. But through two games in the Eagles’ two-gap 3-4, Cox has not been a difference-maker.
* There were stretches on Sunday where the Eagles just got pushed around up front. Isaac Sopoaga has been a non-factor. He was double-teamed to the ground on Woodhead’s 4-yard run in the second. His backup, Damion Square, was no better. Square got double-teamed to the ground on Ryan Mathews’ 6-yard run in the second and again on the very next play. He was blocked easily on Ronnie Brown’s 8-yard run in the third.
* Cedric Thornton had a couple good moments. He dropped Brown after a 3-yard run in the third and tackled Mathews after a 1-yard run in the fourth. Didn’t see anything from him as a pass-rusher though.
* Rookie Bennie Logan had a strong preseason, but has been quiet so far. He was caught upfield on a delayed handoff in the second that gained 6 yards. Logan made a nice play against the run in the fourth, tackling Woodhead after a 4-yard pickup. He played 27 snaps and didn’t do much as a pass-rusher.
* Clifton Geathers played 14 snaps and didn’t do much. He was blocked on Woodhead’s 8-yard run in the fourth.
* I charted the number of pass-rushers Billy Davis used throughout the game:
Number Of Rushers
Number Of Plays
As you can see, nothing really worked. When the Eagles rushed three or four, Rivers was 17-for-22 for 208 yards (77.3 completion percentage, 9.5 YPA) with one scramble and one pass interference penalty.
When they blitzed with five or more, Rivers was 19-for-25 for 211 yards (76 percent, 8.4 YPA) with two defensive penalties and one sack.
* Connor Barwin played pretty well, with a few exceptions. He caught rookie right tackle D.J. Fluker off-balance, bull-rushed him and picked up the Eagles’ only sack in the first. He had a good edge rush on third down in the second and hit Rivers as he completed a pass to Woodhead. Against the run, Barwin did a poor job of setting the edge on a 10-yard Mathews run in the first. He did a much better job the rest of the game and dropped Mathews for a 2-yard loss in the first. In coverage, Barwin got beat by Woodhead on a 3rd-and-4 completion on the final drive. Had he forced an incompletion there, it would have been a 54-yard field goal attempt.
* Trent Cole was one of the Eagles’ more active defenders. He rushed off the right edge in the second and hit Rivers. He pressured Rivers in the second, but Cary Williams was called for pass interference. Great hustle in the third, pressuring Rivers and then assisting on a tackle after the QB dumped the ball off to Brown. In the fourth, Cole hit Rivers from behind and forced an incompletion. Against the run, Cole stopped Mathews after a 4-yard gain. He tripped Mathews up after a 3-yard run in the second and drew a holding penalty on the next play. Down in the red zone, Cole forced a fumble for the second straight week. On 41 passing downs, Cole only dropped in coverage twice, per Pro Football Focus. He lined up at right outside linebacker, right defensive end and a couple other spots.
* Casey Matthews came in and played four snaps at outside linebacker behind Barwin.
* Update: As a sign of just how small Brandon Graham’s role is in this defense, I’ll admit I didn’t have a single note on him from this game. Graham played 16 snaps and was a non-factor. Per PFF, on 11 passing downs, he dropped twice and rushed nine times. Given that Cole and Barwin are two of the defenders playing well, I’m not sure Graham is going to see a bump any time soon.
* DeMeco Ryans was active, finishing with nine tackles (six solo). Great effort on a second-quarter play. Ryans blitzed, didn’t get home and then pursued Woodhead, tackling him after a 2-yard reception. He got juked badly on Eddie Royal’s 15-yard touchdown in the fourth, running right past the wide receiver. The Eagles sent Ryans on inside blitzes all game long (19 times, per PFF), and he never got home. That was an issue throughout.
* Mychal Kendricks had a day to forget. Tight end Antonio Gates took the second-year player to school. Kendricks got beaten by Gates and missed a tackle on a 21-yard catch and run in the first. Same story on a 14-yard gain in the second. On a big 3rd-and-4 in the third, Gates beat Kendricks for a 7-yard gain. And Gates caught a 6-yarder on 3rd-and-3 against Kendricks in the fourth. Kendricks is the Eagles’ best cover linebacker, but he had issues all game long. Against the run, he was up and down. Kendricks got blocked on Mathews’ 7-yard run in the first. It looked like he tripped on Mathews’ 20-yard run in the first. And he got blocked on an 8-yard Woodhead run in the fourth.
There were some good moments. He got off his block and tackled Woodhead after a 2-yard run in the first. He stopped Mathews after a 3-yard run in the third and dropped him after a 1-yard run. Overall, though, Kendricks struggled.
* Cary Williams also had a day to forget. Three pass interferences – an 18-yarder, a 9-yarder and another that was declined because it was an 18-yard completion anyway. That last one came on 3rd-and-6 in the third. Have to check the All-22, but I believe the 24-yard TD to Royal was on Williams. The Eagles appeared to be in quarters coverage, and because Rivers held on to the ball so long, Williams cheated over to a receiver towards the middle of the field.
* Brandon Boykin wasn’t perfect, but he competed throughout. The second-year corner was targeted all game long and gave up at least four completions. In the second, Royal beat him on a wheel route for 21 yards on 3rd-and-7. And in the fourth, Boykin gave up a 16-yard completion on 3rd-and-7. He broke up a pass down the right sideline in the second and broke up a third-down pass in the third. Boykin also made a great hustle play, chasing Gates down and forcing a fumble in the red zone in the first half.
* Brandon Hughes played 22 snaps and suffered a hamstring injury. I actually only noticed him get targeted once – a 31-yarder to Malcom Floyd down the sideline in the second.
* Eagles safeties continued to struggle. Patrick Chung was called for a huge defensive holding penalty on 3rd-and-4 in the third. The Chargers would have had to punt, but instead, their drive was extended and they took 8:55 off the clock before kicking a field goal. On that same drive, Chung got matched up with Royal and gave up a 12-yard completion on 3rd-and-6. He tried to strip the ball instead of making the tackle and gave up extra yardage. Chung had a couple good plays against the run, including a stop in the third after a 2-yard Mathews run.
* Yet another day to forget for Nate Allen. Where to begin? The Chargers crossed their receivers, and he lost Royal on an 11-yard touchdown in the first half. Allen was blocked/tackled by King Dunlap on the 15-yard screen TD to Royal in the fourth. He got stiff-armed and was called for a face-mask penalty on a Mathews run in the first. He was slow to react on a 19-yard completion to Floyd in the first. Woodhead beat him for a 5-yard completion on 3rd-and-3 in the first. Gates got him for a 15-yard completion on the final drive. And Allen missed a tackle on Gates on a 21-yard catch and run on the very next play. At this point, it’s a matter of when, not if, Allen is yanked from the starting lineup.
* The problem is the coaches don’t feel Earl Wolff is ready. He too was late coming up on a 17-yard completion to Floyd in the second. Gates caught a ball down the seam in front of him for 16 yards. Wolff got matched up with Gates and allowed a 24-yard catch.
But when reviewing the game, I noticed Wolff had some good moments. He assisted in run support, helping to take Mathews down for a 2-yard loss in the first. He dropped Mathews after a 4-yard run in the third. He cleaned up on Royal after Chung missed a tackle in the fourth. And he broke up a pass intended for Gates in the end zone in the fourth. From the outside looking in, the move would seem to be to throw Wolff out there and let him take his lumps. But obviously, the coaches see him every day. He played 49 snaps.
Mychal Kendricks looked a little hobbled as he walked around the locker room following Sunday’s loss to the Chargers.
“It’s football,” said Kendricks. “Everyone’s dinged up.”
The second-year linebacker has a groin injury, turns out, though he was listed as a full participant for Monday’s practice.
Brandon Boykin (quad), Brent Celek (shoulder) and Jason Kelce (thumb) were the other new names on the injury report. Celek was hurt on the same play that Michael Vick was banged up on late in the contest. Both players only missed one down before re-entering the game. Vick was not listed on the report.
Kelce had his right thumb wrapped following the game. Chip Kelly said that the thumb wasn’t broken and that the center was “full-go” Monday. All of the players above were listed as full participants for today’s non-contact practice.
Bradley Fletcher (concussion) is back practicing and is expected to play Thursday against the Chiefs. Dennis Kelly (back) was cleared for all football activities by the doctor on Sunday. He is targeting the Denver game for his return.
The only player unable to practice Monday was cornerback Brandon Hughes, who suffered a hamstring injury against San Diego.
Here’s a look at Eagles snap counts Sunday against the Chargers.
LeSean McCoy played 85 percent of the snaps, but the total was just 50 since the Eagles ran far fewer plays than in Week 1. He had 16 total touches for 167 yards.
Bryce Brown played nine snaps and had three carries for 13 yards. Chris Polk played special-teams only. He has not played an offensive snap yet.
Riley Cooper played the most snaps among this group for the second week in a row. He had two catches for 25 yards and a touchdown.
DeSean Jackson played all but five snaps, finishing with nine catches for 193 yards on 15 targets. As we mentioned, to say he could have easily had 300 yards receiving is no stretch.
The Eagles were in ’11′ personnel with one RB, one TE and three WRs quite a bit for the second straight week. Jason Avant played 81 percent of the snaps and had four catches for 39 yards. It doesn’t appear that Damaris Johnson will have much of a role in this offense when everyone else is healthy. He played just four snaps. And Jeff Maehl got on the field for three snaps.
At tight end, Brent Celek played all but five snaps and was shut out (one target). Rookie Zach Ertz played 12 snaps, but made the most of them, catching two balls for 58 yards. James Casey only played five snaps and dropped a potential touchdown pass early from Michael Vick.
Not too much to note here. Fletcher Cox played the most snaps (64), followed by Cedric Thornton (57). Isaac Sopoaga played 34 percent of the snaps. And the second team was Bennie Logan (33 percent), Clifton Geathers (17 percent) and Damion Square (14 percent). For the second straight week, Vinny Curry was inactive.
DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks played every single snap. Still have to re-watch, but Kendricks seemed to struggle throughout.
Connor Barwin was the only defensive player to notch a sack, and Trent Cole seemed to be active.
Casey Matthews backed up Barwin at left outside linebacker and played four snaps. And Brandon Graham played 16 snaps behind Cole at right outside linebacker.
The secondary was a mess. Cary Williams played every snap and was called for three pass interference penalties. Brandon Boykin played all but three snaps. He started off on the outside, but moved inside at times.
Brandon Hughes played 22 snaps on the outside, but suffered a hamstring injury.
Patrick Chung played all but one snap – both at safety and at nickel.
Nate Allen (76 percent) and Earl Wolff (59 percent) both saw significant action, but neither played well.
Here are instant observations from the Eagles’ 33-30 loss to the Chargers.
* Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson had monster games. Vick completed 22 of 36 passes for 428 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran six times for 23 yards and a score. Jackson had nine catches for 193 yards and a touchdown.
* The truth is they could have had even bigger games. The pair connected on a 61-yard TD in the second half, but had other opportunities. Jackson couldn’t keep his feet in bounds on a deep ball near the sidelines in the first. Later, Jackson again got free deep, but Vick overthrew him. Vick was hit on the play by Dwight Freeney, who used his classic spin move against rookie right tackle Lane Johnson. And there was one more play, where Jackson had his fingertips on the ball, but couldn’t haul it in.
* It looked like the Chargers’ game-plan was to move a safety up and try to limit the Eagles’ rushing attack. LeSean McCoy had 11 carries for 53 yards, but he did more damage as a receiver, catching five balls for 114 yards, including one 70-yarder that set up the team’s first field goal. McCoy got matched up with safety Eric Weddle on the play, broke a tackle and took off down the field.
* On the Eagles’ lone TD drive of the first half, they went 75 yards on four plays in 1:20. Vick hit Riley Cooper for a 13-yard score. Jackson had catches of 17 and 41 yards on the possession.
* On the Eagles’ field-goal drive in the first half, they first thought they had a touchdown, but James Casey couldn’t hang on to a pass from Vick.
* Zach Ertz had catches of 37 and 21 yards in the first half.
* Chip Kelly talked about subbing players in more during the week. On the first drive, he made wholesale changes at one point, bringing in Casey, Jeff Maehl, Bryce Brown and Damaris Johnson for the starters.
* The offensive line had issues on the first drive. It looked like Todd Herremans got beat on the play. On third down, VIck got hit by Freeney, but it looked like he might have stepped into the pressure.
* The Eagles ran 30 plays in the first half and 57 overall. They scored on all four first-half possessions until the final one which began with just 7 seconds on the clock.
* The defense was a disaster, giving up points on seven of 10 possessions. On five second-half possessions, San Diego scored two touchdowns and two field goals. The Chargers piled up 539 yards and got a 46-yard field goal with 7 seconds left to seal a 33-30 victory.
* Philip Rivers went 36-for-47 for 419 yards and three touchdowns. Eddie Royal had seven catches for 90 yards and three touchdowns. The Chargers went 51 yards on nine plays on their game-winning drive. San Diego went 10-for-15 on third down overall.
* The Chargers had 291 yards in the first half, but only 13 points to show for it, thanks to a pair of red-zone turnovers. Trent Cole forced a red-zone fumble late in the first half with the Chargers driving. And earlier, Brandon Boykin made a terrific hustle play to strip Antonio Gates inside the 5.
* Boykin started outside opposite Cary Williams. It looked like the Eagles tried to stay away from bringing a fifth DB on the field at times in the first half. But eventually, Brandon Hughes came in, played outside, and Boykin moved inside. Williams was called for two pass interference penalties in the first half.
* Mychal Kendricks played well in Week 1, but looked bad in coverage and as a tackler in this one.
* Casey Matthews rotated in behind Connor Barwin at left outside linebacker in the first half. Brandon Graham rotated in behind Cole.
* The Eagles rotated Nate Allen and Earl Wolff in at safety. Neither looked good. Wolff would have given up a touchdown, were it not for the Boykin strip. Allen was a disaster. On the game-winning drive, he gave up multiple completions to Antonio Gates. And early on, Allen got stiff-armed by Ryan Mathews, while also being called for a personal foul penalty on the play.
* On a fourth-quarter touchdown, King Dunlap blocked Allen, and DeMeco Ryans missed a tackle as Royal scampered into the end zone on a WR screen.
* Damion Square got double-teamed to the ground on a second-quarter run.
* Barwin was active early, knocking over rookie right tackle D.J. Fluker early and sacking Rivers. But that was the Eagles’ only sack of the game.
* The Chargers ran 34 offensive plays in the first half. Mathews ran 16 times for 73 yards overall. Malcom Floyd had five catches for 102 yards. But he was hit by Ryans in the third quarter and taken off the field on a stretcher.
The following Eagles are inactive for Sunday’s game against the San Diego Chargers: QB Matt Barkley, CB Bradley Fletcher, CB Shaun Prater, OT Matt Tobin, OT Dennis Kelly, DE Vinny Curry and TE Emil Igwenagu.
The inactives are the same as last week, with the addition of Fletcher, who is out with a concussion.
The Eagles re-signed veteran cornerback Brandon Hughes during the week, and he’ll be active. They have four corners active: Cary Williams, Brandon Boykin, Jordan Poyer and Hughes.
Williams and Boykin are expected to start on the outside. It’ll be interesting to see what they do in nickel. Here are the options:
1. Keep Boykin on the outside and play either Poyer or safety Patrick Chung in the slot. In this scenario, Earl Wolff would likely join Nate Allen at safety.
2. Move Boykin inside, and play Hughes on the outside. My guess is this is the more likely scenario.
Elsewhere, Curry is inactive for the second straight week. The Eagles’ coaching staff and front office indicated during the week that Curry sat in Week 1 because the Redskins were more of a running team. But it seems more that they don’t see him fitting in their new scheme. The Eagles have six defensive linemen active: Fletcher Cox, Isaac Sopoaga, Cedric Thornton, Bennie Logan, Damion Square and Clifton Geathers.
Once again, the Eagles go with two QBs in Michael Vick and Nick Foles. They have two backups active on the offensive line: Allen Barbre at Julian Vandervelde. Barbre filled in for a few snaps at left tackle last week for Jason Peters. If anyone but Jason Kelce goes down, Barbre figures to fill in. Vandervelde would fill in at Kelce.
The Eagles once again have all five wide receivers active: DeSean Jackson, Riley Cooper, Jason Avant, Damaris Johnson and Jeff Maehl. Three tight ends will dress: Brent Celek, Zach Ertz and James Casey. And three running backs: LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown and Chris Polk.
If you missed the first cheat sheet, click here. Below are 10 things to know about how the Eagles’ defense matches up with the Chargers’ offense.
1. Going into the opener, the question was: Would Billy Davis stick with a more traditional 3-4? Or would he run more of a 4-3 under? For Week 1, at least, it looked like the former.
You see the three defensive linemen are head-up on the tackles and center, respectively. There were multiple looks, especially in nickel, as we pointed out early in the week. But overall, it was a base 3-4. For explanations on the differences, click here.
2. The Eagles face a different style of offense this week with Philip Rivers and the Chargers, so this will be a good way to gauge how much Davis plans on changing his scheme on a weekly basis. Rivers completed just 14 of 29 passes against Houston; only Jacksonville’s Blaine Gabbert had a worse completion percentage in Week 1. The 31-year-old has not looked like the same player who went to four Pro Bowls. He’s thrown 36 interceptions in his last 33 starts.
The Eagles, meanwhile, will be without cornerback Bradley Fletcher, who suffered a concussion in Week 1. Brandon Boykin is expected to start on the outside opposite Cary Williams. In nickel looks, Boykin could move inside, and Brandon Hughes could enter the game. The Eagles’ other option is to have Hughes play on the outside from the get-go. Or they could keep Boykin out there and move either Patrick Chung or Jordan Poyer inside.
3. One goal with Rivers under new head coach Mike McCoy seems to be to get the ball out quickly. Rivers lacks mobility and really struggles against pressure. According to Football Outsiders, no QB had a bigger performance difference with and without pressure last season. Last week, Rivers got rid of the ball in 2.5 seconds or less on 68.8 percent of his attempts, according to Pro Football Focus. Only two quarterbacks had a higher percentage of those throws. The Eagles had a lot of success blitzing Robert Griffin III (All-22 breakdown here) last week. Rivers was 9-for-17 when the Texans blitzed him, but all four of his touchdown passes came against extra pressure. On his first touchdown, the Texans sent seven, and Rivers threw a beautiful corner route to Eddie Royal. Disguising pressure will once again be key.
4. From left to right, the Chargers’ offensive line is King Dunlap, Chad Rinehart, Nick Hardwick, Jeromey Clary and D.J. Fluker. Needless to say, this unit has struggled to protect Rivers. Dunlap has done well to stay in the league since the Eagles drafted him in the seventh round of the 2008 draft. He started 20 games for the Birds, including 13 last year. But he’s better suited for a backup role. Dunlap can hold his own in pass protection, but is a non-factor in the run game. Trent Cole was one of the best defenders on the field last week and should give Dunlap fits. Fletcher Cox had a couple nice moments late in Week 1 and will start at right defensive end.
5. Rinehart (LG) is considered a better run-blocker than pass-protector. Hardwick has started every game for the Chargers since 2010. Clary moves from tackle to guard after allowing a team-high 8.5 sacks and 18.5 blown pass blocks last year, according to Football Outsiders. And Fluker was the No. 11 overall pick in April’s draft. He played for Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland at Alabama and struggled Monday night against Houston. As a unit last year, the Chargers finished last in adjusted sack rate, per Football Outsiders.
6. Isaac Sopoaga (NT) and Cedric Thornton (LDE) will join Cox on the Eagles’ defensive line. Thornton played well vs. Washington. Bennie Logan and Damion Square rotated in at nose tackle and right defensive end. Clifton Geathers came in at LDE, and Vinny Curry was inactive. We’ll see if that rotation changes at all this week. The Eagles limited the Redskins to 74 yards rushing, and Alfred Morris averaged just 3.8 yards per carry.
San Diego does not have a potent rushing attack. Ryan Mathews has been a disappointment since the Chargers selected him No. 12 overall back in 2010. He’s battled injury problems and averaged just 10.7 games per season in the last three. And when he’s been on the field, he hasn’t been effective, averaging 3.8 YPC in his last 13 games. Ronnie Brown actually played more snaps than Mathews last week, per PFF. He averaged 3.2 YPC in one disastrous season with the Eagles, but has averaged 4.8 on 51 carries with San Diego.
7. Rivers doesn’t have a lot of weapons in the passing game. Vincent Jackson signed with Tampa before last season. And Danario Alexander tore his ACL earlier this summer. Veteran Malcolm Floyd led the team in catches (56) and yards (814) last year. He had 15 catches of 20+ yards and presents a matchup problem at 6-foot-5. Floyd had just one grab last week, but it was a 47-yarder. The ball skills of the Eagles’ defensive backs will be tested against Floyd. Last week, safety Patrick Chung did not look good in that aspect on a late Redskins touchdown.
8. Vincent Brown was a third-round pick in 2011. He missed all of last year with a foot injury and had two catches for 13 yards in Week 1. Royal will line up a lot in the slot. He was the only Chargers wide receiver with more than two catches last week. Royal had a pair of red-zone touchdowns and also drew a 21-yard pass interference penalty. For the Eagles, Cary Williams played well in his debut, finishing with a sack and an impressive interception near the sideline. Boykin lined up in a variety of spots, and that could continue this week.
9. Tight end Antonio Gates is not the weapon he once was, but he’s still scored seven touchdowns or more in each of the last nine seasons. Gates was the Chargers’ leading receiver in Week 1 with 49 yards. DeMeco Ryans played well vs. Washington, and Mychal Kendricks was all over the place, finishing with 10 tackles (one for loss) and a pair of QB hits. Davis used him as a blitzer, as a traditional inside ‘backer and even as a free safety. Look for Kendricks’ versatility to be highlighted all season long.
10. Look for the Chargers to throw to their running backs quite a bit. Mathews beat a linebacker on a wheel route for a touchdown last week. Danny Woodhead will see some targets on third down. …Six different Eagles – Ryans, Kendricks, Williams, Cole, Barwin and Cox – got hits on the quarterback last week. …Barwin will line up in a variety of places in the Eagles’ nickel package. He played well in his debut. …Nate Allen will start at safety alongside Chung. He didn’t appear to have any breakdowns last week. Rookie Earl Wolff will likely rotate in.
The 27-year-old sustained a concussion late in the game against Washington. He had yet to pass the ImPACT test as of Thursday afternoon.
The Eagles’ depth in the secondary will be tested. Brandon Boykin is expected to start on the outside in Fletcher’s absence, though he could very well move into the slot in certain packages as well. Brandon Hughes, who is recovering from a fractured hand, is a logical candidate to play on the outside when Boykin does move inside.
Jordan Poyer could also factor into the equation, though the rookie appeared to struggle a bit in limited action against Washington. Safety Patrick Chung saw some time in the slot this preseason, likely in preparation for an emergency scenario.
Fletcher was targeted six times on Monday night and yielded three catches for 33 yards, per Pro Football Focus. He finished with four tackles.
Dennis Kelly (back) has also been ruled out for the Chargers game. He was a limited participant in practice this week and appears to be recovering well from back surgery. He is set to meet with his doctor on Sunday and expects to be cleared for all football activity at that time. The tackle said that he is targeting the Denver game for his return.
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