Eagle Eye: Who Can Stop Greg Olsen?

Photo courtesy: USA Today Sports Images

Greg Olsen. (USA Today Sports)

Through six games this season, the Eagles have kept opposing tight ends in check.

Only one tight end, New Orleans’ Benjamin Watson, has scored a touchdown, and no tight end has picked up more than 56 yards in a game.

On average, opposing teams’ tight ends are catching six catches for 39 yards and no touchdowns, a favorable stat line for Billy Davis’s defense considering the Eagles have already faced Jacob Tamme, Jason Witten, and Jordan Reed, among others.

Enter Carolina’s Greg Olsen, who is fourth in the NFL in receiving yards with 374 through five games and has turned into Cam Newton’s favorite target with wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin sidelined for the season.

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All-22: How the Eagles Limited Odell Beckham

Odell Beckham Jr. (USA Today Sports)

Odell Beckham Jr. (USA Today Sports)

The first drive of the game Monday night couldn’t have gone much better for the Giants. They traveled 80 yards in eight plays and finished it with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning to Odell Beckham Jr.

Manning completed all five of his passes to four different receivers for 59 yards.

The Eagles answered by going three-and-out, before the Giants again drove the ball into field goal range. Then, DeMeco Ryans intercepted Manning, and New York went scoreless the rest of the game.

“I love the way our guys respond, to be honest with you,” Bill Davis said. “I’ve been a lot of places where those miscommunications happen and people turn on each other and there’s a huge argument, and our guys are really together.

“It’s a tight unit because they knew a mistake was made and they were real mad that a touchdown happened. We got to the sideline, we solved it and it didn’t happen again, and it won’t happen again. But, it’s really a testament to the camaraderie we have and the chemistry we have on defense right now.” Read more »

Instant Observations: Eagles-Giants

Courtesy of USA Today

Courtesy of USA Today

Here’s what we saw during the Eagles’ 27-7 win over the Giants from the Linc, which puts them in first place in the NFC East:

* Billy Davis‘ defense stole the show, coming up with three takeaways, four sacks and big play after big play to shut down what had been an effective Giants attack coming in. They dominated despite playing opposite an Eagles offense that turned the ball over four times.

*Sam Bradford was responsible for three of those turnovers. He ended 24-of-38 for 280 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions (61.3 rating). Threw a bad interception midway through the second, sailing a pass well high of Zach Ertz and into the chest of Jayron Hosley, and added two more in the second half — including one in the end zone that again was intended for Ertz. Bradford now has nine interception on the young season, second only to Peyton Manning (12).

*Fortunately for the Eagles, the ‘D’ was up for the challenge.

Nolan Carroll returned an Eli Manning offering 17 yards to put the Eagles out in front early in the second quarter. Carroll was originally on Rueben Randle but switched off him to pick up Manning’s intended target, Dwayne Harris. Carroll read the play and jumped a quick pass to the left sideline. Read more »

Eagles Key Plays: How They Happened

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports.

The Eagles scored three times, gave up two touchdowns, recorded two giveaways and forced one turnover in their 23-20 loss to Washington. Here’s how all that — plus a couple of other big plays — happened. Read more »

Eagle Eye: Jordan Reed Is Breaking Out

Photo courtesy: USA Today Sports Images

Photo courtesy: USA Today Sports Images

The third-most prolific tight end in the National Football League isn’t a member of the old guard like Antonio Gates or Jimmy Graham, nor a well-known up-and-comer like Zach Ertz or Tyler Eifert.

Instead, it’s Washington’s Jordan Reed who ranks third in the league in receiving yards by a tight end after three weeks, piling up 19 catches for 241 yards and a touchdown. He’s just three yards behind Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce for second place.

Reed is on pace for an astounding 101 catches, 1,285 yards and five touchdowns if he keeps up the frankly unsustainable pace with which he’s picking apart defenses.
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All-22: Inside the Defensive Line’s Dominance

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

The Eagles’ season through three weeks has been a fascinating series of twists and turns. Before the opener in Atlanta, many considered the rushing attack to be a potential juggernaut. After Week 3, however, they rank third-to-last in yards per carry.

The secondary, meanwhile, was considered a potential weakness in the offseason. But after the win against New York, the Eagles’ defense ranks in the top-10 in interceptions, opponent passer rating and yards per throw allowed. Read more »

On Curry, State Of the Outside Linebackers

NFL: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles

Vinny Curry has been training at outside linebacker full-time for all of two weeks now, so it should probably come as no surprise that his debut at the position Monday night was far from flawless.

“He was a little up‑and‑down there,” said Chip Kelly. “A couple times, he lost containment: once on the quarterback when we had a naked back our way.  But I thought the transition for him, never really having played there and just got his feet wet in the preseason, we felt he did a good job.  But we have got to get dialed in a little bit some on responsibilities.”

Curry played 21 snaps (or 27 percent on the time) against the Falcons. He was deployed mostly on run downs, he said, to minimize the chances that he would have to drop into coverage.

The four-year vet did line up at OLB here and there during the offseason training program, but that seemed to be more about Billy Davis searching for creative ways to use Curry as a situational pass-rusher. Now he’s smack in the middle of a crash course on the position, trying to grasp the different run fits and various nuances while attempting to play at full speed. Read more »

Day-After Notes: Crossing Up Coverages

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

GREEN BAY, Wisc. — You saw it time and time again in the Eagles’ 39-26 win over the Packers: crossing routes. Philadelphia used them on touchdowns, big plays and first downs, and Green Bay seemingly had no answer for them.

“It’s a main-staple in our offense,” said Jeff Maehl, who caught a nine-yard touchdown pass last night. “We have a lot of guys going different ways and since we get so much man coverage, it’s hard when two guys cross with each other to either stay with your guy or pass him off. Coach [Chip] Kelly does a great job of putting us in the right position and giving us a chance to make plays.”

Because of the Eagles’ success with the passing concept, you’d think defenses would switch to zone more often. However, as Sam Bradford noted after the game, the Packers ran a lot of man-to-man coverage.

The reason for that, according to Maehl, actually has nothing to do with the passing game. Read more »

Eagles Notes: Davis’ Sam Bradford Story

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Bill Davis spoke to the media today before practice. Here are some notes from the defensive coordinator’s press conference.

  • Davis recalled a story about Sam Bradford to explain why he’s always been a fan of the quarterback.

“I’m highly impressed with Sam, I always have been. I’ve always known the skillset he’s got. I was a defensive coordinator at Arizona his rookie year the first game he played; Pat Shurmur was [his] coordinator. I blitzed Adrian Wilson off the edge probably 10 times to 15. He kept hitting Sam and hitting Sam. It must’ve been the third quarter Adrian comes over to me and says, ‘Hey Billy D, we’re in for a long one. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: OLB Training Camp Preview

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Leading up to training camp on August 2, we’ll have a position-by-position preview of the Eagles’ roster. We’ve covered the quarterbacksrunning backswide receivers, tight endsoffensive line and defensive line so far. Today, we’ll take a look at the outside linebackers.

The pressing question: Will Marcus Smith contribute?

We’ve addressed this question several times already, but it’s a big one going into training camp. Smith was a first-round pick and barely played (68 total snaps) as a rookie. The start of his second season featured a groin injury that limited Smith in the spring.

Late last August, Billy Davis said he’d know by the start of Year 2 whether there were serious concerns about Smith making it. He’s in position to be a contributor as the No. 3 outside linebacker, but it’ll be a big red flag if Smith can’t hold off Travis Long for that spot. Read more »

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