Wake-Up Call: Ertz On the ‘Move’

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Last season didn’t play out as most expected when it came to the tight end position.

After the Eagles signed James Casey to a three-year, $12 million deal and used the 35th overall pick on Zach Ertz, the expectation was that Chip Kelly would deploy multiple tight-end sets with great frequency. That wasn’t the case. Read more »

All-22: Close-Up On Kelly’s Use Of the Mesh

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Chip Kelly went into his first year unsure of exactly how opposing defensive coordinators would match up with the Eagles.

What he found out fairly quickly was that the most common strategy was a ton of man coverage. Crowd the box against LeSean McCoy, play with one deep safety and force the Eagles’ passing attack to make plays over the top.

For the most part, Kelly had answers. The offense set franchise records for yards, points and touchdowns. The Eagles also led the league in pass plays of 20+ yards. And one of the most popular concepts the Eagles employed against man coverage was the mesh.

To break down the mesh concept, we called on Villanova wide receivers coach Brian Flinn. Flinn has studied Kelly’s offensive concepts for years and was kind enough to go over the intricacies of this particular one with Birds 24/7.

Meanwhile, Kelly did a film series with PhiladelphiaEagles.com and talked about this play at various points throughout the season. His explanations are also mixed in. Read more »

Eagles Depth Chart Analysis: Offense

NFL: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles

Now that the Eagles’ roster sits at 90 players, we can start to take a look ahead at which spots are up for grabs in the spring and summer.

Today, we’ll provide a position-by-position breakdown of the offense. On Tuesday, we’ll check in on the defense. Read more »

Three Eagles Leftovers

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From Connor Barwin’s role to Chip Kelly’s love for DeMeco Ryans to Cary Williams’ future, here are three Eagles leftovers.

1. The Eagles’ two outside linebacker positions were not created equal in 2013. Trent Cole made the transition from defensive end, usually lining up on the right side. Barwin’s spot was labeled the “jack” by Billy Davis, as in jack of all trades. That meant Barwin usually lined up on the left side and dropped back into coverage far more often than Cole.

According to Pro Football Focus, Barwin dropped 42.3 percent of the time on passing downs and rushed the QB 57.7 percent of the time.

“I can do it so it fits my skill set and I’m fine with it,” Barwin said last week. “Whatever way Billy [Davis] wants to use me. And I’m sure, who knows how it’ll evolve next year? I could see myself being in a similar role or I could see it being different. It just matters how this defensive evolves, what happens. But I don’t mind at all. I think it makes our defense better. I think Billy did a great job of utilizing the talent that we had.” Read more »

All-22: Why the Eagles’ Offense Stalled

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With 3:54 left in the third quarter of last week’s playoff game against the Saints, the Eagles’ offense took the field for the ninth time.

The results of the first eight drives were ugly: six punts, one missed field goal and a touchdown. The Saints finished fourth in the regular season in scoring defense, and for much of Saturday’s game, Rob Ryan’s group got the better of the Eagles.

Nick Foles and company scored on their final three possessions to give the Eagles a 24-23 lead, but ultimately, it wasn’t enough.

Defense and special teams certainly shared responsibility for the 26-24 loss, but given the way the offense had played all season, it’s worth exploring why that side of the ball struggled for the first 41 minutes of the game. Read more »

Why They Believe In Chip

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

When asked why he was so confident that his program could work in the NFL, Chip Kelly offered a somewhat surprising response.

“I wasn’t confident,” he said. “I had a system and a plan that we were going to go in, but I didn’t know what the outcome was going to be until it was all finished. But I think we played sound fundamental football, and I think that’s what we preach on a daily basis to our players. I think it’s still a game of 11-on-11, and I think a lot of things we do schematically match up 11-on-11. It’s a fundamental game, and I think that’s what our coaches teach. I thought we brought in a bunch of really good teachers that could implement the plan that we had in place, and we felt this would be the best plan for us this year going forward.”

Going into next season, new faces will be added, but many of the core players from the 2013 squad will remain the same.

Keeping that in mind, I posed one simple question to the players earlier this week as they cleaned out their lockers:

What did Kelly do in Year One that makes you believe he can lead this franchise to greater heights going forward? Read more »

Inside the Drive Gone Wrong

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First-and-10 from the Saints’ 15, late in the opening quarter. Drew Brees had just thrown his first interception of the day, the crowd was smelling blood and the Eagles were threatening. It was the first chance to establish superiority. Instead, a nightmare sequence developed.

Brent Celek was dropped for an eight-yard loss on a screen play.  Then Nick Foles, with all day to throw, never pulled the trigger and took an 11-yard sack. A play later, Alex Henery knuckled a 48-yard field goal attempt wide left.

“Part of the turnover thing as I’ve talked about before is if our defense does create them we need to do something with them offensively, and we didn’t capitalize the way we need to when our defense creates turnovers like that,” said Chip Kelly.

What went wrong? Let’s take a look: Read more »

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