A surprise name appeared on the Eagles’ injury report Thursday: Cary Williams.
The starting cornerback apparently injured his hamstring during Thursday afternoon’s practice. He had not been on the injury report previously during the week. Williams was officially listed as a limited participant. On Friday, the Eagles will have to designate him as out, doubtful, questionable or probable. Read more »
Here is a position-by-position review of the Eagles’ defense after having reviewed the All-22 tape.
* 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 »
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 »
Late in the first quarter, Matthew Stafford connected with Calvin Johnson for a 33-yard gain on a post route against Cary Williams.
“It wasn’t the fact that I couldn’t run with Calvin, it was the fact that when I tried to turn, I was sliding initially,” Williams said. “I didn’t get the initial grab into the ground the way I wanted to.”
Williams figured the Lions’ defensive backs would likely have the same issue against the Eagles’ receivers. So he decided to let Chip Kelly know. Read more »
Chip Kelly might not admit it, but he has favorites.
Players whose names he will bring up unprompted. Guys he’ll go out of his way to mention as underrated or under-appreciated. And atop that list this year has been tight end Brent Celek.
On the surface, Celek’s numbers are unimpressive: 23 receptions for 319 yards. He’s on pace for his lowest per-game averages since 2008 in both categories. But there are plenty of reasons why Kelly has sung Celek’s praises all year long.
“I think Chip respects guys that give everything they’ve got on every single play when you’re out there,” Celek said. “I respect everything that he’s done. Everything that he does makes sense, and you as a football player, that’s what you want. You want answers to some of your questions, and he answers those. And everything he wants you to do, it all makes sense.”
The strong relationship between Celek and Kelly was no given during the offseason. The seventh-year tight end was an Andy Reid loyalist. Even as things fell apart last season, Celek stood at his locker after every game and defended his head coach.
Meanwhile, after Kelly was hired, he made moves to bolster Celek’s position, signing James Casey in free agency and drafting Zach Ertz in the second round. Those moves could have rubbed Celek the wrong way and put his standing with the team in question, but Kelly made sure that was a non-issue. Read more »
The casual conversation with Mychal Kendricks was about Philadelphia, and how much nicer of a place it is to live when the Eagles are winning. Kendricks shot a look like, Man, you aren’t kidding.
“The vibe, people’s moods, everything,” said the linebacker on how the outcome of the game impacts this city. “There is even more crime when we lose…Look it up, it’s a fact.”
Crime goes up? Where was he getting this?
Kendricks explained that Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey visited the team prior to the 2012 season and suggested that the city was a kinder, gentler place to live after an Eagles victory and that the streets were meaner following a loss.
“He basically said crime rates jump up significantly when we lose,” Kendricks recalled. ”He told us that, and I was like, ‘Damn, if that’s a real statistic, we better start winning.’ ” Read more »
In Chip Kelly’s final season at Oregon, the Ducks’ defense led the nation in takeaways with 41. They finished second in that category in 2010.
In his two-year stint as defensive coordinator in Arizona, Billy Davis’ units were sixth in takeaways both seasons, generating 59 in all. He had similar success in that department as DC in San Francisco.
The 2013 Eagles are currently ninth in the NFL with 22 takeaways, and gaining steam. Nine of those have come during this current four-game winning streak.
What is it about the concepts and teachings of this coaching staff that helps create a turnover-friendly environment? Let’s take a look: Read more »
Cary Williams took a long pause before giving his reply. A reporter brought up the fact that Bruce Arians submitted some 15 plays to the league for review following the Cardinals’ narrow loss to the Eagles Sunday. After digesting that news like one might a box of nails, Williams began.
“Let’s not be crybabies, man,” he said. “I thought the refs kept them in the game to some degree at times. But it’s football, man. It’s about going out there and executing. If they came in here with a different attitude, maybe not so nonchalant, thinking it was going to be a cakewalk…
“I’m not big on teams sending stuff in, and ‘This is what needs to be called.’ Play the game, dude. It’s football, man. Either you come in and win or you blame it on the refs. Don’t blame it on the refs, blame it on your preparation that week. I’ve never been a fan of coaches sending stuff into the refs unless it was blatant. To me I didn’t think there was anything blatant out on the field.”
Read more »
Chip Kelly stood at the podium late Sunday afternoon and prepared to answer questions about his team’s performance against the Arizona Cardinals.
“It looked like the offense had a lot of trouble after that touchdown drive to start the second half-” a reporter started before Kelly interrupted.
“Can we go positive with the first question on a win?” he joked.
About 10 minutes later, the Eagles’ locker room opened up to reporters, and while it was clear that players were happy to have gotten a win, they knew there were plenty of mistakes that needed to be corrected.
After putting together an impressive 13-play, 82-yard drive to start the third quarter, the offense stalled in a big way. The Eagles totaled 22 yards (not counting penalties or kneel-downs) on six drives. They managed just five first downs during that stretch and did not move more than 16 yards on any single possession.
“We try to stay out of this situation,” said LeSean McCoy. “We just have to do a better job of closing out the game. We have gone through this a couple of times and we just have to do a better job.” Read more »
Put 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 »