Here is a complete breakdown of Sunday night’s Eagles-Cowboys matchup.
THE BIG PICTURE
It’s pretty simple: Winner hosts a first-round playoff game next weekend, while the loser goes home.
The Cowboys have been up and down with two losses in their last three games, but they pulled out a 24-23 victory over the Redskins in Week 16.
The Eagles have won six of seven and are averaging 39.3 points per game in their last three. Read more »
Tony Romo, Kyle Orton. Kyle Orton, Tony Romo. Whatever, says Cary Williams.
“We’re here to win a Super Bowl. We’re here to contend in the playoffs. We’re here to build on what we’ve built already. As far as I’m concerned they can play those games. I don’t care,” said Williams. ”Jason Garrett can get out there. Jerry Jones can get out there. It doesn’t matter to me, it doesn’t matter to anyone else in this locker room. We’re on a mission and they’re in our way. Period.” Read more »
The consensus within the Cary Williams circle of trust was that the cornerback wasn’t playing with the same type of edge that he had in Baltimore. Sounds strange, seeing as the feisty corner always seems to be an inch away from throwing haymakers on the field, but this has more to do with what’s been going on between the whistles. His brother said something about it. His best friend. Even his pastor felt he needed to be a bit more ferocious.
But when his wife, Amanda, broached the subject, that was the tipping point.
“When my wife said it, it really kind of sunk in,” said Williams. “I listened because she has been following me for a long time and watching how I played, and she said I just didn’t have the same aggressiveness like how I used to,” said Williams. “I gave a bunch of excuses why, but then when I look in the mirror it just is what it is. I am what I put out there on the field.
“I just wanted to get back into character.”
The defense as a whole was trying to do the same thing. Read more »
When Nick Foles and the Eagles’ other signal-callers take a seat Tuesday morning inside the quarterbacks meeting room at the NovaCare Complex, they are handed a copy of Bill Lazor’s game report.
The document contains play-by-play grades broken down by category: accuracy, decision-making, pre-snap checks, footwork, carrying out fakes on run plays and so on. Some plays have questions next to them because even for a quarterbacks coach who knows the calls and has reviewed the coverages, there are times when he’s not sure exactly what happened.
“I question, ‘Why did you do it this way?’ ” Lazor said. “Because it’s not always just a clear-cut answer. So they have that in front of them as they start watching the game. We start at the beginning and we go through. We try to not only talk about what happened at the time but why. We have the notes that the quarterbacks take during the game – the backup quarterbacks take notes. …And so as we sit in the room now, you hope you treat it more like a laboratory setting where you can really go back and dissect.” Read more »
At first glance, it looked like DeSean Jackson was screaming at Jason Avant. The wide receiver was overheating on the sidelines after a Nick Foles interception in Minnesota Sunday. Jackson was being restrained as he barked in the direction of Avant just a few yards away. Turns out, his words were aimed at receivers coach Bob Bicknell; Avant was just moving in to gain control. And that’s exactly what he did. After a quiet moment of counsel with Avant away from the rest of the team, Jackson hopped to his feet and returned to the pack without further incident.
“He kind of understands, he’s like a big brother, a voice you can listen to,” said Jackson.
Later in the game, Cary Williams lost his cool and was benched following an unnecessary roughness call and an apparent misunderstanding on the sideline. There was Avant again, sitting next to Williams on the bench, diffusing the situation.
“When those situations come up, because I have a relationship with everyone, I talk to everyone constantly — when something goes on in their family I want to see about them – because we have a relationship usually I can go and talk to them, maybe not like the coach can or another player because they haven’t established their relationship,” said Avant. “It gives me a voice a lot of times that I can go over and they receive it even when they’re mad because they know who they are talking to.”
“Every NFL team,” said Williams, “should have a guy like that in their locker room.” Read more »
Three defensive backs — Brandon Boykin, Kurt Coleman and Colt Anderson — stood shoulder-to-shoulder on the sidelines, all spectators as their teammates continued their preparations for the Bears Wednesday.
Boykin has yet to be cleared after suffering a concussion in Minnesota. This is a significant injury to watch for the Eagles, who are about to face a daunting Bears receiving duo in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.
“It’s a huge challenge,” said Chip Kelly, “and no one is going to give us a waiver because we’re banged up. It’s part of what this deal is all about. We look at it as an opportunity for us to go out and compete against them, and that’s what we got — a bunch of competitive guys, competitive coaches that want to go challenge themselves, and there’s no better group of receivers to challenge yourself with than the guys that they can put out there in Marshall and Jeffery.” Read more »
Chip Kelly offered up this line back in August, and has used some variation of it on multiple occasions since:
“Once you think you’ve arrived in this game, you’re going to get passed on by.”
Opinions vary as to whether that is what happened this past week against Minnesota: if the Eagles allowed the five-game winning streak to dull their focus, particularly as they prepared for a supposedly inferior Vikings team. Cary Williams made it clear where he stands on this debate.
“I’m glad it knocked us off our high horse,” said Williams. “Point proven right there that you have to be prepared, you have to be ready to come out and play each and every week. You can’t come out and not be physical in the beginning and expect a team to just lay down. To a degree we weren’t necessarily the most physical team out there, we weren’t necessarily the most emotional team out there, and I think we to some degree came out flat. So I’m glad that we lost, in the sense that it helped prepare us for this week, understanding that every week is going to be a different test, every team is going to come at us with their best shot.” Read more »
Here’s a position-by-position look at the Eagles’ defensive performance after having watched the All-22 from Sunday’s game.
* Going in, the Eagles should have expected to dominate the Vikings’ ground game, given that Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart were out. And that’s what happened. Matt Asiata needed 30 carries to get to 51 yards (1.7 YPC). The pass-rush could have been better, but Matt Cassel did a good job of getting the ball out quick, and most of the problems through the air were the fault of the secondary. Read more »
Chip Kelly spent about 20 minutes Monday answering questions from the assembled media at the NovaCare Complex.
T-Mac covered some of the main topics already, but here are three leftovers.
1. Don’t be surprised if you hear a lot this week about how the Eagles rallied back from a 3-5 start to win five in a row.
“I expect them to bounce back,” Kelly said. “They’ve bounced back before, so that’s what I’m anticipating happening.
“This game is a tough game to play. It’s a tough game. You never really understand the outcomes. Sometimes it’s tough to try to wrestle with it and justify how did this happen and that happen and whatnot. But we’re on a weekly schedule. We have to get ready for the Bears now. We can’t let the loss to the Vikings affect us for two weeks.” Read more »
Going into Sunday’s game against the Vikings, the Eagles appeared to be peaking at the right time.
They had won five straight, were in the driver’s seat in the NFC East and looked like a team capable of making some noise in the postseason.
Less than 24 hours after kickoff, the outlook has changed a bit. The 48-30 loss to the Vikings was either just one bad letdown game or a true reality check of where this team is.
Keeping that in mind, let’s take a point-by-point look at some of the issues that surfaced in Minnesota, debuting The Kapadia Concern Scale. Each issue is given a ranking from 1 to 10. Read more »