Minneapolis — Flags were flying and tempers were flaring and the Viking horn was blowing for score after Minnesota score. The well-oiled machine that had ripped off five in a row broke down on Mall Of America Field.
A defense that had held its opponents to 21 points or fewer for nine games straight surrendered 48 to a Vikings team that was operating without running backs Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart. LeSean McCoy, coming off a career day in the snow against Detroit, had 38 yards on just eight carries. The offense overall was choppy.
“A lot of frustration, honestly,” said DeSean Jackson. “We thought as an offense we should have came out there and be able to have a lot more success. We weren’t able to get it done. It was very frustrating, especially after the way we’ve been able to play the last couple weeks.”
The first signs of that frustration came in the third quarter after Nick Foles‘ second interception of the season. Jackson, the intended target, was animated as he returned to the sideline, apparently shouting in the direction of receivers coach Bob Bicknell and later, Jason Avant. Riley Cooper stepped in as mediator and was pushed away by Jackson, who eventually calmed down after a conversation with Avant away from the rest of the team. Read more »
The following Eagles are inactive for today’s game against the Minnesota Vikings: QB Matt Barkley, safety Earl Wolff, CB Curtis Marsh, RB Matthew Tucker, LB Najee Goode, OT Matt Tobin and OT Dennis Kelly.
The list is exactly the same as it was last week against the Detroit Lions. Wolff (knee) is out for the fourth consecutive game. Patrick Chung will once again start at safety alongside Nate Allen. Read more »
Here is the Eagles’ injury report for Sunday’s road game in Minnesota.
Doubtful: LB Najee Goode (hamstring), S Earl Wolff (knee)
Probable: CB Brandon Boykin (hip), CB Cary Williams (hamstring).
Williams popped up on the report Thursday after apparently hurting his hamstring during practice. The fact that he is probable suggests it’s not a significant injury, but it’s something to keep an eye on Sunday nonetheless.
Wolff was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday. He described himself as a game-time decision this week, but admitted that he wasn’t quite at 100 percent yet. Patrick Chung is in line for another start opposite Nate Allen.
Boykin was listed as a full participant all week.
As for the Vikings, all eyes are on the running back position. Read more »
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 »