With the Birds not playing until Monday night, here’s some links for your Sunday afternoon.
Player I’ll be watching: Mark Sanchez
I’ll take the obvious one this week.
The last time Sanchez started a game was Dec. 30, 2012. He completed 17 of 35 passes for 205 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. The Jets lost to the Bills, 28-9, ending their season.
It’s amazing how much has changed since then. Sanchez missed all of 2013 with a shoulder injury. He turns 28 on Tuesday and how has a chance to make the most of his second opportunity. Sanchez has completed 55.2 percent of his pass attempts in his career and thrown 71 interceptions, compared to 70 touchdowns. Read more »
When discussing DeMeco Ryans, Eagles coaches have always mentioned his value in getting the defense lined up before the snap.
For every game since the start of the 2013 season, Ryans had served as an extension of Billy Davis on the field. He watched film, he studied, and everyone on that side of the ball trusted him. Ryans had the helmet with the headset that connected to Davis, and the process went smoothly on a weekly basis.
But with the Eagles’ leader sidelined due to an Achilles’ injury, the coaches now have to come up with a new plan for who will make the calls. Mychal Kendricks is the only three-down inside linebacker on the roster, but he’s not going to take over full play-calling duties. Read more »
Billy Davis was singing the praises of DeMeco Ryans last week like he has so many times since taking over as defensive coordinator.
One of the big story lines heading into Sunday’s game was Ryans’ return to Houston to play his former team. Davis was asked to speak to what the veteran linebacker brings both behind the scenes and on the field.
“DeMeco is one of the finest men I’ve been around. He’s a relentless worker; you can’t outwork him. He’s a great leader. He’s a very calm leader,” Davis said. “During the game everybody gets amped up and it takes all that you have, every ounce of what you have, to play every snap. Tempers get going and emotions get going, and that’s the way you have to play the game. DeMeco is a calming influence. He plays at that level, he plays with that intensity, but the way he talks to his teammates, the way he coaches them out there, is a very calming effect on the defense.
“He makes good, quick decisions that set our defense up. We have a lot of checks and he gets us in and out of calls based on formation or the quarterback audibling. Without DeMeco, I don’t know if we could do as much as we do.”
At the time, those quotes were about what the Eagles’ defense was fortunate to have. Now they highlight what it has lost.
One of the most pleasant surprises for the Eagles through the first six games has been their ability to consistently generate a pass-rush.
In the last three games specifically, the defense did an excellent job of keeping Eli Manning, Austin Davis and Colin Kaepernick uncomfortable in the pocket.
And the way they’ve done it has been impressive. The Eagles don’t have a premiere pass-rusher whom offenses have to game-plan for every week. Instead, Billy Davis has done a good job with his calls, sometimes dialing up pressure and other times using the illusion of pressure to create one-on-one matchups.
Below is a look at how individual Eagles have performed. Read more »
Here’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles this week.
Here’s a player-by-player breakdown of what we saw from the Eagles’ defense after having watched the All-22 tape.
Fletcher Cox – He was outstanding as a pass-rusher. Cox beat his man cleanly and forced Austin Davis into the Connor Barwin sack in the first. His pass-rush forced Davis out of the pocket on third down later in the quarter. Cox got pressure on third down in the second, but Davis completed a pass to Jared Cook. Cox hit Davis on third down in the fourth, but he completed the pass anyway. For the most part, he was solid against the run also. Cox got blocked on Zac Stacy’s 14-yard run in the first. He and Bennie Logan tackled Trey Watts after a 4-yard run in the first. And Cox blew up a run that gained 1 in the second. Overall, two tackles and two hurries, but he played better than those numbers indicate. Read more »
Whenever asked about Nick Foles‘ toughness, Chip Kelly always points back to the beating Foles used to take when Oregon and Arizona faced off.
“I think you’ve got to respect Nick. I’ve said it all along. I saw him do it in college. We hit the heck out of him when we were at Oregon and he played at Arizona,” said Kelly, “and he just kept getting up and throwing and standing in there.”
In the three games where Kelly’s Ducks met Foles’ Wildcats, Foles was sacked eight times. And that only begins to tell the story.
“He got hit a lot. I hit him quite a bit,” said Casey Matthews. “I actually hurt my neck I tried to hit him so hard. He was facing away and I hit him and I felt my neck crunch. He got up from it. The ball went down, he got up, no big deal. But it kind of kills your morale a little bit. That’s just Nick, though. He’s going to try and stay in the game no matter what.”
Read more »
Here’s a player-by-player breakdown of what we saw from the Eagles’ defense Sunday after having watched the All-22 copy. Read more »
McManus: Emmanuel Acho.
Chip Kelly says that both Acho and Casey Matthews have been splitting reps at inside linebacker in Mychal Kendricks‘ absence, but the thought here is that Acho will get the starting nod and the bulk of the playing time.
Before injuring his calf late in the third quarter against Indianapolis, Kendricks was playing at an elite level. He had a team-high 13 tackles against Jacksonville and has 20 tackles, a sack and three hurries in all. Billy Davis sent Kendricks after the quarterback 24 times in the first two games. He is the highest-rated pass-rusher among all inside linebackers in the early going, according to Pro Football Focus. Along with Fletcher Cox, Kendricks has arguably been the biggest difference-maker on defense so far.
He will not play Sunday and if we’re talking about a Grade 2 strain here, could be out 2-3 weeks. The defense will not be the same without him. There’s really no getting around that. Davis doesn’t need Acho (or Matthews) to be a standout, but can’t afford for him to be a liability. Alfred Morris is currently the league’s fourth-leading rusher and is averaging 4.9 yards per carry. Backup running backs Roy Helu and Silas Redd are both averaging over five yards per carry. It would be nice if Acho could get after quarterback Kirk Cousins on occasion, but the Eagles will be satisfied if he helps to keep the run game and short-to-intermediate pass game in check.