All-22: New Wrinkle Sparks Eagles Run Game

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Through the first five games, it seemed everyone had a different reason for why the Eagles’ run game was struggling.

Most pointed to the injuries on the offensive line. Some suggested LeSean McCoy was injured or had lost a step. And others simply figured it was out how defenses were playing the Eagles.

But there was another factor at play, one that the coaching staff could control. During the Week 4 loss to the 49ers, there were indications that San Francisco knew some of what was coming. Against St. Louis, to a lesser extent, there were similar sentiments.

“They knew what plays were coming,” said Lane Johnson after the win over the Rams.

“I just think defenses have more knowledge of what’s coming. Last year everything was so new, and I think they’ve kind of seen a lot of what we do, so just moving forward, we’ll probably throw in a few more wrinkles.”

Chip Kelly would not be offended by Johnson’s comments. The Eagles’ offense is based on running a series of foundation plays effectively, dressing them up differently and moving at a fast pace. The problem at times this season has been that defenses have game-planned well against those foundation plays. Because of injuries up front and inconsistent quarterback play, the offense has not run as smoothly.

But against the Giants, a team that limited McCoy to 94 yards on 35 carries in two meetings last year with an inside stunt, Kelly broke out some wrinkles that helped jump-start the run game and the offense as a whole. Read more »

‘I Have Nothing To Explain To Anybody’

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Getaway day coincided with picture day for the Eagles, and Chip Kelly used that combination to generate one last show of efficiency before sending players off for a week of rest.

“We set a record: four minutes and forty seconds. We got everybody — the entire team, every position group, the coaches and the training staff done in four minutes and forty seconds,” said Kelly. “Oh, it was tempo. And I would challenge anybody [to match that].”

Once that historic feat was accomplished, the players were able to kick into bye-week mode. They have off until next Tuesday when they’ll begin preparations for the Cardinals. Kelly’s message to his guys on their way out the door? Read more »

Sproles Has MCL Sprain

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA Today

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA Today

The Eagles will not be without Darren Sproles for long.

“He’s got an MCL sprain,” said Chip Kelly. “We’ll see how long it’s going to be. Could be a week or two. Could be back after…we have a week off, so he’ll get treatment and we’ll assess him when we get back next Tuesday.” Read more »

Inside Voices: Training Versus Practice

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

There is a saying that floats around the NovaCare Complex, one that many of the players can recite on the spot:

You don’t rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training. 

“When the game is on the line, it’s the fourth quarter in a rivalry game in prime time, you’re not all of a sudden going to rise to the occasion,” Malcolm Jenkins explained, “you are going to sink to what you’ve trained and prepared for. Obviously we’ve done a good job of training in those situations because we’ve showed up pretty well.”

The term “training” has replaced “practice” in this team’s lexicon. It’s subtle, but significant. Read more »

Has the League Figured Out Chip Kelly, Nick Foles?

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

The candidacies of Chip Kelly and Nick Foles for Man of the Year in Philadelphia took a bigger hit this week than the SRC.

Indeed, grades are being placed on Kelly and Foles — and this after the Eagles won a game last Sunday over the St. Louis Rams. The win made the Birds 4-1 on the season, and gives them a chance to build a huge line of credit with a win over the New York Giants on Sunday that would take them into their seasonal bye having won five of their first six games of the NFL season,

So here’s what the people are now suggesting: The rest of the league has quickly caught on to and conquered Kelly’s innovative ways, while Foles is no better than an average quarterback who’s playing scared and unconfident. (Somewhere, Buzz Bissinger, the journo-provocateur whose spring Philly Mag profile of Foles suggested such, is grinning and spitting out canary feathers).

Read more »

All-22: The State Of the Eagles’ Offense

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After Sunday’s win against the Rams, Chip Kelly discussed the process of feeling out opposing defenses early in games.

“Just try to loosen them up,” Kelly said. “A lot of times as we play teams, it’s figuring how they decide to defend us. They were in a big man scheme, different than some of the other teams we face. Trying to get a feel for what they are going to do from a defensive standpoint.

“They have done a good job of playing zone and man. Just what are they going to choose to play us in, and they chose to play us in a lot more man today than we had seen. Even any of the other games we had played, I think Jacksonville and San Francisco played us in a ton of zone. These guys, their choice was to play us in man. Just have to do a better job with some of our man beaters. We had some guys there, but we have to do a better job. We knew what we were getting. We just have to execute.”

For the second week in a row, the offense looked shaky, managing two touchdown drives while turning the ball over three times. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Chip On Developing Rookies

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

The Eagles drafted seven players back in May, and through five games, only two have been weekly contributors: Jordan Matthews and Beau Allen.

First-rounder Marcus Smith II has played a total of 34 snaps, and those have come at a new position (inside linebacker). Third-rounder Josh Huff had been bothered by a shoulder injury and finally saw some action against the Rams. Jaylen Watkins has yet to play a snap, and Taylor Hart has yet to be active. Ed Reynolds, meanwhile, is on the practice squad.

Matthews is playing 58.2 percent of the snaps and has 19 catches for 176 yards and two touchdowns. Allen has played 18 percent of the snaps and flashed a few times in the past couple of weeks.

On Wednesday, Chip Kelly was asked about the rookies and made it clear that he’s not planning on using game action to develop them. They’ll get on the field when they’re ready. Read more »

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