Notes: Dallas Prep, Foles And A New Safety

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

It is not all that common to be playing a division opponent twice within the span of three weeks, so many of the questions posed to Chip Kelly Wednesday were about the potential obstacles or unique challenges that such a situation presents.

The head coach didn’t hold anything back the first time around in anticipation of this matchup, he said, and doesn’t intend on drastically changing his approach the second time around.

“Just go play. I think you can paralyze yourself by trying to overanalyze it,” said Kelly. “I would imagine DeMarco Murray is probably going to carry the ball a lot against us in our game. I think they’ll probably try to throw the ball to Dez Bryant in our game. They’ll probably try to find the tight end a lot in probably third-down situations in our game. We’re going to give the ball to LeSean McCoy in our game. It’s kind of similar to what happened the last time. It’s really about going out and executing and which team can execute better and which team can block better and which team can tackle better.” Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Sanchez And the Deep Ball

NFL: Preseason-Philadelphia Eagles at New England Patriots

The long ball has fallen off some since Mark Sanchez has taken over.

When Nick Foles was at the helm, he threw passes of 20-plus yards 19 percent of the time, resulting in nine touchdowns and six interceptions. Sanchez, meanwhile, has gone deep at a 13 percent clip and has one TD and a pair of picks. He started out with a bang, hitting Jeremy Maclin for a 52-yard pick-up down the middle on his first regular-season snap as an Eagle, but hasn’t connected many haymakers since.

There appears to be two key reasons for the shift in approach. Read more »

Cooper On Criticism: ‘Negativity Sells’

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Riley Cooper has been backed by the coaching staff at every turn this season. Whenever his level of play or production is questioned by the media, he receives a strong defense. On Monday it was Chip Kelly. On Tuesday, Pat Shurmur followed suit.

“The last time I checked he only has two drops, right?” asked Shurmur. “Other than that when we throw him the ball he catches it. We don’t have a problem with him. Somebody does, but we don’t.

“We certainly see it different than you do. We’re comfortable with him out there playing and we don’t have a problem like I think some people questioning me do.”

Cooper spent a good 15 minutes or so at his locker with reporters today talking about the public criticism versus the in-house praise. Is the coaching staff as complimentary in the meeting room as they are at the podium?

“Absolutely,” he said. “I have a very, very close relationship with Chip. We talk very frequently. I’m one of the captains of our room, me and Jeremy [Maclin], so we’re always going up to Chip with ideas and things and talking – sometimes not even about football. I’m real close with Chip.” Read more »

All-22: The Good And Bad Of the Eagles’ Defense

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Eagles defensive players – well, most of them anyway – know by now not to make excuses.

The offense wants to play fast every week, regardless of opponent, situation or anything else. The defense’s job is always to get off the field and give the offense another chance to score. Since Chip Kelly took over, that formula has worked pretty well. But there are games, like Sunday’s, when the offense is stagnant. And that puts the defensive players in a bind.

For example, to start the game, the defense gave up a 10-play, 43-yard drive that took 6:35 off the clock. The offense went three-and-out in 25 seconds. And Billy Davis’ guys were right back out there.

That is just how it is. It’s why the Eagles train the way they do. And it’s why in a perfect world, they’d like to rotate players on defense even more.

“I think they are fine,” Kelly said Monday. “I don’t think it had anything to do with the fourth quarter. I just think that they are built for it. They are in great condition. They train at a really high level. They practice against us. They understand what it takes. We didn’t come out of it with any injuries or anything like that. I would imagine they will all be ready to go.” Read more »

Some Thoughts On Where The Eagles Stand

Photo courtesy of USA Today.

Photo courtesy of USA Today.

Football is a sport and ours is a world where conclusions are drawn between heartbeats.

That’s why we pull out the measuring sticks and set up our tier systems and sift through our data to try and form something concrete — never mind that the concrete is weeks away from hardening. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: ‘We Knew What Plays Were Coming’

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

During his day-after press conference, Chip Kelly was asked whether he would have changed anything about the Eagles’ offensive game plan Sunday after having watched the film.

“No, we just need to execute,” Kelly said. “When you go back through it, they do a good job. They don’t fool you with anything they do. They line up and play football and they are really, really good at doing that. You don’t go back and look at it and say, ‘Hey, we should have run trap or we should have run this scheme.’ It’s they executed and we didn’t execute.”

It’s fair to say that the Eagles left some plays on the field against the Seahawks. But that’s going to be the case pretty much every week. Even if the offense had been awarded 10 more possessions, it might not have been able to get to 24 points.

The Seahawks run the same coverages over and over again. There is not a lot of mystery. It’s going to be Cover 3 and Cover 1 – both defenses with a single high safety. They’ll blitz on occasion, but not often. And they’ll win more one-on-one matchups than they lose because they have a lot of talented players who are coached well.

But once again, the issue of predictability has surfaced as it pertains to the Eagles’ offense. Read more »

Game Review: Eagles Offense Vs. Seattle

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Here’s a player-by-player breakdown of what we saw from the Eagles’ offense against the Seahawks after having re-watched the game.

QUARTERBACKS

Mark Sanchez – He obviously struggled throughout. Sanchez became the second QB this season to attempt at least 20 passes and total fewer than 100 yards in a game. The other was Andy Dalton. Overall, Sanchez went 10-for-20 for 96 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

The thing about facing a defense as good as Seattle’s is there are not going to be a lot of chances to make plays in the passing game. You have to make the most of your opportunities. And Sanchez did not do that.

On the first play, he stepped up, targeted Jeremy Maclin and was nearly intercepted by Richard Sherman. Sanchez threw short of the sticks to Jordan Matthews for a 6-yard gain on 3rd-and-10 on the first drive. Good decision to pull the ball and fire to Maclin for the 1-yard TD. Good throw on boot-action to his left, finding Matthews for a 17-yard gain in the first. Bad-looking deep ball intended for Cooper on the post against what I believe was Cover 3. He threw short of the sticks incomplete to Matthews on 3rd-and-9 in the second. Sanchez has had trouble on screens to the slot. He fired one high to Maclin in the second, which threw off the rhythm of the play on an incompletion. Read more »

Chip Stands Up For Cooper

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Chip Kelly agreed with Riley Cooper’s postgame analysis: Mark Sanchez‘s fourth-quarter interception was on the quarterback and not the receiver.

“[Sanchez] got pushed off the point. Coop was exactly where he needed to be. The ball was thrown behind him,” said Kelly.

So Cooper didn’t hurt them there. It’s also true that he didn’t help the Eagles much from a production standpoint Sunday, finishing with three catches for 13 yards. He’s had his share of quiet days this season, and against defenses a lot less vaunted than Seattle’s. That’s been especially true since Sanchez  replaced Nick Foles. Over the last six games with Sanchez at the helm, Cooper is averaging three catches for 28 yards.

Kelly stood up for Cooper at his day-after press conference, noting that he had 47 catches all of last year and has 46 this season with three games to play. Read more »

Zone Read: Eagles-Seahawks, the Day After

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY

There was a lot of talk about measuring sticks in the Eagles’ locker room Sunday evening. Questions regarding what the players learned about themselves during a windy afternoon at the Linc. Discussions on whether the team is capable of competing with the best of the best in the conference.

After a 24-14 loss to the Seahawks in which the offense looked completely outmatched, the Eagles are now 0-3 against NFC teams that would make the playoffs if the season ended today.

The overall mood, though, was more upbeat than one might expect. As Russell Wilson knelt down to kill the clock in the fourth quarter, Connor Barwin walked around to his teammates and delivered fist-pounds and hugs. When Mark Sanchez returned to his locker after his press conference, Jordan Matthews greeted him a handshake.

Everyone seemed to share the same feeling.

“I don’t think that anybody in here feels that we can’t beat the Seattle Seahawks,” said center Jason Kelce. “I just think they were much better than we were today. And I think we feel the same way about Green Bay and about any team in the NFL. On any given day, you can win in this league. And it really comes down to us just continuing to improve each and every day.” Read more »

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