Zone Read: Eagles-Packers, the Day After

Photo Credit: Benny Sieu - USA Today

Photo Credit: Benny Sieu – USA Todays

GREEN BAY, Wis. — In all likelihood, this particular line of questioning was nothing new for Mark Sanchez.

Having made 64 career starts, the Eagles’ quarterback understands there will be ups and downs, praise and criticism, wins and losses. Six days ago, the story was about second chances and reinventing himself under Chip Kelly. Today, the conversation focuses on a team that failed to measure up against one of the NFC’s best.

“Now we’re gonna find out who we are, what kind of team we have,” Sanchez said, his left hand wrapped after taking some big hits early against Green Bay. “It’s easy when you’re on the other end of this thing like we were last week. You’re on national TV, and everything’s going great. You can’t miss and score a lot of points, and defense and special teams score. That’s fun, and it’s easy. But now it’s tough. This is gonna be a really good test for this team. So I’m excited because I think we have the type of players that can bounce back from this.”

Sanchez’s final stat line read 26-for-44 for 346 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He was sacked three times and charged with two lost fumbles (although one and maybe both didn’t appear to be his fault).

The defense looked like a unit that had no chance against Aaron Rodgers. But in a game where the Eagles needed the offense to keep it competitive, they got a clunker from that side of the ball. Read more »

Three-And-Out: Eagles-Packers Predictions

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers

Player I’ll be watching

McManus: Mark Sanchez

Sanchez posted a clean stat sheet in his first start as an Eagle, going 20-of-37 for 332 yards with two touchdowns and no turnovers. As you may have heard this week, Monday’s game marked the first time in his career that he threw for over 300 yards without tossing an interception. 

Now onto frigid Lambeau Field, where an opportunistic Packers defense awaits. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Three Numbers That Matter

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Below are three Eagles numbers that matter.

85.9 – The Birds’ chances of earning a playoff berth, according to Football Outsiders. According to the Web site, they have a 73.2 percent chance of winning the division, while the Cowboys are at 26.2 percent.

The Eagles have a 42.9 percent chance of earning a bye in the first round and a 22.5 percent chance of making it to the Super Bowl. That’s the top mark in the NFC and second in the NFL to only the Broncos.

That’s a roundabout way of saying the Eagles are well-positioned to make a run. They face the Packers, Seahawks and Cowboys (twice) in the next five weeks. Big games ahead and big expectations for this team in Chip Kelly’s second season. Read more »

All-22: On the Eagles’ Run Game Struggles

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Chip Kelly was asked earlier this week whether the win over the Carolina Panthers represented the Eagles’ most complete game of the season.

“No,” he said after a short pause. “We didn’t play well offensively at all.”

Considering Mark Sanchez posted a passer rating of 102.5 and the Eagles put 45 up on the scoreboard, Kelly’s response caught many by surprise. But the truth is the Eagles had trouble sustaining drives, with seven of 13 possessions gaining 10 yards or fewer.

To Kelly, not having an effective run game is like not having a morning cup of coffee. Regardless of what else happens, it’s likely to ruin his day. And on Monday night, Eagles running backs totaled 38 yards on 18 attempts (2.1 YPC). After the victory, the mood among the offensive linemen was different than many others in the locker room. Read more »

All-22: Sanchez’s Movement In the Pocket

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher - USA Today

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher – USA Today

Like most NFL coaches, Chip Kelly is obsessed with preparation.

The Eagles go into games expecting certain things. But Kelly believes there should never be true surprises. His players should be equipped to handle whatever’s being thrown their way. When the coaches got their game plan together for the team’s matchup with the Panthers, they saw that Carolina liked to play a lot of zone with two deep safeties.

Given that the Panthers were allowing a league-worst 4.8 YPC, the Eagles were prepared to gash them with LeSean McCoy and the ground game.

But when the offense took the field for the first time, it was clear defensive coordinator Sean McDermott was opting for a different approach. Read more »

Kelly Not Pleased With Offensive Performance

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

The Eagles scored 31 points on offense, racked up 365 yards on 62 plays and went 4-for-4 in the red zone Monday, all while breaking in a new quarterback. Chip Kelly, though, was not particularly pleased with his unit’s performance.

“No,” Kelly responded when asked if this was the most complete game his team has played. “We didn’t play well offensively at all.”

How so? Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Matthews Breaks Out

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline - USA Today

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline – USA Today

While talking about Jordan Matthews at his postgame press conference Monday night, Mark Sanchez joked that he didn’t want too pump up the rookie too much because “he’ll get a big head and his hat won’t fit.”

There were no signs of an inflated ego as Matthews faced the large crowd of reporters surrounding his locker stall, though, and his green Eagles cap with the black brim seemed to fit just fine. He had just busted out on Monday Night Football, snaring seven balls for 138 yards and a pair of touchdowns to help his team improve to 7-2. How did it feel?

“I felt like I was Jeremy Maclin,” said Matthews, drawing a big smile out of No. 18 a couple stalls down. “At the same time, you have to put it behind you. Like I said, I have a bunch of great guys ahead of me who show me how to be a professional. If you take too much time looking at the stats and drinking the Kool-Aid, you lose your appetite. I just try to put it behind me and move forward.” Read more »

Sanchez: Chip Helps With Pre-Snap Details

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Houston Texans

Mark Sanchez told a story last week about what Chip Kelly communicated to him before one specific play against the Texans.

“I think at one point Chip said something in the helmet last week like, ‘We’re running such and such play, so you’re reading 99 [J.J. Watt],” Sanchez said with a laugh. “And I was like, ‘Yeah, thanks.’ I just looked over like, ‘Yeah I know.’ So you just get it snapped, cross your fingers and hope for the best.”

Sanchez has spent the last eight months or so getting used to his new surroundings. Eating, sleeping and living in a new place. A faster practice routine. Different teammates. His role as a backup.

But on the field, now that Sanchez is the starter, he has to get used to a new voice in his helmet during games: Kelly’s. Read more »

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