All-22: Dissecting the Eagles’ Defensive Breakdowns

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Knowing that he was about to field several questions about the defense’s near-meltdown against the St. Louis Rams, Billy Davis went for the humor route as he walked up to the podium Tuesday afternoon.

“You guys rather have [special teams coach Dave] Fipp?” he joked. “I can bring Fipp up. He deserves it.”

The first nine possessions against the Rams resulted in one touchdown, five punts and three turnovers. However, the Eagles allowed three touchdown drives of 60+ yards in the final 18 minutes and needed a late stop to hang on to a 34-28 lead.

Davis fields questions about his starting cornerbacks on a weekly basis. On Tuesday, he offered a passionate defense of Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher. He also provided context for some of the team’s late-game breakdowns. Read more »

Kendricks, Ryans Sit Out

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Mychal Kendricks and DeMeco Ryans both sat out of Wednesday’s practice.

Kendricks got some hopes up by exchanging his hat for a helmet yesterday but he only did some light work on the side, Chip Kelly said. Today he was back in a baseball cap and did not even participate in the stretching portion of practice. He seems like a long shot to play Sunday at this point.

There is a little more optimism when it comes to Ryans, who injured his groin against the Rams.

“If there is one guy that I wouldn’t count out of anything, it would be DeMeco, but we’ll see how he progresses during the week” said Kelly. “The one thing about DeMeco, he’s extremely honest with you. He’ll tell you if he can go or can’t go, that’s exactly what he told the trainers on Sunday. We’ll see where he is. It sounds like he is progressing. We’re hopeful for that but we’ll see what happens over these next couple days of training.”

Kelly said no decision has been made on who would wear the headset if Ryans can’t go, and didn’t seemed too concerned about it.

“It’s really not that big of a deal for us on the defensive side of the ball,” he said.

There is no denying, though, that Ryans is the on-field conductor for this Eagles defense. His presence is pretty critical to the overall operation. Casey Matthews and Emmanuel Acho are the next men in if Ryans and Kendricks can’t go.

Chris Polk (hamstring) sat out for the second straight day.

Brad Smith (groin) is listed as out for Sunday night’s game. Connor Barwin (knee), Brandon Boykin (hamstring), Trey Burton (achilles), Nolan Carroll (hamstring), Josh Huff (shoulder) and Matt Tobin (ankle) were all full participants. 

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Foles Riding the Wave

Photo Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

At this point last season, Nick Foles was preparing to make his first start under Chip Kelly.

It was Week 6 and Michael Vick had injured his hamstring against the Giants the game prior and Foles, after losing the quarterback competition to Vick that summer, was about to get another crack at it. He did well in Tampa that week, tossing three touchdowns and no picks en route to a 31-20 Eagles win. Any optimism that came from that performance was quickly squashed in the following game when Foles stumbled hard against Dallas. He left that dismal outing with a concussion and zero assurances that he would start another game for the Eagles. Many analysts and fans alike were convinced that the quarterback of the future was not on the roster.

Then came Oakland and up rose Foles. His seven-TD afternoon was the start of an eight-game string that opened some eyes, set some records, and convinced some souls that Foles was the real deal.

If we take a step back and look at the stock chart, that’s the way it’s gone since Foles arrived in Philly as a third-round pick in 2012. There have been big spikes in both directions, and fan sentiment has followed in kind. Right now he’s in an ebb, and there is concern about what his inconsistent play means when it comes to the long-term stability of the position. Read more »

Chip On Foles: ‘I Think It’s Fixable’

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Nick Foles was throwing off his back foot quite a bit against the Rams and seemed unsettled prior to delivery for much of the day, leading to some off-target throws. Chip Kelly was asked for his assessment after watching the tape.

Read more »

Zone Read: Eagles-Rams, the Day After

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline-USA Today

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline-USA Today

In the final 18 minutes of Sunday’s win over the Rams, the Eagles’ defense gave up touchdown drives of 79, 62 and 75 yards.

Billy Davis’ unit was a complete mess. The only thing saving this performance from total meltdown status was a stop late in the fourth quarter that ensured a 34-28 victory.

Yet, when Chip Kelly stepped up to the podium for his post-game press conference, he pointed the finger at the guys on the other side of the ball. Read more »

Inside Voices: How the Eagles Tipped Their Hand

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at San Francisco 49ers
There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that suggests the Niners’ defense was picking up on the Eagles’ tells Sunday, which helps explain why a normally potent attack was shut down and shut out.

Matt Tobin said after the game that there were times when the San Francisco defense seemed to know exactly what was coming. David Molk echoed that sentiment on Thursday.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say the Niners as a group, but certain players within that group. I don’t know how they knew but they just [did],” said Molk.

Safety Antoine Bethea was one such player. His secret? He decoded a Nick Foles signal. Read more »

All-22: Jenkins Looking Like a Perfect Fit

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Back in March, there were bigger names on the free agent market, but the Eagles insisted Malcolm Jenkins was the top safety on their board, ahead of guys like Jairus Byrd and T.J. Ward, both of whom played their college ball at Oregon.

Some (including yours truly) questioned the decision. Given the franchise’s track record in evaluating safeties over the years, it was fair to wonder whether Jenkins would just add to a long list of guys who were unable to adequately fill the void on the back end of the defense.

But four games in, the opposite appears to be true. Jenkins has three interceptions in his last three games and has shown the versatility that Chip Kelly and other team officials raved about back in the spring. Read more »

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