Making Sense Of the Eagles’ Inactives

The following Eagles are inactive for today’s 1 p.m. game against the Lions: Trent Edwards, Damaris Johnson, Dion Lewis, Jamar Chaney, Steve Vallos, Nate Menkin and Vinny Curry.

Johnson’s out, and Riley Cooper will be active for the first time all season. Cooper suffered a fractured collarbone during training camp. He’ll be the team’s fourth wide receiver and contribute on special teams.

The other notable part about Johnson sitting is that it opens up the punt returner spot. It seems likely that DeSean Jackson would be back there, something that Bobby April talked about earlier this weekMardy Gilard could get a shot too. Johnson had fielded nine fair catches and failed to notch a return longer than 13 yards in the first five games.

At running back, Lewis is inactive after dressing for the first time all year against the Steelers. Taking his place on the gameday roster will be Chris Polk, who was active for the first four games before sitting against Pittsburgh.

On the offensive line, Vallos is once again inactive, meaning Evan Mathis is your backup center should Dallas Reynolds go down. Dennis Kelly and King Dunlap are the team’s backup linemen. Both are tackles, but each has played guard in the past.

On the defensive side of the ball, Chaney is inactive for the first time in two seasons. Chaney started the last two games for Akeem Jordan, but Jordan returns today at the WILL spot. Jason Williams, whom the team signed during the week to play special teams, is active.

No other surprises on the defensive side of the ball. Curry, a second-round pick, has yet to dress this season.

As for the Lions, they’ll get safety Louis Delmas back for the first time all season. Defensive end Cliff Avril, who was listed as questionable, will also dress.

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Will Eagles Turn To DeSean To Return Punts?

In the offseason, the Eagles made moves to address their return game, but so far, the results have been unimpressive.

Let’s start with punts. Damaris Johnson has been the man through five games, although his opportunities have been limited. Johnson’s called nine fair catches (tied for most in the league) and returned another eight. His longest return has gone for just 13 yards.

So is it time for DeSean Jackson to get a shot?

“He’s always ready to go. I mean, he’s like a pinch-hitter. He’s ready to go. We just have to call his number,” special-teams coach Bobby April said. “Most of our punt returns have not been traditionally field punts. They’ve been up closer to the 50-yard line where you have to worry about a lot of things and you have to spread yourself a little bit thin. It’s tough to make just an all-out concentration on the punt return in that phase of the game.”

Jackson scored four touchdowns on punt returns from 2008 to 2010, but in 2011, he was terrible. According to Football Outsiders, the Eagles had the 27th-ranked punt return unit in the NFL. Of course, Jackson has admitted that his contract situation contributed to struggles in all aspects of his game last year. With a new deal in hand, he’s been very good as a receiver in 2012.

“You never know,” April said. “You may get your wish this week. You may get it in two weeks, you never know. But he’s always ready to go.”

The sense I get is that Johnson will continue to return punts. And Jackson is an option in certain situations. For example, in a tie game with 16 seconds on the clock, you might see him back there. But otherwise, it’s going to be Johnson. Either way, April said it’s not usually his call.

“In the times that we’ve done it and we’ve put him in, usually it’s Coach [Andy] Reid that will tell me he wants him in,” April said.

Meanwhile, the Eagles haven’t been much better on kickoff returns with Brandon Boykin. They’re averaging 19.6 yards per return, which ranks 30th. And the Birds are one of three teams (the Patriots and Cowboys the others) without a kickoff return of at least 30 yards. April seemed to think the problem has more to do with the blocking than Boykin.

“I think the blocking and our timing and our setting the formation properly has been more a factor than his innate ability,” April said. “I do think we’re improving by increments. There needs to be greater increments of improvement. But I do think there is improvement. I do think the arrow is pointing in the right direction.”

If the return game is ever going to get on track, this would be the week. Football Outsiders has the Lions’ special-teams unit ranked dead-last in the league (the Eagles are 28th). Detroit has the worst kickoff coverage unit and the second-to-worst punt coverage unit. A couple weeks ago, the Lions became the first team since at least 1940 to allow a punt return for a touchdown and a kickoff return for a touchdown in consecutive weeks, according to Elias.

“My defense of those two guys [Boykin and Johnson], statistically, is not very strong,” April said. “But we have a lot of faith in them. I have a lot of faith in them. … I think these guys’ talent will shine.”

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All-22: What We Saw From the Eagles’ Offense

Before we get started, thanks to everyone for the kind words in the comments, through e-mail and via Twitter. It’s been an amazing few days for the Kapadia family.

Also, a HUGE thank you is in order for T-Mac, who’s been flying solo and killing it with his Eagles-Giants coverage all week. Tim’s got a five-month old at home. Now I get to rack his brain about important topics, like how to get off diaper duty.

While I still am taking a couple days to get back into the swing of things, I did get a chance to take a look at the All-22 of Sunday night’s game. Here’s what I saw out of the offense.

Play 1: Last week, we talked a lot about how the Eagles’ game-plan against the Cardinals focused on downfield passes that required extended pass protection. Against the Giants? Adjustments. Take this second-quarter play, for example. Giants linebacker Michael Boley comes unblocked on a blitz.

Against Arizona, often in these situations, wide receivers would have their backs to the quarterback, making their way downfield, and Michael Vick would have to escape the pocket. Here, he finds Damaris Johnson, who is wide open.

Initially a 6-yard completion, but the rookie wide receiver makes a move towards the sideline, and suddenly the Eagles have a 17-yard gain. Good read, good throw by Vick. Good move after the catch by Johnson. And good design by Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg.

Play 2: I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say DeSean Jackson is playing some of the best football of his career. Think the Giants were worried about him getting deep? Take a look at the attention he draws on this first-quarter play (right of the screen).

Not one, not two, but three Giants defenders are around Jackson deep downfield. That leaves three Eagles open on one side of the field. However, Demetress Bell got beaten badly by Jason Pierre-Paul on the play, and Vick had to scramble to the other side for 3 yards. But just another example of how Jackson can open things up for his teammates.

Play 3: A lot to like about the Jackson touchdown in the second quarter. First of all, the overall concept is one that can work for this team on a weekly basis. The Giants send seven defenders after Vick. But the Eagles keep eight players in to block.

Only Jackson and Jeremy Maclin go out into pass routes. They were going up against three Giants defenders in the secondary. Stevie Brown (No. 27) has to hang out near the line of scrimmage in case Stanley Havili or Brent Celek goes out into a route. Overall, good protection. Below, check out where Jackson is when Vick releases the ball.

The safety is over the top to help, but the far side of the field is wide open, so he can’t cheat over early. Jackson runs a terrific route, making the cornerback look silly, and heads to the left corner of the end zone. Also, an excellent throw by Vick. He gets rid of the ball before Jackson is actually open. Great execution all around.

Play 4: A lot of talk about Maclin only having one catch (on three targets) for 7 yards. Reid offered his thoughts yesterday, but the game tape shows there were at least a few occasions where Maclin was open, but didn’t get the ball. Take a look at this 3rd-and-11 play early in the second quarter.

Maclin is open at the top of your screen (red box), with the corner back-pedaling. But Vick chooses to go to Jackson on the other side of the field. Not a terrible decision. He had some space too, but Vick’s throw was a little off-target because he had an unblocked blitzer hitting him as he threw.

Play 5: Another chance with Maclin. Here, Vick scrambles to his right, but look at who’s streaking down the sideline behind the defense, open for a potential touchdown.

These frames are from when Vick is just about to cross the line of scrimmage. Not an easy throw on the move, but then again, not a high-risk throw either, considering how much open space Maclin is working with. From another angle:

You can see Maclin’s got his hand up, calling for the ball. The Eagles ended up with the game-winning field goal on the drive, so maybe I’m nit-picking.

Play 6: Vick’s taken plenty of heat for holding onto the ball too long in the past. But there is also sometimes a downside to getting rid of it quickly. On this fourth-quarter play, Maclin gets open deep. But Vick has pressure from both defensive ends, steps up and takes a safe throw to Havili for 7 yards.

Let me be clear. Vick did nothing wrong here. It was first down in a tight game, the offense picked up 7, and he didn’t get hit. That’s a win. However, as you can see, Maclin’s route takes him to the sideline. Yes, there was safety help, but Vick would have definitely had a window to hit on a big play (maybe even a touchdown) had he been able to buy time, or had the protection been better.

As for Maclin, Eagles fans (and fantasy owners!) should not be worried. Had three different plays gone a little bit differently, we’d be talking about what a great game he had. He’ll get plenty of looks going forward, and even though he was coming off an injury, Maclin got open on several occasions in this one.

Play 7: A perfect example of how play-action can work in the third quarter. On the Eagles’ opening drive of the second half, they ran the ball down the Giants’ throats. LeSean McCoy had runs of 34 and 22 yards, respectively. On the next drive, the Eagles ran play-action on 2nd-and-10.

After the play-fake, two linebackers and a safety rush towards the line of scrimmage, leaving all kinds of open space for Celek. Vick makes one of his easiest throws of the day for a 27-yard completion.

Play 8: You really have to feel for back-side defenders who play against McCoy. Take a look at this fourth-quarter run.

McCoy’s going straight ahead, right? Look at that huge running lane. No back in his right mind would cut outside Jason Pierre-Paul in this situation.

The man sees things. McCoy has made a habit of making backside defensive ends look silly by reversing field or making one extra cut-back. Sometimes on these plays, he gambles and loses yardage. But often times, he picks up huge chunks – 13 yards in this case.

Play 9: For as good as McCoy was, am I crazy to say there were probably some plays he left on the field? For instance, this 4-yard run from the Giants’ 8 on the Eagles’ final drive looked like it was headed for the end zone.

McCoy is basically one-on-one with cornerback Prince Amukamara. That’s a matchup the Eagles will take every time. But Amukamara does a nice job slowing McCoy down and gets some help to stop him short of the end zone.

And finally, some other things I noticed:

* One bright spot here is that the offensive line did not play particularly well, yet the Eagles didn’t get greedy and put together a game-plan that made sense. In other words, they can win a lot of games with this formula the rest of the way.

* I thought Bell was very up-and-down. I’m not ready to say he’s clearly a better a option than a healthy King Dunlap. Also thought Todd Herremans was way too inconsistent Sunday night, particularly in the first half.

* Vick really played a good game. So far on the season, two pretty good games (throw Baltimore in there) and two poor ones (Cleveland and Arizona).

* The question at Lehigh was whether Havili could be an effective lead blocker in the run game. The answer Sunday night appeared to be yes. Good job on McCoy’s 34-yard run, and great effort on his 22-yard run. Probably not a bad idea to get him in the mix a little bit more.

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All 22: What We Learned About the Eagles’ Offense

Here’s what I saw from the Eagles’ offense after reviewing the All-22 footage from this week.

Before we get started, some overall themes. Number one, the coaches have to take a hit for the game-plan, which was built around the following ideas:

* That DeSean Jackson could get behind the Cardinals’ secondary for big plays.
* That an offensive line with two new guys (Dallas Reynolds and Demetress Bell) would be able to protect Michael Vick well enough to give him time to find receivers way downfield.
* That Vick would hit on the big plays when they were available.

Obviously, not all of those things happened, and hopefully below, you can see why.

Play 1: The Eagles face a 3rd-and-7 from their own 27. They go with an empty backfield as both LeSean McCoy and Brent Celek are split out wide. The Cardinals initially rush three defenders. In the first photo, you can see that the Eagles appear to be set up well to protect Vick here.

Todd Herremans and Danny Watkins are double-teaming Darnell Dockett. Reynolds and Evan Mathis are doing the same on Calais Campbell. And Bell is one-on-one with Sam Acho.

But things change. Campbell (No. 93 in the middle) takes his rush to the right of Reynolds. And Bell gets beat, causing Mathis to shift over to help.

All of a sudden, Reynolds, who is making his first career start, is going one-on-one against Campbell. That didn’t turn out so well.

Vick actually gets rid of the ball here and completes a 20-yard pass, but he also gets crushed by Campbell. Keep in mind, this all takes place in just over two seconds. In other words, there’s nothing Vick can do here to avoid the hit. Troubling, considering the Cardinals do not even bring extra pressure on the play.

Play 2: This one reminded me of what Browns linebacker D’Qwell Jackson said about the Eagles’ run game after Week 1.

“That’s not their identity. They’re a team that likes to pass the ball and occasional screens and draws, but that’s not who they are. We knew that coming into it.”

In other words, even though the Eagles have one of the best running backs in the league in LeSean McCoy, opposing defenses don’t feel the need to game-plan against their rushing attack. Instead, they focus on limiting downfield plays by Jackson and the passing game. They don’t believe the offense can methodically move the ball without turning it over. And they bank on Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg getting greedy. Often times, they’re right.

Take a look at the blocking on the play below.

Keep in mind, this is 1st-and-15. It’s not like we’re looking at an obvious passing situation. It’s clear that a run up the middle is the last thing the Cardinals are expecting. Reynolds and Stanley Havili deliver good blocks, and the Eagles pick up 7 yards.

Play 3: Another good run – this one later in the game. Watkins and Herremans both do nice jobs, and McCoy has a huge lane to run through for 14 yards.

Granted, this is in the fourth quarter with the game out of hand. But again, defenses are going to guard against the Eagles’ vertical passing game all game long until they’re given a reason not to. These run plays will continue to be available if the Eagles are willing to take them.

Play 4: It’s important to remember that when the Eagles have pass protection issues, it’s not always just the offensive line. The tight ends and running backs have to do a better job too, especially when Vick is getting blitzed. On this specific play, the Eagles are at their own 9. Linebacker Daryl Washington is going to blitz the A-Gap between Reynolds and Mathis. It’s on McCoy to pick him up.

But he gets there late, and Washington beats him. Vick spins out of the sack initially and avoids a potential safety. But eventually, he’s taken down for a loss of 3.

Play 5: Sometimes, it’s just on the quarterback. Maybe Vick is a bit gun-shy, given his turnover issues, but on this play, he has Jackson and Damaris Johnson open. Rather than getting them the football, he chooses to take off.

A completion probably would have picked up 13 or 14 yards. But Vick holds on to the ball and takes off for a 5-yard gain, absorbing a hit in the process. We should point out that Bell is called for holding on the play, but you get the point.

Play 6: When the Eagles did have opportunities deep, they didn’t capitalize. Here, Jackson clearly has a step and is waving for the ball. But Vick holds on to it and scrambles.

Granted, he picks up 20 yards, but he also takes a hit. Had he delivered on time, the Eagles would have had a good chance for a 35-yard touchdown.

Play 7: On the 1-yard-line, before the game-changing fumble at the end of the first half, here’s what Vick has to work with on first down.

The red circle is Havili. It sure looks like the Eagles have what they want there. He has a defender behind him, and Havili’s route takes him towards the pylon for what could be a touchdown. Would a throw to Havili have carried some risk? Sure. There’s a chance he gets tackled short of the end zone and time runs out in the half. But if the play is designed to have him run that route, shouldn’t he at least be an option? The blue circle is Johnson. While it appears he has some space, that’s probably a more dangerous throw. Vick ended up throwing the ball away.

Play 8: On the very next play, Vick has Clay Harbor wide open in the end zone.

The blue box shows all the space he has to work with. The only person in the rectangle is an official. In other words, Vick would not have had to make a perfect throw. He would have just had to get it somewhere in the vicinity of Harbor, and it’s a touchdown. At worst, it’s an incompletion. But he threw it away again. To be fair, he was pressured on the play, and was likely thinking, Don’t hold on to the ball too long and take a sack. But again, points were left on the field.

Play 9: Another one where it looks like Vick has a receiver open. This time, it’s Johnson over the middle.

This is 3rd-and-9 in the third. Vick has all day, but he doesn’t let it rip, instead opting to take off and run, ending up with a 4-yard gain. The Eagles settle for the field goal.

Play 10: In Week 2, the Patriots had success against the Cardinals with play-action passes. I’m sure the Eagles saw that and felt they could do the same. But they were wrong. Check out the first photo. This play counts on Washington (No. 58), who is unblocked, falling for the play-fake.

He does not. By the time Vick turns around, not only is Washington all over him, but Acho, the outside linebacker is closing in too.

The result is a sack and a loss of 12 yards. Vick had no shot here.

Play 11: One more example of play-action gone wrong. Before Vick has even turned around, Bell is getting beaten.

Vick has to escape the pocket immediately, tries to throw the ball away and is called for intentional grounding.

Play 13: Vick had Avant wide open deep for a potential touchdown in the fourth. But he checked it down to Celek, who got hit, resulting in an incompletion.

Protection is fine, the receiver is open, but Vick doesn’t get him the ball.

As I’ve said in the past, these players are expected to make split-second decisions. It’s easy for me to slow everything down and guess what went wrong. Overall, though, the game-plan relied quite a bit on protection that didn’t always hold up – whether that was the offensive line, the running backs or the tight ends. And when Vick did have time, he didn’t take advantage of opportunities that were available.

Those issues resulted in an offensive disaster for a team that is currently averaging 15.7 points per game, tied for dead-last with the Dallas Cowboys.

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RB, WR, TE Review: Examining McCoy’s Role

Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy.Here is a player-by-player look at how the Eagles running backs, wide receivers and tight ends performed against the Cardinals, after having re-watched the game. Click here for other game reviews.

LeSean McCoy – Let’s start with the gameplan. Consider the following:

* In Week 2, the Cardinals’ defense allowed one touchdown drive against Tom Brady and the Patriots. And that came late in the fourth quarter.

* The Eagles were starting a left tackle in Demetress Bell, whom they didn’t think was good enough to dress two weeks ago.

* They had a center in Dallas Reynolds who was making his first NFL start after spending three seasons on the practice squad.

* They were without Jeremy Maclin at wide receiver.

Throw in that Michael Vick had six interceptions and three fumbles in the first three games, along with the fact that the Cardinals had a shut-down corner in Patrick Peterson, and it’s virtually impossible to figure out why Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg decided the gameplan would focus on big plays downfield.

McCoy had just four first-half carries for 15 yards. Overall, he finished with 13 for 70, averaging 5.4 yards per carry. Those are encouraging numbers, considering the Eagles have lost Jason Peters and Jason Kelce, two of their key cogs in the run game. The Eagles tried to get the ball downfield off play-action passes, something the Patriots had success with the week before. But in this one, Cardinals defenders weren’t fooled at all, and Vick would often have guys in his face as soon as he turned around on those slow-developing plays.

McCoy also had three catches for 8 yards. The Eagles have gotten nothing from their screen game.

And he had ups and downs as a blocker. On pass plays, McCoy was asked to stay in and block 56.8 percent of the time, per Pro Football Focus. In the first two games, that number was just 25.6 percent. Vick clearly expected him to block Kerry Rhodes on the fumble at the end of the first half.

Bryce Brown – With Dion Lewis once again inactive, it’s clear that Brown is this team’s backup running back. And he had his best showing Sunday, carrying four times for 28 yards, including a nice 17-yard pickup, his longest of the season. Brown was targeted twice, dropping one and making an 8-yard grab on the other. I’m not sure why he was on the field at the end of the half on second down near the goal line. Clearly, the Eagles were going to ask their back to block in that situation. McCoy, Chris Polk and Stanley Havili all have a leg up on Brown in that aspect. Overall, he played 10 snaps.

Stanley Havili – He played 12 snaps. No touches for Havili, but he had a solid lead block on McCoy’s 7-yard run in the second.

Brent Celek – He finished with two catches for 36 yards on six targets. Celek picked up yards after the catch on the 34-yard grab in the first. He got laid out by Rhodes on a deep ball over the middle in the second. As I explained in yesterday’s post, Celek had some issues in pass protection that led to Vick getting hit. Overall, he was asked to block more than usual. On pass plays, Celek stayed in 36.8 percent of the time, compared to 25.8 percent the first two weeks. Good block by Celek on Brown’s 17-yard run in the third. Only Calvin Johnson (9) has more catches of 20+ yards than Celek (7).

Clay Harbor – I have a difficult time figuring out why he played fewer snaps Sunday than the first two games. Considering the questions on the Eagles’ offensive line and the likelihood of the Cardinals blitzing, I figured Harbor would be used quite a bit to help keep Vick clean. But I was wrong. He only played 11 snaps. Harbor couldn’t finish his trap block on Sam Acho on Brown’s 3-yard run in the first. He was not targeted. I’ll have to take a look at the All-22 tomorrow, but it sure looked like Harbor was open in the end zone on second down before the game-changing fumble at the end of the first half.

DeSean Jackson – He finished with three catches for 43 yards on 10 targets. The Eagles wanted to get him the ball deep in the first half, but were unsuccessful. Jackson’s longest reception was 16 yards. The offense has had success all season long having him run intermediate routes outside the numbers. If defenses are going to play their safeties deep, I think the Eagles need to take advantage of these more. T-Mac wrote about a couple specific plays yesterday – one where Jackson complained to the ref and another where he got stopped short of a touchdown at the 1. My take? Maybe I’m nuts, but I really feel like he could have caught the deep ball had he finished his route and not complained to the official. If he comes down with that, it has a chance to be a 94-yard touchdown. I have no problem with the other play. Jackson is small, and he’s had two concussions. I don’t think he would have dragged Rhodes into the end zone. I’m fine with him getting down and protecting himself on catches over the middle. Jackson has not had a drop in three games.

Damaris Johnson – Up-and-down game. He obviously had the costly fumble on the punt return, setting up a Cardinals touchdown. He’s been unimpressive on special teams. Johnson had some good moments as a receiver, specifically on the crossing pattern where he spun away from a defender and picked up 26 yards. Overall, Johnson finished with five catches for 84 yards on 11 targets. Also, great hustle on the Vick fumble that was returned for a touchdown. Johnson sprinted downfield and nearly drew a block in the back penalty before James Sanders scored.

Jason Avant – The Eagles used three receivers or more all game long. Avant, Johnson and Jackson all played at least 88 percent of the snaps. Again, I’m surprised they didn’t use more two tight-end sets in this one. Avant had three catches for 38 yards on four targets. He made a nice 13-yard grab with a defender all over him in the second. And another nice 17-yard grab in the third.

Mardy Gilyard – He played six snaps as the fourth receiver. No targets.

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Eagles Snap Counts: Graham Jumps Ahead Of Hunt

Here’s a look at snap counts for the Eagles during their Week 3 loss against the Cardinals. We’ll go position-by-position.

Overall Snaps
Snap %
LeSean McCoy5180%
Bryce Brown1016%
Stanley Havili1219%

Brown spelled McCoy a little bit more than usual. McCoy finished with 16 touches, including 13 carries for 70 yards. Of course, only four of those carries came in the first half as the Eagles called 25 pass plays and five runs in the first two quarters.

Brown had four carries for 28 yards, including a 17-yarder, which was his best run of the season. Chris Polk was once again active but did not play any offensive snaps. It’s tough to figure why Dion Lewis is still on the roster. He appeared to be a healthy scratch. Perhaps the Eagles are holding on to him in the event that McCoy suffers a long-term injury? It seems clear now that they have pegged Brown as McCoy’s backup.

Overall Snaps
Snap %
DeSean Jackson6398%
Jason Avant5688%
Damaris Johnson5688%
Mardy Gilyard69%
Brent Celek5484%
Clay Harbor1117%

Considering that the Eagles were without Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper, the guess going in was that perhaps they’d play with more two tight-end sets. Brent Celek and Clay Harbor were off to good starts in the first two weeks. But that was not the case. As you can see, the Eagles played with three wide receivers or more on 88 percent of their snaps. We’ll get a better idea when the All-22 tape comes out, but it sure seemed like there were several occasions where Michael Vick couldn’t find anyone open.

Johnson finished with five catches for 84 yards. He was the team’s most targeted receiver (11). Jackson had three catches for 43 yards, but needed 10 targets to compile those numbers. Avant had three catches for 38 yards, and Gilyard was targeted once.

As for the tight ends, Brent Celek had two catches for 36 yards on six targets, including one 34-yard gain. Harbor saw his least playing time of the season and was not targeted.

Overall Snaps
Snap %
Derek Landri3963%
Jason Babin3353%
Trent Cole3252%
Fletcher Cox3150%
Cedric Thornton2845%
Cullen Jenkins2845%
Darryl Tapp2845%
Brandon Graham1727%
Phillip Hunt1219%

We had speculated last week about Graham seeing a bump in playing time, and he did, taking snaps away from Hunt. Graham played 17 snaps to Hunt’s 12. Graham’s snaps have gone up in each of the first three weeks – from four to nine to 17.

Landri saw the most snaps of any defensive lineman. Cox left the game for a period in the first half because of migraines. Jenkins started, but saw fewer snaps than Cox. It looks like that will probably be the case most weeks.

Babin had 1.5 sacks. Tapp, Cole and Graham each had 0.5.

Overall Snaps
Snap %
DeMeco Ryans62100%
Mychal Kendricks5589%
Brian Rolle1626%
Akeem Jordan1423%

Ryans was once again an every-down player, staying on the field for all 62 defensive snaps. As far as I could tell, Kendricks only came out in dime situations. Jordan started the game at WILL, but suffered a hamstring injury and was replaced by Rolle.

Overall Snaps
Snap %
Nnamdi Asomugha62100%
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie5995%
Brandon Boykin3252%
Brandon Hughes1016%
Nate Allen62100%
Kurt Coleman62100%

Asomugha, Allen and Coleman played all 62 snaps. For some reason, the Eagles seem to have a package where they replace Rodgers-Cromartie with Hughes for a handful of snaps. I’ve noticed that in each of the last two games. Hughes also played in dime, ahead of Curtis Marsh, who was active.

Boykin was on the field for 32 snaps in nickel and dime packages.

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Jeremy Maclin Ruled Out For Cardinals Game

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy MaclinJeremy Maclin did not practice Friday and is listed as out for Sunday’s game against the Cardinals.

King Dunlap and Riley Cooper are also out. Everyone else practiced and should be ready to go, per Andy Reid.

Maclin re-injured his hip against the Ravens last week. He practiced in a limited capacity Thursday but shut it down on Friday.

By the sounds of it, rookie Damaris Johnson has been bumped up to take Maclin’s place.

“You always want to have Maclin out there, but Damaris has done a great job in practice, understanding the scheme and what we’re trying to get done, so hopefully he can step in and fill the void,” said Michael Vick.

The undrafted free agent out of Tulsa has seen some action over the Eagles’ first two regular-season games, catching two balls for 23 yards while serving as the team’s punt returner. He is now in a much bigger role.

“I’m not nervous, I’m really excited,” said the 5-8 Johnson. “I always thought I could play in this league, it’s just something I have to go out and prove now. I have the reps to do it, now I just have to go out and make plays.”

With Dunlap sidelined because of a hamstring strain, Demetress Bell will get his first start at left tackle for the Eagles.

“He’ll be fine,” said Dunlap. “He’s been working hard all week, came in last week and did a good job. I think we’ll be fine.”

RB, WR, TE Review: Inside Celek’s Big Day

Philadelphia Eagles tight end Brent Celek.Here’s a review of the Eagles’ running backs, wide receivers and tight ends after having re-watched Sunday’s win against the Ravens. Click here for the offensive line review.

LeSean McCoyMarty Mornhinweg called a great game. The Eagles had 16 passes and 19 runs in the first half. They finished with 38 called passes and 34 called runs. McCoy’s numbers were not eye-popping: 25 carries for 81 yards (3.2 YPC). But it looked like he made the most of his opportunities against a tough Ravens defense. We’ve discussed the loss of Jason Peters. But Jason Kelce is a key to this team’s rushing attack. Losing him definitely hurt. McCoy fumbled for the second time in as many games. That has to stop. He only fumbled once on 273 carries last season. McCoy had a nice 7-yard run in the second and produced a great individual effort, making people miss with a 20-yard gain later in the quarter. He also had a good 11-yard run in the fourth. As a blocker, McCoy had ups and downs. He did just enough in blitz pickup to give Vick time to find Brent Celek for 23 yards on the first play from scrimmage. He completely missed on his chip in the third, allowing Dannell Ellerbee to sack Vick. In the fourth, he had a couple of tremendous blocks. One on the safety and another on Ray Lewis, allowing Vick to take off for 8 yards. McCoy had two catches for 8 yards. He dropped a third-down pass from Vick. McCoy played 86 percent of the offensive snaps, the exact same number as last season.

Bryce Brown – Brown has talent, but looks like a guy who hasn’t played much football the past three seasons. He was on the field for eight snaps and had three carries for 7 yards. From this perspective, the botched exchange that resulted in a fumble was on Brown. As a blocker, he missed a blitz pickup, but Vick stepped up and hit Celek.

Stanley Havili – He played 21 percent of the snaps, more than last week. Havili had two carries for 1 yard. He had a nice lead block on McCoy’s 4th-and-1 carry in the red zone in the first. In protection, Havili was OK in blitz pickup on third down in the fourth. He initially slowed down the linebacker off the edge, but then allowed a hit on Vick.

DeSean Jackson – Don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say he’s playing some of the best football of his career. Consider this: Vick threw to Jackson eight times. Seven of those were completions for 114 yards. Jackson is not just running go-routes. He had a nice 17-yard grab on a Vick sprint-out in the first. He had a 10-yard catch on 3rd-and-4 in the second. He got open on an 8-yard out on 3rd-and-6 in the third. He held on for a 49-yard bomb with Ed Reed closing in the fourth. And he had a 14-yard catch to get the final drive started. If you watch the replay, check out the reaction of the defensive players after Jackson caught the 49-yarder. They were going nuts on the sideline. Jackson only came off the field for eight snaps. I’m guessing he opened things up for Celek too. I’ll take a look at that when the All-22 is released Wednesday.

Jeremy Maclin – He toughed it out and started before suffering a hip contusion while blocking for Celek in the third. Maclin was only targeted once, but it was a big one, as he came up with a 23-yard touchdown catch. In a matter of one or two seconds, Maclin made the decision to get down so that his knees would be in bounds. The Eagles might want to give him next week off so that he can heal up. We’ll see as the week goes on though.

Jason Avant – He had two balls thrown his way and caught both of them. Avant’s great hands were on display as he snatched a 16-yard pass from Vick in the first. He also made a nice 17-yard grab in the fourth.

Damaris Johnson – He played 22 snaps. Johnson lined up in the backfield and looked good, picking up 6 yards and a first down on a run around the left end in the first. He only had one ball thrown his way, but it was a 13-yard gain where he beat 2011 first-round pick Jimmy Smith.

Mardy Gilyard – He was active, but played special teams only.

Brent Celek – Guess which tight end led the NFL in yards after the catch last season. Rob Gronkowski? Nope. Jimmy Graham? Try again. It was Celek. And that ability was on display once again Sunday. Celek had a career game with eight catches for 157 yards. And by my count, 67 of those yards were after the catch. The first defender is rarely able to bring him down, and Celek has been a weapon in the Eagles’ passing game since the sixth game of the 2011 season. Great effort on a 19-yard catch and run on 3rd-and-20 in the first. Later, he almost had his helmet knocked off by Bernard Pollard, but held on to the ball as the crowd went nuts. In general, I’m anti-hurdle, but Celek’s leap over Ed Reed worked perfectly. And his teammates loved it. If you watch the replay, check out their reaction on the sideline. Celek stood up and took the blame for Vick’s second interception. He’s the kind of teammate who would do that regardless, but if you watch the replay, Celek had Lewis on his left, so Vick had to throw it high to the other side. The ball bounced off of Celek’s hand and was picked off by Reed. Celek had a lot of good moments as a blocker, mixed in with a couple miscues. Let’s start with the good. Nice job in protection on Vick’s 10-yard completion to Jackson. Nice block on McCoy’s 7-yard run. Good job on McCoy’s 9-yard run in the third. And again on McCoy’s 5-yard run. Celek did a good job on McCoy’s 6-yard run as well. On the flip side, he missed his block on a Havili run that went for no gain. There was confusion in the third as safety James Ihedigbo went right past him and dropped McCoy for a 2-yard loss. Overall, outstanding game for Celek.

Clay Harbor – He played a lot (36 snaps, 45 percent). Harbor had one catch – a 19-yard grab on the final drive. He held up well as a blocker too. Specifically, Harbor did a good job on McCoy’s 5-yard run in the third.

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RB, WR, TE Game Review: McCoy Shines Once Again

Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy.Earlier, I posted the game review of the Eagles offensive line.

Here’s what I saw from the running backs, wide receivers and tight ends after having re-watched Sunday’s game against the Browns.

I’ll post a lengthier piece on Michael Vick later this week after watching the All-22 tape. And defensive game reviews will come on Tuesday.

LeSean McCoy – Where would the Eagles be without him? McCoy played 81 of 95 snaps and carried 20 times for 110 yards even though he didn’t have Jason Peters blocking for him. He added six catches for 26 yards, although the offense wasn’t very productive in the screen game. McCoy had plenty left in the fourth quarter, rushing eight times for 55  yards (6.9 YPC) in the final 15 minutes. The numbers could have been even better. McCoy had multiple runs and a 24-yard catch called back because of penalties. He was good in short yardage, delivering great effort to pick up a first on 3rd-and-1 in the third. And he came through as a blocker. McCoy picked up the blitz on Vick’s 4-yard completion to Jeremy Maclin in the second. He did so again on Vick’s 28-yard completion to Brent Celek . The only negative for McCoy was the first-quarter fumble. He’s always carried the ball away from his body, but since McCoy only had one fumble on 273 carries last year, no one complained.

 Tremendous overall game.

Stanley Havili – He played 18 snaps and had a couple really good moments. No offensive touches or targets for Havili, but he threw a nice lead block on McCoy’s 4-yard run in the first. And again on 4th-and-1 on the final drive. Remember, that was the biggest question with him this preseason. He looked capable in Week 1.

Bryce Brown – He played just eight snaps and had two carries for 3 yards. I’m not quite sure why the Eagles gave him the ball instead of McCoy with the game on the line before the Clay Harbor touchdown, but Andy Reid defended the call today, saying the team has scored on that play in the past. Brown missed his blitz pickup against the linebacker and gave up a hit on Vick in the first. Still looks very shaky to me in that aspect. Likely the reason he didn’t play more.

Chris Polk –  He was active, but did not get any snaps on offense.
DeSean Jackson – I thought he really played a solid game. Jackson made several tough catches that he would not have made last year. Nice grab for 15 yards on a high throw from Vick in the first. Nice job of going up and getting the football for an 18-yard gain vs. cornerback Joe Haden in the first. Jackson broke a Haden tackle for a 35-yard gain. And on the final drive, he made a nice 9-yard grab on a high throw from Vick, with Haden on his back. He even made sure Haden didn’t intercept Vick in the end zone on the final drive. Overall, four catches for 77 yards on six targets against a tough corner.

Jeremy Maclin – Strange game for Maclin. He led the Eagles with seven catches for 96 yards, but needed 14 targets to rack up those numbers. The two catches – a 46-yarder and an 18-yarder – at the end of the first half were big. On the touchdown, the Eagles actually kept eight guys in to block. Maclin and Jackson were the only two receivers in pass routes, going up against seven Browns defenders. Obviously a breakdown in the Cleveland ‘D’ that allowed Maclin to get open. He drew a couple flags – one on a pick and the other for holding. Maclin also had a ball bounce off his hand on the Haden interception. Not a good throw, but he had a shot at it. We’ll see if the hip injury keeps him out of Sunday’s game against the Ravens. Impressive that he was able to get through the whole game with the injury.

Jason Avant – Relatively quiet game for the veteran, who suffered a wrist contusion at some point. He had four catches on five targets for 27 yards, including a nice one-handed grab in the first. Avant is the Eagles’ best blocking wide receiver and did an outstanding job on McCoy’s 22-yard run in the second.

Damaris Johnson – He played 13 snaps, although that number could jump in Week 2 if Maclin or Avant can’t go on Sunday. Johnson played in 4-WR sets and also spelled Maclin when he left the game. He converted a third down on his only grab for 10 yards and was targeted twice.

Brent Celek – He’s never missed an NFL game and came off the field for just six snaps in this one. Celek finished with four catches for 65 yards on eight targets. His 17-yard catch and run on the final drive set up the game-winning touchdown. Celek earlier had a 28-yard catch. Remember, he had 14 catches of 20+ yards last year, just one fewer than Jackson and Maclin. Celek had one issue as a blocker, letting a defensive lineman get between him and Herremans as Vick was sacked. But he had good blocks on McCoy runs of 7 and 13 yards in the fourth. Overall, a good game. I’ll take a look later this week to see how often he was asked to stay in as a blocker.

Clay Harbor – He was targeted just 19 times all of last season, but had six balls thrown his way on Sunday alone. Harbor finished with three catches for 16 yards, including the game-winning touchdown, which Vick fit into a tight window. As a blocker, Harbor did a good job on the bootleg in the first, keeping the defensive end away from Vick, who found Jackson for 15 yards. He blocked D’Qwell Jackson on McCoy’s 9-yard run in the second. And Harbor gave a nice effort on McCoy’s 4th-and-1 conversion on the final drive. The one miscue I saw was when Harbor lined up as a fullback and was asked to block a defensive end off play-action. He missed, and Vick was forced to leave the pocket and throw the ball away.

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Maclin’s Hip Injury Leaves Eagles Thin At WR

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy MaclinEagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin has a hip injury, Andy Reid said today. And it’s unclear whether he’ll be healthy enough to play Sunday in the home opener against the Ravens.

Officially, Reid called it a hip flexor strain and a hip pointer.

“As you know with hip pointers, they hurt you a lot more the next couple of days than they do when the thing actually happens,” Reid said. “But he battled through it. You’ve got to give him credit for that. He battled through it and got himself through the game, but he’s awful tender today.”

Maclin played 79 of the team’s 95 snaps and finished as the game’s leading receiver with seven catches for 96 yards and a touchdown.

The Eagles only kept four wide receivers active yesterday as Riley Cooper continues to rehab from a fractured collarbone. Reid already ruled Cooper out for Sunday’s game. Yesterday, undrafted free agent Damaris Johnson filled in, playing 13 snaps. He had a third-down catch for 10 yards.

The Eagles’ only other wide receivers on the active roster are DeSean Jackson and Jason Avant. Avant suffered a wrist contusion yesterday. Reid said the veteran slot receiver is sore but should be better in the next couple of days.

Depending on the status of Maclin and Avant, the Eagles might need to make a roster move. They currently have sixth-round pick Marvin McNutt on the practice squad, along with B.J. Cunningham, who was a sixth-round pick of the Dolphins before Miami let him go.

As for other injuries, safety Jaiquawn Jarrett has a shoulder strain, and cornerback Curtis Marsh has a hamstring strain. Reid said he’d just see how they both do the next couple of days.

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