Eagles Sign DE/OLB McCoy, Release Demetress Bell

The Eagles announced today that they’ve signed DE/OLB Chris McCoy and released Demetress Bell.

McCoy spent the last two seasons with the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL.  He had three sacks and 29 tackles in 2012, but suffered a season-ending knee injury in August.

McCoy (6-3, 261) played his college ball at Middle Tennessee State and was a seventh-round pick of the Miami Dolphins in 2010. Here’s what NFL.com had to say about him at the time:

McCoy, from Middle Tennessee State, is another small-school defensive end projected to convert to outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. McCoy has a quick first step, is a natural bender and has a great motor. Like most of these small-school conversion projects, he’s undersized.

In his final college season, McCoy had seven sacks and 20 tackles for loss (tied for seventh-most in the country). The Dolphins released him after training camp, but added him to their practice squad later in the season. McCoy later joined Houston’s practice squad, and the Steelers added him to their offseason roster in 2011.

The Eagles have kept an eye on the CFL for defensive talent in the past. They signed Phillip Hunt from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2011 and reportedly showed interest in defensive lineman Armon Armstead earlier this offseason.

As for Bell, the Eagles signed him last offseason after Jason Peters went down with an Achilles injury. Bell was one of the top tackles on the market at the time, but proved to be a disaster with the Birds. He started four games and was a complete liability.

Below is a YouTube highlight reel of McCoy from college. Thanks to Tommy Lawlor over at IgglesBlitz.com for Tweeting out the link.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

Cheat Sheet: Eagles’ Offense Vs. Redskins’ Defense

Here are 10 things to know about how the Eagles’ offense matches up with the Redskins’ defense. If you missed the first cheat sheet, click here.

1. The Redskins rank 27th in scoring defense, allowing 27.6 points per game. Football Outsiders has them ranked 23rd – 24th against the pass and 17th against the run. The Eagles continue to perform like one of the worst offensive teams in the league. They’re averaging 17.3 points per game (29th) and have failed to score more than 24 in any single game. Football Outsiders has the Eagles’ offense ranked 24th – 25th in passing and 24th in rushing. The Eagles have turned it over 21 times – second-most in the league. They are 29th in red-zone efficiency, scoring touchdowns 40 percent of the time.

2. The spotlight will be on rookie Nick Foles, who is making his first start. Against the Cowboys, he completed 22 of 32 passes, but 16 of those completions were within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage. Foles did a good job of keeping his eyes downfield and showed good athleticism, but he made a few questionable decisions (All-22 breakdown here), which were expected. He will face a shaky Redskins defense on Sunday. Opponents are completing 63.8 percent of their passes against Washington (22nd), and the Redskins are allowing 7.9 yards per attempt (27th).

3. Without Brian Orakpo (out for the season with a pectoral injury), the Redskins have not been able to generate much of a pass-rush. Ryan Kerrigan, a first-round pick in 2011, has 4.5 sacks. As a team, the Redskins have 14 sacks (tied for 28th). The Eagles have allowed 29 sacks, tied for second-most. Danny Watkins is questionable. If he can’t go, newcomer Jake Scott or rookie Dennis Kelly would get the nod at right guard. If Watkins plays, Kelly is expected to line up at right tackle, and King Dunlap will play left tackle. If Kelly plays guard, Demetress Bell, who has struggled all season, would be forced into action. Dunlap had a disastrous game last week against the Cowboys. And Kelly has struggled at guard.

4. I write this every week, but DeSean Jackson is quietly having a really good year. He’s 12th in the league, averaging 76.2 yards per game. Only five receivers are averaging at least 75 yards per game and 16 yards per reception: Calvin Johnson, Demaryius Thomas, Vincent Jackson, Julio Jones and DeSean Jackson. The Eagles need to continue to find ways to get Jackson the ball. Jeremy Maclin was a favorite target of Foles’ last week, finishing with eight catches for 93 yards. Riley Cooper and Damaris Johnson figure to see extended action with Jason Avant out of the lineup. Cooper made a great play on the fade in the end zone vs. Dallas.

5. Brent Celek could be a factor vs. the Redskins. Football Outsiders has Washington ranked 24th in covering tight ends. Celek has had 50 yards or fewer in five straight games. The Redskins’ inside linebackers are Perry Riley, a 2010 fourth-round pick, and 37-year-old London FletcherClay Harbor played just 18 snaps last week. You’d think that with Avant out and the Redskins having a weakness against tight ends that this would be a good opportunity for him to get on the field.

6. Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett is in a tough spot. He doesn’t have the pass-rushers to rely on pressure without blitzing. And he doesn’t have the secondary to cover when he does dial up extra pressure. You’ll definitely see Foles get blitzed in this one, but that means there will be opportunities for (relatively) easy completions.

For example, here, the Redskins come with a seven-man pressure against Carolina. That means one defender is going to be unblocked. It’s on the quarterback to get rid of the ball quickly.

Cam Newton finds tight end Greg Olsen open for an 8-yard completion. He’s also got a receiver wide-open in the middle of the field.

7. Another example on a 19-yard touchdown to Steve Smith. This time, the Redskins rush six. The key is Jonathan Stewart coming across the formation to pick up the blitzer.

As you can see below, he does an outstanding job. And check out the pocket for Newton. Even though the Redskins sent six, no one is near him.

He has his option of three different receivers. Newton goes to Smith (bottom of the screen), who is actually covered. But Smith does what he’s done all his career and fights for the ball, coming down with the 19-yard touchdown.

8. On the ground, LeSean McCoy has been really good the last two weeks, averaging 5.7 yards per carry on 35 attempts. Washington is allowing 4.2 yards per carry. McCoy is averaging 5.5 yards per carry out of two tight-end sets. But he’s had nowhere to go in the red zone. McCoy has 20 carries for 24 yards inside the opponents’ 20. Inside the opponents’ 10, he has 13 carries for 2 yards and two touchdowns.

9. We’ve talked about the punt return the Eagles allowed last week, but their return units continue to be a complete disaster as well. On average, the Eagles’ offense is beginning drives at its own 24-yard-line, per Football Outsiders. That’s the third-worst mark in the league. The Eagles are one of three teams without a kickoff return of at least 35 yards this season. They are the only team without a kickoff return of at least 35 yards in the past two seasons.

10. Leftovers: The Redskins are 22nd in red-zone defense, allowing touchdowns 57.6 percent of the time. The Eagles are 29th in red-zone offense, scoring touchdowns 40 percent of the time. …The Eagles are 15th in third-down offense, converting 38.9 percent of the time. The Redskins are 29th in third-down defense, allowing opponents to convert 43.8 percent of the time.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

OL Review: King Dunlap’s Rough Day

Here’s a review of the Eagles’ offensive line performance after having re-watched Sunday’s game against the Cowboys:

Demetress Bell – Had his usual array of issues. The Eagles moved Bell from the right side to the left side and gave him help against DeMarcus Ware with extra blockers and quick throws. Bell was asked to block Ware one-on-one in the second and had trouble, but the Cowboys jumped offsides. Ware went right around him and hit Nick Foles in the second. Bell was called for holding on the very next play. He had trouble with Ware on the LeSean McCoy run that was stopped for no gain in the second and was beaten badly by Ware around the edge on Foles’ deep ball to Riley Cooper in the third. Bell let Ernie Sims get around him on McCoy’s 2-yard run in the fourth. Anthony Spencer got past him, forcing Foles out of the pocket on third down in the fourth. Bell was beaten around the edge by Victor Butler for a sack in the fourth. With 53 seconds left and the Eagles needing to go 89 yards for a chance to tie the game, he was called for a false start on first down. Tough to imagine this signing having gone any worse.

Evan Mathis – Up-and-down game for Mathis. He failed to pick up Ware on the twist in the first, leading to a hit on Michael Vick. McCoy ran right into him on a first-quarter carry for no gain. He and McCoy were slow to pick up Spencer in the first, as the linebacker got a hand in Vick’s face on the incompletion to Jeremy Maclin. Mathis whiffed on his block attempt on the screen to McCoy that picked up 8 on 3rd-and-13 in the second. There were positives too. Nice job on the 12-yard screen to McCoy. And good block on McCoy’s 13-yard run.

Dallas Reynolds – He was actually OK through three quarters, and then, like the rest of the line, fell apart in the fourth. Reynolds’ best moments came in the run game. Good double-team with Mathis on McCoy’s 6-yard run in the first. Really nice job creating a hole for McCoy on his 23-yard run in the third. Good job again on McCoy’s 13-yard run in the third. And excellent job of getting to the linebacker on McCoy’s 6-yard run in the third. It’s tough to say whether he or Bell was supposed to block Bruce Carter on Bryce Brown’s 3rd-and-15 run that picked up 2, but the linebacker went right past both linemen. Reynolds failed to pick up Jason Hatcher on a twist on third down in the third. He tripped on his way to the linebacker on McCoy’s 3-yard run in the fourth. And he didn’t make much of a block on Brown’s run that was stopped for no gain in the fourth.

Dennis Kelly – Another rough go for the rookie. Kelly did a poor job of picking up Sims on the blitz where Vick may have sustained the concussion. The Cowboys rushed six on the play, and the Eagles had six in to block, but Kelly failed to pick up Sims. Poor job on Kenyon Coleman on McCoy’s 3rd-and-2 carry near the end of the first half. Kelly couldn’t finish his block on McCoy’s 6-yard run in the third. And he was beaten badly by Jay Ratliff on the Foles interception that was called back because of a Cowboys penalty. Ratliff beat Kelly again and forced Foles out of the pocket and into an incompletion in the fourth. Hatcher got past him on 3rd-and-24 in the fourth, forcing Foles to dump it off to Clay Harbor. Kelly failed to pick up Spencer on the twist as he sacked Foles and forced the fumble late in the game. A couple good moments: He got to the second level on McCoy’s 6-yard run in the first. And again on McCoy’s 13-yard run in the third. Overall, though, very shaky the past two weeks.

King Dunlap – Simply a terrible, game-changing stretch in the third quarter. Dunlap pretty much tackled Maclin on the WR screen that lost a yard. On the next play, he was called for illegal hands to the face, negating a 12-yard gain and third-down conversion from Foles to Damaris Johnson. And he didn’t get much of a block on Ware on Brown’s 2-yard run on 3rd-and-15. Dunlap then went to the sideline on the field-goal try, forcing Andy Reid to use a timeout. Later, he was called for illegal hands to the face in the fourth, negating a Cooper catch. Dunlap actually did some good things earlier. He was effective on McCoy’s 6-yard run in the first and delivered a nice backside block on McCoy’s 23-yard run in the third. Good job on McCoy’s 13-yard run in the third also. But overall, a disastrous performance.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

Cheat Sheet: Eagles’ Offense Vs. Cowboys’ Defense

Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy.Here are 10 things to know about how the Eagles’ offense matches up with the Cowboys’ defense. For the first cheat sheet, click here.

1. The Cowboys rank 18th in scoring defense, allowing 22.6 points per game. Football Outsiders has them ranked 13th – ninth against the run, 16th against the pass. The Eagles, meanwhile, are playing like one of the worst offenses in the league. There’s no sugar-coating that fact anymore. They’re tied for 30th in scoring (16.6 points per game), and Football Outsiders has them ranked 26th. The Eagles have 19 giveaways (tied for second-most with the Cowboys) and are 30th in red-zone efficiency, scoring touchdowns just 37 percent of the time. The Saints entered last week’s game allowing over 30 points per game. No opponent had scored fewer than 24. But the Eagles managed just 13.

2. The key cog in the Cowboys’ defense is pass-rusher DeMarcus Ware, who enters the game with nine sacks, tied for second-most in the league. The Eagles will go with four backups on the offensive line, Evan Mathis being the lone remaining healthy starter. Demetress Bell, who was a disaster against the Saints, will see a lot of Ware. Some have made the argument that the reason Bell struggled so much last week was because the coaches put him at right tackle, where he had never played before. But don’t forget that he had plenty of issues at left tackle earlier in the season. It would be a mistake for Marty Mornhinweg and Andy Reid to even consider letting Bell try to block Ware without help. The plan has to be to park Brent Celek or Clay Harbor next to Bell for pretty much the entire game. Ware will line up on the other side too. In those cases, the tight end can line up next to King Dunlap, who will play right tackle and is coming off his worst outing of the year.

3. Other than Ware, a few other defenders the Eagles will have to keep an eye on are nose tackle Jay Ratliff (probable), defensive lineman Jason Hatcher and outside linebacker Anthony Spencer. Spencer has three sacks on the season. Ratliff could give Dallas Reynolds and Dennis Kelly fits. Hatcher is second on the team in hurries and QB hits, according to Pro Football Focus. Michael Vick has been sacked 27 times, third-most in the league. He was sacked 23 times all of last season.

4. The Cowboys were dealt a blow when they lost Sean Lee, one of the league’s top inside linebackers, for the season to an injury. Dallas signed former Eagle Ernie Sims. Bruce Carter, a second-round pick in 2011, has been playing well. He’s second on the team with 46 tackles, including a team-high six for loss. Opponents are averaging 4.1 yards per carry against the Cowboys. LeSean McCoy is coming off one of his best games of the season, a 19-carry, 119-yard performance against New Orleans. He was limited in practice this week because of an illness, but is listed as probable. Michael Turner carried 20 times for 102 yards against the Cowboys last week.

5. Dallas is 24th in the league at covering opposing tight ends, per Football Outsiders. But like I mentioned above, the Eagles are going to need Celek and Harbor to block quite a bit in this one. Per PFF, on passing plays, Celek is being used as a blocker 28 percent of the time. Last year, that number was 25.3 percent.

6. Dallas’ offseason focus on defense was improving its secondary. The Cowboys signed cornerback Brandon Carr from the Chiefs and traded up in the first round to snag LSU’s Morris Claiborne. Dallas’ pass defense has produced mixed results. The Cowboys are 13th in opponents’ completion percentage (61.3) and 23rd in yards per attempt (7.6). They’ve allowed just seven passing touchdowns, tied for third-fewest, and have the fewest interceptions (three) in the league. Teams have targeted Carr (37 times) and Claiborne (34 times) pretty equally. The safeties are veteran Gerald Sensabaugh and Danny McCray, who had never started a game before this season.

7. As for Michael Vick, this season came with the promise that he’d show great improvement from 2011. But Vick’s numbers are down across the board, as he’s completed just 58.3 percent of his passes and is averaging just 6.8 yards per attempt. The offensive line has been terrible, but Vick has left too many plays on the field. Tbe Cowboys blitzed Ryan six times and Eli Manning the week before just once. The guess is Rob Ryan feels like he can get to Vick without having to send extra pressure.

8. As we showed with the All-22, Vick missed multiple opportunities to get Jeremy Maclin the football last week. The fourth-year receiver is averaging just 50.9 yards per game. DeSean Jackson, meanwhile, is quietly having a really good year. According to Pro Football Focus, among the 31 wide receivers who have totaled at least 500 yards, Jackson is the only one without a drop. He’s on pace to set career-highs with 74 catches and 1,248 yards.

9. Want to see the difference between a good offense and the Eagles right now? Check out this play from last week. The Cowboys bring a six-man pressure. The Falcons have no tight ends in to block – just one running back and the offensive line.

But check out the pocket Ryan has.

He doesn’t get sacked. He doesn’t get hit. No one even lays a finger on him. Ryan’s decisive, identifies Julio Jones against Claiborne down the left sideline, and the Falcons burn Ryan’s blitz with a 38-yard gain. The Eagles will have opportunities downfield, but it seems unlikely that they’ll be able to execute at this level.

10. Leftovers: The Cowboys are 10th in red-zone defense, allowing touchdowns 48.3 percent of the time. …The Eagles’ offense ranks 13th on third down, converting 41.4 percent of the time. The Cowboys rank 10th, allowing opponents to convert 36.3 percent of the time. …The Cowboys are 2-point favorites, according to Bovada. Per SportsInsights.com, 78 percent of the action is on Dallas to cover.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Midseason Grades (Offense)

We’re eight games in, so now seems like a good time to hand out some grades. Let’s go position-by-position and start with the offense. The defensive grades will come later today.

Quarterback: C-

Any time we write about Michael Vick in this space, we generally attract polarizing opinions – those who say the Eagles’ offensive struggles are everyone else’s fault, and those who believe Vick is the primary problem. As with most arguments of this nature, the truth is somewhere in the middle.

Given the poor play of the offensive line, there have been many instances where Vick’s had no shot. The most common argument in Vick’s favor is that he’s been set up to fail. In some ways, that’s true. No one, however, would argue that he’s playing at a high level. After dedicating himself in the offseason, the results just haven’t been there. He’s completing 58.3 percent of his passes, averaging just 6.8 yards per attempt and has thrown 10 touchdowns to go along with nine interceptions (and 10 fumbles). He’s paid to make up for deficiencies around him and be a difference-maker. That hasn’t happened this year.

The problems on offense have not all been his fault, but Vick has been inconsistent and left too many plays on the field. The reason I don’t have a lower grade on him is because he’s led three fourth-quarter comebacks, and his toughness is second to none. I’m not sure how many quarterbacks could stand back there, take the beating he does every week and still get back up.

Running Backs: B-

For much of the season, LeSean McCoy’s had nowhere to go. He’s tied for second in the league in stuffs (runs stopped at or behind the line of scrimmage), per STATS, Inc. But McCoy has still done a lot of what he does best – make people miss. He’s 10th in the league in rushing (623 yards) and still is somehow averaging a respectable 4.3 yards per carry. I really don’t think there are many backs in the league who would be producing better numbers given the circumstances, so even though the run game has been a disappointment, I’m not blaming McCoy. The one area where he definitely needs to get better is as a receiver. McCoy’s averaging just 4.9 yards per catch, and the screen game has given the Eagles very little this season.

Bryce Brown is averaging 4.4 yards per carry, although that number got a huge boost with his 40-yard scamper last week. And Stanley Havili has been a pleasant surprise at fullback.

Wide Receivers: B-

This one’s aided by the All-22. DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are getting open pretty consistently every week. Going into the year, it seemed unlikely that Jackson would rebound from a disappointing 2011 campaign just because he had a new contract. But that’s exactly what’s happened. He’s on pace to set career-highs in receptions and yards. Jackson is one of six receivers to average at least 75 yards per game and at least 16 yards per reception. Among the 29 wide receivers with at least 500 yards, Jackson is the only one who has yet to drop a pass, per Pro Football Focus.

Maclin’s season is a little bit trickier to assess. His numbers are pedestrian (28 catches, 356 yards), but again, we see with the All-22 that he’s getting open quite a bit. With better performances from Vick and the offensive line, his numbers would be better. Having said that, Maclin has not really done anything special with the ball in his hands this season.

Tight Ends: D

This one is difficult because Brent Celek is one of the guys in the Eagles’ locker room who always takes responsibility for his mistakes, and he clearly takes losses hard. But the bottom line is he hasn’t played up to his potential. Through eight games, Celek has a team-high six drops. He had a chance to be a real weapon for this offense, but he’s come up short on multiple occasions. Against the Lions, Celek dropped a potential touchdown and was called for offensive pass interference, negating another. And against the Saints, he fumbled in the red zone in the fourth quarter.

Clay Harbor, meanwhile, is actually playing slightly less (30.6 percent of the snaps, per PFF) than last year (33.6 percent). He’s been a non-factor with 11 catches for 79 yards.

Offensive Line: F

I don’t think I’ll find many arguments here. Evan Mathis is the only starter left standing as we go into Week 10. Demetress Bell has been perhaps the biggest disappointment on the team. In the offseason, I applauded the Eagles for moving quickly to sign Bell after Jason Peters went down. The knock on him was that he couldn’t stay healthy. I don’t remember anyone saying that he couldn’t play. But the entire season, from training camp on, has been a struggle. He failed to win the left tackle job and performed poorly when called on to fill in for King Dunlap. Last week at right tackle was a complete disaster.

Before his injury, Todd Herremans had not been playing as well as he did in 2011. And Danny Watkins continues to show little or no consistency on a weekly basis. Dallas Reynolds has been an inadequate replacement for Jason Kelce. Mathis, who’s certainly had some issues, has been the only reliable option in the group.

Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg have tried different things to mask the deficiencies on the offensive line, but nothing’s worked. The bottom line is the skill position players are built for a high-octane offense, and that style is not possible with this group. Because of so many issues in the run game, the methodical approach has not worked either.

The result is a team that’s averaging 16.6 points per game, which ranks tied for 30th in the NFL.


Vick took over all the pre-snap calls prior to the Saints game. Great job by T-Mac on this piece.

In his weekly mailbag, Tim discusses Nnamdi Asomugha’s contract and Reid’s excuses.

It sounds like Todd Bowles thinks he did a fine job putting the players in position to succeed Monday night.

An All-22 look at why the Eagles failed in the red zone last week.

When it comes to the QB situation, Jeffrey Lurie might have to assert his power. Tim explains why.

And finally, an injury update, including details on McCoy’s status for Sunday.


Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had some interesting things to say when asked what players around the league think about the Eagles’ defense:

“Everybody looks at us as a pretty defense,” Rodgers-Cromartie said, per the Inquirer’s Zach Berman. “They’re just big guys with big talent that don’t really want to hit nobody.”

“Teams are going to line up and probably run the ball my way and throw the ball over there at Nnamdi in some dink-and-dunk type of stuff,” Rodgers-Cromartie said.

ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano details several reasons why the Cowboys are in better shape than the Eagles right now:

Romo still has more of a track record as a top NFL quarterback than the Eagles’ Michael Vick does, and the Cowboys are trying to sign him to a long-term contract. Management and the players believe in Romo and are prepared to move into the future with him as their quarterback. The Eagles, assuming they don’t make a miracle recovery, are likely to opt out of Vick’s contract at the end of this season and rebuild with rookie Nick Foles or look for someone else. The Cowboys have far greater stability at the most important position.


Another day of preparation for the Cowboys at Novacare. We’ll have it all covered right here.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Three Numbers That Matter

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy MaclinLet’s get today started with three Eagles numbers that matter.

50 – The number of points by which the Eagles have been outscored this year. Their minus-50 point differential ranks last in the NFC. “What ifs” exist with every team. For example, what if Michael Vick’s pass to Jeremy Maclin against the Lions late in the game didn’t get tipped by Ndamukong Suh? What if Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham hooked his 34-yard game-winning field-goal attempt? What if the officials called holding on the linebacker covering Brent Celek Monday night, negating the pick-six in the first quarter?

But the bottom line is the Eagles are performing like one of the worst teams in the league. Football Outsiders ranks them 26th. According to their numbers, the Eagles have a 1.8 percent chance of making the playoffs. On the other hand, they have a 10.1 percent chance of earning a top-three draft pick. In the NFC, only the Panthers (2-6) have fewer wins.

So coaches and players can talk about the team being close and wonder what would have happened if they’d gotten a few more breaks. But this team is 11-13 in the last year and a half. The results suggest they are closer to the bottom of the league than the top.

50.9 – Average receiving yards per game for Jeremy Maclin. Many predicted a breakout season for the fourth-year receiver, but it’s been quite the opposite – a letdown. There’s no doubt that inconsistent quarterback play and the shaky offensive line have been factors, but Maclin has not been a difference-maker. With nine games left, he is on pace to set three-year lows for yards per game, catches per game and yards per reception. Prior to the season, there was thought that the Eagles might look to extend Maclin during the year (his contract is up after 2013). But it’s tough to justify doing that now, especially considering we’re likely looking at a new head coach and quarterback next season.

34 – The number of sacks Michael Vick took back in 2010. If you remember, part of the reason for the coaching staff shake-up was to get that number down and install Howard Mudd’s scheme. Two years later, Vick’s been sacked 27 times in eight games. Only Aaron Rodgers (29) and Jay Cutler (28) have been sacked more. We’re all aware of the injuries to Jason Peters, Jason Kelce, Danny Watkins and now Todd Herremans. But it’s absolutely fair to question the lack of depth and the roster constructed by Andy Reid and Howie Roseman going into the season.

Everybody was expecting a dropoff, but the injuries have completely crippled this offense and this team. Keep in mind that the Peters injury occurred back in March. The Eagles moved swiftly to sign Demetress Bell, and he has been a disaster. At backup guard, they are starting a 6-8 rookie fifth-round pick (Dennis Kelly). And at backup center, they went with Dallas Reynolds, someone who spent three years on the practice squad. Again, we knew there would be a dropoff, but evidence suggests Reid, Roseman and Mudd did an inadequate job addressing offensive line depth.


Why was Vick sacked seven times against the Saints? We went to the tape. Warning: Images are not suitable for young children.

Here’s a player-by-player game review of the Eagles offensive linemen.

Reid says he’s not thinking about Jeffrey Lurie’s 8-8 comment during the preseason. It’s difficult to believe him.

According to a report, Roseman received a four-to-five year contract extension back in June. We take a look at how that could affect this team’s offseason plans.

Jason Babin played significantly more than Brandon Graham last week. Here are snap count notes.

Tim writes that at this point, the Eagles’ words ring hollow.


According to Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com, the injury news on Herremans does not look good:

There’s a very good chance the Eagles will lose starting right offensive tackle Todd Herremans for the rest of the season with the foot injury he suffered Monday night during the Eagles’ loss to the Saints, according to two people familiar with his test results.

“It’s not good,” one team official said. “It doesn’t look good at all. We’re still waiting for [more test results], but it looks bad.”

The Eagles rank 21st in ESPN.com’s power rankings. Writes Dan Graziano:

They started the season at No. 7. There is no team, over the past two years, that has consistently fallen shorter of external expectations. But at this point, after they couldn’t even get the offense going in New Orleans of all places, we have to believe they’re just a bad team. I have them at 22. Ashley has them at 18. John Clayton has them at 23. That’s the range, and it’s pretty far from the range in which the Eagles expected to be at this or any other point this season.


The Eagles are back at Novacare to prepare for the Cowboys. We’ll check in on the mood in the locker room and also provide some All-22 analysis of where things went wrong for this team.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

OL Review: Bell Signing a Disaster

Here’s a player-by-player look at how the Eagles’ offensive line performed on Monday night against the Saints.

And before we get started, I broke down the seven sacks (with images!) in an earlier post, so click here for that.

King Dunlap – This had to be his worst performance of the season. Dunlap struggled throughout, often times with veteran defensive end Will Smith. He did a really poor job against Smith on a play-action sack in the first. Dunlap got beaten by Smith again and allowed a hit on Michael Vick on third down late in the first half. He did a poor job on LeSean McCoy’s 4-yard run in the fourth. And he got beaten by Smith again in the fourth, although Vick walked right into the sack. Smith got past Dunlap and forced Vick to scramble on another play. A couple bright spots: He did a good job on the linebacker on Bryce Brown’s 40-yard run in the first. And Dunlap was effective on the 13-yard McCoy run in the first.

Evan Mathis – To be honest, I pretty much had nothing written down for Mathis. I guess I was focused on watching for glaring errors, and he didn’t have many (although I didn’t notice any exceptional plays either). Mathis was the only true starter left standing on this offensive line Monday night.

Dallas Reynolds – It’s tough to tell how many errors are being made pre-snap and whether Reynolds or Vick are responsible. Reynolds was OK in this one and didn’t have as many issues as his teammates. He missed his block at the second level on McCoy’s 2-yard run in the first. And he failed to pick up Jonathan Vilma, allowing a sack/forced fumble in the first. Reynolds gave up a hit on Vick on third down in the red zone in the third. On the flip side, he did a good job on McCoy’s 25-yard run. And again on Brown’s 8-yard run. He’s actually done some good things in the run game this season.

Dennis Kelly – Last week, I thought he played relatively well, especially considering it was Kelly’s first career start. This week? As Jon Gruden pointed out on several occasions, not so good. Kelly whiffed on his block at the second level on McCoy’s 4-yard run in the first. And he got beaten by Cameron Jordan on the same drive, allowing a hit on Vick. Kelly did not get much of a block on Jordan on McCoy’s 2-yard run in the first. Later, he was gearing up for Curtis Lofton to blitz, but Lofton didn’t rush the passer. Meanwhile, Martez Wilson ran right past Kelly and crushed Vick for a sack. He whiffed on his block on the shovel pass inside the 5, although the play probably would have been stopped anyway. Kelly got tossed aside by Tom Johnson, who then dropped McCoy for no gain. He and Bell allowed a delayed blitzer to get through untouched between them, forcing Vick to scramble in the fourth. If Bell hadn’t gotten beaten so badly on another play, Kelly would have given up the sack, as Akiem Hicks got past him. A couple bright spots (but not many): Kelly and Reynolds created a running lane for McCoy’s 25-yard gain in the first. And he did a decent job on McCoy’s 5-yard run in the second.

Todd Herremans – He played an inconsistent quarter before leaving the game with an ankle injury. Good job by Herremans of pulling on McCoy’s 4-yard run. And he led the way on McCoy’s 8-yard scamper. But Herremans had trouble with Jordan’s speed rush around the edge on Vick’s incompletion to Brent Celek on the first possession. He was beaten badly by Jordan on the sack/forced fumble in the first. And Herremans missed his block against Vilma on the McCoy run that lost 1 yard (right before the red-zone interception). We should find out soon how serious his injury is.

Demetress Bell – The Bell signing looks like a complete disaster. When Jason Peters went down, the Eagles signed Bell to take over at left tackle. The hope was that he would be adequate with a high ceiling. Instead, he has been a complete liability nearly every time he’s stepped onto the field. In this one, Bell entered the game for Herremans in the first. He didn’t get a hand on Vilma as the linebacker dropped McCoy for a loss of 1 in the first. Bell allowed pressure around the edge, forcing Vick to step up and throw short to Stanley Havili in the second. It’s tough to say whether he was expecting help or just got beat as Jordan went right past him and Kelly in the red zone in the third. Bell was beaten by Jordan and gave up a hit on Vick with the Eagles backed up near their own end zone in the third. He did a poor job on McCoy’s 4-yard run in the fourth. Bell was called for a false start in the fourth, and on the very next play, was beaten badly by Jordan for a sack. He and McCoy let Wilson get around the edge, forcing Vick to scramble on the final drive.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

Tape Breakdown: Eagles Allow Seven Sacks

We don’t have the All-22 images yet, but ESPN did a good job of providing clear shots of the seven sacks the Eagles allowed in Monday night’s game against the Saints. So here’s one man’s attempt to figure out what in the world was going on with the Birds’ protection schemes.

Sack 1: This one started with the pre-snap look, and specifically Dennis Kelly. The Eagles’ right guard expects linebacker Curtis Lofton to blitz, so he moves off of his man to pick him up.

Lofton instead picks up LeSean McCoy in coverage. Martez Wilson, meanwhile, runs right past Kelly and has a free path to the quarterback.

Kelly tries to recover, but is too late.

Keep in mind that this sack took place in 2.1 seconds (all times unofficial, of course). The Eagles were not outnumbered. They had six blockers to handle four pass-rushers, but they had a breakdown in protection, and Vick got crushed.

Sack 2: The Eagles run slow-developing play-action. By the time Vick turns around, Will Smith has already beaten King Dunlap badly and is in the quarterback’s face. He scrambles and is eventually sacked by Brodrick Bunkley. The Eagles had six in to block five.

Sack 3: The Saints blitzed Jonathan Vilma right through the A-Gap. New Orleans crowded the line of scrimmage, and Dallas Reynolds let Vilma go right by him, instead choosing to block Lofton.

This shot is right after the ball is snapped. Could Vilma have an easier path to the quarterback? Vick spun away, but Cameron Jordan beat Todd Herremans badly, and the two defenders sandwiched Vick, sacking him and forcing a fumble.

This is one of those where the Eagles had six blockers against seven defenders so someone was going to be free. But Vick was sacked in 1.9 seconds. If Herremans doesn’t get beat, perhaps he’s able to improvise. It also looks like a play where Reynolds and/or Vick didn’t get the job done pre-snap.

Sack 4: The Eagles are in the red zone, and the first thing you’ll notice is they’re going empty backfield with no in-line tight end. Keep in mind that this is in the third quarter after the offensive line already had several issues. Why not give them at least a little help here? The Saints crowd the line of scrimmage.

Protection slides to the right. The Saints rush five, and the Eagles have five to block, but Smith has a free path to Vick. Not only that, but the Eagles can’t even block the other four guys, even though they have a one-man advantage. Jordan breaks through between Kelly and Demetress Bell.

Vick is hit within 1.9 seconds of when the ball is snapped.

Sack 5: This is one where Vick held on to the ball for awhile. Without the All-22, we don’t know if he had a receiver open or not, but he did have 3.6 seconds to get rid of the ball. It should be noted that the Eagles had six blockers to take on four pass-rushers, yet Brent Celek was asked to handle Jordan one-on-one.

Sack 6: This one’s probably on Vick. He could have stepped up, but instead danced right into the sack, as Dunlap had trouble with Smith off the edge.

You see the rest of the line has provided a clean pocket. Vick has plenty of space to move forward or to his right. Then again, this was in the fourth quarter. Can we really blame Vick for being a bit antsy after all those hits? The sack took place at 3.0 seconds.

Sack 7: And finally, a culmination of all the Eagles’ errors. It was a basic four-man pressure, but Bell got abused by Jordan, who sacked Vick in 2.3 seconds. Of course, it didn’t help that the Eagles again went with an empty backfield. And as you can see, if Jordan didn’t get Vick, Kelly and Dunlap got beaten also.

Perhaps at some point today, you’ll have a conversation with friends about who’s to blame: the offensive line, Vick or the coaching staff. The truth is, they were all responsible in one way or another. When you’re a 3-5 team and you score 13 points against a team that is allowing over 30 a game, there is plenty of blame to go around. So feel free to not be too picky.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

Eagles Depth Chart Notes

The Eagles today released their depth chart for Monday night’s game against the Saints.

No major changes, but some things worth noting.

On the offensive line, Danny Watkins is listed as the starter at right guard. Watkins sat last week due to a “chronic” ankle issue that was bothering him. Rookie Dennis Kelly took his place and played pretty well. We’ll find out if Watkins is healthy and in line to start, but Kelly has not replaced him on the depth chart.

Meanwhile, as expected, King Dunlap remains the starter at left tackle ahead of Demetress Bell. Dunlap played well against the Falcons.

On the defensive side of the ball, Jason Babin is still listed as the starter at left defensive end. Babin played 33 snaps last week to Brandon Graham’s 31. Babin had one hurry, no tackles and no sacks vs. Atlanta. I wrote about the production of the defensive linemen earlier today. The starter doesn’t really matter here. More important is who ends up playing more when the game’s over.

Phillip Hunt and Vinny Curry are listed as the team’s third-string defensive ends. Curry, a second-round pick, has yet to be active this season. Hunt played only special teams last week.

At defensive tackle, Fletcher Cox is officially listed as the starter ahead of Derek Landri. Cox had 11 tackles last week and has been playing more than Landri all season. Cox got his first career start against the Falcons.

And finally, not that I think Andy Reid would announce a quarterback change by just switching names on the depth chart without telling anybody, but in case you’re wondering, Michael Vick is still the starter.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

Making Sense Of the Eagles’ Inactives

Philadelphia Eagles right guard Danny Watkins.The following Eagles are inactive for today’s 1 p.m. game against the Falcons: Trent Edwards, Damaris Johnson, Dion Lewis, Jamar Chaney, Danny Watkins, Nate Menkin and Vinny Curry.

The inactives are the same as a couple weeks ago against the Lions, except for Watkins (Steve Vallos didn’t dress in that game).

Starting in Watkins’ place is 6-8 rookie Dennis Kelly. Watkins missed practice on Thursday and Friday with an ankle injury that Andy Reid described as “chronic.”

“Danny has kind of a chronic ankle and he has had it for years,” Reid said after Friday’s practice. “He disturbed it in the last game and he thought it would be fine, and it didn’t work out. He came back Monday and practiced, Wednesday he practiced and he just didn’t feel right. So back him up and let the thing settle down.”

The backups on the offensive line are also worth mentioning. Demetress Bell, who started the previous four games, is your swing tackle. King Dunlap gets the start at LT. And Matt Tennant, whom the team just signed last week, is the backup guard/center.

Elsewhere offensively, Lewis continues to be an inactive. He’s only dressed for one game this season. Johnson is inactive for the second straight game. Riley Cooper will be the team’s fourth wide receiver. Mardy Gilyard and DeSean Jackson will handle punt-return duties.

On the defensive side of the ball, Phillip Hunt was questionable, but he’ll play. There was a chance that rookie second-round pick Vinny Curry would dress for the first time this season, but that won’t happen.

Be sure to join me and Tim for a live chat during the game at 1 p.m.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.

« Older Posts