Eagles Wake-Up Call: ‘More Than Just Two Weapons’

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

The question posed to Chip Kelly was about the Eagles’ starting wide receivers.

The answer revealed a little something about the head coach’s philosophy and the reasons behind some of the team’s offseason moves.

“The good thing about this group is we’re built in a manner that I think we have more than just two weapons,” Kelly said. “So if for some reason they’re going to say, ‘Hey, we’re going to go try to play press man and play those guys out there.’ Then we have to be able to beat you other places. That is one of the reasons it happened to us last year. I think bringing Jordan [Matthews] in, and getting [Zach] Ertz a little more playing time and getting another running back in there is: Who is going to match up with your inside guys? We got into that situation last year, and our outside guys got shut down. So now you have to get to your slots and tight ends.”

The term shut down certainly got my attention. The Eagles set franchise records in yards and points a year ago. By any statistical measure, Year 1 of Kelly’s offense in the NFL was a success. Read more »

Wake-Up Call: How Sunday Affected the Eagles

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Washington Redskins

Like many of you, I spent all of Sunday parked in front of the TV watching non-Eagles action around the league. Below is a roundup of some of the highlights that specifically relate to the Birds.

* We have to start in Washington where the Redskins beat the Jaguars, 41-10, but saw their season take an unexpected turn when Robert Griffin III suffered a dislocated ankle in the first quarter. According to The Washington Post, Griffin will have an MRI and X-rays today, but there are indications that his season could be over.

Kirk Cousins completed 22 of 33 passes for two touchdowns and no interceptions against a Jacksonville defense that has looked terrible early in the season. In eight career games prior to Sunday, Cousins had completed 56.2 percent of his passes, averaged 6.5 YPA and tossed eight touchdowns against 10 interceptions. Still, there’s been plenty of clamoring that he’s deserved a shot to play. And barring surprising news with Griffin, it appears that’s about to happen. Read more »

Physical, No More

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants

Reality has set in here at the NovaCare that the emphasis on illegal contact and similar infractions this year is going to significantly impact how the game is played.
Read more »

On Kelly, DeSean And Press Coverage

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

More than three months after Chip Kelly said DeSean Jackson was released for football reasons, the Eagles’ head coach subtly clarified what he meant.

On the final question of a press conference last week, Kelly was asked about Riley Cooper. After praising Cooper’s ball skills, he offered up some fascinating insight about where he sees the league going at the wide receiver position.

“The fact that he’s a 230‑pound receiver, it’s tough to be really, truly physical and keep him pinned on the line of scrimmage,” Kelly said. “Now in this league, it’s continuing to go that way. Two of the best corners, Patrick Peterson, a guy that just signed an outstanding contract who I think is one of the tops in the league, [and] Richard Sherman, probably the two best guys are both big, physical corners and they’ll try to beat you up on the line of scrimmage.

“If you can’t get off the line of scrimmage, you’re done. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Three Numbers That Matter

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

I used part of yesterday’s off day to flip through the Eagles chapter of the Football Outsiders Almanac.

As I’ve mentioned in previous years, the Almanac is always chock full of good information, and it’s a great resource to get ready for the season.

Keeping that in mind, here are three Eagles numbers that matter, courtesy of their findings.

62 – The percentage of run plays for the Eagles when they were leading in the second half of games last year. That ranked No. 1 in the NFL. The previous year under Andy Reid, that number was 37 percent, which ranked dead last. Granted, the Eagles only won four games and didn’t have a lot of leads in 2012, but you get the point. Read more »

On Cooper And the DeSean Theory

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

One common theory regarding Riley Cooper is that much of his success in 2013 was made possible because of the attention DeSean Jackson received on the other side. Some are skeptical whether Cooper will be able to post similar numbers this season now that Jackson resides in D.C.

Jeremy Maclin, for one, isn’t buying it.

“I think his production came because he went out there and made plays,” said Maclin, who maintains that the only receiver in this league that draws double teams is Calvin Johnson — and that’s only on the goal line. “Obviously you have a guy on the other side who is pretty good as well but teams aren’t going to get beat by focusing on one person the whole game. That’s not how it works in this league. When people say that it baffles me.”

What can’t be denied is that Cooper — who ended with 47 catches for 835 yards and eight touchdowns last year — found himself in a whole bunch of one-on-one situations, which certainly helped his cause. According to second-year tight end Zach Ertz, that’s unlikely to change this year even without Jackson on the team. That’s because the man truly responsible for the single coverage is still on the roster. Read more »

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