Here’s what the national media are saying about Nick Foles and the Eagles this week. Read more »
Leading up to the Oakland game, Zach Ertz didn’t hide the fact that this trip meant something to him. He grew up in nearby Danville, CA and played his college ball at Stanford. It was his first time back in the Bay Area since he left for training camp in late July. Got tickets for about 20 friends and family members to watch him play.
You could tell that he was smelling the end zone when he caught a short pass from Nick Foles over the middle midway through the opening quarter. Ertz lowered his shoulder and barreled ahead. Ultimately he was stopped at the 2-yard line.
“Coach Kelly preaches don’t reach for the goal line so I didn’t want to reach, have something bad happen and then not play again, so I just kind of tucked it in there. And I want to get Brent [Celek] a touchdown, anyway,” he said.
Celek scored on the very next play. Ertz’s patience paid off. Foles went back to the rookie later in the half for a 15-yard touchdown — Ertz’s first in the NFL. Read more »
* Not sure what else there is to say about Nick Foles. He was spectacular, completing 22 of 28 passes for 406 yards and seven touchdowns. Two things really stood out when I re-watched the offense. One, Foles was willing to take shots downfield. And two, he did an outstanding job of buying time with his feet to create space. On the Eagles’ opening drive, they faced a 3rd-and-13. Foles could have easily checked the ball down, but instead fired a pass to Jeff Maehl in traffic over the middle for a 19-yard gain. That had to be big for his confidence.
* Foles did a great job of looking defenders off all game long. In the first, he looked to LeSean McCoy in the flat, drew a defender and then hit Zach Ertz for a first down. The 17-yard TD to Riley Cooper down the left sideline was a beauty. Foles let go of the ball while Cooper was covered and let his receiver make a play. He later found Cooper for a 63-yard bomb. Read more »
During this exercise, it’s important to remember that we’re handing out grades based on everything we’ve seen in the first half of the season. In other words, what you won’t see here is: The offense has stunk it up the last two weeks. Everybody gets an F!
I would say the Eagles got above average QB play against the Chargers, Giants and Bucs. They were OK against the Redskins and Broncos. And they were flat-out bad against Kansas City, Dallas and the Giants (the second game). The way I see it, that puts them at just about average.
Michael Vick has completed just 54.6 percent of his passes, but averaged 8.6 yards per attempt and was good as a runner before injuring his hamstring. Nick Foles played well in the second half against the Giants and again in Tampa, but delivered a clunker vs. the Cowboys. And Matt Barkley is about what you’d expect. Read more »
When the Eagles don’t run the ball effectively, LeSean McCoy shoulders the blame.
Even if there are other factors – the blocking, the defensive scheme, etc. – McCoy takes it personally when the offense can’t get the ground game going. It’s something his teammates appreciate about him.
So on a day when the Eagles were hosting a division rival for first place and with his quarterback Nick Foles struggling all game long, McCoy knew 55 yards on 18 carries was not good enough.
“I just wasn’t myself,” he said. “I felt like with a game like this where my team needed me and depended on me, I didn’t show up. I started doing just too many individual type of plays, not really going with the plays and just doing my own thing.
“Just was a little frustrated. I wasn’t really making the plays that I usually make. And they were stopping us. We were going three-and-out. And things weren’t going our way. I just tried to make too many things happen. Certain plays, from running the ball to screens, different things like that. I felt that was probably my worst performance since my rookie year. But I’ll bounce back this week for sure. Just gotta trust in the scheme. If things are not working out, eventually they’ll break.” Read more »
Here’s a position-by-position review of how the Eagles’ offense performed vs. the Cowboys. Read more »
All last week, Chip Kelly and his staff made one thing clear: The offense would not undergo a complete makeover with Nick Foles at quarterback instead of Michael Vick.
His argument didn’t seem all that convincing. After all, the two quarterbacks have different skill sets. Why not mold the offense to whichever guy was going to be on the field?
On Sunday, against the Bucs, we got a better idea of what Kelly meant. And for the most part, he was speaking the truth.
“We’d have played the game exactly the same way,” said offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. “We would have had all the same plays in the gameplan, and we would have called it exactly the same way with Mike.”
Several players backed up Shurmur’s words. The Eagles piled up 425 yards and scored 31 points in their victory over the Bucs. Foles completed 71 percent of his passes and averaged 9.5 yards per attempt, accounting for four touchdowns.
Without a quarterback who poses a true running threat and facing a defense that liked to employ a lot of zone, the Eagles still found ways to play option football and had success with packaged plays all day long at Raymond James Stadium. Read more »
Here’s a position-by-position look at what we saw from the Eagles’ offense after having re-watched Sunday’s game.
* Nick Foles’ numbers speak for themselves: 22-for-31 (71 percent) for 296 yards (9.5 YPA), three touchdowns and no interceptions. Foles also ran in for a score. This was different than last week’s game. He was going up against a Bucs defense that has some talent, specifically in the secondary. We spent much of the offseason discussing how the offense fits Michael Vick’s skill set. But so far (small sample size, granted), it looks like it fits Foles as well. As a rookie, he completed 60.8 percent of his passes and averaged 6.4 YPA. On 61 passes the past two weeks, those numbers are 67.2 percent and 8.9 YPA. Read more »
TAMPA, Fla. — Jason Kelce did not get yelled at. He didn’t have to go to his room or write I will not let the nose guard get past me a hundred times on the chalkboard after practice.
Instead, he just went to work and listened closely as Chip Kelly and the coaching staff devised a plan to eliminate the issues that plagued the Eagles’ ground game a week ago against the Giants.
Kelly has built part of his reputation on coming up with creative and effective ways to run the football. So when the concepts he installs in the game-plan don’t work, he takes offense. But this time around, that feeling led to a solution, as LeSean McCoy piled up 116 yards on 25 carries against a stout Bucs defense. Read more »
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Back in 2009, Chip Kelly was speaking at a coaches clinic about Oregon’s zone-read game, and he said something that applies to this weekend’s matchup with the Bucs.
“This may sound like a contradiction, but we do not read anything,” Kelly said. “When you read, you become uncertain. We want the ball in the running back’s hands. We do not want the quarterback carrying the ball. The option can put the ball in his hands, but the defense can force it out of his hands. We want the quarterback to give the ball unless he cannot.
“If the running back is continually getting tackled by the defensive end, the quarterback should be pulling the ball.”
Through four-and-a-half games, Michael Vick kept the ball on read-option plays eight times. But he made defenses pay when they didn’t account for him, picking up 122 yards (15.3 YPC).
Keeping that in mind, the big question this week is: How will the run game change if Nick Foles is the quarterback? Read more »