Dec 8, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) hands off to running back LeSean McCoy (25) during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Lincoln Financial Field. Photo | Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Here’s a position-by-position look at what we saw from the Eagles’ offense against the Lions, after having re-watched the game.
* There was good Nick Foles, and there was bad Nick Foles. Obviously, the weather conditions were a factor. Foles started the game 4-for-13 for 35 yards. When he missed, he generally sailed his throws. That’s what happened on the first-half interception. Foles was also off-target on a hitch to Riley Cooper, and he fired a quick throw to Cooper into the ground. Last week, on the same throw, Foles fired the pass over Cooper’s head. Both attempts came with him under center. I think that has something to do with it. That’s an easier throw when you’re in shotgun and can just take the snap and fire. Read more »
Chip Kelly might not admit it, but he has favorites.
Players whose names he will bring up unprompted. Guys he’ll go out of his way to mention as underrated or under-appreciated. And atop that list this year has been tight end Brent Celek.
On the surface, Celek’s numbers are unimpressive: 23 receptions for 319 yards. He’s on pace for his lowest per-game averages since 2008 in both categories. But there are plenty of reasons why Kelly has sung Celek’s praises all year long.
“I think Chip respects guys that give everything they’ve got on every single play when you’re out there,” Celek said. “I respect everything that he’s done. Everything that he does makes sense, and you as a football player, that’s what you want. You want answers to some of your questions, and he answers those. And everything he wants you to do, it all makes sense.”
The strong relationship between Celek and Kelly was no given during the offseason. The seventh-year tight end was an Andy Reid loyalist. Even as things fell apart last season, Celek stood at his locker after every game and defended his head coach.
Meanwhile, after Kelly was hired, he made moves to bolster Celek’s position, signing James Casey in free agency and drafting Zach Ertz in the second round. Those moves could have rubbed Celek the wrong way and put his standing with the team in question, but Kelly made sure that was a non-issue. Read more »
Asked after the bye whether LeSean McCoy had been encountering too much traffic in the backfield, Chip Kelly offered a brief response.
“I don’t think any running back likes to deal with defenders in the backfield too much, but I don’t see that occurring at a high rate,” he said.
The Eagles’ head coach prefers sometimes to not show his hand. The previous week, McCoy had been dropped for a loss five times against the Redskins. He had to deal with a defender in the backfield on 12 of 20 occasions, oftentimes spinning out of trouble and picking up positive yardage.
But that model didn’t seem sustainable. Part of the problem had to do with the Eagles’ zone read. Teams were using their unblocked defenders to crash down on McCoy. If Nick Foles kept the ball, so be it. They would live with the 5- or 6-yard gain and an opportunity to hit the QB. Read more »
It didn’t take long to figure out Chip Kelly‘s offensive strategy against Arizona. Have a look at the play-by-play from the Eagles’ opening drive:
|1st and 10 at AZ 25
||N.Foles pass short left to B.Celek pushed ob at ARZ 22 for 3 yards.
|2nd and 7 at AZ 22
|| N.Foles pass incomplete short left to B.Celek.
|3rd and 7 at AZ 22
||N.Foles pass short middle to B.Celek to ARZ 6 for 16 yards
|1st and 6 at AZ 6
||N.Foles pass short right to Z.Ertz for 6 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
See a pattern there?
Read more »
Nick Foles had thrown his first interception of the season, and at a most inopportune time.
With just a few minutes left in the game and the Eagles nursing a three-point lead, Foles dropped back on 2nd-and-7 from the Eagles 34 and faced immediate pressure. He had a defender draped all over him but decided to try and force a throw to DeSean Jackson anyway. Bad choice. Patrick Peterson picked off the errant pass and had the Cardinals set up in Philadelphia territory for the possible go-ahead drive. But as the dust settled, sitting on the ground alongside all the fallen players was a yellow flag. Tyrann Mathieu had been caught holding Jason Avant, negating the play. Foles’ streak remained intact and, more importantly, the Eagles retained possession.
That was one of several critical plays down the stretch that hinged on a referee’s call (or non-call).
Arizona head Bruce Arians concluded his opening statement after the game by saying “refereeing did not determine us losing the football game. We didn’t make enough plays.” His players generally followed suit. But their body language in-game struck a much different tone.
“It went both ways,” said James Casey, who was also involved in one of the defining moments late in the contest. “We had a couple big calls go our way at the end of the game but that’s the way it goes sometimes. A lot of times you’re on the other end.”
Let’s take a look at the key moments: Read more »
Here are 10 observations on the Eagles’ offense after having re-watched the game.
1. The one word I would use to describe Nick Foles is comfortable. He was calm in the pocket, delivered the football on-target and did a great job on the little things like setting up screens. Foles threw a beautiful ball to DeSean Jackson in between Redskins defenders for 19 yards in the first. He connected with Zach Ertz for a 15-yard pickup and lofted one to LeSean McCoy for 49 yards down the sideline. In the second, Foles motioned Bryce Brown to the right, pump-faked to him and then came back to Brent Celek for a 42-yard gain on a screen. In the third, he delivered a nice ball to Ertz, but the rookie dropped it. That was no issue for Foles, who came right back to him on the very next play for a 16-yard gain. Overall, 17-for-26 for 298 yards. He easily could have had three touchdowns, but receivers were brought down inside the 5. Foles’ play was not the issue in the second half. He wasn’t asked to pass a lot, but still went 8-for-11 for 81 yards. Read more »
Nick Foles’ response struck the right tone.
He knew he had gotten a little lucky. But throwing a 55-yard touchdown in the NFL, regardless of circumstances, is not easy. So he was not about to apologize.
“I need to throw it a little further, but it just so happened that the ball popped up the way it did, and that happens in sports,” Foles said when asked to describe the 55-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson against the Packers. “That happens all the time. Sometimes it doesn’t work out for you. That time it did. And I was very thankful it did.” Read more »
Here’s a position-by-position look at what we saw from the Eagles’ offense against the Packers.
* I thought Nick Foles played great against Oakland. This was a bit of an uneven performance. I know that seems crazy to say, considering he posted a 149.3 passer rating, but I’ll try to explain.
* There were a couple decisions that could have been costly. In the second quarter, Foles was being pressured and just launched a pass up for grabs. It was in the direction of DeSean Jackson, but there were defenders nearby. The ball landed incomplete as Jackson couldn’t find it in the sun, but it was a dangerous throw. In the third, Foles made an awkward throw to Jason Avant, stepping into it with his right foot. It ended up being a 23-yard completion, but just as easily could have been picked off.
* The first touchdown to Jackson was obviously flukey. Jackson had the corner beat, and the Packers had a single high safety, but Foles underthrew him. Chip Kelly said today that the wind played a factor on the pass. Read more »
This is history in the making. For the first time in Birds 24/7′s existence we’re combining the Wake-Up Call with the Twitter Mailbag. Sports journalism in this town may never be the same again. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.
From aerelorn: If we don’t see any improvement from Foles/Barkley this year, but our pick is too high for the top 2-3 QBs, what’s the plan?
I think the Eagles are going to be very aggressive in pursuit of a quarterback this offseason.
If Chip Kelly didn’t know it coming in, it’s ultra clear to him now that you are toast in this league if you don’t have a franchise quarterback. Might sound oversimplified, but it’s proven true time and time again (with a few exceptions along the way). No matter how brilliant the coaching mind or innovative the scheme, your team will have a hard time rising above mediocrity without a capable conductor. Read more »
The following Eagles are inactive for today’s game against the Dallas Cowboys: QB Michael Vick, safety Patrick Chung, CB Shaun Prater, RB Chris Polk, OT Matt Tobin, OT Dennis Kelly and DL Damion Square. Read more »