Eagles Wake-Up Call: Ertz And the Red Zone

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline-USA Today

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline-USA Today

Part of the solution to the Eagles’ red zone woes might be right under their noses.

Zach Ertz has taken a step forward in his second season. He is on pace for 54 catches for 809 yards and five touchdowns despite playing only 56 percent of the snaps. His seven catches of 20-plus yards is tied for second amongst tight ends (behind only Rob Gronkowski) and he ranks first in yards per reception (14.8). With speed, size and precise route-running, he has proven to be a difficult matchup for linebackers and safeties alike.

Those attributes can come in particularly handy in the red zone. When space is at a premium, a quarterback can certainly be aided by a big target that’s regularly able to win his one-on-one matchups. Ertz, though, has been featured very little in this capacity through seven games. Read more »

Inside Voices: Training Versus Practice

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

There is a saying that floats around the NovaCare Complex, one that many of the players can recite on the spot:

You don’t rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training. 

“When the game is on the line, it’s the fourth quarter in a rivalry game in prime time, you’re not all of a sudden going to rise to the occasion,” Malcolm Jenkins explained, “you are going to sink to what you’ve trained and prepared for. Obviously we’ve done a good job of training in those situations because we’ve showed up pretty well.”

The term “training” has replaced “practice” in this team’s lexicon. It’s subtle, but significant. Read more »

All-22: The State Of the Eagles’ Offense

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After Sunday’s win against the Rams, Chip Kelly discussed the process of feeling out opposing defenses early in games.

“Just try to loosen them up,” Kelly said. “A lot of times as we play teams, it’s figuring how they decide to defend us. They were in a big man scheme, different than some of the other teams we face. Trying to get a feel for what they are going to do from a defensive standpoint.

“They have done a good job of playing zone and man. Just what are they going to choose to play us in, and they chose to play us in a lot more man today than we had seen. Even any of the other games we had played, I think Jacksonville and San Francisco played us in a ton of zone. These guys, their choice was to play us in man. Just have to do a better job with some of our man beaters. We had some guys there, but we have to do a better job. We knew what we were getting. We just have to execute.”

For the second week in a row, the offense looked shaky, managing two touchdown drives while turning the ball over three times. Read more »

Zone Read: Eagles-Rams, the Day After

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline-USA Today

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline-USA Today

In the final 18 minutes of Sunday’s win over the Rams, the Eagles’ defense gave up touchdown drives of 79, 62 and 75 yards.

Billy Davis’ unit was a complete mess. The only thing saving this performance from total meltdown status was a stop late in the fourth quarter that ensured a 34-28 victory.

Yet, when Chip Kelly stepped up to the podium for his post-game press conference, he pointed the finger at the guys on the other side of the ball. Read more »

After Hit On Foles, Peters Answers the Call

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

When Jason Peters saw Chris Baker level Nick Foles, he couldn’t contain himself.

“He was cheap-shotted,” Peters said. “I mean he [Baker] cheap-shotted him, and he’s not even trying to make a play. So I just reacted. I shouldn’t have did what I did, but I was just trying to protect my quarterback.” Read more »

Eagles Depth Chart: Offense

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Chip Kelly likes to say that the Eagles only have a seating chart, not a depth chart, this time of year.

Luckily, here at Birds 24/7, we don’t have to abide by the same rules. So now that we’ve seen all of the spring practices and have our eyes on the start of training camp (July 25), here’s our stab at what the offensive depth chart looks like (we’ll do the defense tomorrow). I tried to make this as useful as possible, so there are explanations below. Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Ertz On the ‘Move’

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Last season didn’t play out as most expected when it came to the tight end position.

After the Eagles signed James Casey to a three-year, $12 million deal and used the 35th overall pick on Zach Ertz, the expectation was that Chip Kelly would deploy multiple tight-end sets with great frequency. That wasn’t the case. Read more »

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