DeSean Jackson was bouncing with the music.
Practice was in the bubble Wednesday and the giant speakers were pumping in some sort of bad remix as the players shuffled to their appropriate spots for the next period. Jackson lightly made his way through the crowd, talking as he moved. He came across Roc Carmichael, and the two did one of those involved, synchronized hand slaps. A word, and then Jackson bounced on.
It’s little things like that.
He used to brood quite a bit. The mercurial receiver often took a knee away from the rest of the pack during practice. The look, intentional or otherwise, seemed to read: “No Visitors Welcome.” That was definitely the vibe at his locker stall as well. Jackson would have his back turned, hood up and scowl on when the media was nearby. Requests for a word would at times be met with a mumble and a dart towards the nearest exit.
The guard is down now, at least for the most part. The furrowed brow has receded, replaced by a more peaceful look. The bubble that kept him at a distance – from reporters and management and even his own teammates to a degree – has popped. Read more »
For the better part of five weeks, the run game left LeSean McCoy, the offensive line and the coaching staff somewhat frustrated.
Chip Kelly and company had trouble getting everyone on the same page. McCoy averaged just 3.4 yards-per-carry on 90 attempts from Oct. 6 to Nov. 3. He failed to tally a single run of 20+ yards during that span.
While we spend a lot of time in this space talking about scheme and X’s and O’s, sometimes it’s as simple as the best players doing things the opponent can’t account for.
That brings us to Sunday’s game against the Packers, which was easily one of McCoy’s best performances of the season. There have been seven instances this year where a running back has amassed 150+ yards while averaging 6.0 yards per carry or better. McCoy was the running back on two of those seven.
On Sunday, he carried 25 times for 155 yards (6.2 YPC). The blocking up front was better at times. But during other instances, it was just McCoy doing what he does best: making defenders miss. 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 »
On their first drive of the game, the Packers set up with a 1st-and-10 from the Eagles’ 31-yard-line.
They were in ’12′ personnel with two tight ends and Eddie Lacy in the backfield. The rookie running back had picked up 21 yards on his first four carries as Green Bay entered field goal range.
DeMeco Ryans lined up at his usual spot at middle linebacker about 4 yards behind nose tackle Damion Square. Seneca Wallace took the snap from under center, turned to his left and handed the ball off. As Lacy looked for a hole, Ryans flowed to his right.
Left tackle David Bakhtiari tried to get to him, but was unsuccessful. Ryans diagnosed the play, got downhill and planted his helmet into Lacy’s mid-section, knocking the 231-pound rookie backwards and onto the ground at Lambeau Field.
Lacy would manage just 54 yards on 19 carries (2.8 YPC) the rest of the day. And Ryans, with a game-high 13 tackles, was a big reason why. Read more »
Editor’s Note: This feature will post every Friday. We’ll bring you nuggets from the locker room, scouting reports on the upcoming game and more.
It’s Wednesday morning at the NovaCare Complex, and Jeff Stoutland is fired up.
Practice has just started, and the pads are on. Eagles players line up row-by-row in one end zone. When the whistle sounds, the first group gets started with their warm-up routine.
First it’s knees up to their chests, followed by a light jog to the other end of the field. Then they slide like basketball players working on their defensive stances. On and on, just as they’ve done during the start of every practice since the spring.
“Pick it up today!” Stoutland shouts, watching his players’ every move as if they’re competing in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl.
The 51-year-old chews his gum with authority. He claps and spits and then claps some more. Behind his dark glasses are eyes that have seen a lot since he first started coaching 29 years ago. Read more »
Going into last week’s game, the Raiders were the only team in the NFL that hadn’t allowed a run of 20 yards or more.
Meanwhile, Bryce Brown’s longest run of the season had only been for 9 yards through the first eight games. But late in the first quarter, Brown found a huge lane up the middle, got outside and picked up 32 yards for the Eagles’ longest run play of the day.
It’s one of the Eagles’ most popular plays: an inside zone read combined with a bubble screen to the perimeter (to be clear, I don’t know if Foles actually had the option to run here, but you get the idea).
The Raiders have three defensive backs on the Eagles’ three receivers. That sets up six in the box. If Nick Foles can “block” the edge defender, it’s hat-on-hat blocking. Read more »
In the days leading up to Sunday’s game against the Raiders, Chip Kelly was asked what his message would be to Nick Foles to get him to rebound from the clunker against the Cowboys.
“Sometimes, as I told Nick, grip it and rip it, let’s go,” Kelly said. “He’s thrown a lot of really good passes since I’ve been around him, and he’s been really good with the football.
“The big thing for him is let’s just get him back in the flow. Let’s get in a rhythm. That’s the biggest thing. Can you get in a rhythm, can you get your feet set, can you throw the ball?”
Answers to those questions came against the Raiders: yes, yes and yes.
After losses to the Cowboys and Giants and a grand total of three points by the offense, Kelly emphasized that there would be no grand scheme changes. The concepts would stay the same, but the execution had to get better.
And it did. To the tune of 49 points in three quarters. So what worked? And why was there such a difference from the previous two weeks? Here’s what we saw from the tape. Read more »
Here’s a position-by-position review of what we saw from the Eagles’ offense this week.
* 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 »
With eight games in the books, here are position-by-position grades for the Eagles’ offense.
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 »
Here’s a position-by-position review of how the Eagles’ offense performed against the Giants after having re-watched the game.
* Michael Vick never looked right, but it seems pretty clear that he did damage to the hamstring on a 1-yard run late in the first quarter. Vick ran out of bounds, and it sounded like the on-field mics caught him letting out an F-bomb. He then was shaking his head and clapped his hands in frustration as he returned to the middle of the field.
* When he played, Vick was 6-for-9 for 30 yards and an interception. He also fumbled once on a play where it looked like he had James Casey open in the flat.
* Matt Barkley went 17-for-26 for 158 yards, no TDs and an interception. Lots of screens and short/intermediate throws as he only averaged 6.1 yards per attempt. The Eagles entered the game leading the NFL with 36 pass plays of 20+ yards, but they only had one with Barkley. Read more »