Zach Ertz: ‘I Don’t Need A Best Friend As A Coach’

Zach Ertz. (Jeff Fusco)

Zach Ertz. (Jeff Fusco)

After several players voiced their criticisms of Chip Kelly yesterday, it became clear today that not everyone in the locker room feels the same way. Malcolm Jenkins responded to some of Lane Johnson’s comments, and Zach Ertz appeared to defend his former head coach when asked about whether Kelly was approachable.

“I’ve been around unapproachable coaches before. I don’t need a best friend as a coach,” Ertz said. “I need someone that’s going to push me to be the best I can be, and that’s all I can ask for.”

When speaking to the media yesterday about firing Kelly, Jeffrey Lurie said he would consult players about what they want in their next head coach. Ertz expressed a sentiment similar to his response about Kelly. Read more »

All-22: How Lane Johnson Projects At Left Tackle

Lane Johnson. (USA Today Sports)

Lane Johnson. (USA Today Sports)

After allowing 90 points in five days, the focus on the Eagles understandably shifted to the defense. Despite an outstanding start to the season, Billy Davis’ unit now ranks 20th in the NFL in points per drive.

However, the increased scrutiny of the defense has taken attention away from an equally problematic unit: the offensive line. In the last three weeks, the Eagles have allowed 13 sacks and 27 quarterback hits. They’ve also averaged just 3.2 yards per carry.

“Obviously, we’ve played really, really poorly the last few weeks,” Jason Kelce said. Read more »

Kelce: ‘We’re Going To Find Out the Cowards’

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

DETROIT, MI — Jason Kelce‘s left knee was swollen nearly twice its original size, the upper half of his leg black and blue from the strain. Inflammation of the bursa near his knee joint pushed against a nerve, causing pain to the point where he was having difficulty walking leading up to the game.

But he played, and stayed in there the whole, disastrous game against the Lions. Asked if that’s as good of proof as any that he is still fighting and fighting for Chip Kelly, he responded, “I guess.”

Kelce has been on of Kelly’s biggest advocates, and a defender of his methods. After a pair of horrible losses and all signs pointing to dysfunction, has his confidence in Kelly been shaken?

“I will never doubt Chip Kelly and I will never doubt these coaches,” he said. “That’s the only way you can go about this business in my opinion. Doubters and people that don’t trust their teammates and don’t trust their coaches, those are losers in my opinion. That’s the way you lose games. And obviously we’re losing a lot of games right now, we’re not doing very well. But that’s not ever going to change my approach or my trust in the players in this locker room or the coaches that are telling me what to do.” Read more »

Making Sense Of the Eagles Inactives

Jason Kelce, Sam Bradford. (Jeff Fusco)

Jason Kelce and Sam Bradford. (Jeff Fusco)

For the second consecutive week, Mark Sanchez will start at quarterback for the Eagles. Sam BradfordJonathan Krause, Ryan Mathews, Denzel Rice, Tanner Hawkinson, Zach Ertz and Brandon Bair are inactive. Read more »

Eagles All-22 Wake-Up Call: O-Line Inconsistency

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

The offensive line was rolling. They paved the way for a rushing attack that gained more than 150 yards in four straight weeks — the first time the Eagles did so since 1992 — and provided sound pass protection.

Before Sunday, the Dolphins ranked second-to-last in run defense (allowing 142 yards per game), leading many people to believe the Eagles would dominate the ground game.

However, the opposite happened on Sunday, and Philadelphia averaged just 2.3 yards per carry in their 20-19 loss. Miami recorded four sacks, nine tackles-for-loss and 10 quarterback hits. Sam Bradford constantly took shots from the Dolphins’ defensive line, and he eventually suffered both a concussion and an injured left shoulder in the third quarter.

“We’re frustrated,” Jason Kelce said. “I think we let a game get away from us, and I think everybody knows that. Offensively, we had so many opportunities, and let every single one of them slip through our fingers, it seems like. But I think everyone else knows that we can improve, and if we can eliminate these self-inflicting things, we can still be a dynamic offense.” Read more »

Eagles-Dolphins, The Day After

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Expectations for the  2015 season were largely built on trust.

Trust that Chip Kelly knew what he was doing as a head coach and architect; that the offensive line would hold up despite a big subtraction and no notable additions; that the young receivers would help replace a key veteran; that Sam Bradford would take his game to the next level in this system and avoid injury; and that over time, the new pieces would coalesce to form a contender.

On Sunday, that trust absorbed its biggest hit yet. Read more »

Three-And-Out: Eagles-Dolphins Predictions

DeMeco Ryans (2)

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

PLAYER I’LL BE WATCHING

McManus: DeMeco Ryans

“You can definitely understand his voice when he’s back there; it’s a lot deeper than the younger guys,” joked Cedric Thornton when asked about DeMeco Ryans returning to the mix. “That’s funny you asked, though: today he was back in practice, he called a play and I looked back and I was like, ‘OK, I got you.’ You can definitely appreciate his presence and what he brings to the team, how he gets us lined up and the impact that he has on Sundays…It’s just really good to have him out there.”

The importance of Ryans to this defense gets underplayed due in part to the depth at the position and the fact that he hasn’t looked quite himself since returning from a second Achilles tear. But there’s no denying that the defense has a different feel to it when he’s roaming the middle. Read more »

All-22: The Offensive Line’s Transformation

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

The Eagles’ offensive line couldn’t have played much worse against the Cowboys in Week 2. They gave up so much penetration that the team totaled just seven rushing yards, averaging 0.4 yards per carry. If not for Sam Bradford’s 9-yard scramble, they would’ve finished in the negative.

Down two starters (Jason Peters and Andrew Gardner) heading into their rematch against Dallas Sunday night, the offensive line appeared poised for another poor performance.

What followed surprised many, however, as they paved the way for a dominant performance on the ground. The Eagles rushed for 172 yards, averaging 4.9 yards per carry, and won largely because of how well they ran the ball. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: DeMarco’s Dominant Return

DeMarcy Murray. (USA Today Sports)

DeMarcy Murray. (USA Today Sports)

Losing in the first half to his former team, DeMarco Murray walked the sideline during Week 2 livid. In those first two quarters at Lincoln Financial Field against the Cowboys, Murray carried the ball seven times for -10 rushing yards.

“He was very, very passionate the first time we played them,” Jason Kelce said, “and it was frustrating for him out there — you could see it on his face — with how the game was going.”

Flash forward seven weeks and Murray combined for 161 rushing and receiving yards, plus a touchdown on the ground. Philadelphia topped Dallas, 33-27, in overtime as Murray had his best statistical game as an Eagle. Read more »

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