Eagles Wake-Up Call: Defenses May Copy Atlanta

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

ATLANTA, Ga. — According to the Eagles, Atlanta’s defense didn’t do anything that surprised them. Their 26-24 loss simply came down to one crucial element: execution.

“They didn’t do anything different or special to try and stop us; that’s pretty much the way they do things,” Jason Kelce said. “They weren’t really reading anything. They were just trying to get up field, trying to wreak havoc. We did not handle that well.”

The Eagles ran the ball just 16 times for 63 yards, which players attributed to the Falcons’ defensive alignment. Because one of Atlanta’s safeties consistently played closer to the line of scrimmage, it opened up passing opportunities for Philadelphia. Read more »

Suggs Hit Shines Light On QB Vulnerability

Courtesy of USA Today

Courtesy of USA Today

The rule, Dean Blandino stressed, is not new. It has been in place for some time and was clarified in 2012 “with the proliferation of these read option schemes”  shooting up from the college ranks to the pros. The vice president of officiating sent out a video late last week explaining exactly why the Terrell Suggs hit on Sam Bradford is considered clean and should not have been penalized.

“The key is, it doesn’t matter if this is a read option, zone read, or just a straight handoff from the shotgun, the protections are the same,” he said. “At the mesh point – so when the quarterback is holding the football in the belly of the back and it’s not certain as to who has the football — both players are treated as runners.” Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Andrew Gardner’s Ascent

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Three weeks ago, it was unclear who would be the Eagles’ starting right guard. Although Andrew Gardner was practicing a lot with the starting unit, Matt Tobin and John Moffitt also rotated in with the first-team offensive line.

Now, halfway through the preseason, it seems all but finalized that Gardner will be the week one starter.

“Andrew played another good game. We’re really pleased with how he’s playing right now,” Chip Kelly said before Monday’s practice. “There is no reason to rush [announcing a starter]. But he’s doing a really good job.” Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: The Center Of the Offense

Photo Credit: Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports.

Photo Credit: Ron Chenoy (USA TODAY Sports).

Jason Kelce isn’t sure you understand. Yes, you know about the quarterback’s audibles before plays, but he’s not confident you realize the importance of the center’s pre-snap calls.

“I don’t know if the fans know, but it’s a really big part of my job,” Kelce said. “Mentally, if you’re on top of your game, the physical stuff is a lot easier.”

He explains he doesn’t want to give any secrets away, but he does reveal what he looks for in a defense before he snaps the ball. First, he reads the way the defense is aligned. Then, he reads how the defenders are spaced relative to the Eagles’ formation and play call.

Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Kelce On State Of the O-Line

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

The rotating cast at right guard welcomed another member Thursday as newcomer John Moffitt stepped in with the first team.

There have been four training camp practices so far, and we’ve seen three different men fill the position. Matt Tobin has gotten the nod twice, Andrew Gardner ran with the ones on Monday and now Moffitt has had a turn.

No matter who wins out, Jason Kelce will be working with someone new on either side of him. Old partners Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans were both released this offseason, so Kelce is now charged with developing chemistry in short order with a pair of new dance partners. It appears that Allen Barbre will be one of them. He has consistently worked at left guard since the offseason program began and has the backing of his coaches and teammates. Right guard is another story. With no standout at the moment, the musical chairs could continue through the summer. Kelce says he’s OK with that. Read more »

Wake-Up Call: The Most Indispensable Eagle

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Oakland Raiders

On most playoff-contending teams, a serious injury to the starting quarterback in August would be devastating.

In Philadelphia though, that might not necessarily be the case. It’s impossible to say with certainty that a healthy Sam Bradford would provide a massive upgrade over Mark Sanchez, especially considering that Bradford won’t be able to practice fully until training camp. Bradford has more upside and a greater skill set, but that doesn’t always translate to better on-field performance.

In Green Bay, Indianapolis, New England and Denver (among others), the QB is without question the most indispensable player. But who holds that title in Philadelphia?

This is a classic mid-July question that we kick around every year as we count down to training camp. So here’s my list of the top five. Read more »

Kelce On Mathis: ‘They Didn’t Want the Distraction’

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

 Jason Kelce said that there was more of an “underlying tone” to the Evan Mathis contract protests this time around, one that apparently clashed with the symphonic harmony emanating from One NovaCare Way.

“Last year there was some under-the-radar talks about it, stuff that was going on in the media, but nothing really concrete and he never really let it take place in front of the team or anything like that so it wasn’t a distraction,” said Kelce. “At this point obviously he would have missed all of OTAs. It was a much bigger deal throughout the season at this point.”

It was no surprise to Kelce, then, that Mathis was cut out of equation. Same for the rest of the Eagles players we talked to.

This week’s minicamp will wrap on Thursday, marking the end of the offseason conditioning program. Mathis was absent all spring. While everything save the minicamp is voluntary, several of his teammates suggested that he was in violation of an unwritten code of conduct. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: First Impressions Of Murray

DeMarco Murray.

DeMarco Murray/Photo by Jeff Fusco

DeMarco Murray was first asked about LeSean McCoy’s comments regarding Chip Kelly getting rid of all the black players on the Eagles.

“Look around,” Murray said calmly. “There’s a lot of us out here, so I’m not sure about that.”

Later during the interview, a reporter asked about Joseph Randle. The Cowboys running back said recently that Murray left a lot of meat on the bone last season, despite leading the NFL in rushing yards.

“I’m not worried about it,” Murray said. “[He’s] a good kid, and we’ll see what they can do this year.”

It’s been less than three months since Murray signed with the Eagles, but he’s had several opportunities to stir up controversy. He could have taken aim at Jerry Jones and the Cowboys’ brass for not re-signing him. He could have taken issue with McCoy. And he could have put Randle in his place.

But instead, Murray seems to prefer a measured, quiet approach. And that seems to be working just fine with his teammates. Read more »

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