Three-And-Out: Eagles-Vikings Predictions

Eagles WR DeSean Jackson running against Chargers

Before we get to Tim and Sheil’s picks, here is the iTunes podcast link from Thursday night’s Birds 24/7 show on 97.5 The Fanatic.

Player I’ll be watching:

McManus: DeSean Jackson

The Vikings rank 30th in the NFL in pass yards allowed/game (282) and have yielded a league-high 29 touchdowns through the air. The Eagles’ passing attack has a chance to go off in this one.

Jackson is currently 10th among wide receivers in receiving yards (1,080). His 65 receptions are already a career high, and he needs just 77 yards to establish a personal best in that category.

The 27-year-old has played indoors seven times since 2010. He has gone over 100 yards in four of those games. This kind of fast track is perfect for his skill set. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Peters Coming On Strong

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Oakland Raiders

Jason Peters still remembers the play clearly.

The Eagles faced a 3rd-and-10 from the Chiefs’ 47-yard-line. Peters set up across from outside linebacker Tamba Hali. Hali used a speed rush around the edge, got past Peters, dipped in behind Michael Vick and sacked him to force a punt.

“It bothered me a lot because he really just didn’t beat me,” Peters recalled Wednesday. “It was bad technique, my hand was kind of bothering me a little bit because I banged it up. After I looked at it, it was just bad technique. I think Mike [Vick] took a five-step drop. And I thought it was a shorter drop – three-step drop. He kind of ran the edge and got me. But it made me better, humbled me to work harder the next week and the week after that.” Read more »

Game Review: Eagles Offense Vs. Lions

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

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.

QUARTERBACKS

* 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 »

Zone Read: Eagles-Lions, the Day After

NFL: Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles

Chip Kelly and his coaching staff worked all week on a special gameplan to neutralize the aggressiveness of the Detroit Lions’ defensive front.

Screens, draws, read-plays that would have left linemen unblocked. Those were all part of the plan as of Sunday morning.

“We had a lot of plays in the gameplan to attack their scheme and attack a lot of their explosion and things like that,” said center Jason Kelce. “I was excited to run them coming into the game because I thought they were awesome. But the weather really took them out of their typical way that they played football because they couldn’t get their footing, they couldn’t get upfield as fast.

“I think the coaches got to some more downhill stuff and some more vanilla stuff where we could just kind of get together and get double teams and get moving vertically.”

The word vanilla has been used in the past as a jab at Kelly’s offense. On Sunday, vanilla was what saved the Eagles. Read more »

Inside Voices: Deeper Into the Sports Science

ryans_400_111113The sleep monitor attached to the player’s wrist begins to gently vibrate when it’s time to wake up.

Instead of a screeching alarm clock that startles you out of your sleep, the device the Eagles wear draws you to consciousness slowly as the vibrations gradually increase.

During the night, the device records when you fell asleep, how well you slept and how many times you woke up during the night. This draws the competitive side out of these athletes. They want to improve those numbers, so they work on it. Maybe they’ll go to bed a half-hour earlier, maybe they’ll alter their night-time routine.

When Najee Goode — the Eagles’ reserve linebacker and special teams player — first moved into his new place, his numbers were terrible. He lives by a train, so his sleep reports weren’t so great early on as he got accustomed to the frequent rattling outside. Now it’s better. He would wake up maybe 10, 12 times during the night. Got it down to eight. Now it’s steadily at five or so.

The players’ sleep reports go right into a computer system that can be accessed by sports science coordinator Shaun Huls. That’s just the beginning of the data that the former Navy Seal trainer collects on a regular basis. Read more »

Offense Game Review: 10 Observations

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia EaglesHere are 10 observations after having re-watched the Eagles’ performance on offense against the Arizona Cardinals:

1. Let’s start with Nick Foles and the positives. He continues to look comfortable in the offense, even though there were some bumps in the road this week. Final numbers: 21-for-34 for 237 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Foles now has 19 TDs and no picks on the season. On the first drive, he did a great job of seeing where the blitz was coming from and finding Brent Celek for a 16-yard gain on third down. On the first touchdown, he made an excellent throw to Zach Ertz in the corner of the end zone after faking the toss to LeSean McCoy. Later, he connected with Ertz on a 22-yarder. Watching live, I thought his pass was high, but the replay showed Foles put the ball where only Ertz could get it as the linebacker tried to step in front. Foles is a master of setting up the screen and waiting until the right moment to deliver the football. He connected with McCoy for a 19-yard pickup on a screen in the second. One of his best throws of the game was to DeSean Jackson for a 25-yard gain on a wheel route down the right sideline. In the third, Foles delivered a strike to Cooper for 16 yards, and his throw to Ertz on the post in the end zone was on the money. Read more »

Zone Read: Eagles-Cardinals, the Day After

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia EaglesChip Kelly stood at the podium late Sunday afternoon and prepared to answer questions about his team’s performance against the Arizona Cardinals.

“It looked like the offense had a lot of trouble after that touchdown drive to start the second half-” a reporter started before Kelly interrupted.

“Can we go positive with the first question on a win?” he joked.

About 10 minutes later, the Eagles’ locker room opened up to reporters, and while it was clear that players were happy to have gotten a win, they knew there were plenty of mistakes that needed to be corrected.

After putting together an impressive 13-play, 82-yard drive to start the third quarter, the offense stalled in a big way. The Eagles totaled 22 yards (not counting penalties or kneel-downs) on six drives. They managed just five first downs during that stretch and did not move more than 16 yards on any single possession.

“We try to stay out of this situation,” said LeSean McCoy. “We just have to do a better job of closing out the game. We have gone through this a couple of times and we just have to do a better job.” Read more »

Eagles-Cardinals Injury Report

Earl WolffHere is the Eagles’ injury report for Sunday’s game against Arizona:

Out: S Earl Wolff (knee)

Probable: S Colt Anderson (ankle), CB Bradley Fletcher (pectoral), LB Mychal Kendricks (knee), LB Jake Knott (hamstring).

As you can see, the Eagles exit the bye in pretty good shape. Read more »

The Matchup: Eagles Vs. Cardinals

foles_400_102913With each approaching game, words like challenge and test are thrown around frequently in conversations about Nick Foles.

What we have so far is a sample size (eight games, five starts, 162 pass attempts) that ranks among the best in NFL history. Foles’ jersey from the 7-TD performance against the Raiders is in Canton. And this week, he brought home the NFC Offensive Player of the Month award.

We’ve seen what the Eagles’ offense looks like when Foles is comfortable, firing on all cylinders, throwing completion after completion and touchdown after touchdown. His toughness has never been questioned, going back to last year when Foles started six games behind a makeshift offensive line.

But after every performance, there’s a desire to see more.

How much of this is real? How long can he keep up this pace? What’s next for the second-year signal-caller? Read more »

Eagles Healthy Entering Stretch Run

Eagles LB Mychal Kendricks at practice points at cameraThe Eagles are in pretty good shape from a health standpoint as they enter the home stretch.

Mychal Kendricks (knee) and Bradley Fletcher (pec) participated in practice Tuesday after sitting out against Washington. Both are expected to play Sunday against Arizona. Jason Peters (quad, pec) was also a go.

Earl Wolff was the only player sidelined. The rookie safety is still dealing with a knee injury. Chip Kelly does not expect him to be ready for Sunday, and was unsure about his availability beyond that.

“You’ve gotta have all hands on deck, and I think it is a good situation,” said Kelly. “I wish we had Earl [also] but besides that…The guys have done a really good job of taking care of themselves and putting themselves in position, so when we get out there today everybody except Earl will go.” Read more »

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