Photo by: Jeff Fusco.
Throughout the next two weeks, we’ll take a position-by-position look at where the Eagles stand going into the offseason. We have covered the quarterbacks, wide receivers, running backs and tight ends so far. Now it’s onto the offensive line.
STATE OF THE ROSTER
All five original starters from last season – Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Todd Herremans and Lane Johnson - remain under contract.
Peters turned 33 last month. He might not be the player he was four years ago, but there are no concerns about him manning the left tackle spot. Mathis was unhappy with his contract going into 2014, but he showed up and played well. I was particularly impressed with the way he missed seven games due to a knee injury, but returned and performed at a high level down the stretch. It’s worth noting, though, that Mathis is 33. Read more »
Photo Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Chip Kelly said he didn’t spend much time studying Mark Sanchez‘s tape from New York, focusing instead on his skill set and physical attributes and relying more on the word of those who had been around him in a formal life.
“I talked to his college coaches more than I did that; I talked to his high school coaches and I knew what type of athlete he was and I knew what he could do,” he said earlier this month. “For me to study his tape from the New York Jets ‑‑ now I know other people studied his tape, but I personally didn’t study his tape because I know what he can do and I thought he could fit into our system.”
Sanchez had a sub-60 percent completion rate with the Jets. The Eagles felt that he could get closer to the level of accuracy he displayed at USC (64 percent), and sure enough, he has completed 64 percent of his throws in an Eagles uniform. There were elements of his game from New York that did carry over, though — namely, his propensity to turn the ball over.
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Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco
Here’s a player-by-player breakdown of what we saw from the Eagles’ offense against the Seahawks after having re-watched the game.
Mark Sanchez – He obviously struggled throughout. Sanchez became the second QB this season to attempt at least 20 passes and total fewer than 100 yards in a game. The other was Andy Dalton. Overall, Sanchez went 10-for-20 for 96 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
The thing about facing a defense as good as Seattle’s is there are not going to be a lot of chances to make plays in the passing game. You have to make the most of your opportunities. And Sanchez did not do that.
On the first play, he stepped up, targeted Jeremy Maclin and was nearly intercepted by Richard Sherman. Sanchez threw short of the sticks to Jordan Matthews for a 6-yard gain on 3rd-and-10 on the first drive. Good decision to pull the ball and fire to Maclin for the 1-yard TD. Good throw on boot-action to his left, finding Matthews for a 17-yard gain in the first. Bad-looking deep ball intended for Cooper on the post against what I believe was Cover 3. He threw short of the sticks incomplete to Matthews on 3rd-and-9 in the second. Sanchez has had trouble on screens to the slot. He fired one high to Maclin in the second, which threw off the rhythm of the play on an incompletion. Read more »
Go around the Eagles locker room and ask players what makes Earl Thomas so good, and you’ll get a variety of answers.
“He’s a freak,” said Jordan Matthews. “You can tell he has a desire to be the greatest in the game. No different than my lockermate, 27 [Malcolm Jenkins]. I feel like both of those guys have that same mentality. The dude is full speed every single play the entire game. You’ve gotta be able to match that intensity and go out there and play your hardest if you’re gonna compete against him.”
“His speed,” answered Mark Sanchez. “He’s just got a nose for the football. He diagnoses plays fast. One of the most intense players. The film doesn’t have any sound, but that guy almost puts a soundtrack to the film. You see him just completely sell out – against the run, against the pass, breaking plays up.” Read more »
Photo by: Jeff Fusco.
For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.
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Here’s a player-by-player review of the Eagles’ offense after having re-watched their win over the Cowboys. Read more »
Here’s a roundup of what the local and national media are saying about the Eagles this week.
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Photo Credit: Derik Hamilton – USA Today
Here’s a player-by-player review of what we saw from the Eagles’ offense after having re-watched Sunday’s game against the Titans.
Mark Sanchez – There was some good and some bad with Sanchez. He completed 30 of 43 passes for 307 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
Sanchez has generally gotten the ball out quickly and done a good job of climbing the pocket when he feels edge pressure. He takes fewer shots downfield than Nick Foles. Per Pro Football Focus, 12.9 percent of Sanchez’s attempts have traveled 20+ yards downfield (15th). With Foles, the number was 18.9 percent (second). Twenty-four of Sanchez’s 30 completions Sunday were within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. Read more »
HOUSTON - Jason Kelce decided it was his turn to play DJ.
His linemate, Jason Peters, generally is in charge of the music in the locker room after games. But with Peters in the shower, Kelce took a peek at the playlist, found some 80s rock, blasted it and returned to his stall two spots down.
The Eagles’ center had reason to be in a celebratory mood. He suffered a sports hernia injury in Week 3, had surgery, rehabbed and returned ahead of schedule Sunday against the Texans. Kelce was part of an effort that got the Eagles back to their offensive roots: tempo and the run game.
Running backs LeSean McCoy (23 for 117), Chris Polk (8 for 50) and Darren Sproles (3 for 17) combined for 184 yards on 34 carries (5.4 YPC). The run game lifted the Eagles to a 31-21 victory over the Texans. Read more »
Through the first five games, it seemed everyone had a different reason for why the Eagles’ run game was struggling.
Most pointed to the injuries on the offensive line. Some suggested LeSean McCoy was injured or had lost a step. And others simply figured it was out how defenses were playing the Eagles.
But there was another factor at play, one that the coaching staff could control. During the Week 4 loss to the 49ers, there were indications that San Francisco knew some of what was coming. Against St. Louis, to a lesser extent, there were similar sentiments.
“They knew what plays were coming,” said Lane Johnson after the win over the Rams.
“I just think defenses have more knowledge of what’s coming. Last year everything was so new, and I think they’ve kind of seen a lot of what we do, so just moving forward, we’ll probably throw in a few more wrinkles.”
Chip Kelly would not be offended by Johnson’s comments. The Eagles’ offense is based on running a series of foundation plays effectively, dressing them up differently and moving at a fast pace. The problem at times this season has been that defenses have game-planned well against those foundation plays. Because of injuries up front and inconsistent quarterback play, the offense has not run as smoothly.
But against the Giants, a team that limited McCoy to 94 yards on 35 carries in two meetings last year with an inside stunt, Kelly broke out some wrinkles that helped jump-start the run game and the offense as a whole. Read more »