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 »
Editor’s Note: This feature will post every Friday. We’ll bring you nuggets from the locker room, scouting reports on the upcoming game, reader e-mail and more.
LeSean McCoy took heavy breaths in between sentences, his forehead glistening with sweat from extra conditioning work after practice.
On the surface, everything is good for the 25-year-old running back. At the halfway point of the season, he’s the NFL’s leading rusher (733 yards). He’s carrying the ball more than ever (19.5 times per game). And he’s averaging a healthy 4.7 yards per carry.
Yet McCoy is in the midst of a mental tug of war in his fifth NFL season. In the past four games, he’s averaging 3.4 yards per carry. The Eagles’ offense has scored just three points the last two weeks, failing to hit on explosive plays and finding difficulty in sustaining drives.
“Just more attention to really try and contain the backs, keep everything in front of them,” McCoy said when asked this week about opposing defenses. “The backers are way more into the line than usual. And everything just seems so cluttered, seems so packed. That’s probably the biggest difference I’ve noticed. Even on some of the fakes, if it’s a half-fake or an average fake, they’re all on it. So that’s probably the biggest difference I’ve noticed from just early in the season to the last couple weeks.”
Defenses game-plan for the Eagles and make No. 25 their first priority. With a shaky QB situation and one true dangerous threat in the passing game in DeSean Jackson, it’s really a no-brainer. But that has led to tough times for McCoy, who has been critical of himself after each of the last two games. Read more »
Casey Matthews was asked: What’s the angriest you’ve ever seen Chip Kelly? He smiled immediately as the answer popped right to the front of his brain.
The offseason heading into Matthews’ senior year, Kelly’s players kept showing up in the news for all the wrong reasons. Running back LaMichael James was arrested on domestic violence charges. Place-kicker Rob Beard and defensive end Matt Simms were charged with misdemeanor assault for their involvement in a street fight. Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli was identified as a suspect in a theft.
Kelly called a team meeting to express his disappointment. That night linebacker Kiko Alonso was cited for driving under the influence.
“He told us the guy was off the team. He was mad,” said Matthews. “We were in the team meeting room. He rips us for the offseason — everyone is getting in trouble, the star quarterback was stealing from a frat, domestic violence charge, a bunch of little stuff — finally he calls a team meeting, rips us — get it together — and then that night [the DUI]. It was bad.
“He couldn’t breathe. That was the worst I’ve seen.” Read more »
One of the fundamental principles of Chip Kelly’s scheme is to set the offense up to take advantage of one-on-one matchups.
There’s plenty of blame to spread around when it comes to reasons why the Eagles have managed just one field goal offensively in their last eight quarters. But one is the failure to capitalize and win those matchups. 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 »
Here’s a position-by-position review of how the Eagles’ offense performed vs. the Cowboys. Read more »
Brian Westbrook, one of the great screen running backs in the history of the league, continues to be a guiding voice in the ear of LeSean McCoy. It probably came as little surprise, then, that McCoy had a message waiting for him on his phone following the Tampa game on Sunday.
“He texted me after the game and said, ‘Come on, bro. You’re supposed to score on that play.’ ”
The play was a screen pass to McCoy on the Eagles’ first offensive snap of the game. Everything was perfect, from design to execution. What’s more, the Bucs were in the worst possible defense for this particular play call. The seas parted and McCoy was in the wide open field with blockers set up in front of him. He got 44. He could have had the whole thing.
“I should have scored,” McCoy admitted.
Let’s take a look at the anatomy of a near-perfect screen play with the help of the players involved and the screen maestro himself, Westbrook. Read more »
Here’s a position-by-position look at what we saw from the Eagles’ offense after having re-watched Sunday’s game.
* Nick Foles’ numbers speak for themselves: 22-for-31 (71 percent) for 296 yards (9.5 YPA), three touchdowns and no interceptions. Foles also ran in for a score. This was different than last week’s game. He was going up against a Bucs defense that has some talent, specifically in the secondary. We spent much of the offseason discussing how the offense fits Michael Vick’s skill set. But so far (small sample size, granted), it looks like it fits Foles as well. As a rookie, he completed 60.8 percent of his passes and averaged 6.4 YPA. On 61 passes the past two weeks, those numbers are 67.2 percent and 8.9 YPA. Read more »
TAMPA, Fla. — Jason Kelce did not get yelled at. He didn’t have to go to his room or write I will not let the nose guard get past me a hundred times on the chalkboard after practice.
Instead, he just went to work and listened closely as Chip Kelly and the coaching staff devised a plan to eliminate the issues that plagued the Eagles’ ground game a week ago against the Giants.
Kelly has built part of his reputation on coming up with creative and effective ways to run the football. So when the concepts he installs in the game-plan don’t work, he takes offense. But this time around, that feeling led to a solution, as LeSean McCoy piled up 116 yards on 25 carries against a stout Bucs defense. Read more »
Here are 10 things to know about how the Eagles’ offense matches up with Tampa Bay’s defense.
1. Tampa’s 0-4 record has little to do with its defense. The Bucs rank third overall on D, according to Football Outsiders, and are eighth in scoring (17.5 PPG). They shut out the Cardinals for three quarters in their last game (two weeks ago) before allowing 13 fourth-quarter points. The only touchdown the Bucs allowed came when Arizona started a possession in the red zone following a Mike Glennon interception. The Eagles, meanwhile, rank fifth overall on offense, per Football Outsiders. They are eighth in scoring (27.0 PPG). In their last outing, the Eagles scored 36 points against the Giants, their highest output of the year. Chip Kelly has yet to rule Michael Vick out, but all signs point towards Nick Foles starting. Read more »