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 »

Notes: Maxwell’s PIs; Johnson Readying For LT

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Byron Maxwell wondered aloud if his past behavior influenced the officials on Sunday night.

“They look at tape, too. Maybe he saw something on tape like I was holding, because I mean, sometimes I do,” he said with a laugh. “Maybe he got it in his mind, ‘That’s what this guy does.’ I don’t know what the case was.”

Maxwell has been by far the Eagles’ most penalized defensive player. According to stats kept by the league, he has been flagged 10 times — nine of which have been accepted. (The next closest in penalties on that side of the ball is Nolan Carroll with four.) Of those, four have been pass interference and three have been defensive holding.

Two of his PI’s came while defending Dez Bryant on the Cowboys’ final drive of regulation, which resulted in a field goal to force overtime. Both were questionable calls. 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 »

Lane Johnson Expecting To Play Left Tackle

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

The contingency plan is now clear.

If Jason Peters is not able to suit up this weekend, Lane Johnson will take his place at left tackle and Dennis Kelly will be inserted into the right tackle spot.

The Eagles have gone with that alignment this week as Peters continues to sit out with a back injury. The closer we get to Sunday, the more likely it seems that the line could be operating without its future Hall-of-Famer.

“It’s kind of up in the air, just kind of play it by ear and see how he feels,” said Johnson. “As of right now, I’m expecting to play left.”
Read more »

Eagles Notes: Peters, Ryans Held Out Again

Jason Peters

With three days until the Eagles face the Cowboys on Sunday night, Jason Peters remained sidelined during the Eagles’ practice Thursday.

Peters left in the first quarter of the Birds’ Week 8 loss to Carolina with back spasms, and hasn’t participated in practice this week after taking the bye week off.

Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Eagles Blow Opportunities

Josh Huff drops a potential touchdown. (USA Today Sports)

Josh Huff drops a potential touchdown catch. (USA Today Sports)

It’s unclear who said it, but the sentiment was probably widely held in the locker room.

“Catch the f-cking football!” one Eagle reportedly yelled after last night’s loss. The Eagles dropped six to eight passes — it depends on how you count them — but the takeaway is the same: it’s tough to expect Sam Bradford to win games when you don’t give him much help.

“Our defense plays lights out every single week,” Jordan Matthews said. “You can’t tell me we don’t have a championship defense. You can’t tell me we don’t have a championship quarterback.” Read more »

All-22: Improvements In the Run Game

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports.

The Eagles have a losing record, are winless against NFC East opponents and haven’t been able to play well in all four quarters of a game through five weeks.

However, beating the Saints Sunday put the Eagles on a path to potentially turn the season around.

“Everybody knew this was a very important game,” Jason Kelce said. “1-4 is drastically different from 2-3, especially with where the division is. I don’t want to say it was a must-win, but it kind of was.” Read more »

Eagles-Saints, The Day After

Photo courtesy of USA Today.

Photo courtesy of USA Today.

The fortress walls were shaking ever so slightly as Chip Kelly stood in front of his team Saturday afternoon.

Theories about pending locker room implosions and Kelly’s imminent NFL demise fell a few clicks west of reality, but this was a significant moment in time for both the head coach and the 2015 Eagles nevertheless. Early October, and the season already at cliff’s edge. A loss here and they would be charged with the very difficult task of trying to climb out of a 1-4 hole while simultaneously fighting to keep the growing outside skepticism about the operation from finding its way in.

Such was the state of affairs as Kelly addressed the players before they headed for the team hotel.

“He always uses analogies, and he had an analogy about [a fighter],” said linebacker Najee Goode. “When you keep getting hit, you keep getting hit, 1-3 right now…the outside looking in, people are thinking, ‘What’s wrong with the Eagles?’ You keep getting hit. But we’re going to throw the last punch.

“Coach Kelly said, ‘We have to throw the last punch no matter what.’ You’ve gotta take it right in the face and just go straight ahead and knock them the f–k out.” Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: O-Line Carries Offense

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

The Eagles’ offensive line presented a plethora of problems to Chip Kelly in the first four weeks of the season, allowing five sacks against Washington and limiting their running backs to -2 rushing yards against Dallas.

But those all washed away — at least for a few hours at Lincoln Financial Field yesterday — as the offensive line dominated in the Eagles’ 39-17 win over the Saints.

“Those guys were unbelievable,” Bradford said. “You could really tell that they were just wearing them down, with the way we were able to start running the football at the end of the game. Those guys dominated the line of scrimmage.” Read more »

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