All-22: New Wrinkle Sparks Eagles Run Game

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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 »

Wake-Up Call: Eagles In Good Spot After Six

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA Today

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA Today

Jason Kelce hung out in the corner of the Eagles’ locker room Sunday night, checking his phone and congratulating his teammates.

The Birds’ center would have loved to have been in uniform competing against the Giants. But after undergoing surgery for a sports hernia injury, Kelce instead spent the game on the sideline next to his buddy Evan Mathis, his offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland and others.

This wasn’t how most observers envisioned the first six games going. Kelce went down in Week 3. Evan Mathis suffered a knee injury in Week 1. And Mychal Kendricks went down in Week 2. Quarterback Nick Foles has 10 turnovers (seven interceptions, three fumbles). LeSean McCoy (Sunday notwithstanding) has come nowhere close to matching last year’s production. And while the defense looks improved, it’s still an inconsistent unit.

Yet here the Eagles are at the bye tied for the best record in the NFL at 5-1. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: A Giant Statement

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA Today

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA Today

The Giants waited until the home team was off the field before gathering at the 50-yard line at the conclusion of warm-ups, their cleats digging into the Eagles’ logo. Led by Jason Pierre-Paul, a handful of players began stomping up and down on the emblem in a clear sign of defiance.

When Chip Kelly‘s crew returned and the game began, not a sliver more of disrespect was permitted. And it was the Eagles that did the stompin’ on their way to a 27-0 win and a 5-1 record.

“They can do all that,” said Lane Johnson, “but it’s basically whatever happens between the whistles that counts. We did that tonight; they didn’t.” Read more »

Has the League Figured Out Chip Kelly, Nick Foles?

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

The candidacies of Chip Kelly and Nick Foles for Man of the Year in Philadelphia took a bigger hit this week than the SRC.

Indeed, grades are being placed on Kelly and Foles — and this after the Eagles won a game last Sunday over the St. Louis Rams. The win made the Birds 4-1 on the season, and gives them a chance to build a huge line of credit with a win over the New York Giants on Sunday that would take them into their seasonal bye having won five of their first six games of the NFL season,

So here’s what the people are now suggesting: The rest of the league has quickly caught on to and conquered Kelly’s innovative ways, while Foles is no better than an average quarterback who’s playing scared and unconfident. (Somewhere, Buzz Bissinger, the journo-provocateur whose spring Philly Mag profile of Foles suggested such, is grinning and spitting out canary feathers).

Read more »

All-22: The State Of the Eagles’ Offense

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After Sunday’s win against the Rams, Chip Kelly discussed the process of feeling out opposing defenses early in games.

“Just try to loosen them up,” Kelly said. “A lot of times as we play teams, it’s figuring how they decide to defend us. They were in a big man scheme, different than some of the other teams we face. Trying to get a feel for what they are going to do from a defensive standpoint.

“They have done a good job of playing zone and man. Just what are they going to choose to play us in, and they chose to play us in a lot more man today than we had seen. Even any of the other games we had played, I think Jacksonville and San Francisco played us in a ton of zone. These guys, their choice was to play us in man. Just have to do a better job with some of our man beaters. We had some guys there, but we have to do a better job. We knew what we were getting. We just have to execute.”

For the second week in a row, the offense looked shaky, managing two touchdown drives while turning the ball over three times. Read more »

McCoy On Being Pulled: ‘I Wasn’t Pissed About It’

Photo Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Three days after the Eagles notched their fourth victory of the season, some in the city are still wondering why LeSean McCoy was on the sideline when the offense was trying to ice the game against the Rams.

Today, the Birds’ starting running back tried to set the record straight.

“What happened was after the game, they asked me do I take myself out when Darren [Sproles] comes in the game, yeah,” McCoy said. “The majority of the times, I take myself, I’m tired, I come out. Sproles can take over and do his thing, and we’re confident in him to do that. But the last drive, [running backs coach] Duce [Staley] pulled me out.” Read more »

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