Zone Read: Eagles-Colts, the Day After

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INDIANAPOLIS — With the Eagles facing a 2nd-and-goal from the Colts’ 19 yard line, Darren Sproles set up in the backfield to the right of Nick Foles.

The quarterback handed him the ball, and Sproles initially headed to the left, where his blocking was. But there was no hole, and the cutback was open, so he brought it back to the right side. Foles was a couple yards behind him carrying out his fake.

At the 15, there was safety Mike Adams waiting. Sproles juked him and headed further to his right where there was open field. At the 7, linebacker D’Qwell Jackson closed in and made contact, but didn’t wrap up. Another Colts defender went low, and cornerback Darius Butler tried to help out as well. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Defense Turns The Tide

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Indianapolis Colts
INDIANAPOLIS – It was 3rd-and-9 from the Eagles’ 22 and Andrew Luck was heating up.

The standout QB had never lost consecutive games in his young career and he was fixing to keep that streak alive. A 12-play, 80-yard drive capped by his seven-yard touchdown pass to Ahmad Bradshaw put the Colts up 27-20, and he had the offense in position to stretch the lead to double digits with just over five minutes to play.

And then, a remarkable turn of events. Read more »

Inside Voices: How The Training Is Different

Chip Kelly
Under Chip Kelly, the Eagles have quickly become known as an organization on the cutting edge when it comes to the training and maintenance of their athletes.

One veteran after the next last year said that their bodies had never felt better. Soft tissue injuries were down. Stamina was up.

What sets them apart?

To help get a better understanding, we called on some newcomers to explain what differentiates Kelly’s operation from others they have been a part of at their previous stops. Read more »

Zone Read: Eagles-Jaguars, the Day After

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Watching from the sideline, linebacker DeMeco Ryans knew the Eagles had a first down before the ball was even snapped.

Darren Sproles had just picked up 8 yards on a screen, but he was tackled short of the sticks, and the offense faced a 4th-and-1 from the Jacksonville 49. The Eagles were trailing 17-0 in the third quarter.

“Sitting on the sideline, I knew we had ‘em,” Ryans said. “Because as a defense, you’re kind of happy about a third-down stop and you’re not expecting a fourth-down play. Our offense gets on the ball and runs it quickly, catches everybody off-guard.”

Chip Kelly didn’t hesitate. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur told him the Eagles were short, and Kelly made a tempo call – a message that can be communicated with one or two words. The call lets the offensive players know it’s time to bust it back to the line of scrimmage and get the ball snapped. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Defensive Leaders Strike Right Tone

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

There were words spoken and a tone set in the locker room at halftime Sunday that helped turn the defense’s fortunes. But  they would have to get there first.

“I made some eye contact with some fans running into the tunnel at halftime. Man,” said Connor Barwin. “There was some rough language coming my way.”

“I think everybody was frustrated.  I heard a few fans that were frustrated too,” said Chip Kelly. ” Go figure, but they had every right.  I was booing myself.”

Once inside, Kelly said the coaching staff wasn’t “throwing chairs or anything” to show their displeasure over the 17-0 deficit. Similarly, the players took a more positive tact.

Read more »

Season Predictions: Is the Secondary Good Enough?

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

As we count down to the start of the regular season, Tim and Sheil try to answer some of the big questions facing the Eagles. On Sunday, they discussed life without DeSean Jackson. On Monday, they predicted what’s next for Nick Foles. Yesterday was a look at the offensive line, which faces an early challenge as Lane Johnson serves his four-game suspension. And today, they check in on the secondary. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: What Life’s Like For Marcus Smith II

Marcus Smith

Tra Thomas wasn’t wearing pads or a uniform. Instead, he was dressed in a black Eagles t-shirt and black shorts.

With his hat cocked to the side and dark sunglasses covering his eyes, Thomas settled into his stance at left tackle just as he’d done thousands of times throughout the course of his 12-year career.

Lined up across from him, angled to the left, was rookie Marcus Smith II. Thomas, now an assistant on Chip Kelly’s staff, started 174 games in the NFL and made the Pro Bowl three times. He’s seen 4-3 fronts, 3-4 fronts and everything in between. On some weeks, he faced the game’s best pass-rushers. On other occasions, guys that had no chance of getting past him.

In 1998, the Eagles took Thomas in the first round. In 2014, they took Smith. And on Monday after practice, the two were working together. Read more »

Expect More Base Looks From Eagles ‘D’

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Billy Davis and the Eagles made a decision going into last year’s playoff game against the Saints: Commit resources to stopping Drew Brees,and force New Orleans to move the ball with its ground game.

In the first half, the gameplan worked well as Sean Payton’s offense managed just six points. But in the second half, the Saints got going, scoring on four of five possessions to secure a victory.

In reality, it was a pick-your-poison situation. Against the Saints’ prolific passing attack, Davis wanted Brandon Boykin on the field. But against the Eagles’ nickel package, New Orleans ran 13 times for 84 yards (6.5 YPC).

Fast-forward to 2014, and Davis feels like he has more options – specifically because of the addition of Malcolm Jenkins.

“Absolutely,” Davis said, when asked if Jenkins’ versatility will allow him to stay in base more this season. “I think all of our safeties have the skill set of being able to come down and cover a third wide receiver. I don’t have to put nickel on the field. Read more »

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