Eagles-Washington, The Day After

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Photo courtesy of USA Today

LANDOVER, MD — The league website came out with a nifty little #NextGen stat this week in respect to distance travelled on the football field. Malcolm Jenkins and Walter Thurmond ranked No. 1 and No. 2 among safeties in distance covered per game, the study found, while Nolan Carroll was third out of all the cornerbacks.

A reporter stumbled while searching for positives to be taken from this stat. (All three are playing well, after all.) Does it speak to  hustle? The ability to track and cover a lot of space?

“It could be a positive. It could also mean that we’re on the field a lot,” said Thurmond earlier this week with a laugh. “I mean, that’s what it comes down to, the most distance traveled, so you’re talking about time on the field from a defensive standpoint.”

Thurmond, Jenkins and crew likely added to their lead on Sunday in Washington. The Eagles’ defense faced 79 plays and was on the field for over 41 minutes — 5:39 of which was accrued in the final, defining moments of the game as Washington marched 15 plays and 90 yards for the game-winning touchdown. Read more »

After Rocky Start, ‘Arrow Is Up’ For DBs

Eric Rowe. Photo courtesy of USA Today

Eric Rowe. Photo courtesy of USA Today

Cory Undlin threw down the gauntlet the moment he arrived in town.

“We’re looking for non-impostors,” he said, “meaning guys that get up and line up in press, and then the ball gets snapped, and then they open the gate, and then they just let the guy run down the field. We don’t want that. So my job is to get them to believe in themselves and believe in the technique. If they get lined up on any guy, I don’t care what guy it is, the starter or their fourth wideout, that they’re gonna play with the technique we’re trying to demand out of them.”

His new pupils raved about the improvements in their game right from the jump this spring. Malcolm Jenkins called Undlin the most important pickup of the offseason. Declared in early June the defensive backfield was already better than it had been at any point last season. Led by Byron Maxwell, the revamped secondary looked poised to take a big stride forward.

Then came the opener against Atlanta. Read more »

Fantasy Focus: Eagles Week 4 Projections

Will the Pope bless the Eagles for a second week in a row? (Photo by: Jeff Fusco.)

Will the Pope bless the Eagles a second week in a row? (Photo by: Jeff Fusco.)

Malcolm Jenkins wants to apologize to you.

DeAngelo Williams was terrible [Sunday],” he said. “I lost my fantasy game, by the way, because of him. I guess I’m not the one that should be giving fantasy advice.”

Although we’ll give the Eagles safety another chance this week, we decided to listen to him and talked to rookie defensive back Denzel Rice. According to Jenkins, Rice is undefeated in the secondary’s fantasy league and has the best team “by far.” Both of their sleepers picks for this week are at the bottom.

As always, the projections for the Eagles are from ESPN and all decimals are rounded (DeMarco Murray, for example, is projected to run for 0.5 touchdowns). I’ll tell you what ESPN says about each Eagle and whether they’re overrated, underrated or spot on. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Defense Fuels First Win

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.DeMeco Ryans noticed it as soon as the week started. Despite the secondary’s up-and-down play in the first two games of the season, the inside linebacker was excited about what he saw.

“The difference from last week to this week? The focus and intensity in practice,” Ryans said. “There was a lot more energy, they were locked in and they studied hard this week.”

That mentality translated to the field yesterday as the Eagles won the turnover battle—and the game—for the first time this year. They intercepted three passes and forced one fumble, even though the Jets tallied just two giveaways in their first two games. Read more »

All-22: Inside the Eagles’ Defensive Success

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

As the Eagles jogged off Lincoln Financial Field for halftime on Sunday, their fans showered them in boos.

The offense ran just 16 plays for 21 yards in the first half. DeMarco Murray rushed the ball five times for one yard, and Sam Bradford’s longest first-half completion traveled a single yard past the line of scrimmage.

Somehow, the Eagles only trailed the Cowboys 6-0.

Although Chip Kelly’s offense was expected to carry the defense this season, it has been the other way around. While the offense has struggled six out of the eight quarters so far this year, the defense—particularly against the Cowboys—has given the Eagles a chance to win both games.

“Our defense played outstanding today,” Kelly said on Sunday after losing to Dallas. “I don’t think the offense did anything, especially in the run game, where we could complement what our defense was doing. We let a really good defensive effort go for naught because we didn’t do what we needed to do offensively.” Read more »

Eagle Eye: Defending Jason Witten

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys

After a dozen years in the NFL, Cowboys tight end Jason Witten has established himself as one of the premier tight ends in the history of the league.

Witten ranks second in receptions (951) and receiving yards (10,562) by tight ends, trailing only the legendary Tony Gonzalez in each category.

This Sunday, with Dez Bryant out for the foreseeable future, Witten will likely be featured even more prominently in Dallas’s passing attack.
Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Reader Mailbag

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

The first game of the season provided us with several answers about the Eagles, but it also brought up even more questions after their up-and-down performance. You can always email us or comment on our Facebook page, but follow us on Twitter so you know when we’re looking for submissions for the next reader mailbag.

One quick note before I dive in: I was most frequently asked about why the Eagles didn’t take more shots down the field against Atlanta, which is something I discuss in my All-22 later this morning. Read more »

All-22: Inside the Eagles’ Secondary Struggles

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports.

It didn’t take long for the concerns to start creeping in. On one play, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan delivered a quick pass to Julio Jones, who picked up 17 yards. On another, Ryan found Roddy White wide open for a 25-yard gain.

And that was only Atlanta’s first two passing plays.

The Falcons’ receivers torched the Eagles’ secondary for 23 catches, 298 yards and two touchdowns in Monday night’s matchup. After giving up the second-most passing yards in the NFL last year, Philadelphia focused on fixing their secondary in the offseason. They signed free agent cornerback Byron Maxwell to six-year, $63 million deal and traded up in the draft to select defensive back Eric Rowe with the No. 47 overall pick.

After signs of progress in the preseason, their moves appeared to work. Although few expected the Eagles to make the jump to an above-average secondary, many expected the unit to at least rank among the middle of the pack.

In their first test of the season, however, the defensive backs came up short. Read more »

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