Barkley: I Never Practiced Goal-Line Play

Matt Barkley throws a pass against Dallas.When Chip Kelly was questioned about his decision to run a bootleg with rookie Matt Barkley on 1st-and-goal from the two yard-line Sunday against the Giants, the head coach said that it was all about familiarity.

“It’s a play we’ve run, we’ve practice continuously here six or seven weeks since the beginning of the season in the red zone,” said Kelly following the game, adding on Monday: “That’s the first play we’ve run since day one here.  We’re going to go to kind of what we know the best, what everybody should understand is what we’re going to go to.  If you ask everybody on our team, they know what we were going to call in that situation.”

Barkley was asked on Tuesday how many times he ran that play personally in practice.

“I never got a rep of that play,” he said. Read more »

Foles Cleared, Back At Practice

foles_940_102013Nick Foles has been medically cleared to return to action and was back at practice Tuesday as the Eagles begin their preparations for the Raiders.

Foles was first up in the passing drills at the beginning of practice, indicating that he is atop the depth chart to start the week. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said that he and Matt Barkley would split the reps 50-50 for now.

“We’ll get a feel for where Nick’s at,” said Shurmur. “He had a good day of meetings, he’ll practice today and we’ll see where we’re at. Read more »

Game Review: Eagles Offense Vs. Giants

barkley_400_102713Here’s a position-by-position review of how the Eagles’ offense performed against the Giants after having re-watched the game.

QUARTERBACKS

* 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 »

Chip: Offense Hasn’t Been ‘Figured Out’

Chip KellyFollowing Sunday’s loss to the Giants, Jason Avant gave his take on why the offense has stalled of late after finding success early on.

“One thing about this league is that it’s some of the smartest guys in the coaching ranks, some of the smartest players, some of the best players,” he said. “There is going to come a time where they have looked at all the film and evaluated every play that you  a have done and it’s going to give you a breakdown. It’s going to give you a breakdown that says, ‘This percentage of the time, this play is a higher’…they’re going to do all that.

“As the season progresses it’s a chess match. And you’re constantly going to get better. Our coach is definitely going to get better at that, and all of our coaches and all of our players are going to get better at all of those things, and we’re going to start winning those chess matches and also start winning our one-on-ones as players.”

To boil all that down, the receiver seems to be implying that opposing defenses have gotten a beat on  Chip Kelly‘s offense and are currently getting the better of the in-game strategic battles.

Has this offense been solved? Read more »

Zone Read, Eagles-Giants, the Day After

mccoy_400102713Editor’s note: The Zone Read is a weekly feature that will publish the day after every game some time before noon. It will feature dispatches from the locker room, thoughts on what went down, play breakdowns and more. If you have feedback or suggestions, e-mail Sheil at skapadia@phillymag.com.

***

Through the first four weeks of the season, the Eagles’ offense had something to hang its hat on: the run game.

LeSean McCoy was gashing opponents – 468 yards on 78 rushes (6.0 YPC). The scheme was sound. The blocking was great. And the marriage between McCoy and Chip Kelly’s offense looked like one that would carry the Eagles all season long.

Many coaches break the season up into four-game segments. And the second quarter for the Eagles has produced a ground game that looks pedestrian. In the last four, McCoy has carried 78 times for 265 yards (3.4 YPC). Yesterday against the Giants, he carried 15 times for 48 yards (3.2 YPC). In the first half, he managed just 7 yards on six carries.

“I just gotta try to be more consistent, making plays when plays are granted, taking them,” said a frustrated McCoy, standing at his locker in front of a group of reporters. “Today was a little better, but not good enough. I had so much success against the Giants for so long, so it bothers me. I’ve gotta get it going. It starts with me. I need to make better decisions, which I’m not.”

Asked if he’s trying to do too much, McCoy said: “I think it’s a little bit of that, doing my own thing sometimes and just not making the plays. The plays, they’re there, they’re available. Just not getting it done.” Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Barkley And the Catch-22

Matt Barkley throws a pass against Dallas.Chip Kelly said he was concerned about his quarterback situation all week.

Michael Vick looked like he was on target to start but there were obvious questions surrounding his hamstring. Nick Foles was unavailable because of a concussion, meaning rookie Matt Barkley was the next man up. Kelly had two quarterbacks that needed prep time, and zero QBs that gave him a sure thing.

“It’s a Catch-22 for everybody. Mike hadn’t been in for two games and you have to give Mike his requisite amount of reps and you also have to get your second-string guy the amount of reps,” said Kelly. “It’s tough to get that second guy ready to go.” Read more »

Kelly Explains In-Game Decisions

chipkelly_400_102613Chip Kelly made some in-game decisions during Sunday’s loss to the Giants that will leave him open to second-guessing in the next couple days.

He was asked about all of them during his press conference. Here’s what Kelly said.

1. With 1:14 left in the second quarter, the Eagles had a first-and-goal from the Giants’ 2. They had just driven 78 yards, and Matt Barkley had completed six of seven passes. Instead of giving LeSean McCoy a chance to punch it in, Kelly called a naked bootleg and had Barkley roll out to his left. With the two receivers covered, Barkley was supposed to throw the ball away. But he waited too long and was stripped by Terrell Thomas. Barkley fumbled, and instead of a touchdown, the Eagles turned the ball over.

“We called timeout. I just wanted to get Matt settled. And we went over and talked about it,” Kelly said. “It’s a play we’ve run, we’ve practiced continually for about six weeks or seven weeks since the beginning of the season. It was just a naked [bootleg]. We’ve got one route with DeSean [Jackson] out wide and then the tight end on a drag on the back side. If we didn’t have it, throw it away.”

Why not hand it off to McCoy there? Read more »

Observations: Giants 15, Eagles 7

mccoy_400102613Here’s what we saw during today’s Eagles-Giants game.

OFFENSE

* The Eagles’ offense is in a rut, having scored a total of three points in the last two games. They had six punts and three turnovers today against a Giants team that came in with a 1-6 record.

* Michael Vick lasted four possessions, but clearly wasn’t close to 100 percent and was pulled in favor of Matt Barkley late in the second quarter. Vick went 6-for-9 for 31 yards. He was intercepted on the Eagles’ first possession, looking for Brent Celek. And on the next possession, Vick had James Casey in the flat, but held on to the ball and fumbled.

* Matt Barkley came into the game on the Eagles’ final possession of the half. He drove them down the field, completing six of seven passes for 55 yards, but fumbled in the red zone. The Eagles had a 1st-and-goal from the 2 and called a pass play. Barkley rolled to his left, and instead of throwing the ball away, was stripped and turned it over. It was his fourth turnover in four possessions as the Eagles’ quarterback. Overall, Barkley was 17-for-26 for 158 yards and an interception. Read more »

Barkley Enters Game For Vick

Matt Barkley replaced Michael Vick under center late in the first half against the Giants.

Vick was clearly not himself. This was his first game back since injuring his hamstring in New York on October 6. Though he practiced in full this week, the 33-year-old did have his normal burst and was unable to elude pressure. He finished 6-of-9 for 31 yards with an interception.

As the first half wore on Vick was getting more and more attention from the trainers on the sideline. He spent one defensive series on the stationary bike as Barkley got a few warm-up throws in, but re-entered the game. Chip Kelly pulled the plug on the following series.

Barkley entered with 2:24 remaining in the half. Read more »

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