Midseason Grades: Eagles Defense

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

With eight games down and eight to go, let’s take a position-by-position look at where the Eagles stand. We’ll hand out grades for performances up to this point and project what’s in store for the months ahead.

Here’s the defense. We’ll get to the offense in a later installment. Read more »

How the Loss Of Ryans Impacts Kendricks

Kendricks

Mychal Kendricks admitted that he was scared when DeMeco Ryans first went down. The heart of the defense — his mentor – was unable to get off the NRG Stadium turf, and it shook the young linebacker.

But as Ryans got carted off and reality set in that he was not coming back, Kendricks said something triggered inside of him.

“Just natural instincts kicked in. I went over to Casey [Matthews] and I was like, ‘Let’s f***** go, let’s step this s*** up, it’s time to rise to the occasion. Let’s do this damn thing. Let’s get this win for my boy,’” he said. Read more »

Why Isn’t Kendricks Making All the Calls?

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals

When discussing DeMeco Ryans, Eagles coaches have always mentioned his value in getting the defense lined up before the snap.

For every game since the start of the 2013 season, Ryans had served as an extension of Billy Davis on the field. He watched film, he studied, and everyone on that side of the ball trusted him. Ryans had the helmet with the headset that connected to Davis, and the process went smoothly on a weekly basis.

But with the Eagles’ leader sidelined due to an Achilles’ injury, the coaches now have to come up with a new plan for who will make the calls. Mychal Kendricks is the only three-down inside linebacker on the roster, but he’s not going to take over full play-calling duties. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Replacing DeMeco

NFL: Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles

Billy Davis was singing the praises of DeMeco Ryans last week like he has so many times since taking over as defensive coordinator.

One of the big story lines heading into Sunday’s game was Ryans’ return to Houston to play his former team. Davis was asked to speak to what the veteran linebacker brings both behind the scenes and on the field.

“DeMeco is one of the finest men I’ve been around.  He’s a relentless worker; you can’t outwork him.  He’s a great leader.  He’s a very calm leader,” Davis said. “During the game everybody gets amped up and it takes all that you have, every ounce of what you have, to play every snap.  Tempers get going and emotions get going, and that’s the way you have to play the game.  DeMeco is a calming influence.  He plays at that level, he plays with that intensity, but the way he talks to his teammates, the way he coaches them out there, is a very calming effect on the defense.

“He makes good, quick decisions that set our defense up.  We have a lot of checks and he gets us in and out of calls based on formation or the quarterback audibling.  Without DeMeco, I don’t know if we could do as much as we do.”

At the time, those quotes were about what the Eagles’ defense was fortunate to have. Now they highlight what it has lost.

Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Three Leftovers From Chip

Photo Credit: Matt Kartozian - USA Today

Photo Credit: Matt Kartozian – USA Today

Here are three leftovers from Chip Kelly’s session with reporters on Monday.

1. A big question this week will be: How does the offense change with Mark Sanchez running the show as opposed to Nick Foles?

At one point, Kelly seemed to indicate it wouldn’t change much.

“We’re going to run our offense the way we run it,” he said. “I think there may be a throw here that he likes better. [Maybe] he likes to throw the 18‑yard in as opposed to the 15‑yard dig or things like that. Little things like that way. But we won’t drastically change anything if he’s in there.” Read more »

Zone Read: Eagles-Texans, the Day After

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Houston Texans

HOUSTON - Jason Kelce decided it was his turn to play DJ.

His linemate, Jason Peters, generally is in charge of the music in the locker room after games. But with Peters in the shower, Kelce took a peek at the playlist, found some 80s rock, blasted it and returned to his stall two spots down.

The Eagles’ center had reason to be in a celebratory mood. He suffered a sports hernia injury in Week 3, had surgery, rehabbed and returned ahead of schedule Sunday against the Texans. Kelce was part of an effort that got the Eagles back to their offensive roots: tempo and the run game.

Running backs LeSean McCoy (23 for 117), Chris Polk (8 for 50) and Darren Sproles (3 for 17) combined for 184 yards on 34 carries (5.4 YPC). The run game lifted the Eagles to a 31-21 victory over the Texans. Read more »

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