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It was an up-and-down year for the 2014 Eagles. From the shutout against the Giants to the Thanksgiving Day win in Dallas to the collapse down the stretch, the end result left players and fans with an empty feeling.
Having said that, now seems like a good time to wrap a bow around the year that was. Here are my 2014 end-of-year Eagles awards. Read more »
There was a change in approach and personnel Sunday, but the results were in many ways the same.
The struggling Bradley Fletcher was inactive for the regular-season finale in New York (Chip Kelly said he suffered a hip injury in practice during the week), moving Nolan Carroll into a starting role and rookie Jaylen Watkins into the rotation. Because of the new pieces, Billy Davis opted to have Cary Williams shadow Odell Beckham Jr. instead of keeping the starting corners on their respective sides as is custom. And to try and minimize the amount of big plays, Davis went with more split-safety looks.
The Giants, though, still racked up 429 passing yards and the Eagles yielded five plays of 20-plus yards through the air, adding to their league-leading total. Read more »
Instead of doing a true Eagles-Giants scouting report, we’ll take a look at the offseason/future with this week’s piece.
WHEN THE EAGLES PASS…
Turnovers have been the issue all season. The Eagles have given the ball away on 18.2 percent of their drives; that’s the worst mark in the NFL. Quarterback play has been a problem throughout.
Mark Sanchez is completing 64.1 percent of his passes (13th) and averaging 7.79 YPA (sixth). But his 3.7 percent interception rate is fifth-worst among quarterbacks who have thrown at least 200 passes. Only Kirk Cousins, Josh McCown, Blake Bortles and Geno Smith have been worse.
Asked how Nick Foles’ injury clouds the offseason outlook at quarterback, Chip Kelly said: “I don’t know. I mean, we’ll sit down and thoroughly evaluate everything. But it’s no different than any other position when you look at it. You just tell us what we have available right now we’ll take a look at it, let’s detail it, let’s go through the film again, let’s put our heads together, let’s get everybody’s opinion on it and make valid decisions. I don’t think we can look back and say this clouds this, this doesn’t cloud this. It doesn’t matter how much it clouds or doesn’t cloud. That’s the reality of it. He got hurt, so we have to make decisions moving forward in terms of what we’re going to do.” Read more »
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The way Billy Davis tells it, the Eagles fully understood going into last week’s game that the Bradley Fletcher-DeSean Jackson matchup was one that favored the opponent.
“The whole game plan was either to pressure and have the post-safety stay over the top of DeSean, unless somebody else was in a more stressful situation, or split the safeties and double,” Davis said. “So we moved in and out of that the whole game.”
Chip Kelly and company were adamant in the offseason that Jackson didn’t affect how defenses played the Eagles. But apparently, as an opponent, he was someone they felt they had to focus on with their game plan.
The speedy receiver got loose for four catches for 126 yards. He had two grabs of 50+ yards and also drew a pass interference penalty that set up a Washington touchdown.
Fletcher had been left on an island against the Packers earlier this season, and Jordy Nelson went off on him. In Week 15 against the Cowboys, it was the same story; only the name changed. It was Dez Bryant this time.
Yet in an absolute must-win spot, there it was again: Fletcher on an island against an opponent he couldn’t handle. It wasn’t every play, but it happened enough to where the mismatch was glaring. It got to the point where Davis finally made a switch, pulling Fletcher for Nolan Carroll II in the fourth quarter.
Too little, too late. Read more »
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Eagles defensive players – well, most of them anyway – know by now not to make excuses.
The offense wants to play fast every week, regardless of opponent, situation or anything else. The defense’s job is always to get off the field and give the offense another chance to score. Since Chip Kelly took over, that formula has worked pretty well. But there are games, like Sunday’s, when the offense is stagnant. And that puts the defensive players in a bind.
For example, to start the game, the defense gave up a 10-play, 43-yard drive that took 6:35 off the clock. The offense went three-and-out in 25 seconds. And Billy Davis’ guys were right back out there.
That is just how it is. It’s why the Eagles train the way they do. And it’s why in a perfect world, they’d like to rotate players on defense even more.
“I think they are fine,” Kelly said Monday. “I don’t think it had anything to do with the fourth quarter. I just think that they are built for it. They are in great condition. They train at a really high level. They practice against us. They understand what it takes. We didn’t come out of it with any injuries or anything like that. I would imagine they will all be ready to go.” Read more »
Here’s a player-by-player breakdown of what we saw from the Eagles’ defense against the Cowboys, after having re-watched. Read more »
ARLINGTON, Texas — Bennie Logan insists he wasn’t trying to create a stir.
The Eagles’ nose tackle was asked during the week about the Cowboys’ offensive line, and he made it quite clear that he wasn’t impressed. His comments seemed somewhat out of character, but Logan’s fellow defensive linemen Fletcher Cox and Cedric Thornton backed him up. They felt like they were a good group that has been flying the under the radar, and they were not going to be intimidated by the one of the league’s best rushing attacks.
“People had their own opinions about teams and things like that,” Logan said after the Eagles’ 33-10 win. “I’m a nobody. I’m a nobody. We’ve got a lot of nobodies up front. People don’t give us the credit and things like that. We just play football. We have fun when we do it. It wasn’t any big talk or anything, no big pressure or anything like that. We just wanted to go out there and have fun and just play our style of defense.”
The Eagles’ defensive line showed up in a big way, limiting DeMarco Murray to 73 yards and 3.7 YPC. Both numbers were season lows. This was just the second time in 12 games Murray failed to gain at least 100 yards. Read more »
Here’s a player-by-player review of the Eagles’ defense after having re-watched Sunday’s game against the Titans.
Fletcher Cox – Another solid game out of Cox. The coaches credited him with one tackle, one sack and one hurry. Cox stopped Shonn Greene after a 4-yard run in the first. He disrupted a run play that gained 3. Good rush late in the first half, but Zach Mettenberger reset and completed a pass. Got some help from the coverage in the back end, slipped inside the offensive lineman and sacked Mettenberger in the second. Cox batted a pass on the next play. Drew a holding call on a run play in the third. Fought off defenders and stopped Bishop Sankey after a 4-yard run in the third. He played 62 percent of the snaps. Announcers made it a point to mention how much Chip Kelly praised Cox during production meetings. He’s had a great season. The Eagles need him to be disruptive against Dallas. Read more »