Eagles Wake-Up Call: Midterm Grades (Defense)

barwin_400_103013We went over the offense on Tuesday. Now here’s a look at how the defense grades out through the first half of the season.

Defensive line: B-

This group has shown more improvement than any other on the team from Week 1 to Week 8. And defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro deserves credit for that.

Cedric Thornton is playing lights-out on a weekly basis and leads all Eagles D-Linemen with 45 tackles. Fletcher Cox has really come on as of late and has three sacks to go along with a team-high 15 hurries (no other Eagle has more than seven). Isaac Sopoaga was a non-factor, but players like Clifton Geathers on the second team are starting to show flashes.

Opponents are averaging 3.7 YPC vs. the Eagles. Only five teams have posted a lower number. Read more »

Three-And-Out: Eagles-Giants Predictions

mccoy_400Player I’ll be watching

McManus: Nate Allen.

Billy Davis was armed with a few interesting stats when he met with reporters this week. One was that the Eagles’ defense is being thrown on an average of 45 times per game (44.28, actually). That number is so high in part because the Eagles give up a lot underneath in the name of preventing the deep ball.

The Giants were undeterred by this style of defense the last time these two teams played. By Davis’ count, Eli Manning threw deep 11 or 12 times against the Eagles in the first matchup. Manning attempted 52 passes overall in that game.

Safe to say the secondary will be busy again. Allen has been playing better of late, but faces a pretty stiff test on Sunday. Read more »

All-22: State Of the Eagles’ Defense

Barwinb_All22_102413Back in the spring, new Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis was asked if he had spent time looking at Jim Johnson’s scheme and concepts.

“He had some great dynamic pressures, and I’ve studied a lot of them,” Davis said. “They were out-of-the-box thinking. But when you really break him down, it was more guys up in the A-gaps with the illusion of pressure than actual [sending] more than four rushers.

“There were times that he brought more. …But he did a great job of keeping offenses off-balance through both pressure, illusion of pressure and non-pressure. And you need all elements to attack an offense because there’s some times you pressure some of the stuff Coach [Chip Kelly] does, you’re going to get eaten alive.”

Davis’ comments serve as a good launching off point to examining what’s working well for the Eagles on defense. Last week, they were able to keep Tony Romo off-balance and free up rushers all game long, both with the blitz and the threat of the blitz. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Quarterly Grades On ‘D’


It’s time to run to the mailbox and steal the report card before Mom and Pops get their hands on it.

OK, fine. Apparently, that’s not how things work nowadays. But you get the idea. We’re a quarter of the way into the season, so it’s time to give out some grades. We’ll do the defense today (position-by-position) and deal with the offense in a future post. Read more »

Week 3: Eagles Snap Count Analysis

Here’s a look at how Chip Kelly divvied up playing time against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Overall Snaps
Snap %
LeSean McCoy5279%
Bryce Brown1421%

LeSean McCoy was once again the Eagles’ best offensive player. He carried 20 times for 158 yards and played 52 snaps (79 percent). McCoy suffered an ankle injury late in the first half, but returned on the first possession of the third quarter and played lights-out.

Bryce Brown had three carries for 7 yards. Chris Polk did not play.

Overall Snaps
Snap %
DeSean Jackson6598%
Riley Cooper6294%
Brent Celek6091%
Jason Avant5583%
Zach Ertz1523%
Jeff Maehl35%
James Casey12%

DeSean Jackson played all but one snap (pretty sure that was the failed two-point conversion). The Chiefs played a lot of man coverage, but used a safety to help on Jackson, Kelly said. He got loose for one big 40-yard gain, but ended with just three catches for 62 yards on seven targets.

As many pointed out during the game, the Eagles’ other receivers were unable to threaten KC’s defense. Riley Cooper played 92 percent of the snaps, but had just two catches for 29 yards on seven targets. The Eagles once again used a lot of ’11′ personnel with one RB and one WR. Jason Avant played 83 percent of the snaps and was the team’s leading receiver with five grabs for 87 yards.

Brent Celek played 91 percent of the offensive snaps, but had just two catches for 18 yards. Zach Ertz played 23 percent of the snaps and was targeted once for 5  yards. James Casey played just one snap.

Damaris Johnson did not play any offensive snaps.

Overall Snaps
Snap %
Fletcher Cox6174%
Cedric Thornton5770%
Isaac Sopoaga3745%
Bennie Logan2632%
Vinny Curry1215%
Clifton Geathers810%

The Eagles’ defensive line probably played its best game of the season. Fletcher Cox played 74 percent of the snaps; Cedric Thornton 70 percent. Both guys played well.

Vinny Curry played for the first time all season and was productive. He had a sack, a hurry and drew a holding penalty on 12 snaps.

Overall Snaps
Snap %
DeMeco Ryans82100%
Mychal Kendricks8199%
Connor Barwin7591%
Trent Cole6579%
Brandon Graham1721%
Casey Matthews79%
Jake Knott11%

Connor Barwin played 91 percent of the snaps; Trent Cole 79 percent. Brandon Graham was productive with his 17 snaps. Both Graham and Cole had sacks. And Barwin had several standout plays.

Casey Matthews played seven snaps behind Barwin.

DeMeco Ryans played 100 percent of the snaps; Mychal Kendricks 99 percent.

Overall Snaps
Snap %
Cary Williams82100%
Bradley Fletcher82100%
Patrick Chung6174%
Nate Allen6073%
Brandon Boykin4555%
Earl Wolff4352%

Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams played the whole game. Nickel corner Brandon Boykin was on the field for 55 percent of the snaps.

At safety, Nate Allen and Earl Wolff rotated again. Allen played 73 percent of the snaps; Wolff 52 percent. Late in the game, Patrick Chung suffered a shoulder injury, so Wolff and Allen played together.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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Instant Observations: Eagles Fall To Chiefs, 26-16

Here’s what we saw during the first half of tonight’s Eagles-Chiefs game.


* Michael Vick and the offense struggled throughout. Vick was 13-for-30 for 201 yards, a touchdown, two interceptions and a fumble. As a team the Eagles had five turnovers, four of which came in the first half. Damaris Johnson muffed a punt and Jason Kelce botched a snap. The Eagles went into halftime trailing 16-6 and ended up losing 26-16.

* Vick was injured with under two minutes left in the game. Justin Houston sacked him, and he came up limping. Nick Foles would have come in, but the Chiefs recovered the fumble.

* On Vick’s first interception, he was picked off by safety Eric Berry, who returned it 38 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. Vick appeared to be looking for Brent Celek on the “stick” concept we wrote about during the week. On Vick’s second interception, he was looking for Riley Cooper on a post.

* The offensive line struggled as well. Vick was sacked six times. Jason Peters had a tough time all night with Tamba Hali. Lane Johnson was beaten for at least one sack by Justin Houston. And it looked like Dontari Poe got by Evan Mathis once.

* LeSean McCoy had another monster night, carrying 20 times for 158 yards and a touchdown. He suffered a leg injury in the second, but returned during the first possession of the third. On McCoy’s 41-yard TD run in the third, Kelce had a nice block on Dontari Poe.

* DeSean Jackson entered the game as the league’s leading receiver, but he had just one reception for 9 yards in the first half. Jackson shook free for a 40-yard completion in the second half. He finished with three grabs for 62 yards on seven targets.

* Riley Cooper had no catches on five targets in the first half. He dropped a ball on a corner route on third down, and the Eagles had to punt. He had two catches for 29 yards in the game.

* On one possession in the third, cornerback Sean Smith suffered a calf or hamstring injury. The crowd thought he was trying to slow the Eagles’ offense down. McCoy might have thought the same as he got in Smith’s face as he went back to the sideline. Later, cornerback Brandon Flowers stopped the game for an injury. He missed one snap.

* Vick had four runs for 99 yards, including one 61-yarder on the Eagles’ lone scoring drive in the first half. Vick read Poe on the play and took off. Late on the drive, he hit Jason Avant for a 22-yard TD on a corner route. Vick made a beautiful throw as he was getting crushed by linebacker Derrick Johnson.

* The Eagles went for two after their lone touchdown of the first half and came up short.

* Kelce was playing with an injured thumb/hand. He snapped the ball into his thigh and then it hit Todd Herremans before the Chiefs recovered.


* With the Chiefs pinned inside their own 10-yard line in the fourth quarter, the defense failed to get off the field, allowing Kansas City to chew 8:15 off the clock to make it a two-possession game with a field goal. On a key third down, Alex Smith hit Donnie Avery in between Bradley Fletcher and Nate Allen to extend the drive.

* Smith finished 22-for-35 for 273 yards. He was conservative for much of the night, but did not turn the ball over. Avery had seven catches on seven targets for 141 yards.

* For most of the first three quarters, the Eagles bottled up Jamaal Charles. He only had nine carries for 19 yards, but finished with 20 for 92. Charles had three carries for 28 yards on one drive in the second half, capping it off with a 3-yard touchdown run. He also caught seven balls for

* The Eagles’ defense actually played pretty well in the first half, considering the position the offense put it in. After giving up a 57-yard kickoff return to Quintin Demps to start the game, they forced a punt. Connor Barwin had an excellent first half. He blew by Eric Fisher and crushed Alex Smith on the first drive.

* After Johnson muffed the punt, Mychal Kendricks had a tackle for loss and Nate Allen sacked Smith as the Eagles forced a field goal.

* Cedric Thornton was very good early on. He had a nice run stop on third down that forced a punt.

* Vinny Curry was active for the first time all season. He played well, coming up with a sack, at least one other pressure and drew a holding penalty. Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox and Trent Cole also had sacks.

* Allen and Earl Wolff continued to rotate. The Chiefs had a 51-yard completion to Avery in the first half. Tough to say for sure, but it looked like Wolff might have been at fault.

* Clifton Geathers, who has been quiet, made a nice run stop after a 1-yard gain in the second.

* Mychal Kendricks broke up a pass intended for Chad Hall in the end zone in the first half, forcing a field goal.

* Patrick Chung suffered a left shoulder injury in the second half.. Allen and Wolff finished the game at safety.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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