Eagles Wake-Up Call: Secondary Shuffle

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Photo courtesy of USA Today

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 »

Lurie: ‘I Think We’re Pretty Close’

NFL: Preseason-Philadelphia Eagles at New York Jets

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Jeffrey Lurie believes that the overall state of the union is strong. He backed his general manager and head coach, and spoke optimistically about what lies ahead for this team despite the step backwards in Year 2 under Chip Kelly.

“I think we’re pretty close,” said the owner, addressing reporters in the MetLife Stadium visitors locker room moments after the Eagles season came to a close.  “I think we know exactly what we have to upgrade. You see certain teams, they go 8-8, 8-8 and then they break through. We’re at double-digits, double-digits, it doesn’t mean we’ll be double-digits next year but I think we’ve got a really good nucleus of young players, mostly under 27, a lot of players below 30, a lot of up-and-coming stars in this league. It’s all in front of us, but I don’t want to sound overly enthusiastic because we have to fix those three things.”

Those three things, which Lurie called the team’s “Achilles heels that really in the end were not solvable,” were turnovers, red zone offense, and big plays allowed on defense.

“Great, great front seven and outstanding improvement on ‘D’ all over except giving up the deep ball. You can’t do it,” he said.

When Lurie says he knows exactly where the upgrades need to be made, it’s fair to conclude that he is pointing right at the secondary for starters.

Who will be in charge of making the appropriate changes? Read more »

The Matchup: Eagles Vs. Giants

Photo Credit: Troy Taormina - USA Today

Photo Credit: Troy Taormina – USA Today

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 »

Kelly: Cox Has Been Our Top Player

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys

Chip Kelly was handed the Pro Bowl list last night so he could call the Eagles that had been selected. His reaction when he saw that Fletcher Cox was a sixth alternate?

“Wow,” said Kelly.  “That was the one that kind of surprised me. I think he’s been our top player. He’s been really unblockable at times. I think he’s a very disruptive force. But sometimes you make the Pro Bowl I guess on reputation. You ask Jason Kelce, Jason will be the first to tell you that he played better last year than he played this year, which is obviously true — he missed four-and-a-half games. Evan Mathis is a second alternate and he missed eight games…so sometimes I think your reputation goes into it.” Read more »

Notes: On Foles, Cole And the Corner Spot

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Nick Foles continues to work alongside his teammates at practice. He’s ditched the knit cap for a helmet and has ramped up his level of participation of late, signs that his fractured collarbone is on the mend. But it didn’t heal fast enough for Foles to make a return to the lineup this season.

Come Sunday, Mark Sanchez and Foles will have started the same number of games this year. Considering that he hasn’t been in the lineup since November 2 and has yet to play a full season in the NFL, has the coaching seen enough to know what they have in Foles?

“I think we know what we have in Nick,” said Pat Shurmur. “We’ve seen a guy that by last count I think is 14-4 as a starter (under Chip Kelly). So that’s really how you judge a quarterback.” Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Three Leftovers From Chip

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

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

1. Kelly has been peppered with a lot of questions about the Eagles’ lack of a downfield passing attack.

“I think people are playing us a lot deeper than they did last year,” he said Monday. “That’s very evident. I don’t think anybody really lets us get behind them anymore. People are playing coverage from the top down, as opposed to last year; we saw a lot more press-man last year.

“We are not going to force things in terms of trying to throw the ball deep over the top if they are not going to allow you to run over the top.”

Earlier in the season, the downfield throws were available. What’s happened since then? Read more »

Chip: Foles Is Not Healed

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Nick Foles‘ checkup did not produce the news many were hoping for.

“Nick is not healed. He is out this week. The bone is not healed,” said Chip Kelly at his day-after press conference. “We will move forward without him. He is going to start throwing a little bit more but he is out right now.” Read more »

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