NFL coaches often use the term “self-scouting” when answering questions about their bye-week plans.
With no game to prepare for and players away from the team facility, it’s a chance to evaluate which areas of the team need to be adjusted going forward.
Keeping that in mind, here’s a position-by-position look at where things stand with the Eagles through 11 games and what changes might be on the way going forward. We’ll start with the offense and do the defense in the next installment.
Nick Foles has been lights-out, having completed 63.6 percent of his passes (10th) with 16 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Foles has made good decisions, looks comfortable in the offense and has connected on downfield throws. He’s averaging 9.59 yards per attempt. To put that number into perspective, since 1957, only two other quarterbacks have averaged at least 9.5 yards per attempt (minimum 150 passes): Kurt Warner (9.88 in 2000) and Chris Chandler (9.65 in 1998). Read more »
Photo | Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
Moments after drafting Matt Barkley, Chip Kelly stole a line from former coach Sam Rutigliano to help explain why he liked the USC signal-caller.
“He used to say that with a quarterback, it’s like a tea bag, you don’t know what you have until you put it in hot water.”
Quarterback is a pressure-packed position, and there’s no way to know what your guy is made of until he is tested in big moments. That is important to keep in mind as we continue to evaluate Nick Foles.
The city is anxious to know whether Foles is a long-term solution for this franchise; whether he can be the guy to lead this team to the top. The answer is that we don’t yet have the answer. We might not even be close to having it. But the next-month plus should get us nearer to the truth.
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Here are five Eagles numbers that matter to get you through the bye week.
1 – The number of incompletions on passes thrown to DeSean Jackson in the last three games. According to Pro Football Focus, Nick Foles has targeted Jackson 14 times, and 13 of those have been completions for 312 yards. On the season, Jackson has caught 68.2 percent of the passes thrown his way. That number has never been higher than 61.3 percent during his first five seasons in the NFL.
And it’s not like the Eagles are dinking-and-dunking to Jackson. He has a league-leading 19 catches of 20+ yards on the season and is averaging 17.0 yards per catch. That would be his best average for since 2010.
Chip Kelly has done a masterful job of maximizing Jackson’s ability as a big-play threat while making him a more efficient receiver. Read more »
NFL.com has released audio of last Sunday’s Eagles-Redskins game, and their clips focus on Chip Kelly’s relentless hurry-up style. Both Kelly and Nick Foles are mic’d up.
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Welcome to a special bye-week edition of Three-And-Out. Tim and Sheil make their predictions for the final five games.
McManus: LeSean McCoy
As we wrote about this week and discussed on our show Thursday night, McCoy has needed every ounce of his elite talent to keep the ground game up and running over the last several games. The open space that he enjoyed early on when Michael Vick was healthy has been filled with swarming defenders that are selling out to shut McCoy down. No longer concerned about the quarterback keeping the ball on the read option, the defense is able to flow towards McCoy without hesitation.
Recently, the 25-year-old has relied largely on his video-game like shiftiness to get his yards. With a lesser back, this offense might be in a little trouble.
McCoy put a scare into this organization when he grabbed for the back of his leg against Washington. The Eagles need him to stay healthy and fresh. He is on pace for 309 carries this season. His previous high was 273, set back in 2011. Read more »
Ask Howie Roseman about some of his young guys, and he’ll offer you this stat: The Eagles have 36 players on the active roster under the age of 26.
“That’s a lot,” the Eagles general manager said.
The Eagles, according to our friend Jimmy Kempski’s tabulations, began the season as the 10th youngest team in the NFL with an average age of 25.74. To break it down further, 15 of the 53 players on the roster (28 percent) right now are 23 or younger. It’s no secret what the Eagles plan is: go young, build through the draft and supplement the roster with veterans that can provide some guidance.
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So, Nick Foles prop bets exist. What were the odds of that at the beginning of the year?
Bovada released some gambling information that might be of interest to Eagles fans. Most notably, they currently list Chip Kelly‘s group as the favorites to win the NFC East. Here’s the breakdown:
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The giddiness in the Eagles’ locker room Tuesday after practice was at an all-time high.
Training camp in July led into the preseason and then 11 straight weeks of practice, game-planning and top-level competition. Chip Kelly’s guys were clearly ready to leave the NovaCare Complex behind for six days and get some free time before they reconvene in preparation for the final five games.
Perhaps no one was more excited to get a break than LeSean McCoy. And for good reason. The Eagles’ running back leads the NFL in carries (213), rushing yards (1,009) and total yards from scrimmage (1,408). Among tailbacks, only Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles has played more snaps, per Pro Football Focus.
While the numbers for McCoy are impressive, this has been a challenging year. He had a four-game stretch where he averaged only 3.4 YPC. Kelly challenged him to dance less and hit the hole more. At times, he was not on the same page as the offensive linemen.
But last week against the Redskins, McCoy was not only the best player on the Eagles’ offense, but his effort in doing the little things jumped off the tape. Read more »
For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.
From @heemy224: Chip was mic’d up n showed lots of personality on inside the NFL imo.What is your perceived take on Chip’s personality so far?
Here is the video if you haven’t seen it.
Kelly, as depicted there, is just non-stop. ”We’ve gotta go, we gotta go, get these guys going.” That’s his mindset in a nutshell.
His press conferences are held outside in a tent on the edge of the NovaCare practice fields. That’s in the name of efficiency (like everything he does), so he can just bounce right to practice as soon as he utters his last syllable, not a second lost. If the horn (indicating the start of practice) blows while the press conference is still ongoing, he’ll leave mid-sentence and sprint onto the field. Read more »
Photo | Jeff Fusco
My guilty pleasure is sports talk radio. Professional sports has always been an escape from reality and a way to relieve some of its pressures. Sports talk radio is just a way of extending the escape.
I turned on 97.5, The Fanatic, just in time to hear a discussion about the great debate of the day. Forget healthcare.gov, immigration reform and the NSA, Nick Foles versus Michael Vick is topic A. I turned the volume up and got ready for the entertaining rants from Nick from Passyunk and Manayunk Mickey.
The debate ended before it started when talk show host Tony Bruno said, “I’m not going to take a position on who should be the quarterback for this team because apparently that is a controversial topic in this town.” Wait a minute! Isn’t faux-controversy the foundation of sports talk radio’s existence? But Bruno was talking about a real-life controversial topic, not the sports controversy.
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