Changeup: Eagles Facing More Zone Than Man

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

During the offseason, figuring out ways to beat man coverage seemed like an obsession for Chip Kelly.

He saw how teams played the Eagles in his first season. They singled up receivers and used one high safety all season long. They needed the second safety in the box to help against LeSean McCoy and the Eagles’ prolific rushing attack. And playing man coverage was a simple solution to dealing with tempo.

Whenever the Eagles made an offseason move on offense – releasing DeSean Jackson, trading for Darren Sproles, re-signing Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper, drafting Jordan Matthews and Josh Huff – Kelly noted the need for his receivers to be able to beat man coverage.

But there have been changes in Year 2. Most notably, teams have felt comfortable playing more zone. But why has that been the case? Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Sanchez And the Deep Ball

NFL: Preseason-Philadelphia Eagles at New England Patriots

The long ball has fallen off some since Mark Sanchez has taken over.

When Nick Foles was at the helm, he threw passes of 20-plus yards 19 percent of the time, resulting in nine touchdowns and six interceptions. Sanchez, meanwhile, has gone deep at a 13 percent clip and has one TD and a pair of picks. He started out with a bang, hitting Jeremy Maclin for a 52-yard pick-up down the middle on his first regular-season snap as an Eagle, but hasn’t connected many haymakers since.

There appears to be two key reasons for the shift in approach. Read more »

Cooper On Criticism: ‘Negativity Sells’

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Riley Cooper has been backed by the coaching staff at every turn this season. Whenever his level of play or production is questioned by the media, he receives a strong defense. On Monday it was Chip Kelly. On Tuesday, Pat Shurmur followed suit.

“The last time I checked he only has two drops, right?” asked Shurmur. “Other than that when we throw him the ball he catches it. We don’t have a problem with him. Somebody does, but we don’t.

“We certainly see it different than you do. We’re comfortable with him out there playing and we don’t have a problem like I think some people questioning me do.”

Cooper spent a good 15 minutes or so at his locker with reporters today talking about the public criticism versus the in-house praise. Is the coaching staff as complimentary in the meeting room as they are at the podium?

“Absolutely,” he said. “I have a very, very close relationship with Chip. We talk very frequently. I’m one of the captains of our room, me and Jeremy [Maclin], so we’re always going up to Chip with ideas and things and talking – sometimes not even about football. I’m real close with Chip.” Read more »

All-22: What’s Ailing the Eagles’ Offense?

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Win or lose, Chip Kelly believes in keeping the same routine every Tuesday.

The players arrive at NovaCare in the morning, and the day starts with a team meeting. They then split up to review film from the previous week’s game. And lastly they head onto the field to go over corrections.

“I hear and I forget, I see and I remember and I do and understand,” Kelly is fond of repeating.

After Sunday’s 53-20 loss to the Packers, there were plenty of corrections to be made on this particular Tuesday.

“I think the point is you don’t dispose of anything quicker,” Kelly said. “A loss is a loss, whether it’s a one‑point loss or a 21‑point loss. It’s about the same mechanics of what we do. It’s common sense that if you have a mistake, you’ve got to admit your mistake, you’ve got to fix your mistake, and try not to repeat it again. We keep the same formula in terms of what we’re doing. …But to quantify a loss by too many points or a loss by one point and then differentiate between it, it’s not the way we operate.” Read more »

All-22: On the Eagles’ Run Game Struggles

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Chip Kelly was asked earlier this week whether the win over the Carolina Panthers represented the Eagles’ most complete game of the season.

“No,” he said after a short pause. “We didn’t play well offensively at all.”

Considering Mark Sanchez posted a passer rating of 102.5 and the Eagles put 45 up on the scoreboard, Kelly’s response caught many by surprise. But the truth is the Eagles had trouble sustaining drives, with seven of 13 possessions gaining 10 yards or fewer.

To Kelly, not having an effective run game is like not having a morning cup of coffee. Regardless of what else happens, it’s likely to ruin his day. And on Monday night, Eagles running backs totaled 38 yards on 18 attempts (2.1 YPC). After the victory, the mood among the offensive linemen was different than many others in the locker room. Read more »

All-22: The Offense With Sanchez At the Helm

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During the days leading up to the Eagles-Texans game, Brent Celek spent part of his film-watching sessions focusing in on J.J. Watt.

For some tight ends, that might seem unusual. For Celek, it was not.

“When you watch him on film, he lined up at every single position,” Celek said. “So I knew there was gonna be times where I was gonna line up against him, and then it happened.”

Since Chip Kelly took over, the 29-year-old tight end has entered a new stage in his career. The days of catching 70+ balls (like Celek did back in 2009) are over. Instead, he spends more than 50 percent of his snaps as a run blocker. And on Sunday, that meant occasionally getting matched up against Watt. Read more »

Notes: The New-Look Offensive Line

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Pat Shurmur didn’t want to reveal who would be starting at left guard and right tackle this week in place of the injured Evan Mathis and Allen Barbre, but the early portion of practice Wednesday seemed to paint the picture.

Dennis Kelly was working at left guard with the first unit and Andrew Gardner was at right tackle.

“I think we’re better here than in most places I’ve been because we get so many reps in practice, in our training sessions, that the guys that are going to fill in — just like the guys that did on Sunday — have a better opportunity to do so,” said Shurmur. “Everybody deals with it. It’s rare when you have to put two new guys in a game, we’ve all dealt with having to put in one, but the guys that went in did a great job and I think it’s a function of our culture and our practice that they were able to do it so well.” Read more »

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