Dec 8, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) hands off to running back LeSean McCoy (25) during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Lincoln Financial Field. Photo | Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Here’s a position-by-position look at what we saw from the Eagles’ offense against the Lions, after having re-watched the game.
* There was good Nick Foles, and there was bad Nick Foles. Obviously, the weather conditions were a factor. Foles started the game 4-for-13 for 35 yards. When he missed, he generally sailed his throws. That’s what happened on the first-half interception. Foles was also off-target on a hitch to Riley Cooper, and he fired a quick throw to Cooper into the ground. Last week, on the same throw, Foles fired the pass over Cooper’s head. Both attempts came with him under center. I think that has something to do with it. That’s an easier throw when you’re in shotgun and can just take the snap and fire. Read more »
Chip Kelly and his coaching staff worked all week on a special gameplan to neutralize the aggressiveness of the Detroit Lions’ defensive front.
Screens, draws, read-plays that would have left linemen unblocked. Those were all part of the plan as of Sunday morning.
“We had a lot of plays in the gameplan to attack their scheme and attack a lot of their explosion and things like that,” said center Jason Kelce. “I was excited to run them coming into the game because I thought they were awesome. But the weather really took them out of their typical way that they played football because they couldn’t get their footing, they couldn’t get upfield as fast.
“I think the coaches got to some more downhill stuff and some more vanilla stuff where we could just kind of get together and get double teams and get moving vertically.”
The word vanilla has been used in the past as a jab at Kelly’s offense. On Sunday, vanilla was what saved the Eagles. Read more »
Late in the first quarter, Matthew Stafford connected with Calvin Johnson for a 33-yard gain on a post route against Cary Williams.
“It wasn’t the fact that I couldn’t run with Calvin, it was the fact that when I tried to turn, I was sliding initially,” Williams said. “I didn’t get the initial grab into the ground the way I wanted to.”
Williams figured the Lions’ defensive backs would likely have the same issue against the Eagles’ receivers. So he decided to let Chip Kelly know. Read more »
The sleep monitor attached to the player’s wrist begins to gently vibrate when it’s time to wake up.
Instead of a screeching alarm clock that startles you out of your sleep, the device the Eagles wear draws you to consciousness slowly as the vibrations gradually increase.
During the night, the device records when you fell asleep, how well you slept and how many times you woke up during the night. This draws the competitive side out of these athletes. They want to improve those numbers, so they work on it. Maybe they’ll go to bed a half-hour earlier, maybe they’ll alter their night-time routine.
When Najee Goode — the Eagles’ reserve linebacker and special teams player — first moved into his new place, his numbers were terrible. He lives by a train, so his sleep reports weren’t so great early on as he got accustomed to the frequent rattling outside. Now it’s better. He would wake up maybe 10, 12 times during the night. Got it down to eight. Now it’s steadily at five or so.
The players’ sleep reports go right into a computer system that can be accessed by sports science coordinator Shaun Huls. That’s just the beginning of the data that the former Navy Seal trainer collects on a regular basis. Read more »
Does Chip Kelly sleep in the office? What was the deal with Brent Celek and Riley Cooper low-fiving in the end zone? Here are three leftovers from today’s session at the NovaCare Complex.
1. John Harbaugh recently chronicled his entire workweek in an ESPN The Magazine feature. Harbaugh noted that he spent three nights a week on the office couch at the team facility.
“Sleeping at the office is about maximizing my time,” Harbaugh said. “I can get more done if I eliminate time I’d spend driving home. Plus, if I come home too late, chances are I’ll wake up my wife.”
So, what about Kelly? Does he sleep over at the NovaCare Complex? Read more »
Here are 10 observations after having re-watched the Eagles’ performance on offense against the Arizona Cardinals:
1. Let’s start with Nick Foles and the positives. He continues to look comfortable in the offense, even though there were some bumps in the road this week. Final numbers: 21-for-34 for 237 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Foles now has 19 TDs and no picks on the season. On the first drive, he did a great job of seeing where the blitz was coming from and finding Brent Celek for a 16-yard gain on third down. On the first touchdown, he made an excellent throw to Zach Ertz in the corner of the end zone after faking the toss to LeSean McCoy. Later, he connected with Ertz on a 22-yarder. Watching live, I thought his pass was high, but the replay showed Foles put the ball where only Ertz could get it as the linebacker tried to step in front. Foles is a master of setting up the screen and waiting until the right moment to deliver the football. He connected with McCoy for a 19-yard pickup on a screen in the second. One of his best throws of the game was to DeSean Jackson for a 25-yard gain on a wheel route down the right sideline. In the third, Foles delivered a strike to Cooper for 16 yards, and his throw to Ertz on the post in the end zone was on the money. Read more »
The last time LeSean McCoy took the field, Redskins defenders were constantly greeting him as soon as he got his hands on the football.
By our count, he had to either break a tackle or avoid a defender behind the line of scrimmage on 12 of 20 carries.
“Just different schemes they had to kind of take me out the game,” McCoy said. “On some of those plays, they wanted Nick [Foles] to keep the ball so they were just slanting, and I was just seeing it and reacting to it. But we have something for that. It’s all about how you want to play us.”
On five occasions vs. Washington, McCoy was dropped for a loss. On the season, he’s been stuffed at or behind the line of scrimmage 24 times. That’s third-most in the league, according to STATS, Inc. Read more »
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 »
In the days leading up to Sunday’s game, Redskins linebacker London Fletcher was asked if he still thought the Eagles’ offense was more dynamic with Michael Vick than with Nick Foles.
“I would say so,” Fletcher said. “From that standpoint as far as with the run threat, I mean you all know what Vick can do with the ball in his hands if he keeps it as a runner. Again, he’s turned some runs when he keeps the ball, he’s had big gainers in this offense in the past. With Foles, a big gain for him may be 10 yards. With Vick, it may be 40, 50, 60 yards in some cases.”
Fletcher’s response caught some observers by surprise. Foles, after all, had thrown 16 touchdowns and no interceptions on the season. And the Eagles had scored 76 points in their previous two games.
But the veteran linebacker wasn’t trying to slight the Eagles’ second-year QB. He was simply making a couple of points clear.
Number one, Vick is more difficult to prepare for, although that obviously doesn’t make him the better option. And number two, while Foles had been playing well, the Redskins still felt their best option for winning Sunday’s game was to make the him beat them. Read more »
Riley Cooper. Photo | Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
A year ago, most football fans couldn’t pick Riley Cooper out of a lineup. In July, he made national headlines after he was caught on video using the mother of all racial slurs, the “n word.” Since then, Cooper has transformed from borderline practice-squad player to an essential weapon in Chip Kelly’s offensive arsenal.
About the offensive part — some fans seem to think it’s time to move past his vulgar choice of words and simply be thankful Nick Foles likes throwing to this guy. But just as the Cooper controversy seemed to fade away, that word kept making headlines in the sports world. Exiled Miami Dolphin Richie Incognito used it as a tool in his seemingly bottomless toolbox of harassment against teammate Jonathan Martin. Last week, Los Angeles Clippers forward Matt Barnes dropped it on Twitter after being ejected from a game. (The tweet has since been deleted.)
Read more »