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 »

Game Review: Eagles Offense Vs. Seattle

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Here’s a player-by-player breakdown of what we saw from the Eagles’ offense against the Seahawks after having re-watched the game.

QUARTERBACKS

Mark Sanchez – He obviously struggled throughout. Sanchez became the second QB this season to attempt at least 20 passes and total fewer than 100 yards in a game. The other was Andy Dalton. Overall, Sanchez went 10-for-20 for 96 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

The thing about facing a defense as good as Seattle’s is there are not going to be a lot of chances to make plays in the passing game. You have to make the most of your opportunities. And Sanchez did not do that.

On the first play, he stepped up, targeted Jeremy Maclin and was nearly intercepted by Richard Sherman. Sanchez threw short of the sticks to Jordan Matthews for a 6-yard gain on 3rd-and-10 on the first drive. Good decision to pull the ball and fire to Maclin for the 1-yard TD. Good throw on boot-action to his left, finding Matthews for a 17-yard gain in the first. Bad-looking deep ball intended for Cooper on the post against what I believe was Cover 3. He threw short of the sticks incomplete to Matthews on 3rd-and-9 in the second. Sanchez has had trouble on screens to the slot. He fired one high to Maclin in the second, which threw off the rhythm of the play on an incompletion. Read more »

Chip Stands Up For Cooper

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Chip Kelly agreed with Riley Cooper’s postgame analysis: Mark Sanchez‘s fourth-quarter interception was on the quarterback and not the receiver.

“[Sanchez] got pushed off the point. Coop was exactly where he needed to be. The ball was thrown behind him,” said Kelly.

So Cooper didn’t hurt them there. It’s also true that he didn’t help the Eagles much from a production standpoint Sunday, finishing with three catches for 13 yards. He’s had his share of quiet days this season, and against defenses a lot less vaunted than Seattle’s. That’s been especially true since Sanchez  replaced Nick Foles. Over the last six games with Sanchez at the helm, Cooper is averaging three catches for 28 yards.

Kelly stood up for Cooper at his day-after press conference, noting that he had 47 catches all of last year and has 46 this season with three games to play. Read more »

Zone Read: Eagles-Seahawks, the Day After

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY

There was a lot of talk about measuring sticks in the Eagles’ locker room Sunday evening. Questions regarding what the players learned about themselves during a windy afternoon at the Linc. Discussions on whether the team is capable of competing with the best of the best in the conference.

After a 24-14 loss to the Seahawks in which the offense looked completely outmatched, the Eagles are now 0-3 against NFC teams that would make the playoffs if the season ended today.

The overall mood, though, was more upbeat than one might expect. As Russell Wilson knelt down to kill the clock in the fourth quarter, Connor Barwin walked around to his teammates and delivered fist-pounds and hugs. When Mark Sanchez returned to his locker after his press conference, Jordan Matthews greeted him a handshake.

Everyone seemed to share the same feeling.

“I don’t think that anybody in here feels that we can’t beat the Seattle Seahawks,” said center Jason Kelce. “I just think they were much better than we were today. And I think we feel the same way about Green Bay and about any team in the NFL. On any given day, you can win in this league. And it really comes down to us just continuing to improve each and every day.” Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Wilson Vs. Kelly, Take 2

Photo Credit: Cary Edmondson - USA Today

Photo Credit: Cary Edmondson – USA Today

Russell Wilson and Chip Kelly were part of the highest-scoring Rose Bowl ever played.

Wisconsin and Oregon combined for over 1,100 yards of offense in the Ducks’ narrow 45-38 win back in January of 2012 that gave Kelly his first bowl victory. Wilson had 314 all-purpose yards and accounted for three of the Badgers’ touchdowns (two passing, one running). He had Wisconsin within striking distance late but time ran out on him.

Less than a month later, Wilson sat down with former Eagles scout Daniel Jeremiah at the Senior Bowl and promised big things for the franchise if they took a chance on him.

“At the end of the interview, you always ask for players’ numbers so you can get in touch with them — he asked for my number. And then I would get text messages from him periodically saying, ‘If the Eagles draft me, I will lead the Eagles to championships.’ You know he would send me these text messages,” Jeremiah said back in September.

“So leading up, even the day of the draft, the first day of the draft: ‘If the Eagles draft me I will lead them to championships.’ He was sending me these text messages. Well, we really liked him, and I thought there was a very real chance he was going to end up being a Philadelphia Eagle there. And then of course, Seattle ends up taking him.”

Wilson went 75th overall to the Seahawks, and has helped Seattle to a 32-12 record and a Super Bowl title since taking over. The Eagles drafted Nick Foles 13 picks later and set off on their own course, which included bringing Kelly on board as head coach the following year.

This coming Sunday, coach and quarterback will square off once again in a game that has significant playoff implications for their respective teams. Read more »

Chip Says Nothing To Cooper-Sanchez Flap

Courtesy of USA Today

Courtesy of USA Today

Riley Cooper didn’t have a great week.

He made strange jokes about Jeremy Maclin and his contract status leading up to the Dallas game —  comments that Maclin didn’t find particularly amusing. Then in the fourth quarter against the Cowboys, he caught the ire of Mark Sanchez for apparently not following the quarterback’s instructions at the line of scrimmage. The Eagles had to burn a timeout and Sanchez was clearly frustrated with Cooper. He seemed to yelling, among other things, “Listen to me!”
Read more »

Maclin Parts Ways With Agent

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Jeremy Maclin has terminated his contract with agents Ben Dogra and Jim Steiner, a representative of the NFL Players Association told Birds 24/7 Tuesday.

He is currently without representation. The move became official on November 20. By rule, a player must wait five days to hire a new agent. That means Maclin is clear to sign with another agent on Wednesday. Read more »

Game Review: Eagles Offense Vs. Titans

Photo Credit: Derik Hamilton - USA Today

Photo Credit: Derik Hamilton – USA Today

Here’s a player-by-player review of what we saw from the Eagles’ offense after having re-watched Sunday’s game against the Titans.

QUARTERBACKS

Mark Sanchez – There was some good and some bad with Sanchez. He completed 30 of 43 passes for 307 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

Sanchez has generally gotten the ball out quickly and done a good job of climbing the pocket when he feels edge pressure. He takes fewer shots downfield than Nick Foles. Per Pro Football Focus, 12.9 percent of Sanchez’s attempts have traveled 20+ yards downfield (15th). With Foles, the number was 18.9 percent (second). Twenty-four of Sanchez’s 30 completions Sunday were within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. Read more »

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