Riley Cooper. Photo | Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Minutes after Chip Kelly watched Shayne Graham’s 32-yard field goal split the uprights with time expiring at Lincoln Financial Field, he stood before a roomful of reporters and was asked to reflect on what his team had accomplished in his first year as the Eagles’ head coach.
“You’re probably right that it’s probably a little too soon for that,” Kelly said. “I thought we were going to be a good team when I met these guys for the first time because I know how hard they worked and how hard they wanted to invest in this. And then I watched it first-hand – them come to work every day and really invest in this whole process. It’s just disappointing right now. But I don’t think us winning the division or getting to the playoffs was a surprise to us. I just think everybody is really disappointed that we’re not moving forward.” Read more »
Jan 4, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) prepares to throw the ball as Philadelphia Eagles outside linebacker Trent Cole (58) and Eagles defensive end Fletcher Cox (91) chase in the first quarter during the 2013 NFC wild card playoff football game at Lincoln Financial Field. Photo | Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Going into Saturday night’s matchup with the Saints, the Eagles’ defensive gameplan focused on daring Sean Payton to take the football out of Drew Brees’ hands.
New Orleans has been a pass-first offense and was playing without its leading rusher in Pierre Thomas. Unlike most weeks, Davis figured he could pay less attention to the run game and instead scheme to limit big plays in the passing game. Payton responded by handing the ball off over and over again to the tune of 36 carries and 185 yards.
“That’s on me,” Davis said. “I made the calls for the passing game to make sure we keep the big plays off us. It was a lot more split safety and a lot more pass-oriented calls, so some of the runs leaked out. I could have called more of a run-based defensive game, shut that down, but we were trying to keep the points down and the big plays off us. So that run game comes down to me, not the players.” Read more »
Eventually, the Eagles players may find solace in the fact that they overachieved in their first year under Chip Kelly. They might look at the foundation that was built and realize their time and effort was well-invested. But on Saturday night, following a gut-wrenching home playoff loss to the Saints, they were in no mood to feed into that narrative.
Instead, they were struggling with the reality that they had let a very winnable game slip out of their hands.
“We lost to a team that wasn’t necessarily better than us,” said Cary Williams. “They weren’t better than us, but they were better tonight. They got the job done. It was more mental than physical out there, and we had a lot of mental busts.” Read more »
Here’s a position-by-position review of the Eagles’ offensive performance against Dallas.
* It was a tale of two halves for Nick Foles. For most of the first half (12-for-16 for 197 yards), he was comfortable, decisive and on-target. In the second half (5-for-10 for 66 yards), the pressure seemed to affect him.
* Early on, Foles found Chris Polk on a wheel route for 34 yards. He put some extra zip on the ball, squeezing a pass in to Riley Cooper in between defenders for a 16-yard pickup. He stepped up, avoided pressure and found Zach Ertz for 17. Again in the face of pressure, he showed patience and hit Ertz for 12 yards on 3rd-and-7. Still in the first, Foles slid away from pressure and found DeSean Jackson for 20. In the second, his receivers helped him out with a couple of great catches, and Foles took advantage of a blown coverage on the 14-yard TD to Brent Celek. He beat the blitz with a 17-yard completion to Avant and was 8-for-9 overall against the blitz for 128 yards, per Pro Football Focus. Read more »
A couple good video links to share this evening.
The first is only five seconds. It’s Chip Kelly answering a Riley Cooper question on the sidelines. Read more »
When Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker met with reporters Monday, he noted that the Eagles basically used the same five run plays out of different formations Sunday night to pile up 289 yards on the ground.
If Chip Kelly heard that assessment, it would probably put a big smile on his face – because it’s true.
By now, we’ve seen Kelly’s Eagles team take the field 15 times, and we have a pretty good idea of what he head coach values offensively. He wants his offense to play fast – which means simplifying things and going back to the same concepts until the defense proves it can stop them.
He wants to run first and take shots downfield. He uses packaged plays to put defenders in situations of conflict. And he wants to spread the field both horizontally and vertically.
Sunday’s 54-11 victory against Chicago was a pretty good example of all those things at work. Read more »
Here’s a position-by-position review of the Eagles’ offensive performance against the Vikings after having re-watched Sunday’s game.
* Tough game to critique for Nick Foles. He threw for 428 yards, three touchdowns (one INT) and averaged 8.9 YPA. Normally those are phenomenal numbers. And Foles did have some excellent moments. But I came away thinking he could have closed in on 600 yards. Keep in mind this is without the benefit of the All-22 (not released yet). There were a lot of times where he identified open receivers but was off-target with his throws. Read more »
Minneapolis — Flags were flying and tempers were flaring and the Viking horn was blowing for score after Minnesota score. The well-oiled machine that had ripped off five in a row broke down on Mall Of America Field.
A defense that had held its opponents to 21 points or fewer for nine games straight surrendered 48 to a Vikings team that was operating without running backs Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart. LeSean McCoy, coming off a career day in the snow against Detroit, had 38 yards on just eight carries. The offense overall was choppy.
“A lot of frustration, honestly,” said DeSean Jackson. “We thought as an offense we should have came out there and be able to have a lot more success. We weren’t able to get it done. It was very frustrating, especially after the way we’ve been able to play the last couple weeks.”
The first signs of that frustration came in the third quarter after Nick Foles‘ second interception of the season. Jackson, the intended target, was animated as he returned to the sideline, apparently shouting in the direction of receivers coach Bob Bicknell and later, Jason Avant. Riley Cooper stepped in as mediator and was pushed away by Jackson, who eventually calmed down after a conversation with Avant away from the rest of the team. Read more »
The Eagles punted four times and turned it over once on their first five possessions last week against the Lions.
After each series, when the offensive players ran off the field and towards the sideline, assistant coaches were waiting for them with questions.
They wanted to know what the conditions were like, why certain things weren’t working and what the Lions were doing defensively.
“You don’t even need to wait until halftime,” said guard Todd Herremans. “We get enough breaks during the game where you come off the field. We had a lot of stuff that was based off of the speed of their ends rushing upfield and penetration of their tackles and stuff. We thought we would be able to take advantage of that, use our speed to our advantage. But obviously during the conditions, they just kind of slowed everybody down and it just became more of a power/downhill game.”
The players let the coaches know that they were slipping, that the Lions’ front four wasn’t getting upfield, that it was difficult to change direction and get to runs which required a certain degree of lateral movement.
And so Chip Kelly and his staff decided to implement some changes. Read more »
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 »