Making Sense of the Eagles Inactives

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

The following Eagles are inactive for today’s game against the Seattle Seaahwks: QB Nick Foles, S Jerome Couplin, DB Jaylen Watkins, C Julian Vandervelde, OL Dennis Kelly, WR Jeff Maehl and DL Taylor Hart.

There are two differences from last week. Trey Burton (hamstring) returns from injury, and Maehl goes back on the inactive list. Burton has been a key special teams contributor – both on the coverage and return units – all season long. Also, Couplin replaces Roc Carmichael on the 53-man roster. But he won’t dress. Read more »

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 »

Kelly On Mariota: ‘He’s Everything You Want’

Kirby Lee / USA Today

Kirby Lee / USA Today

On Saturday night, there’s a pretty good chance that Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota will win the Heisman Trophy.

To the man who recruited him and coached him for two years, that’s not really a surprise.

“I had nothing to do with Marcus. When he was a freshman, I remarked, ‘This kid’s gonna win the Heisman,’ ” said Chip Kelly. “He’s a special young man, and he’s a hell of a football player, and he deserves it. But I don’t think it was any impact that I had. The type of kid that he is, he had an impact on everybody that got to coach him. I’m sure Mark Helfrich and Scott Frost will tell you the same thing. He’s just a special young man and very deserving of the award.” Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Will Eagles See a Different Romo?

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys

Tony Romo did not play a clean game on Thanksgiving as the Eagles handed the Cowboys a 33-10 loss.

He went 18-for-29 for 199 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. But most notably, he went down on a couple occasions when pressure was near, something that has been rare for him throughout his career.

“Oh, we’ll see a different offense,” said Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis. “We’ll see a healthier Tony Romo. We’ll see a healthier team, a team that’s got plenty of time to prepare for us, including a game with us under our belt. But we also have that time. It will be a little different. Tony Romo will look completely different against us than he did against Chicago. He looked a lot healthier in Chicago, and now 10 more days of recovery, I think we are going to get more of the healthy Tony Romo.”

Maybe Davis just wanted to make it clear to his players that taking the Cowboys lightly would be a mistake. Maybe he wanted to drive home the message that the performance in the first game will have no impact on this one.

Or  perhaps he was saying how he really felt. Read more »

All-22: Why the Eagles’ Offense Got Shut Down

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A single response from Pat Shurmur Tuesday explained a lot about the Eagles’ ugly offensive performance against the Seahawks.

“They played exactly… they did less on defense than we expected,” Shurmur said. “They played single-safety middle like we expected. They played a combination of man and zone, and on third down it was very similar until we got in third-and-long and you saw split safeties. They did less on defense than what we had planned for.”

In some ways, what Pete Carroll does on defense is similar to what Chip Kelly does on offense. It’s not about volume. It’s about finding an identity, having answers for every situation, getting a lot of reps and allowing players to make plays in a scheme that they know inside and out. Read more »

All-22: The Good And Bad Of the Eagles’ Defense

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Eagles defensive players – well, most of them anyway – know by now not to make excuses.

The offense wants to play fast every week, regardless of opponent, situation or anything else. The defense’s job is always to get off the field and give the offense another chance to score. Since Chip Kelly took over, that formula has worked pretty well. But there are games, like Sunday’s, when the offense is stagnant. And that puts the defensive players in a bind.

For example, to start the game, the defense gave up a 10-play, 43-yard drive that took 6:35 off the clock. The offense went three-and-out in 25 seconds. And Billy Davis’ guys were right back out there.

That is just how it is. It’s why the Eagles train the way they do. And it’s why in a perfect world, they’d like to rotate players on defense even more.

“I think they are fine,” Kelly said Monday. “I don’t think it had anything to do with the fourth quarter. I just think that they are built for it. They are in great condition. They train at a really high level. They practice against us. They understand what it takes. We didn’t come out of it with any injuries or anything like that. I would imagine they will all be ready to go.” Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: ‘We Knew What Plays Were Coming’

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

During his day-after press conference, Chip Kelly was asked whether he would have changed anything about the Eagles’ offensive game plan Sunday after having watched the film.

“No, we just need to execute,” Kelly said. “When you go back through it, they do a good job. They don’t fool you with anything they do. They line up and play football and they are really, really good at doing that. You don’t go back and look at it and say, ‘Hey, we should have run trap or we should have run this scheme.’ It’s they executed and we didn’t execute.”

It’s fair to say that the Eagles left some plays on the field against the Seahawks. But that’s going to be the case pretty much every week. Even if the offense had been awarded 10 more possessions, it might not have been able to get to 24 points.

The Seahawks run the same coverages over and over again. There is not a lot of mystery. It’s going to be Cover 3 and Cover 1 – both defenses with a single high safety. They’ll blitz on occasion, but not often. And they’ll win more one-on-one matchups than they lose because they have a lot of talented players who are coached well.

But once again, the issue of predictability has surfaced as it pertains to the Eagles’ offense. 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 »

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 »

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