The Matchup: Eagles Vs. Vikings

NFL: Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles

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 »

Wake-Up Call: Herremans Regaining Form

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Moments after setting a franchise record for rushing yards in a single game, LeSean McCoy turned the attention directly towards his offensive line.

“I mean the guys up front just gave me opportunities one-on-one, blowing those guys off the ball,” he said. “I think everybody is so intimidated and scared of their guys up front on Detroit, but I think the big guys on my team took a challenge and stepped up.”

Tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley are the strength of the Lions’ defense. The onus fell on interior linemen Jason Kelce, Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans to try and keep them under control. They not only did that, but dominated down the stretch to blast open some holes for McCoy to prance through.

Herremans in particular stood out for his handling of Suh. Read more »

Chip: No Concern About Letdown

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The Eagles are coming off an emotional, memorable win over the playoff-hopeful Lions. They have won five straight and, after a Dallas loss to Chicago Monday night, find themselves in the driver’s seat in the NFC East. Up next is a 3-9-1 Vikings team that could very well be without star running back Adrian Peterson.

Any concern about a letdown in this spot?

“No,” said Chip Kelly. “We’re just a one-week operation. I was literally thinking of the Vikings game running off the field on Sunday. It’s, ‘What is our next opportunity to go out and see where we are as a team?’ That’s what this deal is all about. I think the teams that are mentally tough can work their way through it, and I think we have a mentally tough group. Read more »

Game Review: Eagles Offense Vs. Lions

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

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.

QUARTERBACKS

* 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 »

Zone Read: Eagles-Lions, the Day After

NFL: Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles

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 »

Three-And-Out: Eagles-Lions Predictions

Eagles QB Nick Foles tosses the football to RB LeSean McCoy.

Photo | Jeff Fusco

McManus: Todd Herremans

Alex Henery was college teammates at Nebraska with Ndamukong Suh and says he has been texting with him this week as the Eagles get set to welcome in Suh’s Lions. Henery noted that when he and Suh were at Nebraska the Cornhuskers faced a Nick Foles-led Arizona club in the Holiday Bowl back in 2009. Nebraska rolled 33-0. Henery remembers Suh creating all sorts of problems for Foles.

“I think he was 0-for-20 or something,” said Henery.

Actually, Foles was 6-of-20 for 28 yards with an interception. Read more »

Offense Game Review: 10 Observations

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia EaglesHere 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 »

Self-Scouting: Taking Stock Of the Offense

Eagles QB Nick Foles evades the Cowboys' rush. 10/20/13NFL 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.

QUARTERBACK

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 »

Offense Game Review: 10 Observations

NFL: Washington Redskins at Philadelphia EaglesHere are 10 observations on the Eagles’ offense after having re-watched the game.

1. The one word I would use to describe Nick Foles is comfortable. He was calm in the pocket, delivered the football on-target and did a great job on the little things like setting up screens. Foles threw a beautiful ball to DeSean Jackson in between Redskins defenders for 19 yards in the first. He connected with Zach Ertz for a 15-yard pickup and lofted one to LeSean McCoy for 49 yards down the sideline. In the second, Foles motioned Bryce Brown to the right, pump-faked to him and then came back to Brent Celek for a 42-yard gain on a screen. In the third, he delivered a nice ball to Ertz, but the rookie dropped it. That was no issue for Foles, who came right back to him on the very next play for a 16-yard gain. Overall, 17-for-26 for 298 yards. He easily could have had three touchdowns, but receivers were brought down inside the 5. Foles’ play was not the issue in the second half. He wasn’t asked to pass a lot, but still went 8-for-11 for 81 yards. Read more »

Game Review: Eagles Offense Vs. Packers

foles_400_111113Here’s a position-by-position look at what we saw from the Eagles’ offense against the Packers.

QUARTERBACKS

* I thought Nick Foles played great against Oakland. This was a bit of an uneven performance. I know that seems crazy to say, considering he posted a 149.3 passer rating, but I’ll try to explain.

* There were a couple decisions that could have been costly. In the second quarter, Foles was being pressured and just launched a pass up for grabs. It was in the direction of DeSean Jackson, but there were defenders nearby. The ball landed incomplete as Jackson couldn’t find it in the sun, but it was a dangerous throw. In the third, Foles made an awkward throw to Jason Avant, stepping into it with his right foot. It ended up being a 23-yard completion, but just as easily could have been picked off.

* The first touchdown to Jackson was obviously flukey. Jackson had the corner beat, and the Packers had a single high safety, but Foles underthrew him. Chip Kelly said today that the wind played a factor on the pass. Read more »

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