Editor’s Note: This feature will post every Friday. We’ll bring you nuggets from the locker room, scouting reports on the upcoming game and more.
It’s Wednesday morning at the NovaCare Complex, and Jeff Stoutland is fired up.
Practice has just started, and the pads are on. Eagles players line up row-by-row in one end zone. When the whistle sounds, the first group gets started with their warm-up routine.
First it’s knees up to their chests, followed by a light jog to the other end of the field. Then they slide like basketball players working on their defensive stances. On and on, just as they’ve done during the start of every practice since the spring.
“Pick it up today!” Stoutland shouts, watching his players’ every move as if they’re competing in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl.
The 51-year-old chews his gum with authority. He claps and spits and then claps some more. Behind his dark glasses are eyes that have seen a lot since he first started coaching 29 years ago. Read more »
In the days leading up to Sunday’s game against the Raiders, Chip Kelly was asked what his message would be to Nick Foles to get him to rebound from the clunker against the Cowboys.
“Sometimes, as I told Nick, grip it and rip it, let’s go,” Kelly said. “He’s thrown a lot of really good passes since I’ve been around him, and he’s been really good with the football.
“The big thing for him is let’s just get him back in the flow. Let’s get in a rhythm. That’s the biggest thing. Can you get in a rhythm, can you get your feet set, can you throw the ball?”
Answers to those questions came against the Raiders: yes, yes and yes.
After losses to the Cowboys and Giants and a grand total of three points by the offense, Kelly emphasized that there would be no grand scheme changes. The concepts would stay the same, but the execution had to get better.
And it did. To the tune of 49 points in three quarters. So what worked? And why was there such a difference from the previous two weeks? Here’s what we saw from the tape. Read more »
Here’s a position-by-position review of what we saw from the Eagles’ offense this week.
* Not sure what else there is to say about Nick Foles. He was spectacular, completing 22 of 28 passes for 406 yards and seven touchdowns. Two things really stood out when I re-watched the offense. One, Foles was willing to take shots downfield. And two, he did an outstanding job of buying time with his feet to create space. On the Eagles’ opening drive, they faced a 3rd-and-13. Foles could have easily checked the ball down, but instead fired a pass to Jeff Maehl in traffic over the middle for a 19-yard gain. That had to be big for his confidence.
* Foles did a great job of looking defenders off all game long. In the first, he looked to LeSean McCoy in the flat, drew a defender and then hit Zach Ertz for a first down. The 17-yard TD to Riley Cooper down the left sideline was a beauty. Foles let go of the ball while Cooper was covered and let his receiver make a play. He later found Cooper for a 63-yard bomb. Read more »
With eight games in the books, here are position-by-position grades for the Eagles’ offense.
During this exercise, it’s important to remember that we’re handing out grades based on everything we’ve seen in the first half of the season. In other words, what you won’t see here is: The offense has stunk it up the last two weeks. Everybody gets an F!
I would say the Eagles got above average QB play against the Chargers, Giants and Bucs. They were OK against the Redskins and Broncos. And they were flat-out bad against Kansas City, Dallas and the Giants (the second game). The way I see it, that puts them at just about average.
Michael Vick has completed just 54.6 percent of his passes, but averaged 8.6 yards per attempt and was good as a runner before injuring his hamstring. Nick Foles played well in the second half against the Giants and again in Tampa, but delivered a clunker vs. the Cowboys. And Matt Barkley is about what you’d expect. Read more »
Here’s a position-by-position review of how the Eagles’ offense performed vs. the Cowboys. Read more »
You know the drill. Here are 10 things to know about this matchup. Read more »
Brian Westbrook, one of the great screen running backs in the history of the league, continues to be a guiding voice in the ear of LeSean McCoy. It probably came as little surprise, then, that McCoy had a message waiting for him on his phone following the Tampa game on Sunday.
“He texted me after the game and said, ‘Come on, bro. You’re supposed to score on that play.’ ”
The play was a screen pass to McCoy on the Eagles’ first offensive snap of the game. Everything was perfect, from design to execution. What’s more, the Bucs were in the worst possible defense for this particular play call. The seas parted and McCoy was in the wide open field with blockers set up in front of him. He got 44. He could have had the whole thing.
“I should have scored,” McCoy admitted.
Let’s take a look at the anatomy of a near-perfect screen play with the help of the players involved and the screen maestro himself, Westbrook. Read more »
Here’s a position-by-position look at what we saw from the Eagles’ offense after having re-watched Sunday’s game.
* Nick Foles’ numbers speak for themselves: 22-for-31 (71 percent) for 296 yards (9.5 YPA), three touchdowns and no interceptions. Foles also ran in for a score. This was different than last week’s game. He was going up against a Bucs defense that has some talent, specifically in the secondary. We spent much of the offseason discussing how the offense fits Michael Vick’s skill set. But so far (small sample size, granted), it looks like it fits Foles as well. As a rookie, he completed 60.8 percent of his passes and averaged 6.4 YPA. On 61 passes the past two weeks, those numbers are 67.2 percent and 8.9 YPA. Read more »
TAMPA, Fla. — Jason Kelce did not get yelled at. He didn’t have to go to his room or write I will not let the nose guard get past me a hundred times on the chalkboard after practice.
Instead, he just went to work and listened closely as Chip Kelly and the coaching staff devised a plan to eliminate the issues that plagued the Eagles’ ground game a week ago against the Giants.
Kelly has built part of his reputation on coming up with creative and effective ways to run the football. So when the concepts he installs in the game-plan don’t work, he takes offense. But this time around, that feeling led to a solution, as LeSean McCoy piled up 116 yards on 25 carries against a stout Bucs defense. Read more »
Back in 2009, Chip Kelly was speaking at a coaches clinic about Oregon’s zone-read game, and he said something that applies to this weekend’s matchup with the Bucs.
“This may sound like a contradiction, but we do not read anything,” Kelly said. “When you read, you become uncertain. We want the ball in the running back’s hands. We do not want the quarterback carrying the ball. The option can put the ball in his hands, but the defense can force it out of his hands. We want the quarterback to give the ball unless he cannot.
“If the running back is continually getting tackled by the defensive end, the quarterback should be pulling the ball.”
Through four-and-a-half games, Michael Vick kept the ball on read-option plays eight times. But he made defenses pay when they didn’t account for him, picking up 122 yards (15.3 YPC).
Keeping that in mind, the big question this week is: How will the run game change if Nick Foles is the quarterback? Read more »