Making Sense Of the Eagles Inactives

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Philadelphia Eagles

The following Eagles are inactive for today’s game against Washington: QB Nick Foles, S Jerome Couplin, OLB Trent Cole, C Julian Vandervelde, OL Dennis Kelly, WR Jeff Maehl and DL Taylor Hart.

The only difference from last week is that Cole is out with a hand injury. He had surgery earlier this week. Taking Cole’s place will be Brandon Graham. If the Eagles go with a rotation, Marcus Smith II or Bryan Braman could get into the mix. But expect Graham and Connor Barwin to play most of the snaps.

DB Jaylen Watkins was inactive last week, but he’ll dress today. Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Three Eagles Leftovers

Photo Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Here are three Eagles leftovers to get to:

1. LeSean McCoy was one of the few Eagles who spoke up in support of DeSean Jackson after the team released Jackson during the offseason. And earlier this week, he unveiled a pretty hilarious impression of the speedy wide receiver.

We never got to see what a Chip Kelly offense would look like with McCoy, Jackson and Jeremy Maclin all on the field at the same time. Maclin tore his ACL in the summer of 2013, and Jackson was gone by the time this season rolled around.

McCoy was asked about the prospects of Jackson and Maclin teaming up in Kelly’s offense.

“Just a lot of big plays, a lot of space, a lot of yards,” he said. “That’s what I would think. But you never know.” Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: An Opportunity For Graham

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline - USA Today

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline – USA Today

Brandon Graham‘s fifth season with the Eagles is nearing its end. The rookie contract that has tied him to Philadelphia — for better or for worse, in good times and in bad — is about to expire.

Most of the good has come of late.  Graham has made peace with the ghosts of expectations unmet and has adapted to his new position to become a productive part of the Eagles’  attack. He has 5.5 sacks, 13.5 tackles for a loss, 14 quarterback hurries and four forced fumbles on the season while playing a shade under 40 percent of the snaps.

Somewhat apropos of the way his pro career has gone, Graham’s playing time is set to spike just as the sand threatens to drain out of the hourglass. Trent Cole is expected to miss at least one week with a broken hand, meaning Graham jumps into the starting lineup for the first time since 2012.

“This is a big opportunity for me to really show what I can do with more snaps. I’m excited to just be able to go compete and get better with my teammates,” said Graham. Read more »

Smith’s Development “Stifled” By Switch

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

It was out of necessity that Marcus Smith II was shuffled from outside linebacker to inside linebacker earlier this year, and it is out of necessity that he is now being shuffled back to his original position.

Trent Cole broke his hand against Dallas and is expected to be sidelined for at least one week. That means Brandon Graham steps into the starter’s role while Smith figures to be the next man in.

“I expect to get some snaps. I’m not sure how many snaps I’ll get but I’m sure to get action,” said Smith. “Hopefully go out there, run around and just make a play.”

Smith is currently practicing at the Predator position, so he’ll likely rotate in for Graham at times. Bryan Braman is the other option at outside linebacker.

Smith was moved inside back in September after Mychal Kendricks and Najee Goode went down with injuries. He was already having a difficult time acclimating to the pro level, and now had to do so while learning a new position. The results haven’t been good. Smith has appeared in six games and has played just 74 snaps, totaling one tackle and one quarterback hurry.

“We set him back by moving him inside, but we needed that because of all the injuries we had at inside,” said Billy Davis. Read more »

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

all22_ineligible_120914

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 »

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 »

The Matchup: Eagles Vs. Cowboys

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline - USA Today

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline – USA Today

Here’s a look at how the Eagles match up with the Cowboys.

WHEN THE EAGLES RUN…

LeSean McCoy had one of his most productive games of the year last week, rushing for 130 yards on 21 carries (6.2 YPC) against the Titans. While it’s worth noting that Tennessee had the worst run defense in the NFL, McCoy looked shifty and certainly had more space than he’d had previously. He’s fourth in the league with 859 rushing yards and is averaging 4.0 YPC. The Eagles are 21st overall in rushing offense, per Football Outsiders. Read more »

Game Review: Eagles Defense Vs. Titans

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Philadelphia Eagles

Here’s a player-by-player review of the Eagles’ defense after having re-watched Sunday’s game against the Titans.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Fletcher Cox – Another solid game out of Cox. The coaches credited him with one tackle, one sack and one hurry. Cox stopped Shonn Greene after a 4-yard run in the first. He disrupted a run play that gained 3. Good rush late in the first half, but Zach Mettenberger reset and completed a pass. Got some help from the coverage in the back end, slipped inside the offensive lineman and sacked Mettenberger in the second. Cox batted a pass on the next play. Drew a holding call on a run play in the third. Fought off defenders and stopped Bishop Sankey after a 4-yard run in the third. He played 62 percent of the snaps. Announcers made it a point to mention how much Chip Kelly praised Cox during production meetings. He’s had a great season. The Eagles need him to be disruptive against Dallas. Read more »

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