All-22: Strong Start For Eagles Defense

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Billy Davis is expecting improvement on the defense to come from two separate areas.

One is that players from last year are more comfortable in the Eagles’ 3-4. And two is that he’s now able to add more layers to the scheme.

“Looking at last year, a lot of things we did, we were growing into this,” Davis said. “And it’s nothing more than a progression of growth from the end of last year to again a couple pieces we added and a couple schematic things we added to it and just threw it all at them. We will continue to grow that and hopefully continue to grow that way with both the understanding they have in our scheme and the scheme itself.”

Sunday’s Week 1 win against the Jaguars was a good start. It must be noted that Jacksonville could end up being one of the five worst offenses in the league. But after a couple lapses early, the Eagles’ defense dominated in the second half. Jacksonville was held scoreless on eight second-half possessions: five punts, a turnover on downs, a fumble and the end of the game.

The pass-rush, a question mark going into the season, looked like a strength against the Jaguars’ below-average offensive line. And players like Fletcher Cox and Mychal Kendricks turned in outstanding individual performances. Below is a look at what we saw in Week 1. Read more »

Season Predictions: The Pass Rush

NFL: NFC Wildcard Playoff-New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles
As we count down to the start of the regular season, Tim and Sheil try to answer some of the big questions facing the Eagles. On Sunday, they discussed life without DeSean Jackson. On Monday, they predicted what’s next for Nick Foles. Tuesday was a look at the offensive line, which faces an early challenge as Lane Johnson serves his four-game suspension. And they checked in on the secondary yesterday. Today, they take a look at the pass rush. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Cole In Year 10

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Trent Cole is well aware that this is his 10th season in the NFL. He is at the point in his career where there is some inner-dialogue going on about how much longer he will be able to play this game.

“You kind of [ask] yourself, ‘When is that time going to come when you say, ‘It’s time to put ‘em up, Trent. You’re done. It’s your time,’ ” he said.

One thing that the 31-year-old knows for sure is he hasn’t hit that point yet.

“I don’t know what it is, man, but I feel good,” said Cole, rolling into a half-crazed laugh, “and I’m ready to [expletive] rock-’n’-roll.” Read more »

Still Standing: Celek Sets Tone For Eagles

Brent Celek scores in the first quarter.

Brent Celek set up in-line next to right tackle Allen Barbre. When Nick Foles took the snap, he released and headed up field before turning diagonally to the sideline on a corner route.

Foles scanned the field, tried to move the safety with his eyes and then came back to Celek. The eighth-year tight end turned his body towards the line of scrimmage, reached his hands over his head and made the grab for a 22-yard gain. Just as he did, safety Patrick Chung lowered his shoulder into Celek’s chest, while cornerback Malcolm Butler sandwiched him and knocked his helmet off.

Celek rose to his feet, turned towards the end zone full of Patriots fans, balled his fists and let out a yell.

“When a guy like that makes a catch like that, takes a hit and helmet falls off and jumps right up, it’s a boost to everybody,” said Nick Foles. “…With the young guys seeing that, they see the fire you need. It just gives you something. I know when I saw that, it just pumped me even more than I was because one of my teammates sacrificed for us at that moment and just got up and was ready to go. He’s just got that toughness. He’s very unique.”

It’s a scene Eagles fans have seen play out for years. Celek has played in 117 games for the Eagles (regular season and postseason). This was the first quarter of a preseason game in August, but he was playing the way he always does. Read more »

Kelly: Pass Rush The Issue On Third Down

NFL: Preseason-Philadelphia Eagles at New England Patriots

Chip Kelly could have offered a generic answer about the front end and the back end working together.

He could have expanded on how disappointed he was with the penalties, or even just given credit to Tom Brady. But when asked about the issues the Eagles are having on third down, Kelly pointed directly to the guys up front.

“We need to generate a better pass rush,” he said. “I think our defensive line needs to do a better job in terms of what their rush contains are. We had the one play with [Ryan] Mallett where Marcus [Smith II] does a nice job, makes him flush up in the pocket, but we got nobody on that side containing the quarterback, and you let the quarterback scramble for a touchdown.” Read more »

Notes: A Chippy Start To Camp

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Another day, another dust-up here at Eagles training camp.

Today it was Jeremy Maclin and the normally mild-mannered Bradley Fletcher squaring off. The two were going head-to-head during team drills and started having words after the whistle. Next thing you know, punches were being  thrown and a big crowd gathered to separate the two.

Practice ended a short time later. Maclin exited the field without speaking to reporters. Fletcher didn’t offer much.

“We’re just playing ball,” he said. “Emotions got going and one thing led to another.”

Cary Williams, meanwhile, had plenty to say on the subject. He held court out on Lincoln Financial Field and was still speaking long after the rest of his teammates had gone into the locker room. He has a soft spot for this particular topic of conversation.

“I’m glad, to be honest with you,” said Williams of the fights at training camp this year. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Three Leftovers From Davis

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis met with reporters Sunday. Below are three things that stood out.

1. We’ve written plenty in this space about the high number of snaps guys like DeMeco Ryans and Connor Barwin played last year. Part of that had to do with the defense’s inability to get off the field. Part of it had to do with the team’s lack of depth at certain spots. Part of it had to do with pace and style of the offense.

But going forward, Davis wants to get those guys off the field a little bit more.

“It’s something we are very concerned about,” he said. “We don’t want any of them to play all the snaps. It’s too many snaps for any one defensive player. We know we had way too many. It benefits both us and the player and DeMeco or Mychal [Kendricks] that we get a rotation in there, too. We’ll get that rotation all the time through different packages and with the addition like you touched on of some new players. It will give us a little bit more flexibility. Read more »

Photos: Eagles Training Camp, 7/27



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