Observations: Eagles 49, Raiders 20

foles_400_110313Here’s what we saw during today’s Eagles-Raiders game.

OFFENSE

* The question coming in was: How would Nick Foles rebound from his disastrous performance two weeks ago against the Cowboys? Even Foles’ biggest supporters could have never imagined he would come back with one of the best statistical performances in NFL history. Foles completed 22 of 28 passes for 406 yards and tied an NFL record with seven touchdowns. The Eagles routed the Raiders, 49-20, for their fourth win of the season. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Midterm Grades (Defense)

barwin_400_103013We went over the offense on Tuesday. Now here’s a look at how the defense grades out through the first half of the season.

Defensive line: B-

This group has shown more improvement than any other on the team from Week 1 to Week 8. And defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro deserves credit for that.

Cedric Thornton is playing lights-out on a weekly basis and leads all Eagles D-Linemen with 45 tackles. Fletcher Cox has really come on as of late and has three sacks to go along with a team-high 15 hurries (no other Eagle has more than seven). Isaac Sopoaga was a non-factor, but players like Clifton Geathers on the second team are starting to show flashes.

Opponents are averaging 3.7 YPC vs. the Eagles. Only five teams have posted a lower number. Read more »

All-22: State Of the Eagles’ Defense

Barwinb_All22_102413Back in the spring, new Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis was asked if he had spent time looking at Jim Johnson’s scheme and concepts.

“He had some great dynamic pressures, and I’ve studied a lot of them,” Davis said. “They were out-of-the-box thinking. But when you really break him down, it was more guys up in the A-gaps with the illusion of pressure than actual [sending] more than four rushers.

“There were times that he brought more. …But he did a great job of keeping offenses off-balance through both pressure, illusion of pressure and non-pressure. And you need all elements to attack an offense because there’s some times you pressure some of the stuff Coach [Chip Kelly] does, you’re going to get eaten alive.”

Davis’ comments serve as a good launching off point to examining what’s working well for the Eagles on defense. Last week, they were able to keep Tony Romo off-balance and free up rushers all game long, both with the blitz and the threat of the blitz. Read more »

All-22: Trent Cole, Reinvented

cole_940_100413Trent Cole used to pace around his locker stall like a mad man leading up to big games. If it was Dallas week or Giants week, the look in his eyes would get a little bit crazier, his voice more animated. One time a couple seasons back he was so hyped that he did an entire interview standing on a chair while talking nonsensically.

He would get wound up and wound up some more until the band was ready to snap, then would unleash it all on Sunday.

The 31-year-old has mellowed some of late. He’ll still get wild but not as often or to the level he used to. On this particular day he did the interview seated on his chair and speaking in a measured tone, even with the New York game fast approaching. Truth be told, his new position doesn’t require the bat-out-of-hell Trent Cole. Seek and destroy has been largely replaced by read and react. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Pass-Rusher Rankings

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A week after facing a run-focused offense and a rookie quarterback, Billy Davis and company now get Tony Romo and the Cowboys Sunday afternoon at the Linc.

Romo is completing 70.2 percent of his passes and has tossed 14 touchdowns to go along with just three interceptions. At 33-years-old, he’s making the most of the weapons around him and having a career year.

“I think one of the biggest things that Romo does is he extends the play,” Davis said. “If the initial play is not there, like a couple of quarterbacks in the league, the Roethlisbergers, they don’t necessarily run to run, they run to extend the play and the receivers do a great job of, when it breaks down, coming back to the ball, finding the open area.”

That means the defensive backs will have to hold their coverages longer. But just as importantly, the Eagles’ pass-rushers need to finish when they have opportunities.

Below is a look at where the pass-rush stands. Sacks and hurries are tracked by the Eagles’ coaching staff.
Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Trotter Evaluates the LBs

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This morning we yield the floor to Jeremiah Trotter. 

We asked the Axe Man to give his take on the Eagles’ linebacker play through six games, and he obliged. Pretty simple exercise: we fired a player’s name at Trotter, and he shot back with some analysis. This is how he sees it. Read more »

Eagles ‘D’ Answers Call In Fourth

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Mychal Kendricks dropped back into coverage and kept his eyes on Eli Manning.

“I knew he wanted to pass to [Brandon] Jacobs,” Kendricks said. “Someone stopped him from passing the first time, and then the second time they came through, someone tipped the ball, and by that time I had already broken and it fell into my hands.”

The “someones” he was referring to were Brandon Boykin and Trent Cole. Boykin came on a blitz from the right edge, and Cole rushed from the same side. Both got pressure on Manning as the ball popped up in the air before it landed into Kendricks’ hands.

The interception came with 10:49 left in the fourth quarter and the Eagles clinging to a 22-21 lead. It also was the first of three straight takeaways that proved to be the difference in the Eagles’ 36-21 win. Read more »

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