Part of the solution to the Eagles’ red zone woes might be right under their noses.
Zach Ertz has taken a step forward in his second season. He is on pace for 54 catches for 809 yards and five touchdowns despite playing only 56 percent of the snaps. His seven catches of 20-plus yards is tied for second amongst tight ends (behind only Rob Gronkowski) and he ranks first in yards per reception (14.8). With speed, size and precise route-running, he has proven to be a difficult matchup for linebackers and safeties alike.
Those attributes can come in particularly handy in the red zone. When space is at a premium, a quarterback can certainly be aided by a big target that’s regularly able to win his one-on-one matchups. Ertz, though, has been featured very little in this capacity through seven games. Read more »
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With the Eagles off today, here are some links to keep you occupied.
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There is a saying that floats around the NovaCare Complex, one that many of the players can recite on the spot:
You don’t rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training.
“When the game is on the line, it’s the fourth quarter in a rivalry game in prime time, you’re not all of a sudden going to rise to the occasion,” Malcolm Jenkins explained, “you are going to sink to what you’ve trained and prepared for. Obviously we’ve done a good job of training in those situations because we’ve showed up pretty well.”
The term “training” has replaced “practice” in this team’s lexicon. It’s subtle, but significant. Read more »
Zach Ertz has been putting in plenty of overtime the past two weeks in the name of getting his blocking game right.
Leading up to the Rams game, he stayed after practice every day to work on his technique with Jason Peters following a rough outing against San Francisco. This week, Ertz and his position coaches lingered on the NovaCare fields long after the training sessions had come to a close.
“I want to block. I want to be a good blocker,” said the second-year tight end. “I want to show the coaches that they can trust me to put me in there and get it done.”
Entering last Sunday, Ertz had played 64 percent of the Eagles’ offensive snaps and held a slight edge (185 to 179) over Brent Celek in downs played. Against St. Louis, it was a different story. Ertz received just 29 snaps compared to Celek’s 58. James Casey, who was averaging eight plays per game prior to Sunday, saw his number jump to 25. The reason for the change seems pretty straightforward: Read more »
Here’s a player-by-player breakdown of the Eagles’ offense after having re-watched Sunday’s game against the Rams.
Nick Foles - He’s not playing well. Foles is missing throws, making questionable decisions and looks jittery in the pocket. Overall, he went 24-for-37 for 207 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Foles turned the ball over a second time on a fumble while scrambling. Read more »
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The same scene played out after every practice this week.
While the rest of the Eagles were stretching, Jason Peters and Zach Ertz stood off to the side. They would line up across from each other, fire off the ball, and Ertz would try to block Peters, who was playing the role of a defensive end or a linebacker.
Afterwards, Peters would offer some instruction, and they would do it again.
“I want to be a complete tight end in this league,” said Ertz. “Obviously the route-running, I’m very comfortable with that. I feel like I can get open pretty much whenever I’m on the field. You’ve gotta have that mentality. But the run-blocking I’ve gotta work on each and every day. Jason’s probably the best run-blocking player in the NFL, so to have that ability to learn from him is something I’m working on.” Read more »
Here’s a player-by-player breakdown of what we saw from the Eagles’ offense after having re-watched.
Nick Foles – He followed up a tremendous performance in Week 3 with another uneven outing in Week 4. Foles went 21-for-43 for 195 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. He again took some big hits, but when Foles had opportunities to hit on plays downfield, he didn’t capitalize. The Eagles managed just one completion of 20+ yards all game long.
It looked like the gameplan early was to go with the quick game. Foles completed his first pass to Jeremy Maclin and then went right back to him and misfired. Later on the drive, he overthrew Brent Celek on a corner route that could have resulted in a 25+ yard play. He then overthrew Zach Ertz on the same route to the other side of the field, although it looked like Ertz might have been held on the play. Chip Kelly referred to four overthrows. The third was to Maclin on a deep post in the second. FOX analyst Troy Aikman mentioned that Foles could have probably maneuvered in the pocket before delivering. Foles’ fourth overthrow was to Riley Cooper on another deep post. Read more »