Zone Read: Eagles-Saints, the Day After
FIVE RANDOM THOUGHTS
1. After a loss like this, conversation often turns to: Which side of the ball is most to blame? But there’s no easy answer to that question. The offense scored 24 points and gave the Eagles the lead late in the fourth quarter, but felt like it could have done more.
“I feel like we let the team down,” McCoy said. “The first half we couldn’t do anything. We didn’t capitalize on any of the turnovers we got. We won the turnover battle and we could have done more.”
Added Kelce: “Early on we had a lot of opportunities that the defense put in our favor and we just didn’t get it done offensively. It took too long to get going.”
Foles completed 23 of 33 passes for 195 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers. On the final offensive drive, he completed 3 of 4 for 21 yards and also had the 40-yard gain on the pass interference. Like the rest of the offense, Foles started out slow, but got going in the second half.
2. Of course, the defense and special teams can’t be let off the hook either. New Orleans scored on four of five second-half possessions, and the defense couldn’t come up with a stop late in the game after the offense gave the Eagles the lead.
Special teams might have been the biggest disappointment on the team all season long. Kelly made it an emphasis during the offseason, but this group let the Eagles down on too many occasions. Henery missed a 48-yard field goal, and Darren Sproles had the big return to give the Saints great field position at the end.
3. If you’re wondering why Earl Wolff didn’t play, it was because he couldn’t practice during the week.
“I didn’t get a lot of physical reps at practice,” Wolff said. “I feel just as a young guy, it’s kind of difficult. They don’t want to put me in a situation where I guess I go out there and not necessarily won’t know what’s going on but just I haven’t had a whole lot of snaps.”
Wolff didn’t find out until Saturday that he would be active. Davis said he was only going to use the rookie if he had to.
Patrick Chung gave up a 40-yard completion to Robert Meachem in the fourth quarter and continued to struggle in coverage.
Wolff will continue to get healthy and will likely be competing for a starting job next summer.
4. If you want to talk offseason needs, the one that comes to mind off the top of my head is pass-rush. Cole got going in the second half of the season, and Barwin provides excellent versatility, but the Eagles could use someone who can really get after the quarterback. That could mean an outside linebacker or even a defensive lineman. The sense I get is that Davis doesn’t want to have to blitz as much as he did this season.
Another area to keep an eye on is wide receiver. Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper are both free agents. The Eagles very well could look to upgrade at the slot position also with Jason Avant.
And of course, as always, there’s safety. Nate Allen is a free agent, and Wolff should compete. But given what’s asked of that position nowadays – play the run, cover tight ends, play center field – the Eagles have to be on the lookout for a talent upgrade.
5. On behalf of myself and Tim, just wanted to thank you all for joining in. We feel like Birds 24/7 made the second-year leap, and it was a fun season to cover the team. More people read the site in August and December than ever before.
As you know by now, we’ll be going strong all offseason. We’ll keep an eye on the rest of the playoffs, free agency, the draft and more. We’ll be in attendance at the Senior Bowl, the scouting combine and the owners’ meetings.
So thanks for all the support, and continue to come back in the weeks and months ahead!