What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Photo Credit Kelley L. Cox - USA Today

Photo Credit Kelley L. Cox – USA Today

Here’s a roundup of what the national and local media are saying about the Eagles this week.

Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz offers his negatives and positives from Sunday’s loss to the 49ers. He notes the pass game, run game, and blocking as major problems, while he was impressed with special teams, pass coverage, pass rush, and:

Toughness – Last year the Eagles had 2 awful offensive games. They lost 17-3 to Dallas and 15-7 to the Giants. Yesterday the Eagles went on the road to SF and lost 26-21. And they had a chance to win at the end. Good teams find a way to stay in games even when things are going very wrong for them. We’ve seen this from Eagles opponents plenty of times over the years.

There is no question that the current Eagles team is having some issues. But the team is still finding ways to stay in games. That shows a kind of mental and emotional toughness, something that can often pay off in big games late in the year. Anyone can win with their A-game. How do you do when things aren’t going your way? Can you stay in games? Can you still find a way to win?

Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com talks about Riley Cooper‘s poor play this season:

In the last five Eagles games, Riley Cooper has dropped three very catchable passes in huge moments.

Riley Cooper signed a five-year, $25 million contract this offseason. He is not making the Eagles look smart by giving him that deal.

If Cooper continues to blow opportunities like the ones above, the Eagles need to begin thinking about putting a wide receiver in there who won’t.

Paul Domowitch of the Daily News caught up with defensive coordinator Billy Davis after Sunday’s game:

The offense managed just 213 yards. The Eagles’ top running back, who led the league in rushing just a season ago, had 17 yards on 10 carries. Bill Davis’ defense was on the field for 42 minutes, the most in 20 regular-season games under Kelly.

“It’s us,” defensive coordinator Bill Davis said after the Eagles’ 26-21 loss to the 49ers. “We’re the ones on the field who’ve got to get ourselves off the field.

“There’s no excuses there. We have to get in more manageable third downs at times. Sometimes we were in manageable third downs and had penalties or they made plays. But it’s our responsibility to get off the field.”

Considering how long they were on the field yesterday, Davis’ defense didn’t play all that badly. Got gashed for 218 rushing yards and 407 yards overall.

Phil Sheridan of ESPN.com on how far the Eagles have come in a year:

Football is a week-to-week sport. Based on that, Philadelphia Eagles fans are disappointed by the team’s 26-21 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

If you look at things on a year-to-year basis, though, you can fully appreciate how far the Eagles have come since this date in 2013. It was the day the Denver Broncos hung 52 points on their defense in a 52-20 blowout that dropped the Eagles’ record to 1-3 after four games.

Michael Vick was the starting quarterback. He would pull his hamstring in the Eagles’ next game, against the Giants at MetLife Stadium. The Eagles went 2-2 in October, with the losses coming at home to Dallas, 17-3, and the Giants, 15-7. Nick Foles was knocked out of that Dallas game with a concussion, but only after turning in his most miserable performance of the season.

Adam Schein of NFL.com talks about the awakening of the 49ers’ defense:

The 49ers’ defense frustrated Nick Foles for four quarters, as Philadelphia’s QB completed just 21 of his 43 passes for 195 yards (a lackluster 4.5 yards per attempt) and threw a pair of interceptions. San Francisco took complete advantage of a banged-up Eagles offensive line, completely bottling up LeSean McCoy, who was a stunning non-factor with 17 yards on 10 rushes. And with the game on the line late in the fourth quarter, the Niners came up with a fantastic goal-line stand, denying Philly from the 1-yard line. All in all, Kelly’s squad managed just 213 yards of total offense. That’s a remarkable accomplishment for the Niners.

This defense remains one of the best in the game. Sunday proved it again. Just wait until Fangio gets NaVorro Bowman (San Francisco’s best defensive player) back from injury and Aldon Smith (San Francisco’s best pass rusher) back from suspension.

Peter King of the MMQB gives some love to a couple of the Eagles’ special-team standouts:

Special Teams Player of the Week

Trey Burton, tight end, Philadelphia. The Eagles’ fourth tight end, an undrafted rookie from Florida who was one of the most versatile players in recent Gator history, executed a perfect punt rush in the first quarter against the 49ers. He and teammate Bryan Braman combo-blocked Niners linebacker Dan Skuta, pushing Skuta back into the face of punter Andy Lee, who was standing near the back of the end zone. Burton reached his left arm over Skuta and whacked the ball to the ground as Lee tried to rush his punt. Eagles wideout/special-teamer Brad Smith recovered for a huge early touchdown. I doubt many people had Trey Burton as a big impact player in Eagles-Niners.

Darren Sproles, running back/punt-returner, Philadelphia. A quarter after the great play by Burton resulted in the first special-teams touchdown of the day for the Eagles, Sproles took an Andy Lee punt at the Philadelphia 18-yard line, got his face mask grabbed by Niners gunner Kassim Osgood (it was flagged) and had his head yanked to the side as he started the return. No matter. He sprinted 82 yards down the right sideline for the touchdown—and the Eagles had two special-teams touchdowns in the first 22 minutes of the game.

Judy Battista of NFL.com breaks down Week 4 at the quarterback position:

Say this for Nick Foles: He is physically tough. The Eagles’ signal-caller took his lumps in last week’s victory over Washington and was running for his life again against San Francisco on Sunday. The problem for Philly: The 49ers’ defense is much better than Washington’s, and Foles couldn’t overcome the considerable holes in his offensive line.

Chip Kelly noted that help is on the way for the hobbled unit — someone is probably going to throw a parade in honor of Lane Johnson’s return from a four-game suspension. But the Eagles’ penchant for starting games slowly in 2014 — they had to rally back from double-digit deficits three straight times to reach 3-0 — finally caught up to them against the Niners, and for that, Foles comes under the microscope. His completion percentage is at around 58 percent this season, and he has thrown six touchdowns against four interceptions. Is that a product of the offensive line’s troubles and the complete absence of a running game, or is Foles reverting to the mean after a sterling 2013? A better read will come when he has better protection.

Don Banks of SI.com gives his analysis for each Week 4 matchup:

What a strange game the Eagles and 49ers played. The Eagles came into the week with 74 points scored in the second half of games this season, while San Francisco had been outscored 52-3 after intermissions. Naturally, the 49ers blanked Philadelphia 13-0 after halftime.

How the Eagles were even in position to win this game was a statistical marvel. According to ESPN, they were only the second team in league history to record a punt return touchdown, an interception return touchdown and a blocked punt return touchdown in the same game. And they lost, because the offense added nothing to that bizarre 21-point trifecta.

But San Francisco’s defense was heroic when it mattered, turning the Eagles away twice from the one-yard line with a five-point lead and the game on the line late. San Francisco made Eagles quarterback Nick Foles look confused and horrible all day, intercepting him twice and sacking him once. Foles was 21-of-43 for 195 yards, with no touchdowns and those two picks. Foles’ uneven second season as the Eagles starter continues to unfold in puzzling fashion.

Keith Goldner of Advanced Football Analytics on Chip Kelly’s decision to accept a penalty rather than force a field goal in the second half:

All this being said, it looks like Chip Kelly did make the correct decision from a numbers perspective. Accepting the penalty added about 1.7% to the Eagles win probability. Kelly was criticized by the announcers (and some of my closest friends) after Kaepernick converted the 3rd-and-long, but it is always important to judge a decision based on the process, not the outcome.

Matt Cassidy is a journalism student at Temple and an intern at Birds 24/7.