What They’re Saying About the Eagles
Here’s a roundup of what the national and local media are saying about the Eagles this week:
The Eagles are looking to become the first team in NFL history to score a touchdown eight different ways in a single season. More from USA Today:
This stat was courtesy NFL RedZone’s Scott Hanson, who shared it on Sunday after the blocked punt touchdown (which was actually Philly’s second such TD of the year). Evidently, no team in NFL history has ever scored a touchdown eight different ways, but the Eagles have… 11 more weeks to accomplish the unheralded feat. Here’s how the Eagles have scored their touchdowns so far this year, with the first such TD listed. (For example, though the Eagles have three rushing touchdowns on the year, only their first rushing score is listed.)
a. Rushing TD (Darren Sproles, 49 yards, Week 1)
b. Receiving TD (Zach Ertz from Nick Foles, 25 yards, Week 1)
c. Fumble return TD (Fletcher Cox, 17 yards, Week 1)
d. Kickoff return TD (Chris Polk, 102 yards, Week 3)
e. Blocked punt return TD (Brad Smith, 0 yards, Week 4)
f. Interception return TD (Malcolm Jenkins, 53 yards, Week 4)
g. Punt return TD (Darren Sproles, 82 yards, Week 5)
All that’s left? A blocked field goal return for a TD. Given that the Eagles still have one remaining game with the Redskins, that’s not a bad bet.
Frank Schwab of Shutdown Corner on LeSean McCoy taking himself out of the game down the stretch against St. Louis.
You can view it as McCoy being an unselfish teammate. Sproles ran the ball better on Sunday, so maybe McCoy felt that Sproles was the best man for the job in that moment. Or perhaps Kelly misinterpreted what happened, or maybe McCoy was a little banged up before those plays.
Whatever the case, it’s strange to see McCoy giving way to anyone, during what is becoming a down season for the two-time All-Pro. McCoy had just 81 yards on 24 carries against the Rams (Sproles had 51 yards on seven attempts) and has just 273 yards with a 2.9-yard average through five games this season. He has just one touchdown and the explosive back doesn’t have a run longer than 21 yards, which is unusual for him. Part of that is the injury and suspension issues along the offensive line. No matter the reasons, McCoy is struggling.
Peter King has the Eagles ranked fifth in his Fine Fifteen this week.
5. Philadelphia (4-1). I agree with those who are uneasy about the Eagles’ offense. Last two games: 22 offensive possessions, two offensive touchdowns, 565 yards. That’s no juggernaut.
Even with a 4-1 record, Bob Ford of the Inquirer believes Chip Kelly still needs to find answers:
The offensive performance against the Rams, although spotty and containing only one truly good drive, was an improvement over the shutout pitched against it the previous week vs. San Francisco. Instead of gaining 17 yards on 10 carries, LeSean McCoy gained 81 yards on 24 carries. That’s still not vintage McCoy, and, worse yet, the Eagles are still unable to make opposing defenses pay for overplaying the run. “We want it for Shady so bad, but if we’re winning, he’s going to have to jump on the bandwagon and be a team player. He knows that,” tackle Jason Peters said. “They’re loading eight and nine guys in the box. They’re trying to make sure it doesn’t happen. They’re challenging our receivers and saying, ‘Y’all beat us.’ ” As much as that, of course, the opposition is challenging Nick Foles, and he hasn’t responded yet, particularly to Kelly’s desire to get the ball vertically down the field. Against the Rams, who came into the game ranked dead last in sacks per pass play, Foles was untouched all afternoon. He had some moments and made a couple of very nice passes, but when the Eagles needed to stop the bleeding as the fourth quarter devolved, Foles couldn’t move the football.
Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com writes about how Darren Sproles has filled in the McCoy sized-hole in the Eagles’ run game:
After getting just three carries in the game’s first 56 minutes, Sproles got four consecutive carries with the Eagles leading by six and trying to run out the clock. His 25-yarder got the Eagles across midfield and although they eventually punted, the Eagles hung on for a 34-28 win over the Rams to find their way to 4-1. It did seem unusual for McCoy to take himself out of the game at crunch time, but Sproles has been delivering all year while McCoy has struggled. And he did it again Sunday. “I actually took myself out for a couple of plays,” McCoy said. “Sproles and I work together. No matter if it’s a run or a pass, we work it together. I touched the ball a lot. I had 24 rushes. Next time we really have to finish it, no matter if it’s me or if it’s him.”
Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz was impressed by the Eagles pass rush and compares the sack differential to last season:
One of the positives from the game was the pass rush. They notched 4 sacks and just missed a couple of others. There were a few plays when pressure forced Austin Davis to scramble. The Eagles now have 11 sacks on the year. The Rams are stuck on 1. Sack differential is a key stat to watch. Last year the Eagles were -9. So far this year they are +5.
Matt Cassidy is a journalism student at Temple and an intern at Birds 24/7.