What They’re Saying About the Eagles
Here’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles this week.
With a shutout against the Giants, the Birds fly up three spots to third, their highest ranking of the season on NFL.com:
Due to an incredible defensive effort, I feel the Eagles have truly earned this spot. Shoot, things were going so well Sunday night that even LeSean McCoy averaged more than 2 yards per carry. Now we’re cookin’ with grease! Of course, the bye week is here, so the process of building momentum will be somewhat abated, unfortunately. The bye also gives us an additional week to ponder the quality of this 5-1 club — and how good it could be if the quarterback were actually playing well.
Jeff Darlington of NFL.com offers an anecdote that relates to the Eagles and Cowboys:
Around this time two years ago, I was standing at the locker of Baltimore Ravens safety Bernard Pollard when he said something that stuck with me for the rest of that season: “It’s going to be OK, man. We’re not hitting the panic button.”
It was odd, to say the least, since Baltimore had seemingly no reason to panic. The Ravens were 4-1. They were winning. And yet, because of heightened expectations for a vaunted defense that was giving up too many yards, players were actually justifying their issues.
Less than four months later, Pollard was among those raising the Lombardi Trophy. He was part of a special squad that did special things, perhaps in part because winning games was never considered good enough.
I’m reminded of this situation as two teams are causing their respective fan bases to wonder one wonderfully important question: Is this for real?
The Eagles are third in ESPN.com’s power rankings, one spot behind the No. 3 Cowboys:
Now that’s how you enter a bye week. Philly shut out the Giants for the first time since 1996, with LeSean McCoy rushing for a season-high 149 yards
Just when LeSean McCoy gets going, they lose Darren Sproles to injury.
In the official FoxSports.com power rankings, the Eagles move up three spots to third:
The Eagles finally put together a complete performance in what was a statement victory against a previously clicking Giants team. The special teams continue to make plays, but the offensive line and DC Billy Davis deserve the game ball for this blowout victory.
CBSSports.com has the Birds moving up one spot to No. 5 in its power rankings:
What we saw against the Giants was the offense we expected to see all season. They head to the bye week in a good way.
Pro Football Talk keeps the Eagles in the fifth position of its power rankings:
So much for the sluggish, uninspiring wins.
The Birds move up one spot to fourth in the USA Today power rankings:
They just pitched first shutout in 18 years. Amazing this oft-besieged defense pulled it off and none of Jim Johnson’s units ever did.
SB Nation bumps the Eagles up from eighth to fourth.
Jenny Vrentas of The MMQB writes that defense came together without Billy Davis having to blitz a lot.
The Eagles twice brought Manning down with coverage sacks, forcing him to hold on to the ball for more than 4.5 seconds in both instances—far above his season average of 2.38 seconds from snap to throw, which is the NFL’s fourth-best time, according to Pro Football Focus.
The Giants’ new offense is rhythm-based, so Eagles defensive backs focused on jamming receivers and disrupting the timing of their routes. “I ain’t never seen Eli hold the ball like he did. That’s a first for me,” said Cole, who has played 21 games against Manning.
The other four sacks of Manning were generated by quick wins up front. On each play, a defender took less than three seconds to break through the Giants’ protection and engulf a virtually helpless quarterback. Outside linebacker Connor Barwin, who finished with three sacks, used right offensive tackle Justin Pugh’s aggressiveness against him, twice beating the second-year player by waiting for Pugh to make a punch move. Cole also beat Pugh with an inside pass rush move for another sack.
Andy Benoit of The MMQB gives us 10 Film Study Quick-Hitters:
4. Congratulations to David Molk. Against the Giants on Sunday night, the Eagles’ rookie center went from being a weakness to a strength, finally displaying the mobility needed for reaching the perimeter as a run-blocker. That’s critical for playing center in Chip Kelly’s offense.
7. Matthews’ older cousin Casey, on the other hand, had his two best games as a pro over the last two weeks. The Eagles inside linebacker is filling in on a rotational basis for the injured Mychal Kendricks.
Matt Cassidy is a journalism student at Temple and an intern at Birds 24/7.