Zone Read: Eagles-Cardinals, the Day After



1. Why Jeremy Maclin was returning punts all game?

Darren Sproles was out, so the Eagles needed someone to handle punt returns. But I’m not sure why that person had to be Maclin. The upside isn’t there (he averaged 5.8 yards per return coming in), and he’s too valuable to the offense right now to risk injury.

Even after Maclin got popped by Bucannon in the second, Kelly still had him back as a returner, and he looked shaky. I know there aren’t a lot of other options, but how about Josh Huff? Or just send Riley Cooper back there to make a fair catch.

Sproles was a game-time decision vs. the Cardinals, and there’s no guarantee he’ll be ready to go vs. the Texans. If Sproles is out, we’ll see if Kelly alters his plan at punt returner.

2. Whether the pick play to Larry Fitzgerald was legal?

Earlier in the game, Huff got called for an illegal pick. But when the Cardinals ran a pick play, Fitzgerald took off for 80 yards.

I asked Malcolm Jenkins about that, and he didn’t think Arizona did anything illegal.

“I think it was a good play by them,” he said. “The timing of it, it’s not like [Ted] Ginn ran up and blocked me right away. He did shield me off, but I think the timing in which the contact happened, it was just a good play on their end.”

Watching the replay, I think Jenkins is right. Maybe Ginn started blocking just before Fitzgerald caught the ball, but it wasn’t blatant.

“It was a blitz beater, and picks/rubs kind of beat blitz,” Jenkins said. “They got rid of the ball quick, were able to shield me off with Ted Ginn, and then Larry comes in right behind him. It’s designed to beat the blitz, and it did. When you run blitz as much as we do, a lot of times it’s rewarding, and then when it does break, it’s usually a big one.”



That’s the average number of points scored by teams that piled up 520 yards or more of offense since the start of 2013 (going into Week 8).

The Eagles totaled 521 yards against the Cardinals, but only came away with 20 points. On three separate occasions, they drove to the Arizona 25 or closer only to come up completely empty.

The good news is that the offense was able to move the football against what has been a really good defense. The bad news is its inability to take care of the ball and finish drives cost the Eagles a chance at 6-1.



There’s no better way to sum up being a true sports fan in 140 characters.

It looked like the Eagles tried to just hit their inside zone out of shotgun on that third-and-inches play to McCoy. Kelly said afterwards that they could have run the same play with Foles under center, and it still would have been stopped.

Let’s just get to the game balls, shall we?