Eagles Wake-Up Call: Leftovers From Chip
Here are three leftovers from Chip Kelly’s day-after press conference.
1. One of many players who had a rough go Sunday was rookie Josh Huff. Huff was the gunner on the punt coverage team when Micah Hyde returned one 75 yards for a touchdown. It looked like he was in position to make the tackle, but didn’t end up finishing.
After the game, Huff indicated to reporters that he was just doing what he was supposed to do.
“I haven’t talked to Josh since the game, so we’ll get with him tomorrow in the special teams meeting,” Kelly said. “Our gunners are taught never to go by the returner. Obviously, so you don’t want to get washed by him. He needed to arrive in front of him, but they’re not taught to stop in front of them. We’ll correct whatever that miscommunication is.”
Huff also had a drop in the game on offense.
“I think he’s a capable backup right now,” Kelly said. “He’s working himself into a position to see the field more, but he’s got to prove it to us, just like all our other guys, in terms of what he does from a practice standpoint and a game standpoint.”
2. Kelly defended a lot of people on the day after the ugly loss: Mark Sanchez, LeSean McCoy, Bradley Fletcher, etc.
But he did not mince words when asked about first-round pick Marcus Smith II.
Asked what Smith needs to do to get on the field more, Kelly said bluntly: “He needs to be more consistent from a practice standpoint to show the coaches that we have the trust in him to put him on the field.”
Smith dressed on Sunday, but did not play a snap on defense or special teams. Given that we’re approaching Week 12, it seems likely that his rookie season will be a complete wash, and the inside linebacker experiment has not been fruitful.
The absence of Smith was even more striking Sunday with safety Haha Clinton-Dix, who was taken with the 21st pick, playing 92 percent of the snaps for the Packers.
I’ve preached patience with Smith, and I still think he has talent, but it’s tough to find a single sign of encouragement from his rookie season.
3. As we mentioned on Monday, Jason Kelce had his right thumb wrapped in the locker room after Sunday’s game. I asked Kelly if that’s what is affecting his off-target snaps.
“I don’t think so,” he said. “I haven’t talked to Jason today, but I don’t think so, no.”
Then what is the problem?
“I just think he’s been a little more erratic at times, and he has got to be a little more consistent,” Kelly said. “I think that the layoff has hurt him a little bit. He’ll be the first to admit that. So, we just need to get more consistent with the snap.”
Of course, Kelce pointed out that this was his third game back. In other words, it shouldn’t be a case of rust.
I understand Kelly (and Kelce) not wanting to use the injury as an excuse, but it seems likely that the thumb is affecting his snaps.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Eagles-Packers: The Day After: Sanchez’s performance, game balls, Kelce’s snaps, five thoughts, snap counts and more.
The Birds’ defense failed across the board in its biggest test so far, writes McManus.
Did Sunday prove there’s a big gap between the Packers and Eagles? Kelly explains how he views the blowout loss.
“I don’t think they’re a better team,” said McCoy, when talking about the Packers.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Reuben Frank of CSN Philly shares some numbers on Jordan Matthews:
Matthews registered his second straight 100-yard receiving game Sunday in the Eagles’ 53-20 loss to the Packers at Lambeau Field (see 10 observations), making him only the second rookie in Eagles history with back-to-back 100-yard games.
DeSean Jackson had 106 and 110 yards in his first two NFL games in 2008 — his only 100-yard games as a rookie.
Matthews caught seven passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns in the win over the Panthers and was 5 for 107 with a TD in Green Bay.
He’s the fifth rookie in franchise history with two or more 100-yard games in a season. Charle Young had four in 1973, Fred Barnett three in 1990 and Hank Baskett, Jackson and Matthews have had two apiece.
Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz offers his thoughts on Sanchez:
Did not play well. He threw 2 INTs and was involved in 2 fumbles. Beyond those, he missed a wide open Riley Cooper for a long TD and Darren Sproles open in the flat for what might have turned into a TD. The pick that went to Julius Peppers and was returned for a TD was the low point for me. Sanchez is a veteran. He has to know better on that play. That was all on him. A lot of people are milking the bad snap play as some sort of new Butt Fumble moment. “This just proves he sucks!!!” No, it doesn’t. Let’s see him play for 6 weeks. Let’s judge a body of work, not his best or worst moments. Peyton Manning led the Broncos to 7 points yesterday. QBs can have bad moments and bad games.
We’ll talk to Pat Shurmur, Billy Davis and the players down at NovaCare.