Eagles Wake-Up Call: ‘We Knew What Plays Were Coming’
During his day-after press conference, Chip Kelly was asked whether he would have changed anything about the Eagles’ offensive game plan Sunday after having watched the film.
“No, we just need to execute,” Kelly said. “When you go back through it, they do a good job. They don’t fool you with anything they do. They line up and play football and they are really, really good at doing that. You don’t go back and look at it and say, ‘Hey, we should have run trap or we should have run this scheme.’ It’s they executed and we didn’t execute.”
It’s fair to say that the Eagles left some plays on the field against the Seahawks. But that’s going to be the case pretty much every week. Even if the offense had been awarded 10 more possessions, it might not have been able to get to 24 points.
The Seahawks run the same coverages over and over again. There is not a lot of mystery. It’s going to be Cover 3 and Cover 1 – both defenses with a single high safety. They’ll blitz on occasion, but not often. And they’ll win more one-on-one matchups than they lose because they have a lot of talented players who are coached well.
But once again, the issue of predictability has surfaced as it pertains to the Eagles’ offense.
“I don’t think there’s any secret,” said Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner, according to ESPN.com. “There was a lot of talk about their fast-paced offense, but it doesn’t matter. No matter how fast they ran a play, we were just on it. We knew what plays were coming and it’s a pretty basic offense. Their offense is kind of predictable. They have a lot of plays where they can only run one way. We were ready for everything they had.”
It might be tempting to say Wagner is just puffing his chest out after his squad dominated at the Linc. But we’ve heard some of this before. Earlier in the season, the 49ers indicated that the Eagles were tipping their hand. Some Eagles players said after that game that it felt like San Francisco defenders knew what was coming.
Kelly likely would not be offended by Wagner’s comments. Anyone who watches the tape can see the Eagles like to go back to a group of plays over and over again. But it’s one thing to run a lot of the same plays and another for the defense to claim it knows what’s coming.
At times this year, Kelly has realized the need to switch things up. The Eagles have run the ball from under center with the back directly behind the quarterback so as not to tip off which way the play is going. And they’ve even added new runs like the counter to become less predictable.
Overall, though, it’s been an uneven offensive performance all season long. The Eagles were 15th in DVOA going into the weekend and lead the NFL in turnovers with 30. They’ve shown the ability to dissect mediocre and below-average defenses, but the Birds’ offense has struggled against teams like Seattle, Arizona and San Francisco.
The good news? There’s not another good defense on the schedule. Dallas, Washington and New York rank 24th, 26th and 25th, respectively in DVOA. The Eagles’ offense should be good enough to move the football and put up points against those three squads.
But if the team makes the playoffs, the predictability angle will be worth revisiting.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Have you ordered your Birds 24/7 shirt yet? If not, what are you waiting for?
Eagles-Seahawks, the Day After: On playoff scenarios, Mark Sanchez’s performance, five thoughts, game balls, snap counts and more.
At the day-after press conference, Kelly defended Riley Cooper‘s performance this season.
Game review: A player-by-player breakdown of the Eagles’ offense after having re-watched.
Richard Sherman said he thinks the Eagles miss DeSean Jackson.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz talks about two of the brighter spots for the Birds in the loss to Seattle:
While today was discouraging, there were 2 Eagles who played well. Fletcher Cox looked like the best DL on the field. He was a big reason why the Eagles kept Marshawn Lynch under control. Lynch was 23-86, but 20 of that came on a draw play early in the game. Cox had 8 solo tackles (more than any Eagle or Seahawk) and was a disruptive force all game long. He was in on 11 total tackles and had a TFL. He could have had a couple of sacks if Russell Wilson wasn’t such a shifty, elusive QB.
Mychal Kendricks was also in on 11 tackles. He had a TFL and FF as well. Beyond numbers, Kendricks made his presence felt for much of the game. He had the power to tackle Lynch on inside runs and the speed to chase Wilson. Kendricks was the only Eagle with the closing speed to get to Wilson in the open field. If not for some throwaways, MK could have had 1 or 2 sacks. Kendricks looked like the best LB on the field today.
Cox and Kendricks played well enough to win. They were ready for the big game. That can’t be said for all their teammates.
Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com talks playoff tiebreakers and why the Eagles must beat Dallas and win the division:
Winning the NFC East would guarantee them no lower than the No. 3 seed in the NFC playoffs, giving them a first-round home game.
So even though the Eagles haven’t fared well this year against the conference’s elite, even though it’s fair to question how good they really are following their abysmal showing against Seattle, all that matters is how they fare against Dallas.
“Right now we’re a team that’s trying to win the division and has a chance to win the division,” safety Malcolm Jenkins said. “We’ve got a big game coming up against the Cowboys, kind of with the division on the line. We’re right where we need to be to set ourselves up for the postseason. We’re just a team looking for another win.”
We’ll talk to Billy Davis, Pat Shurmur and the players.