What They’re Saying About the Eagles
Here’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles this week.
Brian Billick of NFL.com offers some thoughts on Chip Kelly and the Birds:
Kelly’s practice methods — fast, intense, light on contact — are lauded by his players, especially the offensive ones, with skill-position guys saying they feel fresher deeper into the season than they have under previous coaches. But while the offense is whizzing around against mostly air, some wonder whether the Eagles’ defense is getting the physical repetition and live structure needed to be ready for real game action on Sunday.
Field Yates of ESPN.com lists LeSean McCoy as the best athlete at running back in the NFL:
This was a close call, with Lions running back Reggie Bush a strong candidate to take this spot. But a conversation with a personnel man helped to seal McCoy as the best athlete among running backs: “I think he can make guys miss better than Reggie Bush, and I think he’s a more instinctive runner,” he said. When evaluating athleticism, a trait like instincts is woven into the conversation. Athletic ability is a broad construct that requires both measurements taken in physical tests but also traits evaluated through film evaluation. There’s probably a tendency to think of running backs as speed-based players first and foremost, and while McCoy isn’t speed deficient (a 4.5 40 time is a respectable measure for a back), it’s his change of direction, elusiveness and lateral ability that make him such a tough player to bring down.
Chris Burke of SI.com has the Eagles fifth in his power rankings:
Seattle LB Bobby Wagner called the Eagles offense “predictable,” the second time an opponent has made a claim of that sort this season. San Francisco’s Antoine Bethea after a 26-21 win over Philadelphia, via nj.com: “We kind of knew when they get into certain formations what type of plays they will run.”
Gregg Easterbrook of ESPN.com offers some Eagles-Seahawks thoughts:
Sunday, the Seahawks’ defense faced the top high-tech attack of 2014 and shut the Eagles down. Philadelphia’s Blur Offense came in posting a league-high 73 snaps per game and was held to 45 snaps — below the average of the league-worst Titans. The Eagles came in averaging 416 yards of offense and were held to 139 yards. Trailing by 10 points with 4:15 remaining, Chip Kelly passively sent in the punt unit, knowing all he could do at that juncture was keep the margin of defeat from getting worse.
K.C. Joyner of ESPN.com thinks the Cowboys will make the playoffs:
In the case of the Eagles, they will have to overcome the shaky play of Mark Sanchez. A combination of bad decisions, poor mechanics and inaccurate passes have led to Sanchez posting a 3.6 percent interception rate that ranks 30th out of 34 qualifying passers this year. It is a primary reason why Sanchez has yet to secure his hold on this starting job, and could end up forcing the Eagles making a hit-or-miss, late-season quarterback change to put Nick Foles (3.2 percent interception rate, ranked tied for 27th) under center.
Elliot Harrison of NFL.com has the Eagles seventh in his power rankings:
Sunday’s loss to the visiting Seahawks must’ve driven Philly’s fans crazy. At some point, don’t you have to push the ball downfield? I mean, I love none-yard passes to Darren Sproles and Jeremy Maclin, but come on, you’re down 24-14 late in the fourth … I agreed with Troy Aikman’s in-broadcast analysis that the play-calling left something to be desired.
Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com has the Eagles sixth in his power rankings:
Mark Sanchez needs to play better this week against Dallas than he did against the Seahawks. First place is on the line.
Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com thinks the Eagles need to look for a QB this offseason:
Mark Sanchez has been a pleasant surprise on balance, but his story in Philadelphia is unfinished. His ceiling is limited and he’s a free agent after the year. Nick Foles was showing signs for concern before he got hurt. Chip Kelly should be open to looking for competition via the draft or free agency.
The Eagles moved down three spots to No. 7 in ESPN.com’s power rankings:
Philly’s 10-game home winning streak was snapped, but one bright note was LeSean McCoy. Shady moved past Wilbert Montgomery for the most rush yards in team history (6,539).
FoxSports.com has the Eagles sixth:
Mark Sanchez’s inability to drive the ball downfield allows defenses to clamp down. All season, the defense has struggled with quarterbacks who can extend plays to put pressure on their subpar pass coverage unit.