Zone Read: Eagles-Giants, the Day After
GAME BALL OFFENSE: JORDAN MATTHEWS
On the Eagles’ first drive, he ran across the field, broke a tackle and sprinted to the end zone for a 44-yard touchdown. Matthews was a factor all game long, finishing with eight catches for 105 yards.
He set up in the slot all season long and had a tremendous rookie season, finishing with 67 catches for 872 yards and eight touchdowns.
The question going forward: Will the Eagles use Matthews more as an outside receiver so he can stay on the field more? Or does Kelly view him strictly as a slot guy in this offense?
At least part of the answer probably depends on what other receivers are on the roster.
GAME BALL DEFENSE: BRANDON BOYKIN
The Eagles’ nickel corner was active all game long, finishing with three tackles and three pass break-ups. On one, he was matched up with Odell Beckham, Jr. in the red zone on an out-breaking route. Boykin had excellent coverage and forced the incompletion.
After the game, he said he thought he had a better 2014 than 2013. The interceptions weren’t there, but Boykin thought he refined his technique and improved overall in coverage.
Even with Fletcher out, the coaching staff refused to give him a shot on the outside. Boykin seems destined to man the nickel one more time in 2015 and then test free agency.
THAT’S WHAT HE SAID
“I might slip them 20 bucks. We need that cat. I don’t know if he heard me. Hey Mac, Mac. He asked me how much I want to see that deal get done. I told him I might even slip them 20 bucks. I’m cheap, I’m cheap. You know that’s love. We got to keep that cat, just for so many reasons. Any guys we commit to, bring in here, defensive, offensive, special teams-wise, if you just watch him, you are going to get better because mentally he’s leaps and bounds beyond a lot of players in this league. You got to look at what he does in an offense with a bunch of moving parts. You could isolate that cat on the outside and just throw him a million balls and he could go for 200 yards every single game. He’s unselfish, he comes in, he plays the offense. He’s been nothing but supportive of me the whole time. That’s a big bro, the big homie, we got to make sure we keep him. Like I said, I don’t know how much you need to sign him, but I might slip them a few bucks.” – JORDAN MATTHEWS
As Jeremy Maclin walked away from a nearby locker, Matthews made it clear why he felt the team needed to re-sign the Eagles’ No. 1 receiver, who is scheduled to be a free agent in March.
1. Kelly usually addresses the team during a meeting the night before games.
On Saturday, he wrote just one word on the board in front of the players: WIN.
“That’s all that matters, just go out and win,” Matthews explained. “And not just in the game. But win in every facet of the game. Win as a teammate, win as a brother, win for the guy next to you. Win every play, every second. And when you do that, those little things add up to a victory all together.”
Kelly said he also thanked his players for the hard work they’ve put in this season.
The faces will be different, and the pressure will mount in Year 3, but the “win the day” philosophy is still at the core of the program at the NovaCare Complex.
2. The mood in the locker room was significantly better than last week.
“I think everybody is happy about this win,” Jenkins said. “Everyone is excited about playing as a team and finishing this off on a good note. We also know that this team won’t be the same next year. There’s going to be some changes, there always is. So we just wanted to take this opportunity to come out and really play together and have fun. I think we all just swallowed that pill that we weren’t going to the playoffs already, so there’s not much frustration because there’s nothing we can really do about it. I think guys are just happy everybody came out healthy, that we got the W, and we had some fun.”
3. It’s still hard to fathom that the Eagles had the entire offseason last year to replace Allen and failed to do so. That cannot happen again this time around under any circumstance. … Be sure not to quote the bogus points-per-game number in reference to the offense this offseason. James Casey had a punt block that Trey Burton took to the house vs. the Giants. That was the Eagles’ 11th non-offensive touchdown of the year. … In addition to the secondary issues, the big question hanging over the offseason is: Will Kelly do something drastic at QB? There aren’t a lot of great options out there. Either he comes back with Nick Foles or he finds some way to make a move. The Eagles are slotted to pick 20th in the draft.