The Departed: Mathis, Herremans Struggling Early
While the Eagles’ offensive line has struggled with technique issues and execution through the first two weeks of the regular season, another former player is having similar troubles out west.
The Broncos have pulled out two dramatic wins to start the year, but the offensive line in front of an aging Peyton Manning, including former Eagle Evan Mathis, has been less than stellar, the Denver Post’s Troy Renck writes.
“The addition of Evan Mathis, an all-pro performer, was supposed to stabilize the group,” Renck writes. “The Ravens and Chiefs are stout up front, but the Broncos shouldn’t have this many mistakes and missed blocks.”
According to Renck, Mathis has insisted that the Broncos’ line’s technique issues can be addressed through additional reps and improvement, just as Chip Kelly has claimed after the Eagles’ anemic rushing performance against the Cowboys.
“We have what it takes personnel-wise (to be a good running team). And everyone is committed to it. We haven’t been successful. But I don’t hear anybody complaining,” Mathis told reporters according to Renck. “Everyone is accountable to what they are doing and doing everything they can to correct it.”
Here’s what local and national media are saying about the rest of the Eagles’ offseason departures.
Nick Foles was 17-of-32 for 150 yards and threw his second touchdown of the year as the Rams lost to Washington, 24-10. ESPN’s Nick Wagoner writes that Foles didn’t have time to save St. Louis in Week 2.
The Rams probably would have settled for even half of their big play output of a week ago when they posted eight plays of 20-plus yards against the Seattle Seahawks.
But finding any positive yardage, let alone in big chunks, was too tall of an order for the Rams this week. The Rams had just one play over 20 yards against the Redskins, a 40-yard touchdown pass to receiver Kenny Britt. Quarterback Nick Foles didn’t have enough protection to take many shots deep as he often found himself running to buy time. On a day when yards were hard to come by anyway, a few more home run balls likely would have made a big difference.
LeSean McCoy ran 15 times for 89 yards in the Bills’ 40-32 loss to the Patriots on Sunday. Tyler Dunne of BuffaloNews.com writes that McCoy looked much better than he did in the season opener.
If there’s a silver lining Sunday, it was LeSean McCoy’s game. One week after an uninspiring 2.4 yards per carry, he was sudden and explosive with every cut. McCoy again said he’s not 100 percent but, this time, he played like it. In fact, the Bills should’ve kept pounding the run with McCoy (and Karlos Williams) early on. After a knife-through-butter first drive, the Bills dropped back to pass 10 of their next 13 plays as the Patriots raced ahead, 21-7. McCoy’s 89 yards on 15 attempts (5.9 avg.) is a good sign.
The Patriot News graded each Pittsburgh player after the Steelers handily beat the 49ers, 43-18, on Sunday. Here’s the grade for Brandon Boykin, who made his defensive debut in the black-and-gold against San Francisco.
Got beat for an Anquan Boldin touchdown in the end zone late in the game and Torrey Smith got in front of him on the 49ers’ third drive in his defensive debut for the Steelers, but was otherwise fine. He gave himself this letter grade. C+.
Jeremy Maclin caught four passes for 57 yards in the Chiefs’ last-second loss to the Broncos. Maclin has nine catches for 109 yards and zero touchdowns through two games catching passes from Alex Smith.
As Kam Chancellor continues to hold out in Seattle, Cary Williams and the Seahawks’ secondary are in disarray, SportsPress NorthWest’s Art Thiel writes.
Much of Chancellor’s reputation is built on his ferocious hits. But other aspects of his play are just as valuable, including experience and leadership.
Primarily because of his holdout, the Seahawks are a mess in the secondary. The Seahawks benched Dion Bailey, who filled in for Chancellor in St. Louis, and started in Green Bay DeShawn Shead, who practiced little at the position recently, spending more time at corner.
Both players’ inexperience plays out in coverage responsibilities. As well as their own jobs, Sherman and Thomas have to make sure the newbies are assignment-correct, and help cover for them if they are not.
Stephen Holder of the Indy Star gave Colts offensive lineman Todd Herremans a “thumbs down” after Indianapolis’s 20-7 loss to the Jets on Monday Night Football.
There was a play in the first half of Monday’s game on which Herremans was thrown off balanced by a defensive tackle and spun around, left to try and block the defender with his… backside. It was a play that was symbolic of Herremans’ performance and that of the offensive line in general. The Colts can’t and won’t survive without at least competent play from their line. Teams are going to continue to bring relentless pressure (like the Jets did) until the Colts show the fortitude to stop it.
Bradley Fletcher had a shaky game in the Patriots’ 40-32 win over the Bills on Sunday, including this stat line, from the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe:
Bradley Fletcher: 4 [catches] of 4 [targets], 64 yards, TD, defensive pass interference for 29 yards, forced fumble.