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“View from the Philly Pressbox” – Do the Eagles have a Secret Weapon?

In Philadelphia Eagles on December 18, 2013 at 9:35 am

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As the Eagles head in to the final two games of the season and, hopefully, in to the playoffs is it time to see if they truly have a secret weapon as part of their team?

We all know that as you enter the playoff run that the defenses get better, well maybe not the Dallas Cowboys, and offenses have to be on top of their game. We know that the Eagles defense can be suspect itself so keeping the offense operating on all cylinders is critical. The Minnesota Viking exposed some weaknesses in the Eagles offense by rushing Nick Foles relentlessly throughout the game. The O-Line struggled some for the first time in several weeks and Foles looked a bit rattled early before settling in while playing from behind. Whether it be the Vikings defense or Chip Kelly’s play calling the running game disappeared with LeSean McCoy getting only 8 carries for 38 yards and Foles 5 carries for 41, a whopping total of 79 yards rushing. It’s safe to say the leading rusher in the NFL needs 18-25 carries and he will get 100 yards.

Nick Foles has done an outstanding job of running the Eagles offense, making good decisions, and maybe most importantly protecting the football.  Foles biggest weakness in the read option offense is his inability to run the ball well. He’s made the best of the situation and done nothing wrong while he’s running the ball but there could be more. That brings us to Michael Vick, the secret weapon! It’s time to have a read option package for Vick, from time to time, against these tough defenses. If nothing else the defense will have to respect him running the football. If keeping one man home gives McCoy more space to run or allows the O-Line to get a better match up then why not. If no one stays home then Vick can run for a lot more yards than Foles and open the field up for the rest of the offense.

Don’t get me wrong, Nick Foles is the starting QB. What I’m talking about is maybe 5-7 situational snaps per game. I don’t want Vick in there throwing the ball and being reckless. Foles has handled everything that’s been thrown his way so I don’t see this as a distraction to him or a break in his consistency but rather utilizing all the talent you have available on the 53 man roster.

Going down the stretch don’t be surprised to see #7 on the field. It won’t be a bad thing!!

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View from the Philly Pressbox – What Really Happened to the Eagles?

In Philadelphia Eagles on December 2, 2012 at 9:23 am

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WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO THE EAGLES??

 As we sit here on Sunday morning of week 13 with the Philadelphia Eagles preparing to play the Dallas Cowboys the Eagles are sitting at 3 wins and 8 losses, tied with the Carolina Panthers for the worst record in the NFC. Carolina beat the Birds last week so technically they are in last place. How did a team with such high hopes fall so far, so fast??

 Michael Vick – Vick is not an elite QB in the NFL. Frankly, I wasn’t a big fan when he was running around making plays in Atlanta. Early in the season he turned the ball over game after game that not only kept the offense from scoring but put the defense in bad situations that they couldn’t handle.

 The offensive line – We knew the injury to Jason Peters in the off season was going to be a big loss; I’m just not sure we knew how big. The rash of injuries to Jason Kelce, Danny Watkins and Todd Herremans has been devastating. Those injuries have kept LeSean McCoy from doing anything this season, 750 yards rushing, after his Pro Bowl year in 2011. Obviously, the lack of protection didn’t help Vick either.

 The receivers – DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Brent Celek have all struggled. They have 45, 41 and 43 catches respectively for 700, 528 and 504 yards. I’m not a huge fan of Jackson to begin with; he’s not an elite receiver especially if he can’t get down the field. Maclin seems to be running cautiously over the middle after getting hit hard a few times. As for Celek, I like the way he plays but every ball that has been off of him has ended up in a defenders hands. Overall, this group has underachieved. Some it could be them; some could be the lack of QB protection and some of it the QB’s themselves.

 Trent Cole and Jason Babin – These two Pro Bowlers have done nothing all season. Babin’s play and attitude got him run out of town. I wouldn’t expect Cole to be around much longer either. You have to able to rush the QB for your defense to be successful. These two combined for 7 sacks.

 The defensive backfield – Oh, where to start? They have all played poorly. Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromarti on the corners have been tough to watch. They don’t cover and they don’t tackle either. Kurt Coleman and Nate Allen never seem to be in position to help out from the safety spots. Coleman is second on the team in tackles with 72 and Allen is third with 55. That in itself should tell you something about the defense. All the way up to last weeks loss to Carolina there is still on going miscommunication on who is going to be where among this group.

 Coaching change – The firing of Juan Castillo, more importantly the timing of it was interesting. At the time the Eagles defense wasn’t playing that bad. It was the offense that was struggling and the defense was keeping the team in games. The Todd Bowles move has been a disaster. Now not only is the offense bad, the defense is just as bad.

 The Tale of the Tape – The Eagles have more first downs, 233-209, more rushing yards, 1,420-1,292, and equal passing yards, 2.508-2,509, than their opponents for the season which would lead you to believe they would be having a decent season.

 Here are the key stats:

 The Eagles have scored just 18 TD’s to their opponents 31.

The Eagles have thrown 12 TD passes to their opponents 20.

The Eagles have 18 sacks to their opponents 34.

The Eagles defense has scored 0 TD’s to their opponents 5.

Turnover ratio is -17.

 The future – With the injuries mounting, and a rookie QB cutting his teeth in the NFL the chances of winning many, if any, games this season seems bleak. There will be major personnel changes soon after the season. Many of the old faces will be gone. The Eagles need to determine if Nick Foles is their man moving forward. Andy Reid will likely be gone or moved upstairs. It will be a new beginning for Philadelphia Eagles football in 2013 and it will take time to get back to the top of the NFC.

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DON’T FIRE ANDY REID!!!!

In Philadelphia Eagles on February 14, 2012 at 5:12 pm

I know that I’m going against popular demand but I’m glad Andy Reid is here and I hope he stays another year until the Eagles win the Super Bowl. So bring on the comments, all haters are welcome, I’m ready for you. Here’s why I say Andy stays. Last season saw:

  • 3 new offensive linemen, Evan Mathis, and 2 rookies, Danny Watkins and Jason Kelce, that got a lot better as the season went on. Todd Herremans is a quality tackle and some say Jason Peters is the best in the game. They also had a new O-Line coach in Howard Mudd.
  • The O-Line development led Shady McCoy to Honolulu after a tremendous season both rushing and receiving.
  • A crazy season of DeSean Jackson antics and average play that will change next season. Jackson can be a great player again but he hurt this team.
  • Brent Celek and Jeremy Mackiln are good solid players. Jason Avant and Riley Cooper are serviceable reserves.
  • Injuries and turnovers to Michael Vick. You can’t help the injuries but Vick will protect the football much better next season.  The Vince Young experiment didn’t work and it hurt this football team. There was a new QB coach in Doug Pederson.

Overall I think this is a good, maybe great offensive football team if they don’t turn the ball over. Not many teams have these weapons!!

  • The defensive line was pretty decent. Jason Babin was a Pro Bowler. Trent Cole is solid and the guys in the middle, Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson did a decent job but some depth is needed up front. Jaqua Parker might have run out of gas but showed spurts.
  • The LB’s got better but need some major help. The Casey Mathews experiment didn’t work out, however he played much better later in the season. The jury’s still out whether he can be a full time player. I’d like to see them pick up a gap filler like London Fletcher a free agent from the Redskins and use the #15 pick in the draft on a LB, preferably Boston College’s Luke Kuechly. That would add some experience and toughness to the group that has to do a better job stopping the run.
  • The DB’s were a mystery. Nnamdi Asomugha was pretty bad. He was pretty a guarantee to get burnt at least once a game for a TD. That won’t happen again this year. Every team in the league couldn’t have been wrong on the guy. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Asanti Samuel, if he’s back, Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman, Jaquawn Jarrett, Josilio Hansen will be better next year.

Again there were an awful lot of new faces on defense. Add to that a new Defensive Coordinator, Juan Castillo, new DL Coach, Jim Washburn, new  LB Coach, Mike Caldwell, new CB Coach, Johnny Lynn, whose been replaced and new Safeties Coach Mike Zordich and not having any offseason practice time to get to know the new players and new coaches hurt this team badly especially early in the year.

  • The Special Teams added a rookie kicker, Alex Henery and a rookie punter, Chaz Henry to go with solid long snapper Jon Dorenbos. I can’t say you can upgrade from David Akers but these guys did a nice job.

 All of these things bring us to Andy Reid. Here are a few facts and figures for you to consider:

  • 5th Winningest Active Coach. Bill Belichick (175 wins – 17 seasons), Mike Shanahan (157-25), Jeff Fisher (142-20), Tom Coughlin (142-16), Reid (126-13).
  • Reid is 2nd among active coaches with 45 more wins than losses. Only Belichick is better with 78.
  • Reid is tied for 1st among active coaches for years taking his teams to the playoffs with Belichick with 9. Remember Belichick has coached for 17 seasons to Reids 13.
  • Reid has also coached the 2nd most playoff games and won the 2nd most playoff games to only Belichick.
  • Reid has been to 5 NFC championship games and 1 Super Bowl as Head Coach of the Eagles.
  • If Reid coached another 13 seasons with the same 126 wins, his 252 wins would rank him 3rd all time behind Don Shula and George Halas and 2 win ahead of Tom Landry. That’s pretty serious company.

 The only thing that is not on this Andy Reid resume is a Super Bowl Championship. The team is set up to make a run at the Super Bowl with the players they have and a possibly a few slight additions and there’s no one better than Andy to take them there.

E-A-G-L-E-S!!!!!

A Comparison Of The ’05, ’07 ’11 Eagles Losing Seasons

In Philadelphia Eagles on January 4, 2012 at 10:31 pm

The last time the NFL season ended on January 1 was 2005, the last time the Eagles had a losing record (6-10). That season also ended at home against the Washington Redskins and a 31-20 loss. The last time the Eagles ended 8-8 was 2007 and they finished that season with a 3 game winning streak. Of course the ’11 team was also 8-8. It’s interesting to compare the three season but lets throw some names and numbers around. Obviously Andy Reid was the Head Coach. Offensive coordinator in ’05 was Brad Childress, former Head Coach of the Vikings. In ’07 and ’11 it was Marty Morninweg. The ’05 offense scored 310 points and ranked 18th in the league. Donovan McNabb passed for 2507 yards and 16 TD’s while Brian Westbrook rushed for 617 yards and received another 616 yards. Terrell Owens also caught 47 passes for 763 yards. The ’07 offense scored 336 points and ranked 17th in the league. McNabb and AJ Feeley combined for 4005 yards passing. Westbrrok combined for 2104 yards of total offense and Kevin Curtis caught 77 balls for 1110 yards. The ’11 offense scored 396 points and ranked 8th in the league.  Michael Vick passed for 3303 yards and 18 TD’s. LeSean McCoy rushed for 1309 yards and DeSean Jackson had 961 receiving yards while Jeremy Macklin added 859 yards and Brent Celek 811 yards.  The interesting statistic is that the ’05 team finished 23rd in giveaway/takeaways, the ’07 team was 25th while the ’11 team finished 30th. The years in between, all winning seasons, were as follows” ’06 – 9th, ‘ 08 – 14th, ’09 – 2nd and ’10 – 5th. The offensive statistics bear out a simple fact that if you turnover the football in the NFL you will not win games.

The defenses are also interesting. The ’05 team under the direction of Jim Johnson gave up 388 points while finishing 28th in the league. The top 3 tacklers on that team were Jeremiah Trotter, Michael Lewis and Brian Dawkins. The ’07 team, also coordinated by Johnson, gave up 300 points and ranked 9th in the league. The top 3 tacklers were Omar Gaither, Takeo Spikes and Sheldon Brown. The ’11 team under Juan Castillo gave up 328 points and ranked 10th in the league. The leading tacklers were Jamar Chaney, Kurt Coleman and Nate Allen. What’s the most intersting is that of the 9 tacklers lsited for these years 5 of them are defensive backs. Whether that points to the play of the defensive line, linbackers or both can be argued. The years in between consistently had Quintin Mickel as a leading tackler but also had Stewart Bradley (MLB) and Trent Cole (DE)  in the Top 3. What we do know is that the defense plays a big part in the giveaway/takeaway ratio discussed above. If the offense turns the ball over too much or the defense deosn’t create turnovers it plays a major part in the teams success.

Final analysis for improving in 2012 is simple, don’t turn the ball over on offense and create turnovers on defense. Pretty simple don’t you think???

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