Posts Tagged ‘Brent Celek

07
Feb
11

EAGLES: ‘Birds Tweeting about the Super Bowl

Here’s a compilation of Eagles tweeting before, during and after the Super Bowl. If they really mean what they say, then they should have enough motivation to be there next season.

MikeVick Mike Vick

That game just motivated me to work a lot harder this off season

BrentCelek Brent Celek

Man I am so jealous of these guys

jmac_18 Jeremy Maclin

Jealousy should never be apart of a real man….lol! Just motivation! RT @BrentCelek: Man I am so jealous of these guys

Jamar51Chaney Jamar Chaney

What a day it would be if they were to win tonight.

Jamar51Chaney Jamar Chaney

Mann watching all this pre-game stuff leading up to the SuperBowl, is motivating me even more. I got to get there, Im gone get there!

Jamar51Chaney Jamar Chaney

RT @MikeVick That game just motivated me to work a lot harder this off season > same w/ me big bruh. Let’s Get It.

toddherremans Todd Herremans

Watchin this game is makin me sooooooo bitter but I gotta root for the Pack. #NFC

JonDorenbos Jon Dorenbos

“Wow. We were 1 play away from beating the Packers in the playoffs. Congrats to Aaron Rogers and the Packers. Next year boys!”

BGraham54 Brandon Graham

“Next year I’m trying to have a parade in Philly after winning the Superbowl!! I’m hating right now!!”

21
Dec
10

EAGLES: The Miracle at the NEW Meadowlands

Eagles fans will never forget where they were at 4:30 p.m. on December 19th, 2010. Some were running around their living rooms, some were hugging and holding loved ones or complete strangers, and others just stared at the screen in shock and disbelief. No matter how you may have celebrated, everyone was asking the same question: did that really just happen?

Every emotion possible came to light in the Eagles and Giants game. The first half was everything that Eagles fans were nervous about. The Giants came out on a tear and the Eagles failed to respond. Eli Manning was controlling the offense and Michael Vick had no answer against the aggressive New York defense.

The lead continued to grow for New York and Eagles fans slumped further down into their chairs. Once again we were watching the Eagles buckle in the big game. And then something changed in the hearts of those on the Eagles sideline. With eight minutes and nine seconds left, something clicked team and they realized that in the NFL, nothing is truly over until the clock hits zeros.

Twenty-eight points and over 300 yards of offense in the final half of the fourth quarter and the Eagles ran into the locker room in celebration and disbelief. They had just pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history. It was not your average comeback, but rather one that included two 30+ yard scrambles by Michael Vick, the best onsides kick off of David Akers career, a missed challenge by Andy Reid, two three and outs forced by the Eagles defense, and most notably a punt return touchdown by DeSean Jackson to end the game. Truly unbelievable.

Now for the weekly grades:

Quarterback: A –

What Michael Vick did in the fourth was the most impressive quarterback performance I have ever seen. No other quarterback could have done what he did to bring the Eagles back into the game. The combination of big plays in the air and on the ground makes him the most dynamic threat in the league. With his 242 passing yards and three touchdown passes alongside 10 rushes for 130 yards and a touchdown, Michael Vick took the Eagles under his wing.

Vick was far from effective in the first half. Just like we saw the last time these two teams met, Vick struggled with the constant pressure put on by the Giants. He threw the fifth interception in the last five games and missed a lot of his receivers through the first 45 minutes. However, No. 7 didn’t let that affect him. He rebounded in a way that no one could have imagined. I look forward to seeing him in an Eagles uniform for the next couple of seasons.

Running back: A –

LeSean McCoy only saw 10 carries but he did the most with them on Sunday. Shady rushed for 64 yards, making it the eighth time this season he has averaged over five yards per carry (the fourth time he averaged over six yards per carry). It also doesn’t hurt the rushing offense when Vick averages 13 yards per carry.

Did that really just happen?

Wide Receivers: B

If DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin could hold onto the football, this unit would be in the B+ to A – range. Both star receivers committed costly turnovers that could not have come at worse times for the Eagles offense. However, both Maclin and Jackson certainly made up for their miscues. Maclin scored the game-tying touchdown with just over a minute to play and then Jackson answered right back with a game-winning punt return. Tight end Brent Celek scored his longest touchdown of his career when he hauled in a 65-yarder from Michael Vick.

Offensive Line: C+

It was a lot of ups and downs for the offensive line. King Dunlap got absolutely owned by Justin Tuck, who finished with 1.5 sacks, two tackles for losses, six tackles and three quarterback hits. If it wasn’t for Vick’s speed, Tuck would have made Dunlap look like the Winston Justice of 2007. On the contrary, Jason Peters did a great job on Osi Umenyiora and Max Jean-Gilles threw a great block that sparked Michael Vick’s first touchdown run.

Defensive Line/Linebackers: A –

The front seven was the biggest question mark coming into Sunday’s game; however they stepped up in a big way against a tough Giants offense. They were without defensive end Brandon Graham and middle linebacker Stewart Bradley. Rookie Jamar Chaney, a seventh round draft pick, dominated the middle of the field with 16 tackles (12 solo) and one tackle for a loss. Moise Fokou also stepped up on the linebacker core, notching 10 tackles (8 solo), a sack and two tackles for losses. The defensive line didn’t put a ton of pressure on Eli Manning, but they did a great job defending the run. The duo of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs was held to a mere 3.2 yards per carry and the defense only allowed three rushing first downs.

The defense did a great job stopping the run on Sunday

Secondary: D+

One stat pretty much speaks to the Eagles secondary against the Giants: in the first half, cornerback Dmitri Patterson was thrown at 10 times. Of those targets, Eli Manning completed six passes for 84 yards and three touchdowns. For the game, Manning passed for 289 yards, four touchdowns (three in the first half), and in interception en route to a 105.4 quarterback rating. This marks the second time in the last four games the Eagles secondary has allowed four touchdown passes.

If this continues, the Eagles offense will need to put up over 30 points a game if the team has any choice of winning. With Nate Allen joining Ellis Hobbs on the sidelines for the rest of the season, rookie Kurt Coleman will start for the rest of the season. Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott needs to find an answer or Philadelphia is in some big trouble.

Special Teams: A+

What more do I need to say? DeSean Jackson defied all odds with his game winning punt return for a touchdown. His first touchdown return of the season could not have come at a bigger time for No. 10. Also, kicker David Akers knocked down a very clutch 34-yard field goal with less than eight minutes left in the game.

In a matter of minutes, the 2010 season has taken a turn for the better. The Eagles now control their own destiny to their sixth NFC East title in the past 10 years. If they beat the Vikings or Cowboys, the division is theirs. If the Chicago Bears lose one of the next two games and the Eagles win out, then Philadelphia could find themselves with a first round bye.

It’s pointless to play the “what-if” game. For now, it’s important that everyone enjoy and embrace this win. Christmas came six days early in the City of Brotherly Love.

Check out Philly Phour writer Josh Getzoff’s video about Philadelphia’s dominance over New York in the last week. Also check out the Eagles locker room celebration after the Giants game.

06
Dec
10

EAGLES: Eagles take care of business against Texans

Pinned in the heart of the Eagles second half schedule, many overlooked the matchup with the Houston Texans on Thursday night. Even though it was a non-conference game, it was a must win for the Eagles considering how tight the NFC is looking at this point in the season. Once again, Michael Vick carried Philadelphia on his back and led the Eagles to a 34-24 win at Lincoln Financial Field.

Offensively, the Eagles continued their dominance of opposing defenses. Vick led the Eagles to touchdowns on four of six red zone possessions and to a 50 percent third down conversion rate. He controlled the game and let the offense work itself out against one of the worst defenses in the league.

Defensively, the Eagles were pretty shaky. The Texans scored touchdowns on all three of their red zone trips. Coming into the game Philadelphia allowed touchdowns on 76.7 percent of red zone possessions, which is the worst in the league. Now for the grades:

Quarterback: A-

Was Michael Vick slippery or what against the Texans? He dodged a couple of tackles throughout the game that should have resulted in sacks and he instead turned them into big carries. He had his fifth game of the season with a quarterback rating over 100 and his seventh over 90. Vick completed 22 of 33 passes for 302 yards (third time in four games throwing over 300 yards).

Vick did a great job controlling the game under pressure. He had his first come from behind win as the Eagles starting quarterback. He completed 5 of 7 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown (on top of a rushing touchdown) in the fourth quarter. That’s a passer rating of 153.2. The Eagles are averaging 33.6 points per game with Vick under center and have scored over 25 points in each of those games.

I’m still a bit worried and annoyed by Vick’s refusal to slide. He said in an interview after the game that he knows how to slide, but would rather not to. He’s all smiles right now while he is healthy, but one hit can end all of the Eagles dreams with Vick under center.

Running backs: A

On the ground, LeSean McCoy only rushed 12 times for 44 yards. However, McCoy hauled in a team high eight passes for 86 yards and finished with two touchdowns on the day. On the season he has 67 receptions, which is only 23 away from tying the Eagles single season record set by Brian Westbrook in 2007. He is averaging just over five catches per game and with four games left, he is poised to contend for that record. I really cannot say enough about how much Shady has developed in the last year. He is extremely versatile and does a great job making people miss.

Even though he only had three touches on the night, Jerome Harrison had a huge third down carry that went for 14 yards. He broke a tackle and quickly moved to the edge of the field and beat out a couple of linebackers.

Wide Receivers: A –

Brent Celek saved the game for the Eagles late in the 4th quarter

This was the first game of the season that the Eagles got solid production from the big three of their receiving core: DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Brent Celek. Jackson finished with 84 yards, Maclin with 68 and Celek with 55. Granted they were facing one of the worst secondaries in football, but still they seemed to do a good job getting open at all points of the field. It seems like Vick and Celek are starting to get more comfortable together, as the tight end was targeted a season high seven times from No. 7. Also, hats off to Brent Celek for keeping the Eagles in the game late in the fourth quarter when he stretched for a first down on 3rd and 19. That play changed the outcome of the game.

What is the deal with Jason Avant? For the third time this season Avant dropped a touchdown pass that could have changed the outlook of the game. He is regarded as having some of the best hands in football, but seems to miss at the worst possible times. Both Avant and Celek dropped touchdown passes on a second half drive that resulted in a touchdown.

Offensive Line: B

The offensive line only allowed one sack to the Texans.  More impressively, they only allowed two tackles and one tackle for a loss to Mario Williams, who is regarded as one of the most dominant defensive ends in the country. However the line as a whole continues to buckle against the blitz. Imagine what Vick could do with more time in the pocket.

Jason Peters had a great game blocking, and impressively without any penalties. He made great blocks on almost every big passing play. Todd Herremans was really inconsistent and allowed too many defenders in the backfield.

Defensive Line/Linebackers: C –

Let’s just say that if Michael Vick had as much time as Matt Schaub in the pocket, the Eagles would average 50 points a game. The front four did a terrible job getting to Schaub all night. They only blitzed nine times, which resulted in two sacks. Brandon Graham played in 70 percent of the snaps, but was practically invisible on the field. Trent Cole, a man who seems to be able to get past any offensive lineman, was shut down for most of the game. Aside from Trevor Laws’ interception in the first half, the defensive line was very unproductive against a mediocre Texans offensive line.

Stewart Bradley had another great game for the Eagles. He has been very quiet all season, but finally showed signs of leadership on Thursday. Bradley made a couple of big tackles against Arian Foster that went for losses. However, Bradley, like the rest of the linebackers, gave up a couple of big plays to tight end Joel Dreessen.

Secondary: C+

The second straight game without Asante Samuel and the Eagles secondary was torched again. Matt Schaub passed for 337 yards, 149 of which went to Andre Johnson. The Texans star receiver was injured for most of the first half, which shows how big of an impact he had in the second half. Both Nate Allen and Dmitri Patterson were beat badly on a head fake by Johnson in the second quarter that went for 42 yards.

Congratulations to David Akers who made Eagles history Thursday

That being said, the Eagles defense still was able to pull things together late in the fourth quarter. They were in a tough spot and the offense picked them off the ground and put them on their back. The defense really needs to step up heading into Dallas and New York.

Special Teams: A

It finally happened. The Eagles returned a kickoff for the first time this season, and one of the first times in the last decade, but then it all came crashing down on a Clay Harbor holding call. Watching Jorrick Calvin celebrate after the return without knowing there was a penalty was painful. He still rebounded and averaged over 23 yards per return.

Congratulations to Eagles kicker David Akers. He became the all-time leader in starts in franchise history (184), surpassing former safety Brian Dawkins. Akers also accounted for 10 points for the Eagles on Thursday night.

Now is when things get very interesting for the Eagles. They finish the season playing the Dallas Cowboys twice, the New York Giants at the Meadowlands and at home against the Minnesota Vikings. For the first time in the last few seasons, a 10-win team might not make the playoffs in the NFC. Now is when we see what the real Philadelphia Eagles are like and how they can respond on the road in Dallas and New York.

If you haven’t seen it yet, you must watch the Eagles post-game locker room celebration

29
Nov
10

EAGLES: Sloppy Loss to Bears Brings Eagles Down From Cloud Nine

There are two things that Eagles learned at Soldier Field on Sunday. First is that Michael Vick is human and last week was not a fluke. Second, the ‘Birds are still too vulnerable to be considered the best team in the NFC because of their inconsistent defensive play.

The Bears are a good team simply because they grind games out with their defense, but the Eagles have been dominant in the last couple of weeks. That being said, I still pinned this as a potential loss for the Eagles coming into the game. They had just played three tough games, including two divisional games that were on prime time television. However it’s one thing to lose, but it’s another thing to lose when nothing seems to go right.

The Bears were more prepared in every facet of the game. Their defense bombarded Vick and didn’t give him any time in the first half. On offense, Jay Cutler, who is known as one of the most inconsistent quarterbacks and is usually good for at least one turnover a game, threw for 247 yards and four touchdowns. Let’s be honest, Jay Cutler is not a quarterback that should have a 146 passer rating against the Eagles, who coming into the game had forced the most turnovers in the NFL. Despite a late surge from the Eagles in the second half, they fell to 7-4 on the season after a sub-par outing in the Windy City.

To the report card:

Quarterback: B –

On paper, it looked like a solid outing for No. 7. He finished with 333 yards passing, two touchdowns and his first interception since being released from jail two years ago. However, in the first half Vick was clueless on the field. The offensive line didn’t give him a chance to do what he does best (run) and he missed a couple of big passes. He couldn’t get anything going in the red zone all game. The interception he threw at the end of the second half when the Eagles were down by one point was careless. Granted it was tipped, but he also was throwing into triple coverage.

The second half was the Michael Vick that Eagles fans have grown to enjoy watching. His pass to Celek was an unbelievably thrown ball that he somehow fit in between four defenders. At least he ended on a positive note.

Running back: B

Can someone tell me why Eldra Buckley was in at running back on the third play of the game? What happened to that Jerome Harrison guy that rushed for 100 yards in his debut? LeSean McCoy averaged 5.3 yards per carry, but still on gets 10 carries the entire game. Even though the Eagles were playing catch up for most of the game, McCoy needs more touches. I love that he had eight receptions for 67 yards, but he has changed games with his ground game too.

Receivers: B –

Brent Celek jumped back into the receiving mix Sunday

Where in the world was DeSean Jackson on Sunday? He was targeted five times on that afternoon but only hauled in two passes for 27 yards. Slot receiver Jason Avant led all receivers with eight catches for 83 yards and Jeremy Maclin caught his seventh touchdown of the season in the first half. Maclin did a great job getting open against the zone defense and was able to find a seam between the safety and linebacker Brian Urlacher.

I would like to formally welcome Brent Celek back to the 2010 roster. He scored his first touchdown since week five and finished the game with 50 yards. Maybe he read my blog post earlier this week.

Offensive Line: D

I don’t even know what to say anymore about the Eagles offensive line. They were completely dominated by Julius Peppers and the Chicago Bears front seven. The biggest problem for the offensive line all season has been defending the blitz, however Chicago dominated them at the line of scrimmage. Instead of rushing guys from the secondary, they kept their safeties back to defend DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. Even the legs of Michael Vick couldn’t make the offensive line look better on Sunday. They were just pathetic.

Defensive Line/Linebackers: C –

At some point in this season, someone not named Trent Cole is going to need to step up in the Eagles front seven. Cole was an absolute animal, compiling two sacks and three tackles for losses. The Eagles as a whole had four sacks (Brandon Graham and Mike Patterson both had one), but still could have done a better job getting to Jay Cutler. Bears running back Matt Forte, who coming into the game only had one other game this season over 100 yards, rushed for 117 yards on 14 carries (8.4 yards per carry). This was the most yards the Eagles have given up to an opposing running back all season.

Matt Forte proved to be a bit of a problem for the Eagles defense

Secondary: D +

It was games like this one that makes us realize just how much the Eagles need Asante Samuel in the secondary. Not only does he lead in the NFL in interceptions, but he also brings a veteran presence to the defense that is necessary for such a young team like the Eagles. At one point in a nickel situation, the Eagles had three inexperienced defenders in Nate Allen, Dmitri Patterson and Trevard Lindley all on the field at once. Add that to a pathetic effort by Joselio Hanson and you have a recipe for disaster. As I mentioned earlier, there is no reason that Jay Cutler should throw for four touchdowns against the Eagles. And there’s also no reason that the eagles should be torched by Devin Hester, Johnny Knox and Jay Bennett.

Special Teams: B

David Akers was one of the main reasons the Eagles stayed in the game against Chicago. He was 4-4 on the afternoon and made a great 45-yard field goal in the first half. It was great to see some production from DeSean Jackson when he returned a punt for 35-yards that sparked an Eagles drive. Defending wise, the Eagles let up a big return from Devin Hester that eventually led to a Greg Olsen touchdown in the second half.

It wasn’t even a situation where the Eagles beat themselves. In reality, they just were not as prepared as Chicago and it showed when the Eagles were unable to capitalize on their red zone opportunities (5 trips: 1 TD and 4 FG’s). The ‘Birds only had three penalties on Sunday, which is vast improvement from the 11 penalties they had against the Giants a week ago. It’s not going to be a loss that defines the season, but it is still very important for the Eagles to bounce back against the Texans. They only have three days rest before they play on Thursday night at the Linc, so it’s important that they all have short memory spans to forget about the sloppy play in Chicago.

26
Nov
10

EAGLES: Remember that guy Brent Celek?

You remember the game “Where’s Waldo?” where you have to look for Waldo amongst a crowd of people? Well on the football field there isn’t a crowd of people, but instead 22 players battling on the gridiron. However, throughout the entire Eagles season I have found myself playing a Philadelphia Eagles version of “Where’s Waldo?” to the tune of “Where’s Brent Celek?”

It was last season that Eagles fans watched Brent Celek break out of his shell and emerge as one of the most dominant tight ends in the game. He is a blue-collar player that prides himself on hard work and determination. He isn’t the biggest or the strongest at his position. He isn’t the fastest and doesn’t have the best hands. However, he will outwork and outhustle players in order to better his team. Those are the qualities that Eagles fans saw in Celek during his breakout Pro-Bowl caliber season in 2009.

As we sit here 11 weeks into the season, we have yet to see the Brent Celek that we were all so hopeful to watch this season. Many hoped that he was going to add a new dimension to the Eagles receiving core after last season and solidify himself as one of the top five tight ends in football. Instead, Celek has a mere 23 receptions for 237 yards and two touchdowns through 11 games. These numbers pale in comparison to 2009.

Which Brent Celek will we see in the closing weeks?

Last year, Celek had 22 receptions through the first three games. In those games he also recorded 245 receiving, which is 8 more yards than he has during the 2010 campaign. Through 11 games last season, his numbers were exponentially better than this year, as he had 54 receptions for 601 yards and five touchdowns. He eclipsed the 100-yard receiving mark three times in 2009 and the 50-yard mark eight times. This season, his most yards in a game came against San Francisco when he finished with 47. In 2009, he had 80 receptions and had at least two catches in every game. In 2010, he is on pace for only 37 receptions and has been held without a catch in two games (Giants last week and Colts three weeks ago).

What has led to this sudden slump for Celek? Is he underperforming? Does a change of quarterbacks make that much of a difference? I believe it is a combination of both.

The different styles between Kevin Kolb and Michael Vick could definitely play a role in the lack of production by Celek. When Michael Vick is the starting quarterback, Celek has 9 receptions for 77 yards whereas when Kevin Kolb is the starting quarterback, he has 14 receptions for 160 yards (Not including the Packers game and the Washington Redskins game because they split time due to injuries). With Vick’s big-play style of offense that revolves largely around his legs, Celek becomes less of an option. Kolb, who runs more of a west coast style of offense with quick, short passes, often looks to Celek more over the middle. Much like Donovan McNabb, Kolb enjoys going to the tight end when in trouble and facing pressure. Vick on the other hand uses his legs to overcome pressure and does a better job finding his wide receivers on the run.

Another explanation for his low numbers could be the inconsistent play from the offensive line. Celek may not be targeted as often because he is forced to spend more time blocking and protecting the quarterback. When he releases after the initial block, his route is sometimes useless because Vick has already taken off running or Kolb was too quick to release the ball.

Looking at the positive, Celek’s lack of production has resulted in an increase in production from the Eagles wide receivers. DeSean Jackson is on pace to his first Pro-Bowl as a wide receiver, Jeremy Maclin has established himself as one of the most consistent young receivers in the league, and Jason Avant is getting a more expanded role in the slot.

Clearly the Eagles passing offense hasn’t been struggling this year, especially under Michael Vick. However, I believe the offense could be even more explosive if Celek can get more involved. The combination of getting more looks and Celek taking advantage of those looks will add an entirely new dimension to the already dominant Eagles offense. Can he rebound down the stretch or will Celek continue to be nonexistent on the stat line? Let’s hope it’s the former.

23
Nov
10

EAGLES: Eagles hold off Giants to gain control of division

There’s a reason the Eagles have been tagged the “Cardiac ‘Birds” this season. Outside of last weekend’s beat down over the Redskins, the Eagles were met with a tough test against the New York Giants on Sunday night.

It mimicked a typical Eagles Giants matchup, full of the chippiest of plays, hair pulling and one that goes down to the wire. Both teams showed their vulnerability, but it was the Eagles that prevailed in one of their most important wins of the season.

The Eagles relied heavily on their big-play style of offense and defense. They have always struggled to grind out close games under Andy Reid, but were able to get away with a win against a very good Giants team that is known to make teams beat them. Philadelphia came out firing in the first half, but missed a number of crucial opportunities to put the game out of reach. The offense failed to convert on three-straight red zone opportunities, thanks to two drops in the end zone and a failed third and short.

By halftime, the score should have been about 24-3 in favor of the green and white. However, things felt all too similar to the previous home game against the Indianapolis Colts, where the Eagles had a number of opportunities to put them away and instead let the game go down to the wire. Soon after the half, the Giants scored 14 unanswered points to take a one point lead in the fourth quarter.

A few gray hairs later, the Eagles found themselves in a 4th and 1 situation at midfield. After running a terrible third and one play that ended in an incomplete pass (which should have been a running play), Michael Vick snapped the ball and pitched it back to LeSean McCoy. Fifty yards later the Eagles were back in control of the game after McCoy exploded for his best and most clutch run of the season. From there on out the Eagles looked like the Eagles from the first quarter and the Giants had no answer.

For the grades:

Quarterback: B –

For a majority of the game Michael Vick had no answers for the Giants defense. They had a game plan and did a good job sticking to it by negating Vick from beating them with his feet. He was only held to 34 yards on 11 carries Sunday night. Throwing wise, Vick didn’t seem to click as well with his receivers as he did against the Redskins. Regardless of the fact that Vick couldn’t get help from his wide receivers in the first half (dropped touchdowns by Jackson and Avant) he still struggled to hit his receivers when he was facing pressure.

My other big problem with Vick on Sunday night was his run-first mentality on a number of plays. This was one of my biggest concerns about him as a quarterback because he often fails to let plays develop and tries to scramble for yardage instead. He fumbled the ball twice on Sunday, one of which was recovered by the Giants during their third quarter comeback.

Also, Vick has to realize that he only weighs 210 pounds. With all of this scrambling, he continues to risk himself for injury every time he takes a hit from an opposing defense. He was only hit three times in the pocket, but another ten or so times when he went to rush. He doesn’t slide and he rarely runs out of bounds, which means he is getting hit that many more times each game. His health a big concern if the Eagles are going to make him a franchise quarterback.

Runningback: A –

McCoy is a special runner

For about the fifth time this season, LeSean McCoy has taken the game into his hands and acted as a catalyst to an Eagles win. He struggled at the beginning of the game (8 rushes for 4 yards), but exploded for two runs over 40 yards in the fourth quarter to seal the win for the Eagles. It continues to baffle me that Andy Reid does not look to McCoy more often during the game. He averages less than 16 carries per game, yet has four games over 90 yards rushing and six games over 100 all purpose yards. I would say that merits more touches every game.

I was also shocked to see the limited role by Jerome Harrison against the Giants. I guess his 100+ yard performance from last week didn’t justify more time.

Wide receiver: B

One ball. In all of training camp Jason Avant allegedly dropped one ball. However, he dropped one of the easiest touchdown catches of all time against the Giants, and one that would have changed the outlook of the game. He is not the only one to blame. DeSean Jackson, while not as bad as Avant, dropped a touchdown pass from Vick in the first quarter. However, both receivers made up for the drops with great catches throughout the game. Mistakes happen, but it’s how the receivers respond to those mistakes that matters.

Jeremy Maclin continues to impress each week. He finished with 120 yards, which is his second highest total of the season, and made a number of great catches down the stretch. He also tied a career high with nine receptions.

By the way, where in the world is Brent Celek? Let me know if you have an answer.

Offensive Line: C –

Penalties, penalties, penalties. That was the story of the day for the Eagles offensive line. Jason Peters, who is usually good for at least one penalty a game, accounted for multiple flags against the Giants. Todd Herremans, who has really improved over the last few weeks, was called for two penalties that came at inopportune moments. Also, they allowed three sacks all to Justin Tuck, who dominated the outside tackles all game.

Defensive Line/Linebackers: B+

The story of the game was the ability to create turnovers from Eli Manning. If there’s one thing Eagles fans know about Eli, it’s that he is very vulnerable and prone to make mistakes. His three interceptions and the offense’s two fumbles were the story of the night. The Eagles front seven did a phenomenal job stopping the running attack of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs. Bradshaw only netted 29 yards on 12 carries and Jacobs averaged just two yards per carry. My one concern (and reason for the B+ grade) was the lack of pressure on Eli Manning. For the first time since the 2008 season, the Eagles failed to register a sack. Shawn Andrews, the once crazed Eagles lineman, completely shut down Trent Cole on the right side of the line. Brandon Graham forced a fumble but struggled to get to Manning all night. It was also great to see Stewart Bradley get an interception, but I’m still waiting for his breakout game.

Secondary: A–

Samuel may have finally learned how to hit too

I don’t know if it’s his speed or his impressive anticipation, but Asante Samuel was everywhere on the field against the Giants. He intercepted Manning twice, recovered a fumble and even recovered a fumble that was eventually overruled by the referees. He has seven interceptions in the last seven games and it probably having the best season of his career. Not to mention that he finally showed he can hit people instead of his usual push-tackle technique. The only ironic thing is that his first big hit ended in a penalty and most likely a fine from the league.

Dmitri Patterson also showed up to play for the second consecutive week. He did a great job shutting down Mario Manningham.

Special Teams: B+

After missing three field goals in one game against the Falcons, David Akers has been on a tear this year. He is practically automatic on field goals, making four of five against New York (one was blocked to end the half). It was a scary period of ten minutes watching Ellis Hobbs being carted off the field, but thankfully he is in stable condition. He will miss the rest of the season with a neck injury. With Hobbs out, the Eagles are in search of another consistent kick returner. Eldra Buckley filled in for a return and ran hard but only gained 20 yards. Jorrick Calvin has struggled recently so that part of the roster is going to need to be figured out soon.

 

There is certainly an optimistic buzz coming from Eagles fans in Philadelphia. I urge them to sit back and let the season play out before booking tickets to Dallas in late January/early February. It has been fun to watch this team come together under Michael Vick, but there are still six weeks left in the season that can change the entire outlook of the year. Philadelphia has proved that they are the team to beat in the NFC East, but can they continue this winning streak for the rest of the season? If they keep playing like this, they are going to be one tough team to beat in the NFL.

 

08
Nov
10

EAGLES: ‘Birds Hold on to Beat Colts

It wasn’t pretty, but the win Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts may have just defined the Eagles season. It was extremely back and forth, but it seemed like it was mostly the Eagles game to lose.

The Eagles missed a number of crucial opportunities to put the game out of reach against the Colts. The most concerning aspect of the game was the offensive red zone woes. Philadelphia was unable to convert a touchdown on three-straight red zone chances that would have completely changed the outlook of the game. Even though the offense struggled a bit in the red zone, it was the Eagles defense that ended up being the main reasons for the victory.

For the third time this season, the Eagles defense was able to close out the victory in the final seconds of the game. In the second game of the season, they forced quarterback Shaun Hill into throwing four incomplete passes on the final drive for the Lions. In week five, Trevard Lindley intercepted an Alex Smith pass in the final minute of the game against the 49ers. And then yesterday cornerback Asante Samuel intercepted Peyton Manning’s pass in the last few seconds to drain the rest of the clock and give the Eagles their fifth win of the season. Say what you want about the troubling defense and the status of defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, but this unit has come through in the clutch a number of times this season.

Sunday’s game also welcomed back quarterback Michael Vick and wide receiver DeSean Jackson. I think it’s safe to say that Eagles fans were excited to see their two most explosive players back on the field, as they accounted for 109 yards and a touchdown together. Vick did a great job controlling the game and more importantly keeping Peyton Manning off the field.

Grades:

Quarterback: A—

Michael Vick did it all with his arm and legs on Sunday

I think it’s pretty safe to say that a healthy Michael Vick gives the Eagles a better chance of winning this season. As we saw on Sunday, he adds a completely different dimension to every game with what he is able to do with his legs. He rushed for 74 yards and converted a number of third down plays by scrambling around the field.

It is also obvious that there is a special connection between Vick and wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Much like Kevin Kolb often found Jeremy Maclin, Vick and Jackson work extremely well together. A lot of this has to do with Vick’s ability to throw the long ball, something that worked very well for the Eagles last season with Donovan McNabb and Jackson.

Running back: B+

I love what I’m seeing from the running game. Another positive of having Vick behind center is that he helps take the pressure off LeSean McCoy. Even though McCoy only had 16 carries on the afternoon, he still averaged 5.9 yards per carry and finished with 95 yards on the ground. The only concern here is that 62 of those yards came on the opening run of the game, so that means that he had 33 yards in the final three quarters.

If Shady continues at this pace for the second half of the season, he will finish with close to 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Wide Receivers: B

I can’t say enough about how much DeSean Jackson changes the game and the rest of the receiving core. He finished with seven receptions for 109 yards and a touchdown on Sunday. However, a receiver like Jackson is supposed to create better numbers for the other receivers who aren’t seeing as much coverage. This was not really the case on Sunday as Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, Owen Schmidt and LeSean McCoy combined for the same number of yards as Jackson. What’s even more troubling is that Brent Celek did not record a catch against the Colts. He was only targeted once so I don’t know if that speaks to his inability to get open or Michael Vick’s unwillingness to look for his tight end option.

Offensive Line: C+

There was a tale of two different offensive lines on Sunday. In the first half, the line did a great job protecting Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy. The offense was clicking (until the red zone) and it seemed like the offensive line was headed in the right direction. In the second half, the Eagles were unable to get much going due to the lack of time Vick had in the pocket and how much McCoy struggled to get past the line of scrimmage. The Colts finished the game with three sacks, six tackles for losses and two pass deflections at the line of scrimmage. Those numbers need to improve.

Defensive line/Linebackers: A–

Even though the Colts were without Joseph Addai and Mike Hart, the Eagles front seven did a spectacular job defending the run. They held the Colts to 62 yards on the ground and a mere 3.3 yards per carry on the afternoon. They have definitely stepped things up in the last four weeks, holding opposing running backs to an average of 3.2 yards per carry.

The linebackers are still struggling when it comes to defending the tight end. If anyone has watched Peyton Manning in his long career, they would know that he loves to throw it to his tight end (just look at Dallas Clark’s numbers). In just his second game of the season, tight end Jacob Tamme led all receivers with 11 receptions for 108 yards and a touchdown. That is now the third time this season the Eagles defense has given up over 100 yards to an opposing tight end.

Asante Samuel recorded two interceptions, including the game-ending interception

Secondary: A

Similar to the Colts’ running game, Peyton Manning did not have much to work with on offense when it came to his receiving core. However, the Eagles secondary did force two interceptions from Manning, which matches the number of interceptions he has thrown through the first seven games of the season. Manning completed less than 60 percent of his passes for just the third time this season and his passer rating of 65.7 was the second worse this year.

It looks like the days of Ellis Hobbs starting are officially over. In his first start of the season, Dmitri Patterson did a great job and accounted for six tackles. Rookie Kurt Coleman also did a nice job filling in for the injured Nate Allen. Reports today say that Allen has a sprained neck and most likely will not play next week against Washington, so look for Coleman to potentially make his first start of his career.

Special Teams: B

David Akers is back on track as one of the most consistent kickers in the National Football League after knocking down all four of his field goals. Punter Sav Rocca did a great job punting and forcing bad field position for the Colts all game. I would still like to see more production from Jorrick Calvin on kick and punt returns. He averaged 30 yards on kick returns, but his only punt return went for a net loss of one yard.

Check out this video to see the Eagles locker room reaction after the win.

Even though it may have drained a year or two off my life, the win against the Colts could not have come at a more opportune time for the Eagles. They are relatively healthy now and seem to show strides towards one of the best teams in the NFC. The tough second half schedule continues on Monday night when they attempt to get revenge against the Washington Redskins.

In other exciting Philadelphia Eagles news, the Dallas Cowboys have just fired Wade Phillips, furthering the already dreadful Cowboys season.




The Philly Phour

March 2017
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