LOCKED and Loaded. That’s the name of this season. We spent the offseason prepping for an arms race, while the team that won our division seemed to dismantle themselves. They however, aren’t on the menu this week. Detroit is.
Speaking of dismantle, the last time we saw Detroit we hung 44 points on them. In their house! Meanwhile, all they could do was curl into the fetal position, as their coach yelled about biting knee caps. True, they’ve made a few improvements, but c’mon, NOBODY made as many improvements as we did.
There’s a good chance that we can come out of this week, as the only team in the division with a win. While one game isn’t a large lead, it can definitely serve to help set an attitude. You wanna do something big? You start by doing something small.
The point of Four Thingsisn’t to predict a winner, it’s to discuss which tactics would give our Eagles the best chance to win this game. So here are the Four Things that we need to focus on this week, versus the: Detroit Lions.
1) Run the Ball:Play to our strength, and let QBJalen Hurts ease into having more of the game put in his hands. His perfect preseason was cute, but he’s about to face a gameplan. As for Detroit, their new 4-3 will feature five guys who our Offensive Line absolutely mauled, manhandled and fucked over, last October. Ultimately Debo-ing them for 4 rushing touchdowns and 236 rushing yards. Seeing five of the same victims, making up a front seven that we romped and frolicked through, all I see is a second helping. Run the ball!
2) Make Goff Run: In six seasons QB Jared Goff has 401 rushing yards. For comparison, through six years, QB Peyton Manning ran for 582. I bring this up to illustrate just how adverse Goff is to running. Anything that changes or challenges his throwing platform, is alien to him. So we need to disabuse him of any sense of comfort and safety. Last year we caught him in the pocket quite a bit, so if he still wants to just stand there… Okay.
Also their starting G Halapoulivaati Vaitai is out. His back-up is having back issues, and their C has a groin issue. Against this line, we sacked Goff five times last year. So their interior is weak, and we have DT’s Fletcher Cox, and Jordan Davis. Get Goff out of the pocket.
3) Challenge Their Receivers:We’ve been hearing about WR D.J. Chark for years now, based solely off of his 2019 season. In the last two seasons, he has just 60 catches for 860 yards, and a 52% catch rate. On the other side is WR Amon-Ra St. Brown. (Love the name. I had a cat named Amon-Ra. Golden tabby with gold eyes.) He’s a bum. Not the cat, the WR. He’s one of those “12 targets, 8 catches, for 73 yards” type of receivers.
Unleash CB’s Darius “Big Play” Slay and James Bradberry! Mug these chumps and get us a pick six. Okay, maybe that’s asking too much, or being too specific. More generally, don’t let either receiver see 100 yards. That sounds about reasonable.
4) Get ‘im!: Wherever CB Jeff Okudah is, that should be the receiver who gets the ball. At least 10 passes have to go to who he’s covering. During his two year career, he’s played a total of 9 games, and ended both years with season-ending injuries. Last year it was his Achilles, and now he gets to try it out vs WR Devonta Smith’s route running, or WR A.J. Brown’s explosiveness. Pick on him. Hound him! Harass him! Make him Vontae Davis 2.0!
If the Eagles do these Four Things, then we’ll be virtually impossible to beat. That being said…
I want to give the Lions some benefit of the doubt, but the more I look at this game, the more it looks like Mike Tyson vs Queen Eliz- (Nope! Gotta change that now. Wrote that joke nearly two weeks ago and now… You really committed to ruining my joke, Liz! Just leaned all the way in.) Ugh! It looks like Tyson vs Skip Bayless. Yeah. We like that imagery, right? Let’s go with that.
I can’t believe the NFL is going to sanction this match-up. Everything about it is all wrong for the Lions. It’s as if Roger Goodell wrote “SQUEAKY TOY” on a baby, and handed it to a pit-bull.
It’s madness! Their offensive line can’t protect their over-drafted QB. Their defensive front is an affront to the idea of defense. Their WR’s would be average vs an average secondary, and our’s is a shark tank. They have one dangerous CB, and the other is practically wearing a bull’s-eye! But the NFL is going to let this happen anyway? It’s madness!
Prediction: EAGLES 30 – Lions 10
WARNING: I don’t have the faintest clue as to what a point spread is, and I know even less about how it works. I know football and that’s IT. If you use Four Things as a gambling tool, you are trying to lose your money, and will deserve it when you do.
Check back in a couple of days for Four Things Reviewed, and we’ll discuss how this game went.
New categories include an EXCLUSIVE weekly Offensive Line Report (Rushing TD’s + 3rd and 4th downs converted:missed of 2 yards or less – sacks allowed); as well as Drive Killer (Int – FR – 4th down Tackles – FF – TD).
Receiving: (S) TE Dallas Goedert (7 – 6 – 72 – 12.0 – 0)
Offensive Line Report: (4 + 2:0 – 0)
Drive Killer: (S) CB Darius Slay (0 – 1 – 0 – 0 – 1)
Sack Leader: (S) DE Josh Sweat(3 – 2.0 – 0 – 0)
I hear you asking, “What about all the stuff that stats don’t reveal?” Well, that’s the reason for these Four Things articles. It’s to point out what we need to address BEFORE the game. Then AFTER the game, there’s a no-bullshit assessment of whether or not the Eagles did any of what they needed to do, to ensure the win.
So how much of what I mentioned in Four Things: Lionsdid the Eagles actually get around to doing? Well let’s see:
1) Physical Coverage:Can’t complain about the coverage on the ends. Detroit’s top two WR’s caught 3 balls for 46 yards, with only 6 being thrown in their direction. Our CB’s practically erased them from the game.
The opposing TE saw far too many free releases. He caught 10 of 11 passes, but for just 89 yards. If he weren’t harmless, this could have cost us the game. This has to be cleaned up. Still, we shutdown outside passing, contested balls, and allowed just 73.5% of their passes, on routes that rarely seemed deeper than 7 yards. (DONE)
2) Hands Under Balls:Lining up under Center. I seriously didn’t expect to see this much at all, but I was pleasantly surprised. While we still spent far too much time in the Shotgun, we ran quite a bit from under C. If this gets incorporated into the passing game more, it’ll make Hurts look like a whole new QB. (DONE)
3) Run the Ball: The ball was handed off 39 times in this game. That’s not a typo. There were 39 hand-offs, for 165 yards (4.2 ypc), and 4 touchdowns.
That’s compared to just 16 pass attempts, (and 10 runs by the QB). With that much help, Hurts didn’t have to carry the Offense. The result was that he was able to be part of team victory, which was never in question.(DONE)
4) Find Our Ego: Body language and physicality. Chippiness, and winning at the line of scrimmage. All of that was on display in this one. We collected 5 sacks, 3 tackles for losses, and held their ground game to 57 yards on 18 carries (3.1ypc). This is not the Eagles team that we’ve become accustomed to this year, but I wouldn’t mind getting to know them! (DONE)
This is 4 of the Four Things being done for the first time this year, and the margin of victory was 38 points. Next week we get to see how consistent we can be with what we’ve learned, as we host the 4 – 3 Chargers and their league-WORST run defense.
On The Whole:
Everyone else wants to talk about how they hope that all the running carries over into next week. I on the other hand, am glad that disaster was averted. If we’d lost to an 0 – 7 team, there would have been an implosion.
The Raiders (rumored) inquiry about trading for DT Fletcher Cox (1 – 0 – 0 – 0), would have probably picked up momentum. Head Coach Nick Sirianni would probably have to fire his Defensive Coordinator Jonathan Gannon, to keep from losing the locker room. Deafening calls for Sirianni’s head by the fan base, would finally force owner Jeff Lurie behind a podium, to issue some sort of statement.
It would have been a shit show.
Instead, we’re left to wonder if this new outlook on Offense, will be enough to beat the Chargers and get us to 4 – 5. We’re left wondering if we’re going to attack more on Defense, from now on. On the whole, it’s not a bad place to be.
LAST week we started off strong. A balanced march to a score. Then a red zone interception. Then a turd hit the fan. Hey, hopefully Head Coach Nick Sirianni learned some valuables lessons from getting publicly mushroom stamped last week. By an interim head coach, no less!
This week we get the ultimate gimme, vs an 0 – 7 Detroit team. They have a couple of decent RB’s, and solid young TE, but other than that… Their best LB is a Dollar Store version of LB Alex Singleton. Their top defensive lineman is a guy who used to be Michael Brockers. Their NT wears 54 as his jersey number. They’re just a mess. Just a hot– They’re like a pocketful of boiled pizza.
This is as close to a gift wrapped “W” as you get in sports. Which is why I’m TERRIFIED. A win here won’t mean much to us. A loss though… We can’t take a loss. Not after Sirianni’s “Flower Power” speech on Wednesday. There is only so much I can take in one month.
The point of Four Things isn’t to predict a winner, it’s to discuss which tactics will practically guarantee our Eagles this win. CAUTION: I don’t have the faintest clue as to what a point spread is, and I know even less about how it works. I know football and that’s IT. If you use FT as a gambling tool, you are trying to lose your money, and will deserve it when you do.
So let’s talk about the Four Things we need to focus on this week versus the Lions:
1. Physical Coverage: Not being physical early in routes, we’re not even disrupting timing, so opponents are executing plays as if they were in practice. The result has been us allowing completion percentages of 80 or higher in 4 of the of the last 5 weeks. The one game where we didn’t, was at Carolina.
If receivers aren’t allowed free releases, and we play Man coverage, instead of these loose underneath zones, our pass rush will magically reappear. So will turnovers. We played heavy Man vs Carolina and picked off 3 passes and got 3 sacks. In every game besides, we’ve been in Zone. This isn’t rocket surgery, folks! We have to be more physical in coverage.
2. Hands Under Balls: This Offense is based on being in the Shotgun. That won’t change this week. What we can do, is get the QB under Center for more than just Sneaks and kneel downs. The run game and play-action are going to be far more effective from Under Center than in the ‘gun. There’d also be fewer chances for bad snaps, which QB Jalen Hurts has proven poor at corralling.
3. Run the Ball: How did the Eagles look last week when there was balance? How did the Eagles look last week once that balance was taken way? (By our coach!) There can’t exist a starker example.
Hurts might be good as part of an NFL team, but he isn’t capable of carrying an NFL team. Don’t hand me what percentage of our Offense he is. That shit is meaningless. Even 100% of not enough, still comes out to not enough.
Get that man some help!
4. Find Our Ego:This week’s opponent is 0 – 7. That’s not just their record, that’s what they are. That’s who they are. They are a trash team. As bad as we’ve been, they are clearly worse. Knowing this, seeing this, our players need to ask themselves: “ Is the man across from me, is better than I am?”
Body language, and physicality. Chippiness, and winning at the line of scrimmage. Those are the things that will tell us if they asked that question. Does it still take 2 or 3 Eagles to tackle a single Lions RB, or do we have to chalk any outlines after a hit? If our guys ask themselves “Is he more man than me?” they will find all the fuel they need to not just defeat, but dominate this inferior opponent.
If we do these Four Things,
There is no way the lions are supposed to win this game. They outright lack the firepower to fend off any sort of coherent attack. If we do TWO of these, we should win this game. All four should result in a nasty blowout.
HOWEVER, after Sirianni’s Flower Speech, I’m concerned that he may have lost the locker room. Whether he already has or not, if they lose this game, I can’t imagine that he’d still have them in any capacity. He’d almost have to be fired. Sirianni can’t afford this loss.
PREDICTION: EAGLES 28 – Lions 13
Check back in a couple of days for Four Things Reviewed, and we’ll discuss how it went.
LOOK at that! The Bengals have converted their field from grass to mattresses. Not only has it already improved the look of their stadium, but their owner thinks it will extend, or at least not keep shortening, the lifespan of QB Joe Burrow. The team is also asking the league to allow Burrow to wear several pillows duct taped to his helmet. It’s either that or spend the money to protect him.
Steelers LB T.J. Watt increased his sack total for the third straight year in a row. Due to notching 16.5 sacks, he continues to be above criticism. This is despite sporting a missed tackle percentage of over 10 percent, in every season of his career. If only there were some sort of clue about how to fix the defense…
The carriage turned back into a pumpkin, and the horses turned back into rats, as the Browns returned to reality and went 3 – 14 this year.
Somewhere out there is a desperate Browns fan, carrying a clear, platform shoe, and searching for Princess Odell.
Ravens K Justin Tucker’s rap/opera album “Come Kick It Wit’ Me” shot to the top of the Italian pop music charts this year. Sighting how he didn’t need this “NFL boll sheed no mo’ ”, Tucker announced his retirement. After which he flipped the double-bird, as he rode away barefoot in a kiddie pool, which was situated in the bed of an El Camino. There was no water in the pool.
Raise your hand if you predicted the Lions going 14 – 3, getting a first round bye, and winning it all.
“It’s better than drinkable water!” was how one fan described the Detroit Lions Super Bowl parade. Thousands of fans came out to celebrate and cheer their team, not long before tens of thousands of muggers descended on both the fans and the players. The car-jacking of a parade float would be the low-point of the day, and perhaps the lowest in all of American history.
After a just barely failing to qualify for a wild card berth, a 9 – 8 Minnesota team is still unsure if they’re a bad team that frequently overachieves, or a good team that chokes at the slightest sign of true relevance.
As Chicago continues their search for a passer, Bears QB Justin Fields was traded to Buffalo for QB Mitch Trubisky. One Chicago football fan said “Eh, it’s good we went an’got a veteran quarterback now, ‘cause Fields played like a rookie. I mean, why din’t he just look at what Tommy Bradley does in Tampa, then come right out and copy exactly what he saw?How hard could dat be, right?? Anyways, Trubisky sounds like a good Polish name. It feels familiar. I like it.”
After another implosion in the second round of the playoffs, QB Aaron Rodgers is continuing to act like he’s doing Packers fans a favor, by allowing them to overpay him millions more than he’s ever truly deserved. Perhaps Green Bay should have double checked for a discount.
After not allowing fans in to SoFi Stadium at all in 2020, the LA Chargers opened their arms to their loyal, fickle, frequently disinterested fan base. In a stadium that seats 70,000, the Chargers drew an average of 28,000 to their games. Somewhere the ghost of Al Davis is laughing so hard, that he’s gasping for air.
Despite being heavily favored by odds-makers, the Raiders Super Bowl loss continues to confound people. Suddenly retired Raider QB Derek Carr, could not be reached for comment as he was out on his yacht. The gold one, not the one made entirely out of stacks of money. His agent Pete Rose also declined comment.
The Chiefs were expected to have a more difficult road, but no one thought they’d miss the playoffs. As a disciplinary measure for yet another violation of team player conduct policy, Andy Reid ate WR Tyreek Hill, prior to the final game of the preseason. When asked if he regretted having eaten the WR, coach Reid responded “Listen, you’d expect athlete meat to be tough, but Tyreek, he was something special. Didn’t even need a marinade. Wait. What was the question?”
The Denver Broncos are trying to decide whether to screw over either another old RB, or another young QB, during this offseason. Either way, it will most certainly cripple the team’s offense next year. Their fans of course, will again feel like they’ve been stabbed directly in the face, when the team spends their top pick on a WR.
The 49ers, who paid QB Jimmy Garoppolo 26M$ to sit and watch rookie QB Trey Lance have an up and down year, will still owe Garoppolo 27M$ next year. Worse yet, they likely have to endure at least one more year with him on the roster, as he won’t waive his no-trade clause. That is, unless he gets an offer he likes, from a team that won’t mind him throwing with his eyes closed. Still, the defense was good enough for the team to post a 10 – 7 record.
Seattle RB Rashaad Penny was surprised to learn that the team is declining to pick up his 5th year option. Penny was selected in the first round of the 2018 Draft, but didn’t get his first start until 2021. In that game, he had one carry for 8 broken tackles, and a 63 yard touchdown. It also resulted in a torn hamstring which ended his season. Tore it right off the bone! When asked whether Penny is “a bust”, GM John Schneider, shrieked, burst into tears, and attempted to answer questions. He however, couldn’t be understood through his high-pitched, racking sobs. Seattle predictably bowed out in the second round of the playoffs.
No matter how much talent Arizona adds, sub .500 is the best God will allow. In other news, QB Kyler Murray married the dancing hula girl on the dash board of J.J. Watt’s car.
It was a beautiful ceremony. When Murray stood on a chair to kiss his bride, there wasn’t a dry eye to be seen, according to Stevie Wonder, who was told that he was in attendance.
The Rams added a ton of weapons in the offseason, but neglected to help their offensive line. This led to QB Matt Stafford being lost for the year in Week Two, and also left the run game stuck in neutral since the preseason. Give you one guess what they’ll be taking with their first round pick this year. Oh wait! They won’t have a first rounder this year. Or next year. Dopes.
After partially tearing the meniscus in his right knee in training camp, it was quickly thought by both QB Carson Wentz and the Colts front office, that the smartest thing would be for Carson to just rest, relax and let that tear take 3 to 5 months to heal on its own. While the Eagles paid him 34 million dollars.
Though Wentz played only half the season, taking just under 50% of the snaps, the Colts almost rallied to make the playoffs, going 7 – 1 with Wentz starting. Pretty smart trade. Especially since Wentz didn’t count against the Colts 2021 salary cap.
On a roster that features RB’s David Johnson, Mark Ingram, and Phillip Lindsay, you probably would never guess who led the team in rushing yards. It was Texans QB Tyrod Taylor, who spent the season running for his goddamned life. In the hopes of not suffering another punctured lung, Taylor racked up a career best 836 yards. Meanwhile, R. Kelly is alleging that QB Deshaun Watson inappropriately… (No. I’m going to draw a line here. Gotta preserve a little class.)
WE WILL SUCK YOUR DICK!!!! That’s the Jaguars latest promotion to get people to come to the stadium. Lord knows no one wants to watch them play football. Look at all the upgrades! Super-fast WiFi, an impressive sound system, they put in a party deck, a pool… They’ve done everything they can to avoid improving the team. Now the team has executives slobbing knobs. And they’re all so bad at it! C’mon folks! More spit, less teeth. This is basic stuff!
The Titans were the favorite to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl, until QB Ryan Tannehill tore his Achilles in Week One, and QB DeShone Kizer “Soze” stepped in and killed the whole team. Kizer continued the 0 – 15 magic that he had in Cleveland, going 0 – 7 before being benched for QB Logan Woodside… who then promptly tore his ACL, meaning that Kizer would come back out, and finish the season. Kizer went 0 – 15 (again), even though he also lost the two games started by other QB’s.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have increased their reward for information about head coach Bruce Arian’s whereabouts. Police are looking at DT Ndamukong Suh as a person of interest because, well… Because he’s fucking Ndamukong Suh! I mean come on!
With the retirement of QB Drew Brees last year, the Saints 6 – 11 season shows that they have gone back to being the hapless, talent squandering, afterthoughts that have historically always been. Fans are taking it well, saying that their relevance was nice while it lasted.
The Falcons 5 – 12 record was predicted immediately after they traded WR Julio Jones to Tennessee last year. For a team with no defense, keeping Jones to go with their other weapons, would have made outscoring opponents easy. But Atlanta said “Fuck that!” and thew their easy button out of a tenth floor window. Nowwww look at them. Just look. SMDH.
Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey spent this season being 25 going on 35. Bouncing back from an injury, while being the focal point of an offense, with a QB trying to re-hab himself from having been a Jet, did no favors for McCaffrey. His 663 yards in 10 starts, will likely have the Panthers spending yet another late round draft pick on a RB, who is ill-suited to ever being a starter. Or a contributor. These guys just can’t learn.
The NFL finally made good on its threat to banish the Jets, who can no longer be referred to, as a “professional” football team. As the NCAA has not yet agreed to take them, the Jets have no official league designation yet. The CFL hasn’t offered a verbal or written response as to whether the Jets can seek asylum in Canada. However, the CFL’s pursed lips and side-eye, have offered a very strong hint about where they stand on the issue.
Bill Belichick has coached his last game for the Patriots. He is expected to take the job in Tampa Bay, after coach Bruce Arians suddenly went missing. QB Tom Brady is telling Congress that they cannot search his house.
Buffalo WR and anti-vaxxer Cole Beasley is recovering from the Delta variant of Covid-19. Luckily his access to the best medical treatment that NFL money can buy, put the odds for a full recovery, heavily in his favor. His wife Krystin however, was not an NFL employee. Get vaccinated.
After having changed his name from Jomal Wiltz to Jamal Perry in 2020, the IRS caught up with the Dolphins CB anyway. This goes to show, if you’re going to change your name, do it before you’re on television at least 17 times a year.
For the second year in a row, Washington won 7 games! While their 8 losses are fewer than the 9 from a year ago, their 2 ties offer little in the way of optimism. Because of that, there is currently a split in their fan base. Half of their fans argue that the 7 – 8 – 2 team, is an 8 – 8 team (“Because two half wins, equals one whole one. Dummy!”). Meanwhile, other half of their fan base sees the team as 7 – 8, and thus improved over 7 – 9 (“Because thems two ties cancels theyselves out. Stupid!”). Either way, the rest of us just see a degenerate, losing team that missed the playoffs.
The giants didn’t have to depend on a division rival to get to the playoffs this year, because they used StubHub! They got a great price, on great seats, and watched the Lions model the sort of franchise New York hopes to become. Maybe next year the giants won’t go 5 – 12, and they’ll qualify for a playoff berth on their own. Hey! The giants in the playoffs! Look at me! I got jokes!
The Cowboys went 12 – 5 and easily won their division. With a 5,000 yard passer, a 1,700 yard rusher, and THREE 1,000 yard receivers, right out of the gate, Dallas took the NFL by storm. Which is why their first round dismantling in the playoffs was so surprising. The 41 – 6 walloping at the hands of QB Joe Flacco, will forever be known in NFL circles as “The Dall-Ass Whipping”.
The Carson Wentz trade didn’t yield the Eagles a first round pick, and QB Jalen Hurtswas so bad that he was benched by Week Nine. Also, Head Coach Nick Sirianni retiring mid-season to join a professional Rochambeau league, didn’t surprise as many people as you’d think.
After which the hapless Eagles managed to rally and stumble into the playoffs as a wild card. At which point they utterly shelled the Cowboys 41 – 6, before losing to Detroit in the second round.
DISCLAIMER: If you use this article for gambling or betting purposes, you’re an idiot and your money is safer with other people. Don’t be dunce. Stop gambling on sports.
AT one point the announcers described the Lions QB’s play today as “pedestrian”. The Lions by no means won this game. The Eagles lost it. Or more to the point, our coaching staff gave it away.
How does a rookie fumble twice on one drive, and still get multiple touches of the ball later? How do we not get a single sack vs a team with a banged up LT? How do we not run high efficiency routes with our back-up receivers, late in the game, so that our QB doesn’t have to hold the ball all day long?
The answer to all of these is, coaching decisions. It’s a decision, to keep playing a RB who right now seems like a change of pace guy, like he’s a starter. It’s a decision, to play defensive backs in soft coverage, which gives our pass rush no time to get to the passer. It’s a decision, to eschew teaching situational football, in favor of appearing to be aggressive. All of these decisions were made not by players, but by coaches.
QB Carson Wentz (19/36 – 52.7% – 259 – 2 – 0) is absolved of any blame in this game. Let’s clear that up immediately. He had seven dropped passes in this game. SEVEN. For a second week in a row, he seemed like he was singlehandedly, trying to will the team past its shortcomings. He even ran for 33 yards on 4 carries (8.25ypc). RB Miles Sanders(13 – 53 – 4.0 – 0 – 2 / 2 – 73 – 36.5 – 0) led the team in both rushing and receiving yards, but put the ball on the ground twice in one drive, losing it the second time.
WR Nelson Agholor(8 – 50 – 6.2 – 2) also lost a fumble, on the drive immediately after Sanders’s. Both led to field goals. TE Zach Ertz(4 – 64 – 16.0 – 0) hasn’t been the same guy since WRAlshon Jeffery was hurt in Week 2. WRMack Hollins(4 – 62 – 15.5 – 0) was flagged for offensive pass interference twice and nearly a third time on one of Agholor’s scores.
SS Malcolm Jenkins(3 – 0 – 0 – 0) blocked a 4th quarter 46 yard FG try. CB’s Sidney Jones(3 – 0 – 0 – 0) and Rasul Douglas(2 – 0 – 0 – 0) each had a nice pass break-up, but otherwise this defense did nothing to write home about.
I hear you asking, “What about all the stuff that stats don’t reveal?” Well, that’s the reason for these “Four Things” articles. We introduce an idea of what needs addressing BEFORE the game, so that fans have to honestly answer questions about those things, AFTER the game. This helps to get us, and keep us, all on the same page.
So, of the Four Things we were looking for in this last game, what exactly did we see?
1) Run with power:RB Jordan Howard (11 – 37 – 3.3 – 1 – 0) cracked double digit carries for his first time as an Eagle. Despite not fumbling and even scoring, the coaches elected to stick with Sanders today. Sanders didn’t look as bad as he did in the first two weeks, but if you ask any fan who watched the game, they’ll tell you that Howard needed more touches. (NOT DONE)
2) No Cover Zero:We actually managed to stay out of it in the first half, but on a critical 3rd and long in the second half we got beat for 27 yarder, while in Zero. It was amusing to see Jenkins at one point audibling the Secondary into Cover Two. It makes me wonder if there’s any friction in the meetings, between players and coaches. In any case I did say ‘no’ CZ, I didn’t say ‘very little’. (NOT DONE)
3) Hit Stafford from the blindside:We didn’t get much real pressure on QB Matt Stafford (18/32 – 56.2% – 201 – 1 – 0). Not one single sack all day. Even when we blitzed. DE Derek Barnett (1 – 0 – 0 – 0) continues to crash down hard inside the LT, instead of first setting an edge. This would be one thing if he were a one-dimensional sack machine, but he clearly isn’t one. (NOT DONE)
4) Unleash the deep ball:We did throw the ball deep to Sanders early, and an early deep throw to Agholor netted us a pass interference call. It was the only early deep ball to a WR. The ball was thrown long a few times later in the game, but they were more prayers than passes. (NOT DONE)
That gives us a Four Things score of 0 for 4 this week and 3 for 12 on the season. Clearly the Eagles have gotten too far away from fundamental football, and it has us as a losing team right now. We have a short week to prepare for our Thursday game at Lambeau Field vs the 3 – 0 Green Bay Packers.
On The Whole:
There is clearly an agenda to push the young players like Sanders, WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside(1 – 10 – 10.0 – 0), and TE Dallas Goedert(1 dropped touchdown). This would be fine if they were ready for bigger loads. With the exception of Goedert, they are clearly deer in headlights.
I’m tired of complaining about this Defense, so I won’t.
THIS is the first of two games in a five day span, and we’re already teetering on the knife’s edge of being sub .500. We need this game. The Atlanta loss was a hard one. It was just such a weird game, that it’s hard to take a solid lesson from it. So it’s best to just accept our bright and shiny “L”, move on, and get to making sure we don’t get ourselves another one this weekend.
The Eagles need to establish themselves as a serious contender this year. We’re talented, and deep, but how much of our roster is really hungry? This game isn’t about a rudderless Lions team. It’s about who the Eagles want to be this season. It’s about whether or not we can regain, and keep our focus.
So let’s talk about the Four Things we need to focus on this week versus the Lions :
1) Run with power:The Lions are highly susceptible to the run. We need to feed it to them by the fistful. Not with RB Miles Sanders. He didn’t deserve to be jumped ahead of RBJordan Howard and Karma is seeing fit to make us pay for that. Run the ball with the guy who knows what he’s doing.
2) No Cover Zero: If our CB’s really are the problem, then they need support deep. That’s just coaching. If they don’t need the support then show us something different.
3) Hit Stafford from the blindside: We need to speed up the clock in QB Matt Stafford’s head. We need a sack or two from DE Derek Barnett. DE Vinny Curry can also deliver, but it’s high time we saw some production from Barnett. Especially with Lions LT Taylor Decker either out or nursing a back injury.
4) Unleash the deep ball:With WR’s DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffrey on the shelf, the thought will be that the Eagles don’t have the firepower that we did before. While there is an element of truth to that, the fact is we still have weapons. We should make that point known early, with a deep jump ball to J.J. Arcege-Whiteside, to open up room inside for the power run game.
If we do all these things, we’re just about guaranteed to win. Now that we’ve covered what should happen, let’s get into what likely will happen:
Sanders will get the start and evenly split carries with Howard. The Eagles are trying very hard to make stars out of their young guys, and we haven’t heard that there’ll be a change in the depth chart. With TE Alex Ellis added to the active roster, the plan is probably to run more 12 Personnel like the staff wanted to do last week. It’ll be interesting to see how that works out, since Ellis isn’t said to be special neither as a receiver nor a blocker.
With TE Dallas Goedertas our 2nd TE, teams might have been more reluctant to load the box, but Goedert is out. With Ellis being sort of a lucky camp body, until he teaches opponents otherwise, he won’t command that same respect.
Defense is a mixed bag. We got three picks last week, lost by just 4, and it still felt like we got gutted all night long. An evolutionary step needs to take place this week, but it’s unlikely to happen. Something has to happen to give the pass rush time to get home.
Keep an eye on the deep Safety in this game. Don’t expect much Cover Zero this week. In any case, even with the injuries, the Eagles depth is hard to ignore. Add in that they play here at home and the Eagles go from a team that could win a close one, to one that could win this handily. Especially if they have any kind of Offensive balance.
WELL, the Eagles came out flat and looked almost listless at times. Going into this last game I worried that the Eagles might be looking past Detroit, and already looking to the coming division match-up vs. Washington. To be honest, I was worried about that, because I myself was already doing that very thing. It would seem that it came back to bite us in the ass.
It would be nice if this loss could serve as a lesson, but these sorts of losses seldom teach anything, because they rarely come with a demotion. No Eagle player looked like a man with anything to prove out there, and how could they? On a team that uses a Little League “everybody plays” approach, does anyone actually have to prove anything? How do you demote anyone when everyone gets minutes regardless?
Like the Postal Service, the Eagles DID NOT deliver on Sunday.
Amid our player’s apparent lack of interest or motivation, the Eagles found a way to lose 23-24 to the Lions. Hard to believe that you can lose a game in which you do everything wrong, for the first half of it. Wait. That’s not what’s hard to believe. The part that’s hard to believe, is that we only lost by a single point. In all fairness we deserved to get blown out.
Our Defense only allowed Detroit 164 (net) passing yards and 80 yards on the ground for a total of 244 yards. That’s not a bad days work. On paper. Offensively we put up 230 (net) passing yards and 116 rushing for a total of 346 total yards. Not stellar, but definitely solid. Statistically this game seems like it should have been ours. Right?
But what about the stuff that the stats don’t reveal? That’s the reason for these “Four Things” articles. To have an idea of what needs addressing BEFORE the game, so that we’re forced to honestly answer questions AFTER the game.
So, of the Four Things we were looking for in this last game, what exactly did we see?
1)Use four man rushes and take away RB Theo Riddick. Riddick caught 6 passes for 2 touchdowns. That does NOT count as taking a man away. NOT DONE
2) Run the ball right at DEKerry Hyder. While the ball was run with some frequency, most of the time it seemed we were running to our left instead of to our right which is where Hyder generally lined up. He only had one tackle on the day, but it seemed as if we were ceding an entire side of the field in the process of canceling him out. NOT DONE
3) Go big and throw jump balls. At no point did we even attempt to attack this obvious disadvantage. NOT DONE
4) Get RB Ryan Mathews 12 carries by half-time. Mathews had 11 total carries for the entire game. NOT DONE
This week we did 0 out 4 things we needed to do. Surprisingly, (here’s my shocked face) we fell behind early, and struggled in a game that we ultimately lost.
In any case, the Eagles will look to get back into the win column next week when we play our first division game of the year vs the Washington Foreskins Redskins.
WELL we saw a few firsts out there this week, didn’t we? Our first loss of the year, first turnover, our rookie QB’s first interception. First almost comeback… The Eagles battled back from a first half 10-21 deficit, to take a 23 – 21 lead, before the win SLIPPED OUT OF RY- (deep breath) Woosahhh, (deep breath) Woosahhhhhhh…Slipped out of OUR hands.
QB Carson Wentz(25/33 – 75.7% – 238 – 2 – 1) yet again made very good use of short passes, primarily to non-WR targets. (Hard to hide my sarcasm there…) RB Ryan Mathews (11 – 42 – 3.8 – 0 – 1 / 5 – 33 – 6.6 – 1) led the Eagles with five receptions and was having an effective day until his 4th quarter fumble allowed the Lions to score the go-ahead field goal.
Defensively there were enough adjustments made at the half to make this seem like almost two different games. Everything that didn’t seem to be working in the first half seem to come on-line in the 3rd quarter. However there just wasn’t enough Offense to meet and sustain that effort.
Oh well, onto Week 6 and our first division game of the year.
Did you notice?
The only skill player on either team to reach 50 yards in either rushing or receiving (not combined), was WR Jordan Matthews(4 – 65 – 16.2 – 0).
OLB Mychal Kendricks: Though RB Theo Riddick isn’t the guy we need to key on, he’s a big part of the Lions passing game. OLB Nigel Bradham will likely be fine corralling Riddick on his side, but so far this season Kendricks hasn’t done a great job in coverage. More snaps in practice, and fewer on Instagram might keep him from getting embarrassed on Sunday.
WE MUST CONTAIN:
WR Marvin Jones: Consider for a moment that for a receiver to be dangerous, the snap, dropback, and protection has to be good; and then the QB has to select that receiver, (who has to be open), and then the ball has to be delivered at least half decent. So it seems weird every time I say that the key guy to stop is a WR. However, that’s the case here. This team can’t run the ball, and no one (aside from Jones) coming into this game Sunday, averages 10 yards per catch. If we take away Jones, we remove the Lions teeth.
At 3-0 we hold a razor thin edge in the division over Dallas (3-1), but we can move comfortably ahead of them with a win over the Lions this week. The hope here is that the team isn’t looking past Detroit, at our first division match-up next week vs Washington (2-2). This game has to be the focus. Losing fluff games like this one, generally comes back to haunt a team when it’s time to jostle for playoff home games.
This is a must-win game now, so that we don’t have to “make it up” later in the season.
‘member the Snow bowl? Ooooooo, I ‘member the Snow Bowl!
SERIOUSLY, if it weren’t for the fact that we’re coming off our Bye, I’d call this a trap game. You have a hapless 1-3 Lions team, being fed to a 3-0 meat-grinder, disguised as your Philadelphia Eagles. This chance to pull clearly ahead in the division, will be enough motivation to keep our players dialed in. Regardless of how weak this week’s opponent is.
Since the Lions top RB was lost for the year, their dogged attempt to turn their scatback into their feature back, has kept them from being able to run the ball. Hopefully they’ll give him another shot this week. Sadly, I can’t be sure if their defensive players are paid by the Lions or by their opponents. Needless to say, by all indications this game should be a bloodbath.
So let’s talk about the Four Things we need to look for, Week 1 versus the Detroit Lions:
1) Use four man rushes and take away RBTheo Riddick. The guy isn’t any good at running the ball, but he’s 2nd on their team in receptions. So put a LB on him or QB Matt Stafford will already be looking for him. Since no active Lion (their starting TE is out this week), besides WR Marvin Jones averages more than 8.0 yards per catch, taking away Riddick should seriously stall their offense.
2) Run the ball right at DEKerry Hyder. He has 5 sacks so far this season. The best way to make sure he’s not a problem for us, is to tire him out by beating on him directly.
3) Go big and throw jump balls. If we started WR’s Jordan Matthews and Dorial Green-Beckham on the outsides, and then targeted 5’9” CB Nevin Lawson with a ton of jump balls, it would be seriously unfair wouldn’t it? It would. So yeah…let’s do that.
4) Get RB Ryan Mathews 12 carries by half-time. Due to injuries, the Lions are still trying to figure some stuff out. The more clock we eat, the fewer downs they have to do that. It’ll also go a long way to keeping QB Carson Wentz‘s jersey clean and give returning TE Zach Ertzmore room to roam.
If we do what we’re supposed to, this one should get ugly fast. Raise your hand if you think the Eagles Defense scores their first touchdown of the season in this game. (In my mind I see LB Nigel Bradham picking off a pass to Riddick and taking it back 35 or so yards to paydirt.) The only way Detroit stays in this game is if we help them to do so.