Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More on the Win


I'm only halfway through re-watching the game. The full review won't be posted until late tonight.

I am very happy that we won. We're now 4-2 and that was critical. We won a division game. And it came on the road. These are all good things. We also beat WAS, who had won 3 of the last 4.

I'm not trying to be negative Nancy or Debbie downer about the win. I just have high standards for this team. There is a lot of talent and it bothers me to see them play sloppy football. I don't want to overly focus on the W and act as if the problems will go away. Hopefully that makes sense.

We've got critical games coming up. We'll see the Giants on Sunday, fresh off 2 losses and madder than a bunch of hornets. We face the Cowboys after that. Sloppy play isn't likely to get us wins in those games. We need at least a split to stay on schedule in terms of where we want to be toward the end of the season. A sweep would be great.

Here are some quick thoughts:


* Will Witherspoon is a playmaker. He brought speed and skill to MLB. He could turn out to be a great pickup for us.

* Trent Cole. Nothing new. He came up with 2 sacks and helped to get regular pressure on Campbell.

* Bunk finally made some plays. He had a sack and 2 TFLs. He showed good athletic ability, but also played big.

* Chris Clemons had his best game of the year. He had a sack and just missed another.

* Jason Babin played in place of VA. Babin made the most of his reps. He had a sack and 2 TFLs. He played LDT and LDE. Nice showing.

* Akeem Jordan played well. He was physical. He had big hits on a few plays. That's what we need from him.

* Asante Samuel tackled well. True story. I haven't had a drop of beer today.

* Quintin Mikell came up big when he was playing around the LOS. Q batted the pass that Spoon picked off and ran back for a score. He then recovered the fumbled that Spoon forced when he sacked Campbell. Good Safeties are playmakers. Being at the heart of 2 turnovers and 10 points...that's good stuff.

* We controlled Portis (14-43). The last time we played that well against him was 2004 when he had 37 yards on 17 carries.

* Todd Herremans played his first game of the year and looked pretty good. Big Al beat Todd a few times, but that's a tough 1-on-1 matchup. Todd moved around very well and looked pretty healthy.

* DeSean Jackson showed his explosive ability as a runner, receiver, and returner. He had long TDs on the ground and in the air. He didn't break a long return, but he came close.

* Jeremy Maclin continues to get better. He caught 5 passes last night. A couple of them were quick screens. The other throws were short and intermediate passes. Jeremy pointed out to McNabb that he was wide open on a pass play where the ball went elsewhere. He wasn't jumping up and down and going crazy on the play. All that does is draw attention to you and tell the D they blew a coverage. Jeremy was smart. He let the right guys know about that in a calm manner on the sideline and it led to a TD on a later drive.

* LeSean had 19 touches against a tough, physical defense and didn't fumble. He didn't always have good running room, but did the best he could. I watched Beanie Wells run backward on Sunday night. Rookies will do stuff like that. McCoy stayed N-S as much as possible.

* Donovan was safe. He made the one critical TD throw that put the game out of reach. He didn't force the ball downfield. He threw underneath to McCoy a couple of times. He handled the pass rush pretty well.

* Offensive balance. We had a lead the entire game and we played like it. The clock is your friend. Runs and short passes are smart. Work the clock.

* David Akers hit 2 FGs both from 40+.


* DeSean has got to get a serious lecture from someone about his celebrations. Score the friggin' TD and then celebrate. He started to have his fun at the 5-yard line on the long pass and a DB caught up to him. The guy tackled DeSean in the end zone and it looked like that was the play that got him hurt. Do not mess with the Football Gods. They will punish you. Just ask Leon Lett. I don't care how much dancing DJax does when he scores. Just make sure you get into the end zone and we have our 6 points first. Imagine if the DB had gotten there half a second quicker and really hurt Jackson. That would be a crushing blow to our team and season.

* LeSean has got to quit looking for Interstate 95. There were a few plays out in space where LeSean had room to run, but he hesitated as he tried to look for a huge area to run through. Get your feet under you, plant, and burst upfield. Don't look for areas the size of Montana. This is the NFL. Be happy when you get any crease.

* Maclin made a real good play on the first quick screen because he had good blocking and room to run. The next play he caught the ball and turned into a deer in headlights. This is the NFL, son. You see the end zone up the field? Go that way. Fast. You won't be able to out-juke 11 pro defenders. You're lucky when you can do it to one. He who hesitates is lost. Better to gain only a couple than to lose a couple. Do not hesitate. Get going.

* Donovan struggled on 3rd downs. There was regular pressure, but a guy with his experience knows the importance of staying cool and getting good throws off. He made 2 very sloppy throws when we had open receivers (Celek, DeSean). They weren't easy plays, but a good NFL QB like Donovan should have completed those passes.

* The playcalling was great early in the game. The offense was creative. There was flow. The blocking was good. And then something happened. We did lose Westy. WAS picked up their play. But something was off on our side as well. I can't point to one thing. I had such hopes after the first 8-10 plays. This offense can be a lot of fun to watch.

* We didn't score one point in the 2nd half.

* We didn't get inside the WAS Red Zone...at all. We had the long TDs and defensive TD. We've now gone at least 8 quarters without running a play from inside the opponent's 15-yard line. That's not healthy.

* No catches for Avant and only one throw his way? Not good. We're struggling on 3rd downs and he is our best 3rd down weapon. Get him the ball.

* Juqua Parker had a very quiet game. I thought he'd get the best of Mike Williams. Juqua didn't get much pressure at all and only had 1 tackle. Our base pass rush wasn't great. WAS dropped back over 50 times. We did get 6 sacks, but needed to blitz for most of them.

* Trent jumped offside on 3rd/3. That kept alive a TD drive. WAS might have converted anyway, but their offense had little confidence at that point. I was slightly upset with Mr. Cole. Sort of like the Pacific Ocean is slightly big. Those kind of mistakes kill me.

* Macho got burned on a couple of play-action passes. Don't bite so hard, dude. Focus on your receiver and work to the ball.

* Red Zone defense. WAS was 2 of 3 last night. They scored on plays where defenders got sloppy in coverage. Can't have that kind of stuff vs Eli and Romo.

Odd note. We jumped out to a 14-0 lead last year in the first game with WAS. We had a 68-yd TD by DeSean and a 9-yd TD by Westy. This year we had a 67-yd TD by DeSean and a 9-yd TD by Spoon. If this happens next year...that's Freaky Friday.

Like I said earlier, I'm very happy that we won. We were only 2-4 in NFC East games last year. That was a major concern. We're now 1-0 in the division. The good news about the loss to Oakland is that it's just an AFC game.

I'm happy with the talent we've got in place and think we have the potential to be really good. The offense must be more consistent. The defense is pretty darn good as it is. Those guys need a few tweaks, but we're stuffing the run, getting to the QB, and coming up with takeaways. That's what you want from a D.

The next couple of weeks provide us with a big test. We'll start to see how good this team really is.

Here's the gamebook: -- Link --


Boyboy said...

A few things...

Weren't many fans (myself included) clammoring for Witherspoon when he became a FA a few years back? When you consider that the linebackers are the perennial weak unit on this defense, how nice would it have been to have WW the past few seasons?

I said to my friends right near the beginning of the game, "How long until Chris Clemmons or Macho Harris commit a stupid penalty?". Well, the answer was early in the second quarter. Harris got called for blocking below the knees on a punt return.

Sav Rocca stinks...as do the special teams in general. Too many penalties, mediocre coverage units, abysmal kickoff returns...DJax is the only bright spot.

David Akers will continue to be my least favorite Eagle until I see him make a kick when the game is on the line. If I watch him point to the sky after one more kick...

Aside from not seeing Maclin open deep, McNabb also didn't see Shady wide-open in the flat on an early 3rd down. He would have picked up 10 yards easily. Instead, #5 stared down Celek and forced a ball that fell incomplete. Also...it's amazing how much more annoying it is to watch McNabb skip balls off the turf when the offense is already struggling.

Bunkley is a beast. I think he's being held back by having two play two-gap technique.

Still can't believe we blew that game to the Raiders. Well, it is the Eagles, so maybe I can.

Michael said...

I don't think my standards for the offense is as high as yours is Tommy, but for the team overall it's probably higher.

I wouldn't be satisfied with a split in the next two games at all. That gets us to 5-3 and in this conference with three good NFC North teams and two good NFC South teams and three good NFC East teams, that's not good.

In my mind every home game is a must-win game. For this team to go 11-5, they needed to be 7-1 in their first eight games, and they've already blown that with the Raiders game.

To me, not only do they need to win the next two, but they have to win at San Diego as well, just to get back to par for the course.

The only "acceptable" losses on the schedule are @SD, @NY, @Atl, and @Dal, and to get to 11-5 they have to win one of those and all the other games as well.

It's a tough standard, but that's the price of being a contender. Consider even 11-5, which we'd all take right now no questions asked, will probably get us no better than a third seed in the playoffs, meaning we'd still have to play on the opening weekend and face a team such as Atl or GB.

Dollar Brand said...

Special Teams play in general has not improved with the Ted Daisher regime. At one point last night the TV showed Andy fuming when the punt team had to call a time-out because they were confused on personnel. The camera's caught him screaming "Ted!". Not good.

izzylangfan said...

There are several funny things about this game.

Yes, Washington does have a good defense with some serious talent. But some of the blame has to be put squarely on the offensive line which was entirely too porous. McNabb had another clunker of a game. And the play calling might have been better with more runs and short passes but something seemed to be off.

The defense seemed good again but were given so many gifts by the Washington offense it is hard to evaluate. They certainly gave up a lot of yardage on the pass. The run defense was again really solid.

The Eagles used a lot of their draft on the offense this year. Next year I think the Eagles will want to shore up the holes in the defense (assuming the offensive line eventually comes together). I have always been a supporter of McNabb. But his inconsistency is beginning to get to me and I am wondering whether the Eagles brass wouldn't mind trading him if they can get two number ones. (Is that really the price?) Kolb might not ever be as good (you never know) but he moved the team well and looked pretty good - and he will still improve.

T_S_O_P said...


Just posted some info on the EMB Blog.

Over the last 3 games the Eagles have lined up traditionally and ran the ball on 3rd down 3 times. All in the Redskins game! " of those were from 13 and 16 yards where we were more than likely running time off the clock.

Other tahn that, we had a broken play scramble for 6 yards by McNabb in the Oakland disaster and two Vick scrambles (success from 3 - 9 and failure from 3 - 2 ) in the Buccs game.

Do we fool anyone on 3rd down?

Stephen said...

I just have to wonder why Mcnabb is not playing like an elite quarterback. Donovan has been in the league long enough and is capable of playing at a high enough level that we shouldn't see him getting so shaken by pressure, we shouldn't see him skipping balls into wide open recievers or staring guys down and throwing wobblers at their knees. That kind of stuff absolutely should not be happening in a star quarterbacks 11th season. You can blame the playcalling and the offensive philosophy for the overall spottiness of the offense, but there is no one but Donovan to blame for missing golden opportunities that should be routine plays for a quarterback of his caliber. You could give him a pass back in '07 because he was coming off that nasty knee injury, but the past 2 seasons he just hasn't taken that step back into top tier quarterback like he was back in the day.

Bottom line is when Mcnabb brings his A game he's just as unstoppable as Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, the problem is we might see his A game once every 3 or 4 games, instead of consistently game in and game out. I'm not sure why he can't see to pull it together for more than a few stretches of the season, but I'm beginning to lose faith that we'll ever see the old pro bowl Donovan again.

shlynch said...

@TSOP -- I looked at the 3rd down situation prior to the Washington game.


Now, my numbers there would be altered a bit by the Redskins game, but the conclusions would be the same.

We were 60% on 3rd and 5 or less. That is pretty good, actually. The problem really continues to be 3rd and 10+. Teams are rushing 3 or 4 and dropping everyone else into coverage. That's what they did last night. Heck, on the bomb to Jackson, it was two receivers against 7 guys in coverage. You aren't going to complete a lot of those.

The problem has nothing at all to do with running the ball, unless you advocate more draws on 3rd and long (which I think we used last night, by the way). We need to be more confident in our pass protection and figure out a way to challenge defenses short.

And most importantly, don't get in so many damn 3rd and 10+ situations to start with. That is what really is killing us, IMHO. Those are really low percentage situations anyway. No need to accumulate so many.

orangecrush007 said...

It would have nice to see Maclin doing Jumping Jacks in the endzone on that play. I wonder what would happen to his career in Philly had he pulled that stunt.

Cliff said...

Even if LeSean found I-95, there wouldn't be anywhere for him to go. Bumper-to-bumper at 1:30AM heading south after the game.

I can't imagine how I would've felt sitting in that crap if the Eagles lost.