Sunday, November 15, 2009

Too Late, Not Furious Enough

***

We lost 31-23. That's now 2 losses in a row. Last week it was 4 points to Dallas. Now we lose by 8 to the Chargers. Both games have one common denominator: mistakes.

If you could change a handful of plays from either game...we win. The problem is that you can't do that. You have to learn from mistakes and play better the next week. We didn't do that.

* Moise Fokou was called for a late hit penalty. Stupid play. Last week he had a pair of bonehead penalties which really cost us.

* Jeremy Maclin was called for offensive interference on a 3rd down where he made the catch to move the chains. Jeremy got his hands on the CB and didn't do much, but you can't be so blatant with extending your arms when trying to push off. Gotta be subtle. That penalty killed a drive. Jeremy also fielded a punt at the 5. Last week Maclin had some costly mistakes that hurt us.

* Sav Rocca shanked a punt when we were backed up near our goal line. That set up the Chargers at our 40 and led to their first TD. Earlier this year Sav had a shank in a similar situation.

* We had an offside penalty on 3rd/short. That's happened before this year.

* Asante blew a coverage that led to a TD. Looked like he bit on a pump fake. Sheldon did the same darn thing last week and it cost us a TD. Ugh.

* Tracy White was called for an illegal block on a PR where DeSean had gotten to the SD 35-yard line. Blocking penalty cost us a TD last week.


These mistakes have nothing to do with lack of talent. These are mental errors. I'm sure the coaches have gone over these situations time after time. I don't understand why the player continue to screw up. Several of the mistakes were made by rookies. You understand that rookies are going to screw up. You just hope they play well enough to counter-balance the mistakes. As for veterans...harder to forgive them. They should know better.

I didn't have a beef with the playcalling by the O or D for the most part. The early Red Zone struggles were very frustrating. On the first trip we ran Weaver up the middle, threw an incomplete pass to Celek, and then ran Buckley up the middle. I love the fact they used Buckley, but why give him the ball on 3rd down. Eldra had 2 meaningless carries late in the Giants win. He hasn't had a touch since. He hasn't carried in a pressure situation...maybe since college. If you want to use him, give him the ball on 1st down and then again on 2nd down. Let him get a feel for things. Just throwing him out there on 3rd down was dumb. I'm sure they've practiced the play, but that isn't the same thing as running it live in a pressure situation.

What is wrong in the RZ? Combination of things: 1. Personnel 2. Playcalling 3. McNabb. We have smaller, quicker skill players. The RZ is a condensed space. Speed and quickness aren't as useful in there. Size and strength are more important. As far as plays...we tend to be a horizontal team in the RZ. That just doesn't work well. Our offense is vertical by design. We stretch the field and that creates good gaps for receivers. Down deep we can't do that. We need to run base plays and execute them precisely. I don't understand why we won't run a slant.

The McNabb comment is based on the last couple of years. Early in his career Donovan was a huge threat near the goal line. He ran for 6 TDs in 2000 and 2002. That threat put tremendous pressure on defenses. Donovan wasn't a great passer, but he didn't have to be. Play fakes were more effective. We've had RZ problems for 3 years now. Donovan has 3 rushing TDs in that time. Defenses don't have to worry about him as a runner. Now there is pressure on McNabb to throw the ball well. There are a couple of problems with this. Donovan doesn't often "throw guys open". He likes receivers to be open. In the RZ you need to anticipate what will happen. Donovan waits to see guys come free of coverage and then targets them.

Think about the best QBs in the league now. Brees, Brady, and Manning will take chances. They put the ball up there and let their receivers make plays for them. McNabb seems reticent to do this. He's given Maclin and Celek some chances, but too often Donovan wants to be perfect with his read and throw. That's impossible in the RZ.

The lack of a consistent running attack is also a major factor. Offensive linemen need to get into a rhythm. They can't spend most of a drive going backward in pass protection and then be expected to fire off the ball in the RZ and blow defenders off the ball when they are in a short yardage defense. This is one thing that I don't get about Marty and Andy. They either don't understand this or seem oblivious to it.

Settling for FGs instead of going for it...complicated subject. I wanted Andy to go for it on the first situation, but I also understand the George Blanda wisdom that the first points are the hardest. Make sure you get on the board. The next series we had to kick because it was 4th/7. The third FG situation was most annoying to me. We had 3rd/1 from the 7 and threw an incomplete pass to DJax. Even worse...the play was the rollout to the right. I cannot stand that damn thing. Why oh why???? We were down 21-6. The smart thing would have been to run up the middle. That either gets you the 1st or might set you up with 4th/inches. Down 15 you really need to score a TD.

The best argument for kicking is that we'd driven to the 7 from our 16 and getting no points would have been crushing. There is logic in that argument, but I think we screwed up starting with the 3rd down call.

SOME POSITIVES

I don't want to drone on all night about problems. There were some bright spots.

* Jason Avant had a great game. He caught 8 passes for 156 yards. He made one sensational catch.

* McNabb and the offense really clicked in the 2nd half. We had almost 300 yards of offense in the 2nd half. We scored 17 points.

* Donovan did a terrific job of running the hurry up offense in the 2nd half. He looked comfortable and things clicked. Let's hope that groove carries over to next week.

* Macho Harris filled in at KOR late in the game and looked good.

* I loved the fact that the guys didn't quit. We were down 28-9. We scored 14 straight points to get right back in the middle of it.

* McNabb dropped back 57 times, but only got sacked twice. And that was with Herremans at LT.


MISC

* Westy suffered another concussion. He might be done for the year. There are 7 regular season games left. I'm sure we'd sit him for at least 3 weeks. Is it worth it to take a chance that he'll be ready to play at that point? Maybe. We'll see. You have to wonder if Larry Johnson will get a phone call.

* Sheldon got hurt. He's got a hamstring problem. We need that to be a short term issue. If he's gone for a few weeks we're gonna be hurting. Is Dimitri Patterson starting material? We'll find out.


http://www.nfl.com/liveupdate/gamecenter/54608/SD_Gamebook.pdf
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17 comments:

Dr. Ogrodnick said...

The team takes after its coach. The same mistakes year after year, the same lack of discipline, the same lack of in game adjustments, the same immediate abandonment of the running game as soon as the team is trailing, no matter the situation. Tough to blame the players for making the same mistakes when the coach does it year after year. Sadly, as soon as it was 7-0 I knew the eagles had lost.

This team will never win a super bowl as long as Andy is in charge on game day.

Stephen said...

I didn't have the pleasure of watching this one but I figured it for a loss before we even got to san diego. It just felt like our kind of game to lose. I've already emotionally checked out on the team this season because I just know they're going to break my heart, its just become too routine.

Why Avant doesn't have at least 5 grabs a game, all for first downs of course, is beyond me. What a catch.

I can't say much because I didn't see too much (got to watch sparingly at work) but I was listening to the radio on the drive in, and it was entertaining to hear Merril talk about the dumb ST's penalties. It was also nice to have the obligatory oh we've got a little drive going so lets fuck it all up by calling some stupid gadget play moment, no Eagles loss would be complete without one of those.

Moving on to teams that can actually play up to their ability, that Colts-Patriots game was one of the greatest games I think I've ever seen. What a comeback, what a boneheaded absolutely stupid move by belicheck going for it on 4th down there, what an intense last 8 minutes or so. Thats everything and a whole lot more than you come to expect out of that rivalry. Peyton Manning to Reggie Wayne on the gamewinner was just art. Did anyone really doubt that the Colts were going to win after they got the ball back? What an awesome role reversal too, with Manning doing the stunning comeback and Brady left standing on the sidelines shaking his head. You just knew the game was over when Peyton threw that pick at about 8 minutes left, you just knew Brady/Belicheck was going to take over and close it out like they've done so many times before. I was almost ready to turn the game off at that point. Somehow this time, it was the Colts defense stepping up and making the big plays at the critical moments in this game, and the Pats defense was left in the dust. All this while missing Bob Sanders and both starting cornerbacks too! How do you spot Brady that kind of an advantage and still lose? What a tremendous game is all I can say.

That was an instant NFL classic.

Stephen said...

And what kind of a surreal world do we live in where Kyle Orton getting hurt probably cost the Denver Broncos the game? Orton lights them up for 200 yards and 2 scores in the first half, then gets hurt, and in trots Chris Simms, who proceeds to go 3 for 13 for 13 yards and an interception. Tough break for Denver there, Orton has really turned into a force for them.

T_S_O_P said...

Field position killed our first drive and dumb dumb dumb playcalling killed our second. And then a Mick Vick appearance in the 3rd series.

Westbrook got 2 touches in the 1st series, none in the 2nd or 3rd. Weaver got a call in the 2nd series. In the same time amount of time as we went with 3 traditional running plays, the co-ordinators went with 2 trick plays, the "double reverse of wisdom" and the "slick Mick Vick" showing looking for a chunk not a nibble. At that point regardless of the fact that it was still 7-0, the game plan was exposed as traditionally unbalanced, traditional "Eaglesque".

We were 14-0 down at the end of that.

Edward said...

Macho laid the wood yesterday, from what i saw of him he looked more comfortable and extremely eager to win the starting job back after his injury.

The Eagles haven't played a high qualtiy consistent regular season since 2004 now. Some people may say 2006 but it was basically 2 different teams. They only played consistently when McNabb broke himself and they actually started gameplanning for something other than 'McNabb will win it'.

Not to become a McNabb hater, i am a fan, but if this team goes 5-6/5-7 i think its time to start Kolb.

T_S_O_P said...

Edward

The Eagles lead the league in 3rd and longs, not team has found themselves in more. Only 1 QB on the roster has converted any of them.

It could be argued that it is McNabb's fault that we are in 3rd and long in the first place, but I don't think that is fair at all. Yesterday, he didn't call the double reverse, he didn't call Vick on the field on 2nd and 8. Nor did he then call the play that Vick was asked to execute.

Why are we always looking for the big play? What is wrong with nibbling your way down field and getting into a rhythm? Otherwise, you find yourself down by the goal line trying to use a running game that hasn't been even close to being established.

Any which way, we will see whether the McNabb backers or bashers are right, wrong or both right. By that I mean, there will surely be an opening for a QB in the twin cities, which should be a hand in glove fit for #5, whereas the supposed hand in glove fit of Marty Andy and Kevin can show the rest why we won't miss him. But color me surprised if the latter happens without a fundamental change in philosophy regards how to run the offense.

Edward said...

I agree it isn't necessarily McNabbs fault, he did play well late in the game yesterday (something we all harped on about him never doing!) and he did great running the hurry up as Tommy pointed out. However we would get at least a first rounder for him at the end of the season and would then have a starting qb who might force the coaches to think about what they're doing. Change their philosphy as you mentioned.

Maybe its a new OC we need, we've not had a consistent offense for years but we have consistently done certain things badly. I know this is reactionary but as i've mentioned this team is a broken record at times.

Our injury riddled defense didn't exactly help the cause yesterday either.

We absolutely have to win this next game. The schedule is too tough to expect to not lose a couple after that.

Boyboy said...

The good Dr. was dead on with his assesment. I don't even want to think about AR returning next year. He can't get the job done because he refuses to adapt and learn from past mistakes. I'm not sure how easy it will be to find another coach that can win over 100 games. But I'm sure you can find dozens of coaches who can't win a Super Bowl in 11 years.

I'm sitting here asking myself what it's going to take to get this buffoon out of here. Sadly, I don't think there is anything. I'm sick at the thought of Reid being back next year. I've been a diehard since the Swamp Fox days, but if AR returns for 2010, I may be done. And it's not just Reid. It's the arrogance of the organization in general.

Reid refuses to change what everyone else sees as being broken. Not only is there are there fundamental flaws in coaching philosophy, there are also flaws in the way this team builds its roster. Building with the draft is great, but this team fools itself into thinking that every late round pick or undrafted FA is good enough to come in an contribute on game days.

Every year, we sit at about $15 millions below the cap but rather than spend a million and a half on some seasoned veterans for depth on the OL, LB, and DB -- we trot out Moses Fuoku to take a couple penalties each game. And Tracy White. And Jeremiah Trotter. I'm pretty sure he paid us to let him play again. Oh...and Joe Mays. I could go on and on...

Last thing...everything is predicated around scheme. Schemes to get WRs open and schemes to get a blitzer free to the QB (which hasn't worked well the past few years, btw). This is why we lead the league in 3rd and longs. We can't just let good players go out and execute basic plays for 4 yards on first downs. We're running Vick onto the field or trying double reverses just when it looks like the offense is starting to build momentum. It's horsesh*t and it's the same reason we can't convert short yardage.

Damn, I'm pissed.

Josh said...

It was a tough game to watch, they didn't seem to make any play on offense look easy. Passing so much puts that much extra pressure on the QB to be "the man", and then even more so because of the 3rd and longs which result. And does it make it harder for the QB when he has to be at that high level of intensity on every play. Not that he just sits back and relaxes on a run play, but it is obviously different than a pass play. It just seems like passing that much may have a whole cascade of negatives beyond the obvious ones.

Baloophi said...

I was at the game and have a couple thoughts...

1) Pass protection was excellent the entire game. Once Westy got hurt and Weaver got nothing, Reid/MM probably reverted back to 80/20 pass but I don't fault them in this instance... McNabb frequently had 5-6 seconds at least to find someone. Good job by Herremans it seemed.

2) Linebacker shuffling hurt us. We shut down Jackson and Floyd, but had no answer for Gates, and suddenly Tomlinson couldn't be tackled. Ugly down the middle on D. Also, we were 1 second behind on our pass rush all day... enough time to let Gates run free.

3) Drops. I'm sure watching at home you got better wayyy better angles and replays, but I counted at least 5 dropped balls (2-3 from Jackson alone) that didn't look like bad throws.

4) Penalties. As already discussed, penalties were killer. Offensive pass interference, holding, late-hit... they tended to come on important plays too which is killer. Also, I think I counted one penalty on San Diego, but saw lots of holding, particularly on whoever their RT is was (BEFORE he came out with injury).

5) There were about 16k Eagles fans... felt like a neutral field from the fan perspective. The 4 idiot Chargers fans behinds me started doing the E-A-G-L-E-S chant to mock us (I guess), but then got real quiet in the 4th quarter. Not a knowledgeable fan-base but very welcoming I guess. It helps when it's 70 degrees in November.

6) Playcalling. Beating a dead horse here but you just knew after that first red zone series we weren't going to get it done down there. I think abandoning the run after it gets stuffed on 1st down is a mistake. Everybody knows Reid wants to pass (Celek had three guys on him on that 2nd and goal) so pound it through the middle. Heck, I'll even compromise: shovel pass it through the middle - what happened to that play? Again, McNabb had all day to throw, but it looked like flag football or something... I think he could have run it in on at least 2 of those plays but is probably gun shy after Carolina. As Tommy noted, that's a weapon we're really missing down there.

7) WRs. AVANT: Too bad we didn't figure out until late that they had no answer down the middle. Seriously - he was open the entire game. BROWN: No longer a deep threat. Went to him twice deep with 2-3 Chargers covering him. MACLIN: Seems like he doesn't have his head in the game. Bailed on a crossing route, gave up on a return... not to be trusted, yet. JACKSON: If they've got him over the top, what they don't have him is that 20 yard comeback. It's open ALL DAY.

8) Triple reverses after first downs. Just stop.

9) Our offensive line is just massive... even with Nick Cole in there.

Dan said...

I love our team. A great group of young guys. We are gonna get better in the future.

I hate our coaches. I wish we could get some intelligent game management and balanced play-calling.

Reid has his head up his own ass and cannot look at himself critically. I really think we would be better off with a new coach. I am reminded of the Einstein quote: "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

T_S_O_P said...

Baloophi said...
Once Westy got hurt and Weaver got nothing, Reid/MM probably reverted back to 80/20 ....

Weaver was handed the ball twice, whether he was going to be successful running the ball was never tested. Whether the OLine could have done a nice job run blocking was never tested. Plaudits for the effectiveness in pass blocking, but reverting... wrong word.

I'm sure you'd have taken Weaver instead of the double reverse, or the Vick pass, I know I would. Who knows, with a bit of rhythm behind him maybe his 2nd carry, which would have been his 4th in the above scenario, would have been successful.

Boyboy said...

I do hate everytime Vick enters the game, but mistake me if I'm wrong...didn't he actually throw a perfect pass that DeSean dropped?

Baloophi said...

@ TSOP
Yes, "reverted" was the wrong choice. I trick myself before every game into thinking they're going to make a legitimate effort at running, but clearly that wasn't the case. I said Weaver got "nothing" in the Reid-ian sense of he got two tries and didn't average 6 yards a carry. He has said often that "if it's working we'll do it more" but what he means is "if it works the first two carries we'll keep doing it," - so I meant Weaver got "nothing" in Andy's eyes. I wonder if his running for a TD on the first run of the game against the Giants colored their decision-making in that regard. Anyway, yeah, I agree - I would've kept running - but I think he gets impatient and settling for two field-goals when the Chargers are getting into the end-zone makes him want to dial up pass. Frustrating.

@Boyboy
It looked to me like Vick threw a catchable ball to Desean, but I never saw a replay of it. From the stands it looked like it was right in his hands with nobody near him. I still think it takes McNabb out of it when Vick comes in, but that looked like it was on Desean not Vick.

Adam S. said...

The penalties in this game were infuriating. We always seem to have stupid unneccesary penalties at the worst times. Did I hear the ref correctly that there was an offside call on 3rd down because a player lined up in the neutral zone?

I'm still trying to figure out the 2nd last play of the game. 9 seconds left from the 34, plenty of time to run a 10-15 yard out, leaving us with a 15-25 yards for the last play. From what I could see, and I watched it at least 5 times, The coverge was so loose that they could have easily done this but instead went for the endzone. Now instead of having a realistic shot at getting a TD from 15-25 yds we now are left with another 34 yd attempt. Nice attempt by McNabb on the final play, just off by a little bit and there was not much space to begin with. Avant is probably the only guy that is open enough to make a play and he just missed him. Good read considering the pressure of the situation. Seeing McNabb run the hurry-up so well was strange.

I agree that Vick coming on the field for the most part is very disruptive and is obviously not working like they had thought it would. But the pass to Jackson was a drop not Vick's fault, Jackson should have caught that. That has got to be frustrating for Vick hat the time he gets a real chance to throw the ball and the WR drops it. That is definitely not helping his confidence which in turn hurts the team.

Adam S. said...

Also Tommy do you think you can get rid of the word verification when leaving a comment? It never accepts the first attempt (i dunno if anybody else has that issue or not).

I know that you don't need to have it so there should be a way to remove it. that is unless you wanted it there for some reason.

Boyboy said...

I also have that problem.