Saturday, August 26, 2006

Preseason Game 4 Thoughts

overall, i thought the first team played pretty well. the first team offense moved that ball against the steelers first team d and the first team d kept the steelers first team offense off the board.

- the receivers didn't get much separation. mcnabb had to fit the ball into some pretty tight spaces last night. also, reggie brown ran what appeared to be a lazy comeback route on the mcnabb pick that was overturned.

- i've always liked darren howard, but i think he's going to be a monster this year. he's never played on a d-line with this much talent before. he was just killing marvel smith last night. i love how howard doesn't allow the o-lineman to get into his body, and usually keeps the battle at arm's reach.

- don played pretty well and it seems to me that the real don is back. incidentally, kc joyner broke down every QB's interceptions last year into "at fault" interceptions (the QB made a bad throw or a bad decision) and "not at fault" interceptions (the receiver should have made the catch or the QB got hit as he threw the ball or hail mary passes). of don's 9 picks last season, 5 were "not at fault" interceptions. eli manning had the most "inaccurate pass" interceptions in the nfl last season with 9 (second place was a tie between drew bledsoe and kyle orton at 6).
It should come as no surprise that Eli Manning tops this list. I often get accused of bashing Manning unnecessarily, but these types of metrics make me question his upside. His inaccuracy doesn't just lead to a lower completion percentage but also leads to more turnovers.
- i know trotter keeps saying that he's going to have an MVP season because the d-line is so good this year, but he looks s-l-o-w to me. maybe he's saving himself for the regular season, but he looks slow.

- buck looked pretty good, i thought. he made some nifty cuts and his acceleration was there. still doesn't seem like he has his top gear back though. whoever has been fixing up his knees is doing a pretty good job. i wish ben smith had gone to buck's doctor instead of whoever he saw (probably art "the butcher" bartolozzi, who i think was the eagles team doctor back then).

- one thing i noticed about the eagles d is that JJ still hasn't gone back to the same defense he was playing when he had bobby and troy at the corners. with bobby and troy, i recall the birds playing predominantly "bump and run" on the corners when they were blitzing. after sheldon and lito took over, the birds started playing a lot more zone, especially if they were blitzing. JJ did that to "protect the young corners", but he hasn't gone away from that even though this is their third season as starters. i think this is part of why they haven't been able to get off the field on third down. JJ blitzes and the QB throws to the guy who has the 5 yard cushion in the zone. JJ must not have the same trust level as he did when it was bobby and troy. as good as i think sheldon is, he's still no where close to where troy was his last few seasons. you could count on him to just shut someone down (i think 2 or 3 seasons in a row, troy gave up zero TD passes), but sheldon and lito need help.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am glad we saw the same game Pete. OK job, nothing to get really excited about. I have seen all 4 games and am sticking to 8-8 for now, but I can easily see 10-6 with a few breaks and experience. I love this team's future. Let's start with the negatives.

1. We all sort of see it, we all sort of think it, now we all have to admit it-Lito Shepperd isn't very good. He will forever live on 4 INT and a pro bowl, but he cannot cover anyone. His men were open all night long and Big Ben overthrew a few sure TD on coverages he blew. I think the Birds actually need to upgrade at CB next season because they lack a shutdown guy. Brown at least supports the run well, but Lito is an average to below average NFL d back.

2. I will scream this from the roof tops, but they have no LB. Trotter looks slow, McCoy keeps over-pursuing or reading plays late, and Jones just sucks. This will hurt them against shifty backs and competent O lines.

3. Secondary is actually only OK. I know pressure changes things. but if the front four don't play high octane every game, this defensive backfield will give up a ton of TD because they give too much space instead of playing man up. Tells me they lack true coverage skills.

4. William "don't call me Tra" Thomas is a massive pussy. You are 6'7", 350 pounds, godammit blow someone off the ball! He plays pat a cake finesse ball and gives up way too much ground on pass rush, forcing McNabb to unecessarily run around or run away from pressure. I cannot wait until he's kicked to the curb and Justice becomes the man. Not that Justice is a stud today, but he has nasty in him that needs to be refined.

5. Their WR seem to be struggling to get open since McNabb is checking down a lot, but I've always known Donny to need 100% confidence in someone before making that small window pass. I cannot tell if it's a "QB doesn't trust them" thing or truly a "no one's open" thing, but either way it needs to be resolved quickly.

6. They have big time RB issues. Tiny or slow guys who cannot sustain drives. On the play Foote sacked Donny, the RB needed to check down and pick up the blitz. Instead he ran to the flat and no one even got in Foote's way. A better back sees that and adjusts whereas McNabb will get killed playing with these guys.

OK, now the positives

1. Akers looks really sharp, nailing several long tries so far. His injuries last year get overlooked because he is a major contributor on this team.

2. D line is tough, deep, and fast. Man they just keep sending bodies at you and you cannot block everyone. I see these guys causing a major ruckus for any O line as the Steelers and Ravens both have solid top 10 caliber lines and the D line got the better of both.

3. Runyan is mashing people. Great move bringing him back. He's never hurt and he is nasty, a good role model for a young line.

4. Bunkley is a bona fide stud. He didn't make a ton of plays last night, but I watched him and he tied up the interior line of Pittsburgh well and enabled others to be unblocked. I personally think Faneca is the best OG in the game and Bunkley stalemated him an awful lot last night. That's a win if you can let the middle three roam free.

5. Donny and Dawk are clearly back after sub par seasons and the O and D are their teams. Their leadership can only make this team better.

6. Lajuan Ramsey shouldn't just make the team, he needs to be a regular player in the rotation. Watch this kid and he just makes plays with lots of speed on top of good bulk. Whatever Pete Carroll does at USC is working as Patterson and Ramsey and Justice are all warriors who hustle and can play. I think he makes Darwin expendable.

7. Consindine makes every single special teams tackle. This guy is the Vince Papale of 2006. On a bigger scale, their kick coverage looks much betetr this year. Funny how faster athletes will do that.

8. This last draft may be their best ever. Justice and Bunkley are great, Gilles will be good, Gaither is a player who will fit their system well, Avant looks like he too will become a player, Ramsey is my team Rudy-the guy just never stops, and Bloom and Gocong will become role players but are set back by untimely injuries. How many teams can say they found 8 guys in the draft who can contribute?

Lastly, a list of guys I'd cut.

1. Koy-he SUCKS! I am exhausted with Andy's refusal to admit this guy has no upside. He does an atrocious job running the offense and he is a 10 year man. Why is Andy so lenient on him?

2. Koy-just to make sure everyone recognizes how bad this guy sucks.

3. Pinkston-OK he can run, but never a physical or dependable guy whose speed is now noticeably worse. Have Greg Lewis become your deep threat, but don't waste a roster spot on Todd, he hasn't earned it.

4. Moats-I am way down on him. He never seems to know what he's supposed to be doing, he doesn't read blocks well, and he is puny. I like Mahe a lot better as he at least knows who and when to block someone. Admit your error and cut him loose.

5. Frahley. Not a guard. Repeat, NOT A GUARD! He gets manhandled at the point of attack and is too slow. If he has to play, they are noticeably worse. Gilles has way more upside, teach someone else to snap.

6. Darwin-always hurt and lazy. Supposedly benches 600 pounds, yet always gets manhandled. I hate his motor and you no longer need his diversity at end with Howard and so many DE. My D line would be Bunkley, Patterson, Ramsey, Trucker, Howard, Kearse, Cole (who'd play some SAM as well), J Thomas, and McDougle (always hurt, but I prefer speed to Walker's)

7. Koy-Ok now I'm piling on


2:53 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eagles Fans,

My son managed to talk my wife into buying him a pack of football cards (he collects baseball cards, and one bad habit is enough, in my opinion).

Lucky kid managed to pluck an Eagle! Guess who? None other than Josh Parry (I'm not creative enough to make this up). He's willing to trade the card to anyone who has interest, and I figured this was the only place in the world where we might find some. He's hoping to get Donovan McNabb in return.

If anyone is interested, let me know. I'd planned on mailing the card to Pete as a gift/joke, but my son won't part with it unless he gets something in return.



5:11 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Mets just scored 700 runs, so I have a little time to give a well-deserved shout out.

Thank you Pete, Bumble, Big Dog and others for the Eagles commentary. I'm learning more about football from you guys than I've learned from watching every Eagles game since I was a kid or from reading every story the Inquirer or Daily News ever prints.

Keep up the great work.


9:30 PM EDT  
Blogger The Big Dog said...

I actually watched the entire game Friday night....right now my thunder is a little stolen, but I will throw my 2 cents in....
1. I agree with the Bull (Bumble), this could be the Eagles best draft in a long, long time. Bunkley is a man's man...Ramsey SHOULD be part of this rotation, which I think he will be, Avant will get some reps, Justice will supplant Thomas in time, maybe short time, Gilles is very very big and heavy and well very BIG and HEAVY, Gocong has to play sometime, doesn't he? Bloom is destined for some kind of PUP, Gaither is a frigging monster, motor doesn't stop and he's just nasty. If Trot doesn't step it up, Gaither could play soon. You have to figure that Baskett is basically part of this draft class, too.
2. Koy is horrendous. It is actually embarrassing. Please, please put him out of his misery. On the downside, Timmy Chang is not much better. I would take Pittsburgh's third stringer in a heartbeat (the baseball player from Kentucky)....he could get cut because they took Omar Jacobs in the draft.
3. Their d-line just gets after you. Like the tenacity. Unfortunately, if the front line doesn't make a mess, the LBs let the ball carrier make 7 yards. They just blow.
4. Say goodbye to Jason Short.
5. Gocong has to play, doesn't he? This has been one of the most disappointing things this pre-season.
6. JR Reed, while he may not be 100%, is a good guy to have around.
7. I hope Buck gets better and makes this team. He looked okay the other night.
8. Duce Staley looked really bad. So did Perry and Moats. Moats kind of blows dog. We really need some help here. After B West, there is a dramatic drop off (outside of Buckhalter)....WR, LB and RB are going to be Big Red's Waterloo this year.
9. You figure that the Eagles O-line of the future will be Justice; Max-Jean Pierre Sacre Bleu Le Gran Chat Gilles; Jackson, Andrews and Herremans (maybe at RT or maybe they could put Justice at RT and Herremans at LT); all are kind of big and nasty. That's a pretty nasty line.
10. Here is my receiving corp going into this season....Avant, Baskett, Brown, Lewis, Gaffney...and...then....oh god does it really not get better?

7:32 AM EDT  

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