Monday, October 02, 2006

Game 4 Thoughts

overall, a good win for the birds. they did have a bit of a slow start on the scoreboard, leaving 14 points on the ground in the first half, but the game was never in question.

- the packers defensive gameplan in the first half seemed to surprise big red a bit. unlike previous games where the eagles came out very aggressively and started passing deep immediately, the eagles opted for a ball control offense and came out running the ball and throwing underneath. unfortunately, the packers defensive gameplan was to play bump and run on the outside and jump the short routes with safeties and linebackers. the tv announcers credited the lack of offensive continuity to westbrook's absence, but it really looked like it was due to good defensive gameplanning to me. there were no receivers getting open and mcnabb had to fit the ball into some really tight spots. ultimately, the packers paid for their aggressive gameplan once two things happened: a) mcnabb started running in response to defenders turning their backs and b) big red adjusted and started throwing the ball over the top. andy should get some credit for his in-game adjustments and coaching tonight. that was a great effort by the fat [guy]. (you know what i want to call him...)

- how nice was it to see don take the game into his hands and run that ball when necessary. with his arm alone he is a very good QB. when you combine the legs and the arm, he is a great player.

- don looked inaccurate in the first half, but i thought a lot of that was him not being able to get comfortable due to the packers gameplan directly countering the eagles offensive script. no one was open in the first half. there were a couple of throws that he inexplicably threw into the ground in the first half, but i'd rather have him throw those than throw some patented brett favre jump balls. interestingly the announcers mentioned mcnabb's inaccuracy several times, but didn't discuss any inaccuracy on favre's part. i thought it strange considering that mcnabb had the better statistical day and especially considering he was throwing deep and favre was throwing short.

- true to form, "personal foul" harris got an early personal foul. even so, harris and woodson really played a great game. they are as physical a pair of cornerbacks as there is in the league and are both top flight players. once the eagles started picking on ahmad carroll the game changed. i'd have loved to see the birds pick up woodson in the offseason. he's not hyped like bailey, but he's a better player imo. in all fairness, he has been injury prone and he may have lost a step, but i've seen him shut down guys one on one (e.g. me-o and randy moss) that very few people shut down.

- the packers got a surprising amount of pressure on don and did a good job in the first half on run defense. anyone notice the pack blitzed on the birds first offensive series and ended up with LJ trying to block KGB one on one? predictably, LJ's ole block lead to the packers first sack.

- anyone else think andy held westbrook out to ensure that he'd be ready for next week's showdown with me-o? similarly, i suspect that lito could have played today if it was a critical game or a tough opponent.

- defense came out kind of flat with the d-line not getting any push. also, they're still getting killed on underneath routes. hopefully that will change once they get rod and lito back on the field and they are able to play a little more aggressively. where were the d-tackles today? seems like they didn't penetrate like past games. of course, the lajuan ramsey interception was entertaining though. he has a turning radius bigger than my minivan. for a while, i thought he was going to pull a jim marshall and run all the way into the eagles endzone.

- donte' was obviously hampered in the game even before he left with hamstring tightness. he didn't have his deep speed and wasn't able to run away from corners. i hope he stays out until he is ready to go at 100%.

- several huge hits tonight. two by dawkins, one by michael lewis, and one by considine. the packers receivers got a little gunshy after that. the announcers kept talking about the drops, but the late game drops were rooted in the big hits rather than just being drops imo.

- eagles caught a couple of breaks on the packers opening drive. first, koren robinson caught the ball on an opening kickoff that that looked like was going out of bounds. second, michael lewis got away with a hit on defenseless receiver after the pass tipped off his fingertips. they emphasized this as a penalty over the last two seasons, so i was surprised that this wasn't called.

it was another workmanlike effort, but still resulted in a good win. areas of concerns coming out of the game are:

- injuries - the birds absorbed freak's injury because of their depth, but it seems like the entire secondary is dinged and the wideout corps is not too healthy. i'm not enthusiastic about going into a matchup with the cowboys with hank baskett, greg lewis, and jason avant as the starters.

- o-line - still getting some inconsistent play here. dallas presents a good challenge next week and we'll get a chance to see how good the o-line really is. giving up 4 sacks against the packers is just not good enough.

- fumbles - one thing lost in the feel good buckhalter return is his penchant for putting the ball on the ground. don't forget that he has a history as a fumbler and has been benched in the past for fumbling. last night's multiple fumble game wasn't a shocker. ok, the first fumble wasn't totally buck's fault, but how come that never happens when westbrook is in the game? if westbrook doesn't stay healthy and buck and moats continue to fumble, we might end up with a full dose of reno mahe (who i'm starting to warm up on now that he's the 4th running back).



Blogger The Big Dog said...

Okay, I was out with Bumble at the bar watching the game. Our bartendress was the hottest bartender that I ever face, unbelievable cans and keister....okay, I left at halftime. I left in disgust. The thing that drove me to leave was that fake field goal that they tried before the end of the first half....what the hell was that? It was a long, but at least makeable, and there was 0:01 left...if you miss you run into the lockerroom...what kind of play was that? an out to Schobel? I can see a bomb or a hook and ladder....besides that they played fine, at least in the second half...Don is playing well and that is the type of running I am talking about...he only ran a couple of times, but it was effective running that lead to first downs or points....they need to get healthy, but Sean Considine's hit was monster and that really helped cause turn the tides as Driver was hearing footsteps ever pass after that.

9:43 AM EDT  
Anonymous Josh Parry (played corner in Jr. High) said...

Pete, I was wondering about the lack of d-line pressure too, then I noticed that the line was making a lot of tackles downfield. I think Johnson was rolling linemen into coverage significantly more than he usually does (either because the linebackers are weak, or to free them up to support the secondary).

9:58 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There were some encouraging things last night.

McNabb is having an MVP caliber season. he got pissed last night, apparently let the team have it at halftime and just took the game ove rhimself in the second half. He looked as good as he's ever looked. I know they beat 3 of the bottom 4 teams in the league for their 3 W, but he has dominated like I've never seen. They need that when they play good teams.

That secondary played a disciplined game last night. No Lito and banged up everywhere and they still held the Pack out of the end zone. Smart play and game plan by Jim Johnson.

Shaun Andrews kills everyone. He got his paws on Hawk during a screen and just obliterated him. This guy may be the best kept secret in the NFL.

Patterson and Ramsey are both studs. They penetrate, they never get pushed around, they make plays (in best ray Rhodes voice). I want the Birds to look first at USC for areas of need because Pete Carroll coaches these guys to be ready to play in the NFL.

Now the bad

Is this team the most fragile group of pussies in the league? Every week there are 3-4 more guys getting hurt. Westbrook out, Reggie Brown potentially out, Stallworth with his ever-gimpy hammy (maybe New Orelans snaked us on that deal). Is their training staff not doing enough to help these guys get physically ready to play? I cannot watch these ticky tack injuries continue to plague them. Makes me worry that physical, brutish teams like Dallas, Jacksonville, Skins, and Panthers will just physically man handle them.

Where was the D line last night? I know Green Bay did max protect and 3 step drop, but did Howard, Cole, McDougle, and Juqua even show up? I expected some pressure from the DE. Amazing how losing Kearse has transformed them back into an average group of D ends.

Their WR just aren't that good. I counted at least 5 drops from LJ, Donte, and Reggie. Cannot have that. It's no coincidence this team led the league in dropped balls last year, they can't catch. McNabb put the ball low a few times last night, but those 5 drops were bread basket plays that good teams make.

Is anyone else worried about Akers? That fake tells me the Birds are. Now I am too. 3 for 5 on field goals this year...not good.

As feared, they have no backup RB. Once the Faberge egg gets his yearly season ending injury, their ground game is done.


10:07 AM EDT  
Anonymous Phil said...

FO ran the numbers and it's better to crush a bad team (stomp) than squeek by a good team (guts I think it's called). Eagles are stomping the living heck out these bad teams which is good. Now they need to win a division game.

Thought the D-line was getting better pressure in the second half, although still not quite getting there.

How about that goal line stand to end the game? Very nice. This defense is starting to get a little swagger to it I think.

McNabb's first 2 rushing TD game. How the heck is that possible? Definitely agree that he's having a MVP season. 12 more games to keep it up. 9 passing TDs and 1 INT. Not too shabby.

10:30 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think part of the D-line issues had to do with how quick Favre was getting the plays off. They didn't have a chance to get a sack, becasue GB kept going for real quick short passes.

However, I didn't like how well their rookie RB seemed to run against us. I seemd like he picked up quite a few first downs yesterday.

10:43 AM EDT  
Anonymous Matt said...

Very good analysis...just one comment on the last Westbrook note about him not putting the ball on the ground. I am remembering back to a Giants game about 2 weeks ago and him making a stupid over the top move and putting the ball on the ground. I think Buck did an ok job last night. After seeing the replay, I only blame the 2nd fumble on him. Luckily they did the same thing and we got the 7 points. It will be nice when Westbrook is back in the lineup. That guy is a game changer.

1:19 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I found this blog from hattrick (congrats meanguy, btw, on being one of the best teams out of Philly) and I really enjoy the balanced perspective. In Philly, that's always refreshing.

I have to agree with two things Bumble said:
1. The drops are out of hand, ala the Starbucks Stinkhawks. Reggie Brown is the worst offender so far (he had a 42% catch percentage at FO going into the game last night. He probably has 2+ drops yesterday). I'm concerned because he had a rep for losing concentration comming out of college, he just needs to do a better job. I understand Don throws rockets, but this is the NFL. Act like a pro.

2. Akers seems like he has lost some confidence. He, reportedly, audibled to that play before the half. Did he not have the confidence, deep down, to kick a 50+ yarder? I'm not sure he's totally confident in his leg right now, and his kickoffs haven't been anything like they were pre-injury. It's early to be sure one way or the other, but I'm concerned.

Enough of that, the goods things:

1. Considine is terrific, both on D and special teams. The kid is always in the right position, and is fearless. Look for more #37's in the stands by the playoffs.

2. Don looks terrific. Can a certain segment of the population finally enjoy the best QB in modern Eagles' history?

3. The special teams are back, just doing the same old solid job they've been doing. Having a unit that doesn't make mistakes and chips in an occasional big play is really nice, and not to be taken for granted.

Keep up the good work around here.


1:31 PM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

just one comment on the last Westbrook note about him not putting the ball on the ground. I am remembering back to a Giants game about 2 weeks ago and him making a stupid over the top move and putting the ball on the ground.

that's true, and i'm sure westbrook has been sufficiently chastised for that stupid leap. however, westbrook has 7 fumbles (5 lost) in 735 career touches (540 carries, 195 catches) while buckhalter has 6 fumbles (4 lost) in 314 career touches (285 carries, 29 catches).

that works out to one westbrook fumble for every 105 times he touches the ball while buck sits at one for every 52.3 times he touches the ball.

the difference is even bigger than that, because that doesn't even account for brian's role on special teams and it excludes the first fumble from last night's game (was attributed to don).

1:55 PM EDT  
Anonymous Kate said...

Not to take anything away from McNabb and the offense but just thought it should be mentioned that we got good field position from some nice kick-off returns last night.

2:24 PM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

The special teams are back, just doing the same old solid job they've been doing. Having a unit that doesn't make mistakes and chips in an occasional big play is really nice, and not to be taken for granted.

Not to take anything away from McNabb and the offense but just thought it should be mentioned that we got good field position from some nice kick-off returns last night.

you guys make a great point. aside from akers, the special teams has played extremely well all season. i haven't really focused on it much, but the kickoff coverage teams have done a very good job and the return teams have been excellent as well.

4:43 PM EDT  
Anonymous josh parry, troublemaker said...

Boy is Kate gonna be miffed that you used her quote to moderately criticize Akers.

5:18 PM EDT  
Anonymous Dan said...

My personal highlight during the game, was of course the halftime show. Watching on tv, Irvin was getting PUMMELED with Asssss-holllle cheers the entire show. According to deadspin it was much nastier than that. Though anytime someone mocks chris berman with the legendary "You're with me, Leather!" line, it cant be all bad.

9:31 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Phillies Wish:

Fire Manuel hire Girardi, can we start a website or something?


PS: Eagles won, now bring on TO!

5:41 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thoughts on the "No Sacks" Result:
In my opinion, when a team uses max protection all you have to do is be patient, cover the field, allow short passes and eventually the offense will stall.
What you cannot do is blitz like crazy and try to force the issue. If you then just sit back you will be fine and give up a few FG a game and go home with a W.
However, that only works if you have a good/great D-Line, which the Eagles have this year. I think, that's exactly what the "old guy" wants: Force the other team to play conservative, have Eagles defenders all over the field to make plays, and DO NOT GIVE UP THE BIG PLAY.
The eagles struggled a little with number three early this year, but I think they will eventually figure it out, especially once Lito comes back.
Therefore, I think the Eagles D will keep on getting better and better and the Eagles will be the best team in the NFC come December.


5:59 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What intrigues me is how good this team can be once the young players really jell. McCoy is still a very inexperienced player, the Things has been pretty quiet as he figures out the pro game, Cole is still raw, Herremans is still raw, jackson is still raw, for all intents and purposes Tapeh is essentially a rookie, Little Joe Hanson is playing his first real NFL snaps, Moats is still raw, Wynn is playing his first extended DB time, Considine is learning, Ramsey is a rookie, and Patterson, while a stud already, is still very inexperienced. If you look big picture at that fact, then their accomplishments thus far are incredible. Look at all the new faces on D. The NFL is a cutthroat business that eats rookies for breakfast. Teams can scheme to beat inexperienced players in a lot of ways. What the Birds kids are doing is really amazing when you think about it.


12:09 PM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

Teams can scheme to beat inexperienced players in a lot of ways. What the Birds kids are doing is really amazing when you think about it.

true dat, bumble.

bottom line, trust in big red. he knows what he's doing.

12:17 PM EDT  

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