Monday, September 29, 2008

Game 4 Thoughts

egad, what a hideous loss. the birds threw away an eminently winnable game tonight. they were the better team, but some key mistakes and a slow start by the defense left the eagles in catch up mode all night. they would have completed the comeback if not for the o-line's inability to gain that last yard on the ground.

yes, akers missed the kicks. yes, the defense had a terrible first half and allowed a first down at the end. yes, the eagles were generally sloppy all night. you simply have to score from the 1. it is unacceptable to not score there. gah!

the play of the game was the stop on buckhalter at the goal line. big red finally gave everyone what they've been craving by running the ball all four times. my question is why andy never calls a sneak. QB SNEAK! why no f-ing QB SNEAK! why give the defense time to penetrate? QB SNEAK! i want to stab myself in the eye with a sharp stick. QB SNEAK!!!!!!

not having westbrook hurt, but the game was the eagles to lose and lose they did.

some thoughts and observations:

- the defense played well in the second half, but they absolutely sucked in the first half. 3 TD passes by kyle orton? completely unacceptable and it could have been much worse. the bears offense missed two other big plays by inches -- forte down the sideline with gaither trailing and hester on a deep cross with sheppard trailing. jj seemed to make adjustments at the half as the birds played much better, but they had to make that stop on 3rd and 4 at the 6 and they came up very small. gah! how did they lose this freaking game?

- what was with the field tonight? i haven't seen so much slipping in a long time -- mcnabb slipped on his double pump early in the game, reggie brown slipped on a cut in the first quarter, jackson may have slipped a little on his muffed punt, booker slipped on a cut during a run in the second half, avant slipped on a catch late in the game

- buckhalter did a fine job in replacing westbrook. he didn't have any big plays, but he was more than adequate in there.

- akers has been a below average kicker for 3 seasons. so the question that pops into my head now. was akers a product of koy's perfect holds or is sav rocca just not cutting it as a holder? seems like the former rather than the later. if akers hit either of the two kicks he missed tonight, the birds could have kicked a field goal for the lead.

- the linebackers had an up and down day -- pretty good against the run and when attacking the line and pretty bad in coverage. still, they made a number of positive plays tonight. some that stick out to me: drop forte for a 2 yard loss sweeping right when bradley jumps over garza and gocong takes on and slides around kruetz, gaither made a couple of tackles behind the line but the best one was at the goal line when he shed mckie and stuffed forte in the hole, gocong running hester out of bounds at the 4

- hank baskett deserves to start. this was probably the best defense that the eagles have faced so far this year, but reggie brown dropped 3 catchable balls tonight. baskett has better hands and makes plays.

- why didn't the eagles get to keep the ball on the roughing the kicker call? didn't the nfl pass a rule last season indicating that a personal foul penalty overrides any offsetting penalties of lesser yardage? seems like the eagles should have gone back on offense rather than punting.

- brent celek made a play tonight that may have been better than any lj has made during his career. celek catches a pass on a short out pattern, absorbs a hit from tillman, throws him aside and rumbles for 5-6 more yards... while protecting the ball against his body the whole time. i like it!

- desean jackson played well early in the game, but he disappeared completely once he lost his swagger. that muff really seemed to affect him. some key mistakes by desean today: the muff, catching a punt on the 5 rather than letting it bounce for a touchback, not catching a punt on the 20 letting it bounce to the 3. he's got to keep his head in the game after a mistake.

- mcnabb had an ok game. he showed some very nice touch on screen passes tonight and made an unbelievable throw over urlacher for the first TD. the pick may have been jackson's fault. at least that's what interaction between mcnabb and jackson seemed like.

- i love when bunkley gets down in a four point stance, it's not something you see too often in the pros

- madden and michaels went on and on about olsen TD, but it seemed like a clear touchdown to me. i wouldn't have challenged that either.

it's going to be a terrible week. blech!



Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is the rule on intentional grounding ?? On a 3rd and 7 before one of the Bears field goals, Orton was under a heavy rush and thru the ball towards the feet of his offensive linemen. It looked like what happens when a 4th grader has the ball and a bunch of 8th graders are running at him. There isn't appear to be any eligible receivers around. A call there might have taken them out of FG range. I think Akers might be done. I think a lot if his success was due to neckbeard. Kickers are a squirrely bunch, apparently he eats Tums during a game like some people eat peanuts. I'd like to see the guy succeed, but he hasn't been the same since neckbeard left.
I'm not going to bitch about McNabb this week. If you're going to jam the ball up the middle, which I was OK with the first 2 times they tried it -- why not spread the offense with 2, or even 3 wideouts to give the illusion of a pass. When you don't spread it out, you have all those guys bunched in one area and everybody knws where it's going. Doesn't Booker have the speed to run that fake handoff up the middle, flip to the outside that we run with BWest ? If he's not capable of that, why is he on the team ?? Tony Hunt really can't block at all, neither can Schobel. The only TE worth anything on this team is Celek. This is a very disappointing loss. I have lost confidence in Andy, it'd the same thing over and over....and over.


1:54 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1 more thing. About this worst coast offensive that we run. I thought the basis of this offense is yards after the catch ? I recall seeing the highlight reels of Jerry Rice effortlessly catching a 6-10 yard pass in stride and gliding effortlessly 60 yards for a TD, nary a defender in sight. In the Andy offense, I see our receivers taking a rifle shot to the chest and falling down, or they fall down to catch the ball at their ankles, or sometimes they just fall down for no reason. I recall very few plays where they gain significant YAC. The slant that Jerry tunred into TD's is a 6 yard gain for us. McNabb usually throws a very nice intermediate ball, and most of our big gain passing plays come from those or screens. Just checking to see where you guys are on this.


2:02 PM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

On a 3rd and 7 before one of the Bears field goals, Orton was under a heavy rush and thru the ball towards the feet of his offensive linemen.

if i recall correctly, they were trying to set up a screen on that play. the nfl changed the grounding rule a while back to allow two exceptions: 1) if the QB is out of a pocket, then all they have to do is get the ball to the line of scrimmage to avoid grounding call and 2) on a screen pass a QB is allowed to throw it at the feet of the offensive linemen if the screen is covered.

2:26 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TMG that was a very fair and accurate assessment of an evening gone awry. A few things that jump out at me.

1. Gilles is not Andrews. He gets pushed backwards all the time, Andrews moves piles. Gilles cannot get out in screens, Andrews takes 1-2 guys out on screens. Apparently Andrews back is no better today than it was when he hurt it 2 weeks ago. That is bad. Backs can be killers and it sounds like he is seeing a specialist which may put him down. That is painful. I'd argue they'd be OK sans Westbrook for a little bit with the big guy moving bodies because he makes Runyan and Jackson better. Without him, there is a gaping hole.

2. Is it just me, or is Clemons the biggest bust in this town since Freddie Garcia or Chris Weber. Sadly I don't have to dig too far back to find monumental busts in Philly sports, but I digress. This guy never touches field. You paid him $5 million, why not see what he can do?

3. Baskett supposedly can jump 7 feet high-why not ever try that jump fade in the end zone? Furthermore, this guy caught 8 balls last week and gets one look last night? He could be the de facto TE with his size as he was vs. Pittsburgh, why not use him?

4. I agree tiny play by the D on 3rd and 7 at the end of the game. Dawkins and Gaither whiffed on Forte. Getting the ball back with more than 2 minutes and a time out would've been huge.

5. What the heck was that game plan? What pisses me off about Reid is his utter inability to stray from hiss cript. His offensive game plan didn't fool the Bears, but there was clearly no plan B. Good coaches don't let the other team dictate your offensive pace. Bears wanted to blitz all night, spread them out in 5 wide and change their defensive personnel. Run guys in motion, do some WR screens, mix it up! Instead he left crashing DE unblocked all night to tee off on his injured QB. If I were Don, I'd've thrown a football at his fat head after that BS game plan.

6. I have no problem running dives 4 times. If you cannot make that, then you aren't a pro football team. It should be noted that Buck blew it on 2nd down by stretching wide vs. blasting through the gaping hole between RG and RT. As poor as the blocking schemes were, Buck ran poorly down there too ( a 5 yard leap? What is he, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon?)

7. Kickoff team takes a ton of heat for coverage, yet the same guys run punt coverage and look great. I am starting to think it is Akers' puny kickoffs with zero hang time that land at the 5 for a running start by the return guy vs. poor coverage. Rocca booms the ball and backs guys up whereas Akers always gets them a head of steam.

I hate to say it, but this team goes right back behind the 8 ball without Andrews, a gimpy B Wes, and facing a team on a roll. They need to be hitting the rest of the turns at 3-1 and I feel sick about this game this weekend. I see the Skins demolishing the running game and making the WR beat them which they haven't shown the ability to do. Then they have to go to the West Coast, a trip that always seems to take a lot out of them, then back to Seattle 2 weeks after that. This season could get away quickly, again, and they really aren't a bad team. Unfortuntaley, I am not yet sure they're a good team. In a lousy NFL, they seem to be another average team. Goddamn that was a huge loss!


8:53 PM EDT  
Blogger Matt Townsend said...

1. I've been reading everyone rag on Schoebel for his block on the 4th and goal. He down blocked on the snap, so I'm assuming that was his assignment. It's not his fault that the DEnd had a great reaction and go to Buckhalter. Stop with the Schoebel can't block because of that play.

2. Chris Gocong misreads pass and run a lot and that's part of the reason why he let Olsen run right by him for the TD.

3. The Eagles Dline is playing great - especially the DTackles.

4. McNabb, by my count had 8 catchable balls, dropped. And that includes a slant to Avant on third and goal that would have been a TD. The defender was there, but it hit him in his gut. And I really can't see complaining about McNabb - he's been playing extremely well and while under a lot of pressure and not much of a running game.

5. Why is everyone up Celek's ass? I mean he rarely gets separation and he's not much of a blocker either. He got manhandled a lot last night.

6. And this isn't the end of the world. The Birds def. looks like one of the best in the league and is getting turnovers and sacks this year. McNabb is back to 2004 form. DJack is the real deal.

9:18 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're up Celek's ass because he's not a pussy like LJ and he;s better than Schoebel. He's not much faster than Chad Lewis and McNabb made him an All-Pro.


9:30 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kudos to Bumble for calling out the demise of David Akers a couple of years ago. It seems like every other team in the league has a guy who has a chance to make a 49 yard field goal. I have no statistics to back this up or any real interest in either doing the research or reading a report from anyone else.

The Eagles will be fine. Chalk this up as a bad loss and move on. I'll take my chances with this team as the season progresses. B-West will be back and 5 looks terrific as far as I'm concerned.

The way more interesting story is happening at Citizen's Bank Park, anyway.

Let's go Birds, let's go Phils.

BTW, it's realtively easy to see pictures of a "wedge haircut" by googling the expression.

Ed Wade

10:17 PM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

The way more interesting story is happening at Citizen's Bank Park, anyway.

i was at cbp for the clinching game on saturday. the crowd was crazy and i still can't believe that rollins was able to turn the double play on the screamer up the middle.

given the circumstances, i believe it may be the best defensive play i've ever seen.

best sign i saw:


with a mets logo underneath

go phils!

11:26 PM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

I've been reading everyone rag on Schoebel for his block on the 4th and goal. He down blocked on the snap, so I'm assuming that was his assignment. It's not his fault that the DEnd had a great reaction and go to Buckhalter. Stop with the Schoebel can't block because of that play.

i agree. you can't expect schobel to block alex brown. not calling a sneak was the key mistake.

Why is everyone up Celek's ass? I mean he rarely gets separation and he's not much of a blocker either. He got manhandled a lot last night.

personally, i'll be happy if i never see lj play another game. his inability to consistently catch passes and his refusal to protect the ball when he runs gives me agita. he ruins my fan experience.

celek may never be anything more than an average TE, but lj has never been more than an average TE.

11:31 PM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

Is it just me, or is Clemons the biggest bust in this town since Freddie Garcia or Chris Weber. Sadly I don't have to dig too far back to find monumental busts in Philly sports, but I digress. This guy never touches field. You paid him $5 million, why not see what he can do?

clemons was signed for depth, nothing more. he wasn't hyped at all, how can you call him a bust? i could understand if the ends weren't getting pressure, but they are. he's not seeing the field because the ends are playing well.

that's a good problem.

11:33 PM EDT  
Blogger MS69 said...

Clemons for depth? Im not trying to be a smart ass but are you sure? He was touted a little more than a depth guy and given a nice signing number considering his limited achievement.

1:28 AM EDT  
Anonymous Phil said...

Sigh. You win games as a team and you lose them as a team sometimes. Seems that we can point fingers at 7 or 8 people at least.

2-2 is not the worst place to be after 4 games. Most people had them there before the season started (with CHI loss replaced by PIT loss). Reid's teams never have good Septembers. Let's wait to see how they do next week against WAS.

Akers may not have much leg left, but he's still automatic from inside 40 yards (didn't they flash a stat that he'd hit 30 or 40 straight?). Isn't it worth it to give up some +40 accuracy to get more from under 40?

7:42 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clemons was not signed for depth. he was signed to hunt down QB, providing more punch to what was perceived as a unit on the rise. He was certainly not given $5 million to ride the pine and not make tackles on kick off coverage. That looks like a bad DE signiong at this point. Luckily the first 2 groups have played well, but this guy was touted as someone with speed who'd come in and add some punch. He's not doing that. I guarantee he gets cut in the off season. 1 year, $5 million, no playing time, cut. That would define bust to me.


9:41 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and to answer your question Phil, I say no. Give me a guy who can kick out of the end zone and hit more than 40 yarders. i can find guys who are automatic from 40 and in at almost any big football school. You need better as a pro team. Again, he set expectations high earlier in his career, why drop them when he ages, just go get a younger Akers. You NEVER need to settle for less than stellar kicker play like they are.


9:43 AM EDT  
Anonymous Phil said...

Bumble, I think you have it reversed. You can always find a big leg for kickoffs, but there aren't that many automatic -40 yard kickers. Why do you think the Andersons punted well into their mid-40s? It sure wasn't because they had huge length. I'm not saying the position couldn't be upgraded, just that I don't think there's one available right now.

1:28 PM EDT  
Anonymous Phil said...

From FO:

However, there is no big fat asterisk for Philadelphia's rating at number three. Yes, DVOA sees the Eagles as a top three team despite the fact that they are 2-2. In particular, it thinks the Eagles dominated last night's game despite losing it. Philadelphia has 31.2% DVOA for the game, while Chicago has -15.0% DVOA. Look closer at the standard numbers and it seems pretty obvious why. The Eagles outgained the Bears 4.5 yards to 3.0 yards on the average run. They outgained the Bears 5.4 yards to 4.7 yards on the average pass. They turned the ball over twice while the Bears turned it over four times. They were doomed by bad red zone efficiency, the fact that Chicago's turnover returns were much longer then their turnover returns, and Correll Buckhalter's inability to put the ball in the end zone.

As we often say, every team would rather come out of the game with a win instead of a higher DVOA rating, but going forward DVOA is the better predictor of how teams will play. The Eagles are not a 2-2 team, not in terms of quality. Here's a list of the top 2-2 teams since 1996 in terms of DVOA:

Year Team DVOA
When 2-2 Final
2001 PHI 41.8% 11-5
2008 PHI 38.5% --
2003 TB 37.7% 7-9
2005 SD 36.4% 9-7
2000 PHI 33.6% 11-5
2000 DEN 31.5% 11-5
2005 SEA 29.3% 13-3
2006 KC 25.2% 9-7
2007 ARI 22.8% 8-8
1999 OAK 22.8% 8-8

9:35 AM EDT  
Anonymous Phil said...

Those are some comforting numbers. Especially when you consider that both of the Ls have been on the road.

9:36 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who cares? Numbers are neat, numbers don't take you to the playoffs. They have an absolutely, positively, no bullsh*t, bar the door and pull out all the stops must win game on Sunday. If they cannot rise to the occasion, vs. a division opponent, at home, on the ropes, then sabermetrics aside, they aren't as good as their stats would indicate. I am still not sold on Reid's ability to call a consistent offensive game plan, and they are still getting a lot of credit for huge offensive numbers in the first 2 weeks when they pretty much stunk up the joint on offense the last 2 weeks. My eyes need to tell me this team is better than .500, not some statistician. I'll reserve my assessment of how good they are or are not based on Sunday's result. This team needs a 3 game run like no one's business.


10:35 PM EDT  
Anonymous Phil said...

Totally agree. You are what your record says you are. But those numbers should give some comfort that this team isn't completely dead. Losing to WAS on Sunday would seriously hurt their chances at the playoffs though. Looks like they'll have 36 back, which would be huge.

7:24 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BRUTAL! This team gets you thinking they may win one, but nope, too many tactical errors. Why is Akers attemtping a 50 yarder? he cannot hit from more than 35 and should never be allowed to attempt anything north of 40. Under 2 minutes in the first half, why do you only run 45 second off the clock? You cannot put your D back on the field there. Skins have 2nd and long, why are you taking a timeout? Your O cannot score with that little time left, but you save the Skins time and let them get into field goal range.

When, and I stress when, they lose this game today, it hinges on those three terrible tactical decisions. Unreal!


2:32 PM EDT  
Blogger Simon said...

Agree with Bumbles comments...just terrible.

How can you lose this game after being up 14-0. If they make it 21-0 during their 3rd drive, that would have been the game.

Aweful...just aweful.

3:42 AM EDT  
Anonymous Phil said...

This feels like the late-80s, early-90s all over again. A decent team that sucks you into thinking it's better than it really is. Sigh.

Our D needs to figure out how to defend the middle of the field. It was open all day long. I think we need to move Sheldon into safety and Sheppard back on corner to firm things up.

7:42 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not sucked in, this team is far and away the worst in the division. I knew that coming into the season, I know it more now. They lack play makers all over the field and when you play a game that requires play makers, that is sort of a problem.

Oh well, another season lost. It'll be nice to get Sunday back-I have a ton of yardwork to do. Hey look on the bright side, at least the Phils have heart!


8:20 AM EDT  
Anonymous Big Dog said...

Here's how I see this. Right now this is a decent team that underachieves every game at some level. Yesterday they take over 14-0 and Akers misses a kick to make it 17-0. His time is done, he needs to be an ex-Eagle today, today!!! Then, the defense lets the Skins back into the game...then, the offense comes up small. 2-3 and you are what your record says you are.

This regime has run it's course. I want a change and I want it as soon as possible. Obviously what the management is saying, the players aren't buying. They could put up a 10-6, 13-3 spot, I don't care, I want a change. It's stagnant and frustrating. I want a defense first coach who hires a veteran offensive coordinator to run the show. I want a GM that is not the head coach. I want change.

And I know what I am asking for could bring in Rich Kotite, Marion Campbell or Ray Rhodes, but I need something. I have lost faith. I am not a believer!!!!

9:34 AM EDT  
Anonymous Phil said...

Dog, here's how I see it. Below is the list of NFL head coaching hires since Reid was hired in 1999. There have been 78 total head coaches over this time frame including Andy, 2 interim coaches, and multiple hires of Dick Jauron, Shottenheimer, Robiskie, and Phillips. Fisher and Shanahan are also included in there or 69 other head coaches. Out of all these, I would put only Belichick and Parcells as clearly ahead of Big Red and 11 others (including Fisher/Shanahan) as on par with him. Call all those good coaches. That's 14 of 69 or 20% chance of hiring a good coach (lower if you include the multiple hires which you probably should since Belichick didn't hit until his second job). Much better chances than drafting a solid QB, but hardly a great number. Of those I have grouped in with Reid, there's probably only about half of those that I'd rather have than him so that cuts the chances of hiring the next great coach at about 1 in 10. Yikes.

Team year hired coach Better than Reid On par with Reid
Ravens 1999 Brian Billick x
2008 John Harbaugh
Bengals 2000 Dick Lebeau
2003 Marvin lewis
Browns 1999 Chris Palmer
2001 Butch Davis
2004 Terry Robiskie (interim)
2005 Romeo Crennel
Steelers 2007 Mike Tomlin
Texans 2002 Dom Capers
2006 Gary Kubiak
Colts 2002 Tony Dungy x
Jaguars 2003 Jack Del Rio
Titans Jeff Fisher x
Bills 2001 Gregg Williams
2004 Mike Mularky
2006 Dick Jauron
Dolphins 2000 Dave Wannstedt
2004 Jim Bates
2005 Nick Saban
2007 Cam Cameron
2008 Tony Sparano
Patriots 2000 Bill Belichick x
Jets 2000 Al Groh
2001 Herm Edwards
2006 Eric Mangini
Broncos Mike Shanahan x
Chiefs 1999 Gunther Cunningham
2001 Dick Vermeil x
2006 Herm Edwards
Raiders 2002 Bill Callahan
2004 Norv Turner
2006 Art Shell
2007 Lane Kiffin
Chargers 1999 Mike Riley
2002 Marty Shottenheimer x
2007 Norv Turner
Bears 1999 Dick Jauron
2004 Lovie Smith
Lions 2000 Gary Moeller
2001 Marty Mornhinweg
2003 Steve Mariucci
2005 Dick Jauron
2006 Rod Marinelli
Packers 1999 Ray Rhodes
2000 Mike Sherman x
2006 Mike McCarthy
Vikings 2001 Mike Tice
2006 Brad Childress
Falcons 2003 Wade Phillips
2004 Jim Mora
2007 Bobby Petrino
2007 Emmitt Thomas (interim)
2008 Mike Smith
Panthers 1999 George Seifert
2002 John Fox x
Saints 2000 Jim Haslett
2006 Sean Payton
Bucs 2002 Jon Gruden x
Cowboys 2000 Dave Campo
2003 Bill Parcells x
2007 Wade Phillips
Giants 2004 Tom Coughlin x
Eagles 1999 Andy Reid
Redskins 2000 Terry Robiskie
2001 Marty Shottenheimer
2002 Steve Spurrier
2004 Joe Gibbs
2008 Jim Zorn
Cardinals 2000 Dave McGinnis
2004 Dennis Green
2007 Ken Whisenhunt
49ers 2003 Dennis Erickson
2005 Mike Nolan
Seahawks 1999 Mike Holmgren x
Rams 2000 Mike Martz
2005 Joe Vitt
2006 Scott Linehan

9:46 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm done with the "what if" myself. The fat guy is STUBBORN!!! Same exact scenario as the week before at the 1 and did he learn a thing? Did he sneak his 240 pound weapon 1 time? No. That is unacceptable. The new cannot be worse than the current. And why do we call this guy great? What exactly has he won? he feasted ona talent deprived NFC east for years being run by the likes of Dave Campo, Steve Spurrier, and Jim Fassel...not exactly the Mt. Rushmore of coaching legends. Now that the coaching and talent caliber has dramatically improved across the league, the Eagles are a distant last. Burn it down and start again, or just keep accepting last place finishes. I prefer the former because maybe, just maybe, you'll get betetr than what you've got.


10:31 AM EDT  

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