Eagles v. Giants Week 5: Post-Game Notes

A win’s a win, and the Eagles are now 2-0 in the division (and the conference).  There were some bright spots, and of course some sore spots as well (though those are less surprising).  Here are my immediate takeaways:

– The Eagles scored 36 points.  Yes, it was against a bad defense, but it reinforces the point I’ve been trying to make:  “Chip Kelly’s offense” works, and it works very well.  He doesn’t have the talent yet to really let things go, but the results are already there.  If Kelly doesn’t succeed in the NFL, it won’t be because his “college” schemes don’t work.

– Chip did make what I believe was a big strategic error, though it didn’t matter in the end. After scoring a TD in the 4th quarter, the Eagles led by 7 points.  Chip elected to kick the extra point to make it an 8 points game.  I disagree with that call (vehemently).  The Eagles defense clearly can’t be relied on.  Additionally, the Giants had no time-outs.  As far as I’m concerned, Chip needs to take every opportunity to use his offense to make things easier for his defense. Getting 2 points there makes is a 2 score game, again, in the 4th quarter when the Giants have no timeouts.  Missing it still gives you a 7 point lead.

Was Chip really that confident that the defense could defend a 2 pt conversion?

This was exactly the type of high-leverage situation that the 2 pt conversion should be used for.  Low risk (still lead by 7), BIG reward (make the Giants score twice).

It didn’t end up making a difference, but that doesn’t make it the right call.  If you can’t get it right when it doesn’t count, there’s no reason to believe you’ll get it right when it does.  This defense needs help, and being aggressive in those situations is a good way to give it some.

– Nate Allen doesn’t seem to understand even the basics of safety play.  On the first drive, he inexplicably got beat deep two times in a row.  It shouldn’t happen once, but I understand that everyone makes mistakes and occasionally misjudges a WR’s speed.  HOWEVER, for it two happen two plays in a row is inexcusable.

Nate, you’re not that fast, you can’t let WRs get behind you, especially when you’re supposed to be the “help”.  Also, the tackling angles are just terrible.

I dont mean to suggest that everything bad is because of Nate, Earl Wolff certainly had his issues, as did the CBs, but Nate’s were the most glaring and costly.

– Nick Foles can play.  This shouldn’t surprise anyone.  When he does come in, though, the Eagles must throw the ball.  Straight handoffs to McCoy aren’t going to work unless Foles has already established himself as a threat.  Additionally, play-action should be almost mandatory.  It took Chip way to long to call it.  Use the threat of Shady to give Foles space, and he’ll move the offense.  Then, once the defense has been forced to back off, you can give it to Shady.

– This game was a good illustration of the difference between a BAD team and a MEDIOCRE one.  Anyone who thought the Eagles were “bad”, should have been disabused of that notion by the end of today’s game.  Overall, if the Eagles are a “true” 8-9 win team, their current record makes perfect sense.  Lose to the really good teams (KC and Denver), split against other mediocre teams (SD and Washington), and beat the bad teams (Giants).

For me, the surprise so far hasn’t been the Eagles, it’s been the opponents.  The Eagles still look like the team we expected, it’s just a matter of how the rest of the division comes out (I’m hopeful).

– The Eagles pass rush isn’t good enough, and I’m blaming the scheme.  I hate that their playing the 3-4 with players clearly not suited for it.  It’s showing in the results.  Even against the Giants, one of the league’s worst offensive lines, the team struggled to get any pressure without blitzing (until late in the game when Giants were forced to pass).

I guess I just don’t understand the value of “installing” the defense.  This is a multi-year project, but I don’t see why you can’t wait to install the base defense until you have the pieces to make it work.

– No turnovers.  Big part of today’s win.  Everyone took care of the football, save one throw by Vick that should have been picked (deep completion to DeSean).  The team did, however, take 8 penalties for 88 yards.  Some of them were questionable and others flat-out wrong, so I’m not going to blame them for that.   Overall, a much “cleaner” game than we’ve seen recently from the team.  If they can keep that up, it’ll go a long way towards mitigating the poor defense.



12 thoughts on “Eagles v. Giants Week 5: Post-Game Notes

  1. On the second play, Allen wasnt the deep safety. He was in man on Jerrigan. We was in cover 0 on that play (man free).

    You know I disagree about installing defense part. Much better Cox and Thornton learns to play DE/NT in a 2-gap scheme now than have to learn it next year when we expect to be better.
    Its a fine line between selling out for results and getting the players to play the scheme you wants.

    As I have also said several times. The 2 gap is only base, we still play plenty of 1 gapping where we havnt gotten any regular pressure. I do think Curry needs too play DE more and put Thornton at NT and then have 1 of the LBs on the bench.

    • The lack of real playing time for Curry is so inexplicable to me (like everyone else). It highlights what I think are some of Davis’ biggest problems. I loved some of his talk before the season and even some during it. But it’s clear that he was never honest about moving to a hybrid 3-4/4-3 (4-3 under, or whatever else could be in the middle). And in the long run, just the overall lack of strategy. Curry looks like the best pass rusher on the team at this point in the season. He’s a high pick, and he’s young. Figure out a scheme that lets him play, along with Cox, Kendricks, Barwin, and Thornton. I’m not sure if this is the case or not, but if the D was better when Barwin went out and there was a 4 man line with Curry, that’s telling.

      One final unrelated thought: I obviously liked Foles’ results today, but he also looks like he cleaned up some of his glaring weaknesses from last year. I saw some nice velocity on the ball, and his deep throws were accurate and pretty. And I’m always impressed by his functional mobility and perception when he drops back, for such a big, slow dude. Reminds me a little of Roethlisburger (in the non-rapey way).

      • As said, I think you focus way too much on what we call the defense. Throw that out. We are hardly in base anyway.

        Curry is a strict DE, so he is battling with Cox, Thornton and Cole for primary playing time.

        If we was play a 4-3, Barwin would be the SAM LB, so he isnt really battling for playing time with Curry.

  2. I can’t say I agree with the assessment to go for 2 in that situation. The historical success rate is about 46-48% Even taking the 48% that means the Eagles lead by 7, 52% of the time, and by 9 48% of the time. Thus a touchdown by the Giants would tie us 52% of the time. If we kick it and go up 8, the Giants then have the 48% chance of converting and tieing the game, and 52% chance of needing 2 scores. The historical odds are not in your favor. However, your making the point that you trust your offense not your defense. Fine, but the lost momentum from a failed 2-pt conversion there is not worth the risk.

  3. I saw Barnwell write about going for 2 in that situation earlier this season and I thought about it when it came up in the Eagles game. While it would have been good to put the Giants down two scores, I wouldn’t say I “vehemently” disagree with the decision to kick for the PAT. There is still a lot of value in forcing the Giants to make a two point conversion to tie it up.

    Also, you can count me among those that think it is better to take our lumps on defense now, rather than implement a bunch of half measures. They need to find out which players can work in this system and it’s too early to throw in the towel and say player X can never be successful in the 3-4.

    The way I see it, fans that want the Eagles to change their defensive scheme are generally making two mistakes: (1) They under-appreciate just how bad this secondary is. Changing the configuration of the front seven won’t make our safeties and corners any better. (2) They have a very high opinion of Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry. I like these guys as much as the next fan, but I just don’t think they’re as much better than the rest of the front 7 as everyone seems to be giving them credit for.

    • I appreciate that people disagree on the 2 pt decision, but it still just doesn’t make much sense to me. Given our defense, expecting the stop rate to be close to the average seems irresponsible. Point taken though, I lean towards being aggressive, especially when you have an opportunity to significantly shift the win probability.

      Thats more of an overall theory though, and one I should address with a full post.

      Regarding the 3-4, I understand the “take your lumps” aspect to a degree, but its frustrating to know that this defense could be better in a different scheme. Granted it wouldnt do much for the team long-term, but with the NFC East in its current form, its tough not to “go for it”, especially when you’ve already made that decision (by bringing Vick back).

      BTW, id much rather have Graham or Curry than Sopoaga. He’s been invisible, and not in a good way (sucking up double teams for example). Moot point, though, since its not changing, so I’ll try to stop complaining about it.

      On Mon, Oct 7, 2013 at 12:52 PM, Eagles Rewind

      • In terms of starting the wrong guy, I think starting Vick over Foles is a bigger mistake than starting Sopoaga over Graham and Curry. I was listening to WIP this morning and they said that Nick Foles is the most accurate quarterback in Eagles history. Small sample size and whatnot, but I still thought that was mind-blowing. Especially when Chip said that the number one thing he looks for in a quarterback is repetitive accuracy.

  4. If you want to continue on the 2 pt conversation. Basically all I’m saying is that going for 2 there does not give you a statistical advantage. Either a successful attempt or a successful stop makes it a 2 score game depending on which way you choose, and historically it’s easier to stop then score 2 pt conversions. That is all I am saying.

    More interestingly, I still don’t know why nobody has never figured out that if you are down 14 and score a td you should always go for 2. If you succeed (48%) then kick an extra point the next time you are winning. If you fail then you go for two again and succeed you are tied. The odds of that are (52% * 48%) or 25%. You are only losing with two unsuccessful attempts or 27% of the time. Thus leading 48%, tied 25%, losing 27%, it’s frankly just basic math. And the same theory works against ever going for two when scoring a td to break a tie game.

    Just something to think about if you haven’t considered that before.

    • A critical piece of this is the confidence a coach has in the personnel that would potentially be going for 2. In a team that’s been so bad in the red zone, the odds may be decently less than 48%. Or vice versa for a different team. Complicating these issues, we have no sense about what the distribution looks like of how well different teams do at this. All of this is to say beware applying a single statistic across the board without any context.

      • Agreed but I was just basing this on historical averages. Would only need to be successful 39% of the time for this theory to still hold.

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