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.