Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Week Three at Philadelphia

After the first half of this one, I got a bit too invested in the game to keep up the tablet notation out at a bar, but here is some of my thought process throughout watching the first half and some general takeaways about the team after the brutally close loss to Philadelphia.

-The team looks more fired up than I've seen in a long time. Unsurprisingly, DeSean Jackson looks particularly amped.

-We're finally going to Garcon early, it will be interesting to see if it keeps up, and how much it has to do with Jackson playing injured.

-The DB was rightly penalized there, despite what the announcers are crying for, but Jackson should have been as well. It's odd that the initial action is caught, but the retaliation isn't, but both were guilty.

-Aaaaand, there's the make-up call. No one did anything wrong on that play, it was a clear apology to Philadelphia for the previous play.

-Morris isn't getting a lot of room to run. Paulsen failed to seal the edge on this particular run, making him fight in the backfield.

-They lined up with Jackson in the backfield, faked a deep pitch to him before turning and tossing a bubble screen to Garcon. I like the creativity, but that was a terribly conceived play. There's no way the team was going to throw it 8 yards into the backfield to get it to Jackson, so the fooled no one regardless of execution and was a waste of time. 

-Back in the red zone, once again going to Young. I don't know when opposing defenses will start realizing how much the team loves going to the fullback in the red zone.

-This isn't the first time I've had this revelation, but Niles Paul would be a really good receiving option if he could reliably catch the ball. 

-Cousins threw a couple gorgeous dimes, one splitting coverages in the middle of the field and one down the sideline, just out of reach of the DB. He really has to wind up and chuck it high for deep balls, but sometimes shows great touch fitting the ball into windows. 

-Back on defense, Kerrigan was clearly held on that play, but no call.

-An easy fumble there. Great play by Bashaud Breeland. He's been getting a lot of work today.

-Morris isn't producing a ton of yards, but he's running pretty well. Looks good.

-Massive no-call on Orakpo. He was in one of his patented headlocks, but Peters added an obvious facemask on top of that, completely ignored, reception and first down. 

-Very next play, Murphy is held. Again, no flag on the play. On the plus side, it was an ineffective run play. 

-Third play in a row, another hold. Kerrigan this time is held, and it's another completion for a first down. The refs are just giving the Eagles this drive, it's unbelievable.

-EJ Biggers out of position letting Jordan Matthews streak down the middle for a touchdown. Horrible play by Biggers.

-Polombus goes down. Sadly, he was for some reason replaced by Tom Compton and not Morgan Moses, despite the depth chart listing them respectively at left and right tackle.

And that takes us into the half, the end of my notes, and some recollections and conclusions about the game.

-The second half saw another touchdown to Jordan Mathews, this one due to flawless pass placement from Foles. Unfortunate, but there's really nothing else you can do on that play.

-Ryan Grant had one terrible drop which clearly stands out to me. He normally earns his roster spot by being sure-handed, but he'd like to have that one back.

-Keenan Robinson got called for defensive pass interference on a completely benign play. There was clearly no undue physicality and it was a terrible call that aided in the Eagles' comeback.

-Nick Foles showed a lot of toughness. Somehow the team had 0 sacks but was in the double-digits on QB hits, including Baker's brutal penalized crack-back block on Foles after the latter's originally-ruled-interception to Breeland (which, incidentally, the NFL just ruled totally legal!).

-LeSean McCoy left the game with a potential concussion and probably shouldn't have been allowed back. He was phenomenally unproductive and looked very out of it the rest of the game, trying to tip-toe up the sideline a good eight inches out of bounds, knocking loose a fumble with his own knee, and being generally hesitant in his running.

-DeSean Jackson had a great game despite his injured shoulder , and showed how dangerous he can be when properly motivated. He caught an outstanding deep ball and then uncharacteristically ran through a tackle to go for a touchdown. Any other week, that's a deep reception down within the 10. Pierre Garcon also finally got a real chance to contribute, and ended with 11 receptions for 138 and a touchdown as the reliable option across from Jackson's explosiveness (5 receptions, 117 yards, 1 TD)

-The second half also saw a brawl break out, centered around Chris Baker and Jason Peters. After a lot of time and mistakenly ejecting Trent Williams (he and Peters both wear 71), the refs finally got the situation sorted out with offsetting penalties and  Baker and Peters both ejected. Interesting to see what further penalties are handed down by the league. I was worried that Williams had indeed gotten involved, since he has a little history of his own and was in the mix, but he looked to actually just be separating people. Good to see.

-I liked the fire and the animosity lots of injuries, particularly in on both offensive lines, where Shawn Lauvao, Tyler Polombus, and Kory Lichtensteiger all missed time for the Redskins (Polombus and Licht returned to the game, Lauvao did not), and the Eagles losing Jason Kelce to a sports hernia.

-Hard not to read into what happened with backups during those injuries. Josh LeRebeus played at both left guard (for Lauvao) and right guard (with Chester shifting to Center for Lichtensteiger) despite rookie Spencer Long being active, and Tom Compton's stint at right tackle while Moses was a healthy scratch both look like indictments on the rookies' development so far. That's disappointing. Lauvao did not return to the

-Other injuries include Hatcher, who did not return and self-diagnosed a cramp; Orakpo, who hurt a finger; Morris, who missed only a few plays after hurting his knee; DL Frank Kearse hurt his ankle;and DeAngelo Hall and Duke Ihenacho are both now on Injured Reserve with a torn Achilles tendon and injured heel, respectively. 

-In related moves, Chase Minnifield and Akeem Davis were activated from the practice squad to the 53.

-Cornerback will be interesting going forward. EJ Biggers has been the de facto #3, but on Sunday Bashaud Breeland actually go more work. Then, to complicate things further, Tracy Porter is expected back from his hamstring woes soon. I hope Biggers' role doesn't increase, but we will see. I would like to see Breeland get more work, after a pretty strong game with a fumble and nearly an interception in the heaviest workload he has gotten so far this season. Regardless of who it is, the secondary will be a big worry. It was already weak enough that our pass rush has had trouble covering for it, and that should just get worse.

-Tony Corrente's normally-solid officiating crew was making a lot of mistakes today. I don't know if the personnel has changed this season, or what, but this was an all-around poorly-officiated game. Bad calls went both ways, but unfortunately it ended up helping the Eagles a lot more. Particularly, that series of no-calls on clear holds directly contributed to an Eagles touchdown. 

-Kai Forbath's missed 33-yard field goal ended up being the difference in the game. Between that and the kick return touchdown the Skins allowed, it can easily be said that Special Teams has largely lost the team two of the three games this season.

-Cousins had a very strong showing. He made a few bad plays, and threw a few balls behind receivers, but for the most part he looked extremely sharp and efficient, and threw a number of great deep balls, totaling 184 yards on passes of 20+ yards. I don't buy into all the talking heads trying to create controversy alleging that Cousins is the starter from here on out (check my comments at the end of week 2's breakdown for details on why), but it is a job he could earn if he plays this well every week. I don't expect that, but it wouldn't be the worst problem in the world to have if he did. 

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