Bill Parcells once famously said, “You are what you are.” Well, the 2014 Philadelphia Eagles are 5-1. Regardless of what I or any other fan feels about this team as a whole, they are off to their best start since 2004. And many of our concerns were put to temporary rest last Sunday night when the Birds thoroughly dismantled Eli Manning and the Giants.
I gotta admit, watching LeSean McCoy run wild and the front seven dominate was glorious fun. Shutouts are so difficult to come by in the NFL, so seeing the Eagles get their first since 1996 — which of course was versus a Giants team led by the dynamic duo of Dave Brown and Danny Kannell — was the cherry on top of a delicious sundae (see what I did there?).
A well-earned bye week comes at a perfect time. Hopefully the extra rest will be enough for Mychal Kendricks to return to the starting lineup in Arizona. Maybe Darren Sproles’ sprained knee will heal faster than anticipated. Maybe Billy Davis will devise even more crafty ways to unleash Connor Barwin, Trent Cole, Vinnie Curry, and Brandon Graham. Maybe Chip will wave his magic wand and pinpoint why Nick Foles keeps committing awful turnovers.
This play exemplifies what a Chip Kelly offense is supposed to look like when all 11 guys are on the same page:
Celek locks up Jason Pierre-Paul. Jason Peters and David Molk both pull and successfully clear the rush lane. Rookie Josh Huff drives his man out of the picture. Riley Cooper contains the cornerback long enough for Sproles to sprint across the goal line. Standing ovation for the offensive line, tight ends, and receivers, who blocked like champions the entire game. The Giants stupidly playing nickel much of the first half had something to do with all those wide open rush lanes, but beggars can’t be choosers.
By the way, Huff is one helluva physical receiver. I counted at least three punishing blocks delivered by the ex-Duck. His ability as a pass catcher is in doubt, but his willingness to help in the run game is not. Let’s call him the anti DeSean Jackson, who as well know, really doesn’t like to do anything except run toward the end zone. To wit:
If DeSean seals his man, Andre Roberts gets the first down. Sorry, but I’ll take Jeremy Maclin over Jackson every day of the week. Maclin had a quiet game on the stat sheet versus the Giants, but he excelled as a blocker, which if you’ve learned anything about Chip Kelly, is just as important if not more so than being able to haul in a 40-yard bomb.
Dear Nick Foles: Please stop turning the ball over. Ten in six games is ridiculous. Stop behaving like the Andy Dalton of the NFC.
The performance and effort put forth by the entire defense was vintage Jim Johnson. Eight sacks, a forced fumble, and sustained pressure on Eli and backup Ryan Nassib. I mention Nassib because the front seven remained relentless even after the Giants raised the white flag. I don’t want to see any more fourth quarter collapses like the Rams debacle. No more calling off the dogs and sitting back in a zone when holding a lead.
When the front seven manhandles the opposing offensive line, the secondary isn’t exposed as much. Funny how that works. Obviously games with 8 sacks are few and far between, but the once maligned pass rush enters Week 7 ranked second in sacks with 19. Let’s hope this trend continues going forward.
No touchdowns? What the hell! At least Chris Maragos had a partial punt block, and Sproles another lengthy return. I’ve clearly been spoiled by Dave Fipp’s unit.
Two more horrific interceptions from Foles. Damn bro, just throw it away or take a sack. Better defenses will covert these blunders into points. 3 penalties for 25 yards. That’s only seven infractions in the last two games. Keep it up, guys.
Huge test on the road in Arizona. Carson Palmer is back under center. Michael Floyd, Larry Fitzgerald, and John Brown will present problems for the secondary, especially if Palmer has time to fire the ball downfield. Cardinals have back-end issues of their own, ranking dead last against the pass through five games. Foles could have a field day, if he isn’t coughing up sloppy turnovers. In last year’s meeting — which ironically also came after the bye — Zach Ertz had his coming out party:
I say he does it again. Birds win an entertaining shootout.