The game that was billed as the shootout of Week 7 turned out to be the most boring game played this week, which is quite the feat considering the Vikings and Giants played on Monday night and Josh Freeman completed only 37% of his passes saving Nick Foles from accepting the honor of the worst quarterback performance of Week 7. From an Eagles fan perspective it wasn’t all bad though if you keep in mind that this is a rebuilding year for the team. The Eagles defense had their best performance of the season against a stellar offense keeping the game within reach, if the offense had not decided to make Week 7 their bye week.
Foles performance was on par with the Adam Sandler’s performance as the bumbling youngest son of Satan. In fast here’s a fun game, lets see if you can guess who received a lower rating for their performance.
Subject A Rating: 22
Subject B Rating: 8
The answer, subject A is Little Nicky’s rating on Rotten Tomatoes and B is Nick Foles’ rounded up QBR rating. So it was a great day for the second year quarterback. Sheil Kapadia wrote a good review of what was going on with Foles all game. For reasons unknown he wasn’t just making errant throws at wide open receivers he was also not seeing guys who were wide open downfield. He completes a couple of those passes and the game could have had a completely different outcome or at the very least would have opened things up more for the offense. It didn’t take the NFL All-22 cam to know that there were open receivers downfield throughout the game. Fox on at least 4 occasions gave a slow motion shot of Desean Jackson waving his hand with plenty of real estate in front of him. The reason Foles wasn’t looking downfield instead opting to check down to Avant or Ertz on a crossing route is unknown. The mental pressure of coming into the game with expectations for the first time could be a reason, but after giving it some more thought I came to a different conclusion. The Cowboys knocked Foles down early in the game a couple times and I’d bet if I got a closer look at the game film it would show Foles with some happy feet. When he was still an NFL writer, current Browns GM Mike Lombardi, would talk about how a quarterback’s vision would narrow when concerned over getting hit. They would pay more attention to the lineman and less time with their eyes downfield shortening the field the defense would have to worry about. When Foles was in the game the Eagles offense looked as if it was spending the entire time playing in the red zone when the field is shortened. As I’ve said before I was never really convinced Foles was going be the guy for the Eagles going forward so I’m not ready to lock Foles in an old Valley Forge cabin like a number of Eagles fans. It was going take at least a 6.5 out 10 performance for Foles to supplant Vick and instead Foles turned in a 1.5 only because he didn’t turn the ball over once. Thanks to the concussion Foles suffered at the end of the game Kelly can go back to Vick without having to deal with another week of ass hat Marcus Hayes asking who will be the Eagles quarterback Sunday.
Holy shit did Matt Barkley put together one hell of a game. 3 interceptions, that could have been 4 if not for an offsides penalty, and at least 4 other throws that elicited a “picked” reaction from anyone watching. If Barkley’s performance was a television pilot it’d rank right up there with Are You There, Chelsea and 1/2 Hour News Hour, which was Fox New’s answer to the Daily Show. Before going forward I think it’s important to take a minute and rank some of the worst television pilots in history.
5. Charlie’s Angels 2011 (4 episodes before being cancelled. Final episode was only aired in Poland)
4. The Playboy Club (Or NBC’s attempt at capitalizing on the success of Mad Men, but not realizing good actors were needed. 3 episodes before cancellation)
3. Lucky 7 (7 gas station employees win the lottery. 2 episodes before cancellation)
2. South of Sunset (Starring Eagles band member Glenn Frey as a Beverly Hills based private-eye. Cancelled after the pilot)
1. Lawless (Starring ex-NFL flop Brian Bosworth as a motorcycle riding private investigator. Cancelled after the pilot)
I might be guilty of being overly pessimistic, but I think The Playboy Club might have experienced more success on NBC than Barkley will as an Eagle. Unless there is an injury to both Foles and Vick I’d be willing to bet we don’t see Barkley play again in an Eagles uniform. It would be one with if he performed well in the preseason, but in case anyone forgot he was quickly dismissed from the QB debate and really didn’t show much promise in any of the 4 preseason games. Yes he was put in a tough position and is a rookie, but I just don’t think the arm strength is there. Some of his throws looked like Chad Pennington throws after his 56th shoulder surgery. I’m not a huge arm strength guy, but there is a reason Barkley fell to the 4th round, and I’m guessing we saw why on Sunday.
This is the first Eagles game I’ve seen all season that has made me say I saw constant pressure on the QB throughout the entire game. Fletcher Cox was moving blockers back and did a good job of collapsing the pocket while also creating some pressure on Romo. Cedric Thornton recorded another 5 stops that helped the Eagles make the already bleak Dallas running game look much worse. Vinny Curry recorded his second sack of the season and in doing so moved into first place with Will Ferrell for having the most successful cameo appearances.
Not only did Curry record a sack, but he also helped create the pressure on Romo that forced him into the Demeco Ryans interception, which had the potential to swing the outcome of the game if not for the Nick Foles show. The pressure was not limited to just the defensive line though. Early Wolff got his hands in Romo’s face forcing him to make a bad throw when the Cowboys were in the red zone. Nate Allen shot through a gap to get in Romo’s way as well. Even Brandon Graham made an appearance and knocked Romo to the ground once. Overall it was a very encouraging sign for the Eagles defense.
Demeco, The D is not silent.
Ryans had his best game as an Eagle on Sunday. He led the team in tackles with 9, earned a sack on Romo, made a big third down stop on Dallas’ opening drive, delivered a baby at Xfinity Live, intercepted Romo and putting the Eagles offense in position to score their only points of the day, fixed the Obamacare website, recorded a defended pass. He’s one hell of a football player and has clearly not been the weakest leak in the Eagles new 3-4 scheme, which was a concern coming into the season after Houston traded him to the Eagles because of his ineffectiveness in their 3-4 system.
D also stands for development.
It’s Week 7 now and the Eagles defense has clearly made vast improvements since the start of the season. That goes for not just the Eagles players, but also new defensive coordinator Bill Davis. Davis has taken a lot of criticism this season, some deserved (not getting off the field in 3rd and long situations) and some not deserved (having a poor track record in his previous stops). Eagles fans routinely long for the days of Jim Johnson, but forget that before getting to Philadelphia Johnson had found minimal success in the USFL as a defensive coordinator and with the Indianapolis Colts as a defensive coordinator. Davis isn’t Jim Johnson, and there is a very real chance he never will be as good a coordinator, but the guy deserves a shot. Johnson came into an Eagles situation with inarguably more talent than Davis did yet despite that coached an Eagles defense that ranked 22nd in points scored his first year. The key to this season for the Eagles is progress and development. Davis and the Eagles defensive players have shown that through the first seven weeks. This week we saw more pressure on the quarterback. We saw Earl Wolff have his best game of his young career so far. The LBs played at a perfect depth in zone coverage knocking numerous Cowboys receivers off their crossing routes, which had killed the defense in previous weeks and made me want to launch my mom’s glass rooster at the television.
Yes, losses always suck, but there were some definite positives to take away from this game on the defensive end. For me this year is more about development and transitioning to the Chip Kelly era, and there was evidence of that today on the side of the ball that had been most troubling so far. The Giants come to town next week, so I’m guessing that will cure what was ailing the offense this past week.
Eliminating Super Bowl Contenders
Houston Texans – The Texans point differential this season is -72 putting them ahead of only the Giants and Jaguars. The next closest team is the Vikings at -49. Gary Kubiak start sending out feelers for NFL offensive coordinator positions or head coaching jobs at middle of the pack Big Ten schools.
Washington Redskins – If the Redskins were going be any serious threat this season they would be running away with the NFC East. Instead they are 2-4 and have former quarterback Joe Theismann telling anyone that will listen that the Redskins name isn’t terrible and that he was actually given a Native American headdress after winning the Super Bowl.
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