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Eagles knocked out of first place by Cowboys: The Morning After


Good morning campers (or is it?),

It was my daughter's birthday yesterday, and that’s about the only good thing I can say about yesterday to be honest. I did not see much of the game but I saw enough of this debacle to collect some observations. But let’s not kid ourselves: how much do you REALLY want to read about a recap anyway?  I don’t wanna say let’s just get this overwith, but….here goes something, which is a little more than what the Eagles gave yesterday...


Let's get to getting (along with a condensed DG Report):

*Who is the REAL Nick Foles? Obviously, at least it is obvious to me, is the question of whether he was hurt or not PRIOR to leaving the game due to a concussion? Troy Aikman made reference to a groin injury, but during the time I was watching I did not hear any other mention of it. Did I miss anything? For if he was indeed NOT hurt prior to suffering the concussion that will be much cause for concern for the plays I saw him make or not make for that matter, were downright bad. Just bad quarterbacking from him all around and nothing like the Nick Foles we saw in Tampa last week.tma logo


You didn't need to be a mind reader watching Chip Kelly's expression after Foles came off the field following one of his many three and outs. He is not Chip's guy no matter what he says in public.


*Why not go for it on fourth and inches and instead go for a 59-yard field goal attempt, Andy?.....I mean Chip…………….ugh. Who else was shaking their heads on that play? I know it wasn't just me........


*As for Matt Barkley, he may be in the record books for having thrown TWO interceptions on his FIRST NFL drive. Now THAT kids is hard to do. He flashed some nice throws from what I saw, but his decision making left much to be desired. Having said that, you clearly cannot draw any conclusions from what we witnessed for to do so would be incredibly shortsighted. Is he an NFL starting QB? I don't know and neither do you.


And now for a quick break, here's Matt with this week's DG Report.


The DG Report

For the fans who wished for Nick Foles to be the starter, watch what you wished for (in this instance). The offense played like the recent government shutdown, with nothing going on and a bunch of people standing around waiting on something to happen. When a defense plays man to man on these Birds receivers, the offense grounds to a halt since the Eagle receivers can not get open.  For me that is OK, because Chip can make adjustments right? No expectations right?.


It was obvious from the opening bell that Foles had no adjustments to the man to man defense. The offense was going nowhere with Foles. He was uncomfortable and was holding on to the ball longer that Vick normally when he is in the pocket and LeSean McCoy was not getting the open lanes he's normally used to when he is gaining large amounts of yards per carry.  As I watched the game, it was oblivious that the Cowboys are not a good team. But with preparation, they brought the Birds to their level. Photo: Elsa/Getty Images


As I've been telling people for weeks Tony Romo is not a very good quarterback, but a lucky one at that. The Dallas offense was ready to score, but the "almost there" defense of the Birds had them confused and not killing the middle like they (should since Birds' middle D was weak today). For whatever reason, they wanted to pick on Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher.  This is a good plan on any Sunday, but by chance, the Dallas ineptness in the first two quarters limited their scoring chances to three points.  


After the build up to Sunday during Dallas week (which some day should be a federal holiday) with everyone saying the Birds are back and its their division to take.... one must pump the brakes and remember this team (with or with out Mike Vick) is not ready yet. The Birds are in build mode and it was most apparent yesterday. The build on to contender status is ongoing. It still looks like the Birds can only do a few things well as most contenders can do alot of things well.


So back to game time. It was nice to see the defense starting to get their feet under them. I must say it's not good that when its 3rd and long, the advantage is with the offense. How many more times are we going to see the defense allow a first down when its 3rd and long? That is the most frustrating part of watching this early version of the Kelly Birds. I lay direct blame to the on field leadership of the Birds of letting teams gain momentum when they pick up first downs. If you like to see men kick the ball, well yesterday was a treat. I lost count how many times the punters were on the field. For me too many. When I see a punt play I revert to my NASCAR mode and I would  want to see either a crash or a least a leg falling off just for the entertainment value of it. It's a least the could do to make to most boring play in all sports a little more watchable.


Anyway. game time, Little Nicky (we have to give him that nickname to toughen him up and have the South Philly crews pay attention) was not comfortable at all during the game. Was he hurt? Too much pressure? Whatever it was you can call it horrible to say the least.


Paging Matt  Barkley? All Matt Barkley proved that he shoulder injury healed and he can throw a NFL pass. I felt bad but the Boys deaked him into at least two interceptions. Matty Boy needs to go back and learn before the next time he sets foot on the field. I am ok with him being developed.


Lets jump over to the defense now. It was good to see the line get the push they need to pressure Romo. But I felt Dallas was holding back know it had the middle of the defense to exploit all day. With Whitten and Bryant, the Dallas offense had to key players to rely on to pick up yards. It was Dallas ineptness to fail at using them properly. I must say, it was good to see Earl Wolff and Vinny Curry make nice plays with big hits. I am not giving any credit to Demecco Ryan's interception though because it was a Romo pass and those things need to be picked off. It's called doing your job. The defense in the middle was open to attack all day and you saw that on the second touchdown. Dallas had that in their back pocket all day. I am not going to say it was a bad loss because I saw things that the Birds are building on.


As I said before, I am fine if I see the progression of this team getting better week by week. Whether the Birds win or lose, knowing we saw improvement is what this game was to me. We are building a winner here.


Remember, no expectations just steady improvement. 

Back to you, Steve... 


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Thanks Matt. A few more quick tidbits here and I'll wrap it up.

Call me crazy, but the Eagles future QB is not here yet. Michael Vick is 33 years old and injured every time you turn around. Like I said, maybe Foles was hurt, maybe he wasn't. Maybe you can't judge Barkley potential career in what transpired yesterday. Maybe Jerry Martin should've been in left field in place of Greg Luzinski. Maybe... ok I'll stop. You get it.


*I realize the defense outplayed the offense yesterday, but from what I saw it has as much to do with Cowboys' inability on offense as much as it did the Eagles' prowess on defense. Every time I looked up and caught a glimpse of the game, some guy named Cole Beasley (who?) was making another catch in front of a hapless Brandon Boykin.


*At first thought, my gut reaction is to think that this was a BIG chance for the Birds to snag first place in an absolutely otherwise horrid NFC East...and they blew it. Plain and simple. As bad as the Giants are (and they do stink), they might actually like their chances next week at the Linc if Barkley is at the helm.


After some thought, however (and I’ve been saying this all year), I need to remind myself and all of you that this is a team that is rebuilding and that Rome was NOT built in a day. We have to have faith in Chip Kelly and patience that he has a plan in place to correct all that ails this team over a period of time. If for no other reason, we will all go collectively crazy watching this team.


Tell me/us what you think.

Leave a comment or tweet me @steveolenski

Bring some fire in the belly though.

You want to disagree? Fine.

But bring something to the table.

‘Til next time.

As always, time’s yours…. Food’s mine.

Contact Steve Olenski at solenski@philly2philly.com


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Vick/Foles photo: Elsa/Getty Images