First Half Notes: Eagles at Lions

November 26, 2015

On the Eagles:

  • For a team still in the playoff race (albeit a weak NFC East division) it’s concerning to see such a lethargic effort from the Eagles
  • To be fair, they came out urgent on offense, converting first downs on third, but it’s the inability to convert third downs consistently that has held Philadelphia back
  • They’re in the bottom half of the league for third down conversion rate
  • The problems on offense seem to be a lack of proper personnel to run the offense Kelly wants to run, mostly because of a lack of team speed on offense
  • Sproles and Agholor look like maybe the only two fits among skill position players, perhaps also the under-utilized Josh Huff
  • Jordan Matthews is terribly miscast in the slot, he would seem to be a better fit on the outside where he can use his size, crisp route running, and strong hands to out-muscle corners (like a Calvin Johnson)
  • This offense doesn’t go without Jason Peters, plain and simple, unfortunately he’s terribly injury prone
  • Very similar problems for the Eagles defense, like Chip Kelly, Bill Davis is very schematically stubborn, as he is constantly trying to run his press-man scheme without elite corners
  • More zone would likely help out the outside corners who are constantly getting beat on crosses, drags and stopping routes in the middle of the field
  • While Walter Thurmond has flashed at times at safety, you can tell he’s new to the position, he had no concept of the depth he needed on the touchdown to Calvin Johnson that put Detroit up by 17, left rookie Eric Rowe all alone.
  • No ability to set the edge in the run game by either Brandon Graham or Cedric Thornton for the Eagles, getting burned by outside runs for at least 4 yards a clip

On the Lions:

  • Stafford is throwing the ball about as well as I’ve ever seen him throw it
  • The touchdown to Calvin Johnson could not have been defended by Rowe, it was perfect
  • Arguably a better throw by Stafford to a double-covered Brandon Pettigrew was dropped in the first quarter, my jaw dropped
  • Early on, the Lions offensive line has dominated the Eagles entire front seven, consistently picking up blitzes and holding up against the four man rush.
  • Things started to shift late in the first half, but Stafford was getting the ball out so quickly that it didn’t matter
  • Everybody loves saying the name Jim Bob Cooter
  • Seriously though, he has come in with an excellent game plan, showing a deep understanding of the holes in the Eagles defense
  • On the defensive side, the Lions show excellent team speed and are having no trouble getting stretched
  • They are also incredibly fresh, having only been on the field for a few game minutes
  • Pass rusher Ziggy Ansah had a killer inside move on Lane Johnson that resulted in a sack, he’s really coming along
  • Ditto for rookie Quandre Diggs, he has been excellent in pass coverage but perhaps more impressive in run support

Keys for the Second Half

Eagles:

  • More zone
  • Help out Eric Rowe
  • Convert third downs

Lions

  • Get the run game going
  • Pressure Mark Sanchez into mistakes
  • Let Stafford loose, he’s throwing well
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