It's early Monday morning, but the coaching staff has already put in work to begin figuring out what went wrong in Sunday's loss to the Giants. Head coach Chip Kelly's day-after press conference kicks off this edition of 5 Things To Know Today as we look at the improved defense as well as the upcoming opponent - the Oakland Raiders ...
1. TODAY: TUNE IN AND SEE WHAT IS NEXT FOR THE EAGLES
We've got a full day of coverage for you, starting with Eagles Live! from the NovaCare Complex at Noon featuring Chip Kelly's day-after press conference. Who is lined up to play quarterback on Sunday at Oakland? Kelly has a lot of things to think about at a quarterback position hurting with injuries.
Later in the day, the Eagles are live on the radio. Tune in at 5 p.m. on Sportsradio 94WIP for The Howie Roseman Show. Running back LeSean McCoy is on the air on Sportsradio 94WIP at 6 p.m. Then at 7:30 p.m. it's Eagles Prime Time Live on WXTU 92.5 FM featuring offensive linemen Todd Herremans and Jason Kelce.
2. A GOODE MOMENT PROVIDED A GLIMMER OF HOPE
Despite everything that had transpired, or perhaps, for the offense what hadn't transpired, the Eagles were still given a glimmer of hope with just over four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter when Giants long snapper Zak DeOssie sailed his snap high over the head of Giants punter Steve Weatherford.
As the ball rolled and flopped towards the Giants' end zone, Weatherford, with Brandon Boykin in hot pursuit, attempted to kick the ball out of bounds for a safety. But as Weatherford's foot swung around the 2-yard-line, the ball hopped up, eluding Weatherford as Boykin made contact with the helpless punter. Half a second later, linebacker Najee Goode scooped up the ball and fell into the end zone, bringing the Eagles within eight points of the Giants at 15-7.
"Actually I was just going to go hit (Weatherford), just knock the mess out of him and knock the ball into the end zone," said Goode after the game, "but I saw him try to kick it and he missed it with his foot and Boykin did a good job of actually hitting him and knocking him up. Kurt Coleman did a good job of getting penetration so the guys on the punt team had to respect all three of us that came through. When I saw the ball, my eyes got big and I scooped it up."
The touchdown actually marked the second of the season for Goode, if you include the preseason, when he returned an interception for a touchdown while with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"It was my second," said Goode, "but all of them feel like my first when you're on defense."
3. WHAT A DIFFERENCE A MONTH MAKES
The focus following Sunday's disappointing 15-7 loss will be on the uncertainty surrounding the quarterback position and the sudden inability of the offense to score points. But the rapid improvement of the Eagles defense should not go unnoticed. After allowing 34.5 points per game through the first four games of the season, the Eagles have surrendered only 18.25 points per game over their last four. With a new defensive scheme and a slew of new players on the defense, it appears as though things are coming together with what was once the Eagles' neglected unit.
"Yeah, I think we're getting better," said linebacker Connor Barwin following the game. "Every week we've said that and I think we've done that, which is important … Any time you don't let a team score a touchdown, that's a positive. We played to the end of the game, which is a positive. We played together. We had, I think, fewer mistakes than last week, but obviously we gave up 15 points and that wasn't enough to win."
Over the last four weeks, the Eagles have allowed no more than 21 points to the opposition.
"I just think they're starting to really get the grasp and understanding of what our defensive coaches are doing," said head coach Chip Kelly. "I think they're in the right spots. They're holding disguises a little bit longer. They can confuse the quarterback at times … They're starting to understand the package. I think since day one (they've played) with great effort and are doing a better job tackling right now. I think we defended some of the deep balls, some of the balls thrown in the end zone. They've done a really good job with that. They haven't gotten the ball thrown over their head, and they've kept the ball in front of them. So I think we can build where we are on the defensive side."
"I think we've become more cohesive as a defense," said cornerback Cary Williams. "We all understand what coach wants. We understand our responsibilities now in the defense. I think guys really are getting a clue as to what's their responsibility, what they're supposed to do. We work on it each and every week. We don't take days off. We work really hard at what we do. And it's basically showing up during game times."
|A Better Month For The 'D'|
|Stat||First Four Games||Last Four Games|
|Rushing Yards Per Game||121.8||77.3|
4. UP NEXT: A TRIP TO THE BLACK HOLE
After back-to-back losses at home, the Eagles head out west to take on their final AFC West opponent of the season in the Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders improved to 3-4 on the season with a 21-18 win Sunday over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Terrelle Pryor set a new NFL record for the longest touchdown run by a quarterback. On the game's first play from scrimmage, Pryor faked out the Steelers defense with a read-option play and sprinted 93 yards to set the tone. Running back Darren McFadden added two touchdowns - including one out of the Wildcat formation - in the first half and the Raiders held on the second half with strong defense to come out with the win.
The Raiders offense only gained one first down on their final nine drives of the game. Fortunately for Oakland, the Steelers were unable to capitalize on two Pryor interceptions in the second half as kicker Shaun Suisham missed a pair of field goals.
Oakland's stingy defense will provide another test for running back LeSean McCoy. Pittsburgh gained just 35 yards on the ground putting all of the pressure on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
5. HERE IS YOUR TEAM PHOTO: CHIP KELLY'S FIRST EAGLES TEAM
The Eagles gathered on Saturday and posed for the first team picture in the Chip Kelly Era at the NovaCare Complex. Download the photo, save it, use it as wallpaper for your laptop … it's bound to be one to look back on as the start of something special for the Philadelphia Eagles.