Philadelphia Eagles News

Analyzing Eagles The Day After Win

As head coach Andy Reid said following the win in St. Louis, the focus for him is going to be more about correcting mistakes than about congratulating each other. The NFL is about moving on and playing better the next week.

In light of that, we can take a different perspective from the one immediately after Sunday's triumph. There are many things to get to, so let's do it here ...

  • It is clear that teams are going to target the Eagles' linebackers, so the challenge there is obvious. After the win defensive coordinator shrugged off suggestions that he tweaked the scheme after Steven Jackson's touchdown run, insisting instead that the "right gaps" had to be filled. Reading between the lines, it means that the linebackers at times didn't get to the right gaps. Casey Matthews improved as the game went along, no doubt about it. But the Rams also gashed the Eagles at times in the running game. That has to improve.
  • The interior of the offensive line -- left guard Evan Mathis, center Jason Kelce and right guard Kyle DeVan -- played very well. And right tackle Todd Herremans was a rock against Chris Long. Left tackle Jason Peters had a solid game, but he had a holding penalty and was beaten once or twice. Where the Eagles had problems was against the non-stop blitz. At times, the Rams blitzed on nearly every play.
  • St. Louis simply couldn't cover the Eagles receiving corps. At one point in the third quarter, the Rams were penalized on three consecutive plays in the defensive secondary. Once Steve Smith gets his game legs, the receivers will be even that much better.
  • Underrated Jason Avant continues to shine. He had 3 receptions on Sunday, and they were all huge. His first catch, a 20-yarder, converted a third-and-11 situation and kept the first touchdown drive alive. A roughing-the-passer penalty on the play added an additional 10 yards to the gain. Then he had a catch and run for 18 yards in the second quarter. Avant's third catch gained 2 yards on a third-and-1 play to keep the drive alive for Alex Henery's field goal to end the first half.
  • Speaking of Henery, we saw that he isn't afraid to make a tackle. Hope the helmet imprint in his chest is gone by now.
  • As noted in my column after the win, Dion Lewis showed some hesitation on kickoff returns. I watched Sunday's night's fantastic Cowboys meltdown and saw the same thing. It happened all over the league on Sunday. Return men are catching the ball 5, 6, 7 yards deep in the end zone and they are hesitating before returning the kicks. Coaches need to define to the return men the limits to returning kickoffs. If you catch it 7 yards deep in the end zone, is it worth returning?
  • The Eagles carried just seven offensive linemen on the opening-day roster. Jamaal Jackson was the backup guard/center and King Dunlap was the backup at both tackle spots. Inactive were the following linemen: Winston Justice, Danny Watkins and Julian Vandervelde.
  • That Dallas game was pretty awesome, wasn't it? To see the Cowboys fall apart, led by quarterback Tony Romo, was the perfect end to a great Eagles day.
  • Jarrad Page did a nice job with Kurt Coleman at the safety spots, but as the Eagles reviewed the tape they knew they had some blown assignments. St. Louis dropped some passes when receivers were wide open.
  • The Eagles gained 214 yards of offense and converted 8 of 10 third downs in the first half and left too many points on the board. On a sharp day, the Eagles score 50 points easily against a pretty good defense.
  • Don't let that loss in Chicago fool you. Atlanta is a fantastic football team and is going to play a great game on Sunday night. The Eagles need an A-plus game to beat the Falcons.
  • Donovan McNabb ... 39 yards? Really?
  • Congratulations to Kevin Kolb for his strong start in Arizona. The Cardinals come to Lincoln Financial Field in the season so we can get a good look at Kolb and his development.
  • A stat that I will follow all year is the team's efficiency in the red zone, and the Eagles were OK there in St. Louis. The offense was 2 of 4 in the red zone and a perfect 2 for two in goal-to-go situations. That's big. And the defense held St. Louis to a field goal in the lone red-zone opportunity. After last year's struggles, that opher is very important.
  • Mixed in among the offensive plays were a couple of direct snaps to running backs. McCoy gained 7 yards to the right side. McCoy took the snap after lining up next to Michael Vick in the formation. Then Ronnie Brown lined up in the Wildcat and took a direct snap and lost 2 yards as the Rams came after him off the edges.
  • I hated the illegal contact penalty against Asante Samuel on a third down when Samuel was lined up against Brandon Gibson. Samuel lunged at Gibson, but missed him. One thing I will say is that teams are going to pump fake Samuel to try to get him to jump a route. He needs to be careful unless he has help over the top.
  • Colt Anderson is a beast in kick coverage. He needs to be active every week and on the field. Anderson is one of those players who makes an impact on just about every snap of the football. He is an outstanding niche player on this team.
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