Blog Archives

Nick Foles Turns Into Pumpkin Early For Halloween

FolesCinderella was gruesomely murdered by the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.

Nick Foles and Matt Barkley performed horribly for the Eagles in what was an abysmal 17-3 loss at home. While the reality check was hard to swallow, it’s good to have stability back in Philadelphia.

Mike Vick is a better player than Foles right now. I’m not saying Foles doesn’t have a future (he might), but he is, in fact, worse and should not be the starter for the Eagles. As I said in my article last week, it would hurt Chip’s credibility and Shiel Kapadia of Eagles 24/7 seems to agree in his new Zone Read article:

If he’s healthy, Michael Vick starts Sunday vs. the Giants. The argument for Foles is that the Eagles should at least find out what they have. But Kelly (and most coaches) are not wired that way. They spend countless hours watching film, game-planning and practicing. Sundays are not meant for experimentation. By doing that, you risk frustrating the other players on the field, you send the wrong message, and you make it more difficult to get your system in place.

The Dallas game plan was able to reveal some issues with Foles that aren’t going away. The Cowboys chose to play a press man to man coverage on the Birds. This provided a domino effect that puts the game in perspective.

First, the Cowboys had no respect for Foles’ arm. With Foles not a threat to burn them deep, Dallas played generally tight to the line and constricted the field. For example, Barry Church was able to assist in the run game. According to ProFootballFocus, Church had five tackles in the game, all five were stops (“stops” being defined as a solo tackle that results in an offensive failure). The extra help, paired with superb defensive line play (Jason Hatcher), led to LeSean McCoy’s worst game of the season. He had 55 yards rushing on 18 carries and 26 receiving yards on six grabs.

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Comparing Offenses: Chip’s 2013 v. Reid’s 2012 through 7 Games

After 7 games, Chip Kelly’s Eagles are 3-4. Incidentally, through 7 last season, Reid had also earned a 3-4 record. This parallel shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise: Despite a massive overhaul of the defense, the Eagles still can’t stop anybody. We expected this. DC Billy Davis has a long history of putting together middling to bad defenses, and he has very little talent to work with. On the other hand, there are few new faces on offense. Jason Peters returned from injury, Lane Johnson was drafted, and Jeremy Maclin tore up his knee (and nobody sane can call Riley Cooper an upgrade at that spot). All told, 8 of this year’s starters on offense also started last year, and 9 were active on last year’s squad.

So the defense still stinks, the offense is comprised of the same stiffs, and their W-L records are identical. Sounds like a perfect time to compare the two groups! And since we know both defenses were/are crap this deep into the season, I’d rather just focus on the offense. The raw numbers are after the jump, but this graph really says it all.


Offensive Efficiency Chart

Click Image to Enlarge

(A quick explanation of what you’re looking at: For every stat above, 0 represents the NFL average after 7 games. If you’re not familiar with standard deviations and z-scores, just know that in general a score greater than 0 is above average, greater than 1 is good, and greater than 1.5 is close to the top of the league. The reverse is true for negative numbers.*)

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Sources: Michael Vick to Start Sunday Against Giants

Photo courtesy ESPN

Photo courtesy ESPN

According to NFL sources, Michael Vick will be back under center for the Eagles this week when the team takes on the New York Giants. Vick is expected to start and take first team reps in practice all week following the concussion suffered by Nick Foles.

Foles took over the starting responsibilities from Vick after Vick strained his hamstring on October 6 against the Giants.

The injury to Vick sparked a “quarterback conversation” and it appears that an injury to Foles may end those talks.

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What to Watch For: Eagles vs Cowboys – Game 1

Image via

Image via

Eagles and Cowboys at the Linc. Both teams fighting to determine who is first place in the NFC East. It doesn’t get much better than this.

For the Eagles, they head into the game with a full scale quarterback controversy as Michael Vick sits out with an injured hamstring. The Cowboys limp into this contest without their elite pass rusher in DeMarcus Ware and starting running back DeMarco Murray. Regardless, this game should be quite a show.

Fun Fact for the Matchup: The highest total combined yards in an Eagles/Cowboys matchup is 869. The game was played on October 9, 1966 and resulted in an Eagles loss: 56-7.

And now, what to watch for:

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Around the Cooler 10/16/13: Dallas week!

Here’s what we’re talking about:

  • Nick Foles was beastly against the Bucs. But is he the right quarterback for the rest of the season? Also, it’s Dallas week! (0:00)
  • We’re talking the Flyers coaching change and the team’s abysmal record, Holmgren’s hot seat, Hextall, and a surprisingly good start from Steve Mason. (21:30)

Play on your Mobile Device or Right Click to Download: Around the Cooler 10-16-13

What are you talking about around the water cooler this week? Leave us a comment!

Follow us on Twitter @TheWooderCooler

Musical theme written by Matthew Schwalm.

Around the Cooler 10/11/13: All I do is lose, lose, lose no matter what…

Here’s what we’re talking about:


  • A brief chat on why the Flyers fired Laviolette (Hint: It wasn’t because they are making a culture change)
  • Nick Foles faces an excellent Tampa defense and the fugly Tampa offense in a battle of college coaches (7:00)
  • We rejoice at how terrible the 76ers will be this season #Winless4Wiggins #Reek4Randle #Junk4Jabari… (28:00)

Play on your Mobile Device or Right Click to Download: Around the Cooler 10-11-13

What are you talking about around the water cooler this week? Leave us a comment!

Follow us on Twitter @TheWooderCooler

Musical theme written by Matthew Schwalm.

Addressing the Wilson/Kaepernick Rumors

COUCH your anger.

COUCH your anger over the non-deals.

It’s been mentioned over the past few days that the Eagles were interested in trading for both Russell Wilson of Seattle and Colin Kaepernick of San Francisco.

They way the rumor has it, the Eagles were going to trade a second round pick to San Francisco last offseason for Nevada alum. It made sense at the time given that Alex Smith had the best season of his career, leading the 49ers to the NFC championship game at the age of 27. There was seemingly no room for Kaepernick to play. However, the Eagles backed out.

The thought was that instead of trading one of their second rounders, which were spent on Mychal Kendricks and Vinny Curry, the Eagles opted to try for Wilson in the third round. However, Seattle snatch him up in 14 spots before the Eagles drafted, which led the Birds to drafting Nick Foles.

So, what to make of all this? It’s really hard to say. Would the Eagles have a better long-term future if one of those two quarterbacks were on the squad? Absolutely. Both players fit in beautifully with Chip Kelly’s system and have long careers ahead of them.

The problem however, is that these types of scenarios where teams throw out trade feelers or targeted someone other than their pick in the draft happen all of the time. It’s the nature of the business when there’s 31 other teams involved—making it something that you can’t get too caught up in. Sometimes the details of those potential moves can be a bit muddled too (applicable here).

Be happy with what we have. Foles is a solid quarterback for being in his second season in the league and he may just end of being a quality starter for this club. Vick is also on track to have the best season of his career and is a young 33. Matt Barkley is a project with great upside.

Overall, this team has a future. So while more rumors may pop up about past dealings the best thing to do is move on.


Don’t Get Too into Eagles Hype

After the Eagles trounced Washington it was hard not to be excited. Chip Kelly is a new coach using never before seen NFL formations in a way that allows the Birds talented offensive core to rip defenses to shreds. We were geeking out here at The Wooder Cooler afterwards and gained a firm belief that this team is going somewhere.

See! This season's supposed to be a party!

See! This season’s supposed to be a party!

However, the Chargers game—which destroyed millions of cases of Chipatidis—is far more important to this season. After being made into a golden god the week before, Chip looked like a true rookie as he mismanaged the clock on the Eagles final drive, called timeouts FOR THE CHARGERS on their game winning field goal, and admitted to not knowing a rule after the game. It was a tough loss in a good game and that sucks. Especially when the game is at home.

However, the important thing is to not lose sight as to what this team is. Before the Eagles were playing games nearly everyone expected this team to be around 6-10 and begin the two to three year rebuilding process. It’s still the same team as you could tell on Sunday. There were bad penalties from rookie Lane Johnson, a missed field goal, some dropped passes, and a miserable showing from the secondary.

This team isn’t a Super Bowl contender. If you think they can compete against the 49ers, Seahawks, Packers, Bears, or Falcons you’re mistaken. The Eagles need time to adapt to their new schemes and bring in the proper personnel.

I say all of this because reports are that lots of people left the game early with complaints about how the team failed and that fans wanted their money back. That’s completely unfair and unrealistic (Of course you’re not getting your money back).

But seriously, the same reason that they’re exciting is the same reason that they shouldn’t be considered disappointing. The offense on this team is fantastic and will put up a ton of points every week in unique ways, but they’re not a great TEAM.

This isn’t 2008. It’s more like the 2011-2012 Sixers. If they make the playoffs, great. But if they don’t, they’re still fun to watch because they have a reasonable chance to win every night.

Thursday night, for example, is possibly going to be the most fun all season with the Chiefs in town. The Visor vs. Tommy Bahama in Philly is about as good as NFL storylines get. So maybe on Thursday you have a beer, enjoy the evening with your friends and family, and tell Andy Reid to go fuck himself from your favorite chair. Just live in the moment, you know?

Like I said, this year is all about fun. Enjoy it.


What to Watch For: Eagles vs San Diego Chargers

image via Credit to Eric Hartline (US PRESSWIRE)

image via Credit to Eric Hartline (US PRESSWIRE)

After last week’s fantasticly fantastic fantasticness, this week should hold more wonders for fans as the Eagles take on the San Diego Chargers in Chip Kelly’s first NFL home game. Considering the fact that the Chargers have a significant disadvantage due to time zone issues and the Eagles have only shown “About 60%” of their offense, there’s good reason to be excited. The Eagles should win.

Here’s some things to watch for as you stuff your face with pizza and fancy beer.

1. New Formations! Chip threw all sorts of curveballs offensively in the first game. He lined up the tackles in pods on the outside of the field, worked with unbalanced lines, and made his lineman hit the deck. However, most of this was done without the assistance of James Casey, who had only two plays against the Redskins. Be prepared for Chip to unleash his tight ends in a variety of fun ways today.

2. Blitzball. One way the Redskins decided to slow the Eagles down was to blitz the hell out of Vick. They released the hounds on just over 50% of Vick’s dropbacks and earned three sacks. The Eagles should expect to see a lot more blitzing this week—especially towards Lane Johnson and Todd Herremans, who obviously struggled. How do they adapt?

3. Receptive Diversity. This has nothing to do with race and everything to do with distribution. San Diego had seven different players catch a pass last Sunday and not one of them had more than three catches. This team distributes the ball under Mike McCoy and will continue to do so today. With Bradley Fletcher out and the secondary already unstable, this is a big problem for Billy Davis.

4. Sharing the load. After LeSean McCoy reminded everyone how much of a boss he is, he admitted to reporters that Bryce Brown and Chris Polk will need to get some carries in this offense. McCoy simply can’t touch the ball 32 times a game. It will be interesting to see how early and often Chip is willing to take his precious out of the game.

5. Special Teams. This unit was fantastic last week—just check out the Redskins drive chart. They almost never had a short field to work with on Monday night thanks to special teams’ excellent work. It’s easy to pass over this stuff, but it really matters. I also can’t shake the feeling that we’ll see some awesome trick plays from these guys soon.

Around the Cooler 9/13/13: Chip, the Eagles, and the most original NFL offense in decades

Here’s what we’re talking about:

“I think he just winked at me! Did you see that?! He just winked at me!”

  • Chip. All Chip. We’re very fond of Chip.

Play on your Mobile Device or Right Click to Download: Around the Cooler 09-13-13

What are you talking about around the wooder cooler this week? Leave us a comment!

Follow us on Twitter @TheWooderCooler

Musical theme written by Matthew Schwalm.


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