After every game, even ones where you win convincingly, there is an assessment of what you can do better. Anyone who thinks Andy or his staff take a day off during the season has never coached football at a higher level. There are no perfect games. No days off. Improvement every week is critical to have any legitimate run to the Super Bowl.
After reviewing the game, here are six things the Eagles will need to be working on this week.
No. 6: Juqua Parker’s explosive speed.
We all know Juqua Parker is quick off the line, but did you see his explosive speed on the 56-yard fumble return for a TD? Me neither. Sure, he had a heck of a stiff arm block on Moise Fokou, of course. But JP is statistically on the way to 16 touchdowns this year.
Even Cullen Jenkins commented, “I had left and got a drink and sat down and talked for a little and came back and he was still running.”
Come on Juqua, we know you can get your 40 under seven seconds. Seriously though….
No.5: DeSean Jackson’s drops.
Sure, DeSean Jackson had a lot of big plays that really helped out when needed. He also had two critical drops. The first was a tough catch that “big time receivers” make. The second wasn’t a tough catch; in fact it hit him right in the hands. Both would have added a touchdown to the Eagles score.
No. 4: Michael Vick’s passing decisions.
Michael Vick had a good game. No doubt, he was Vick when we needed him to be. But he also tried too hard to make things happen at times. His passer rating was 83.7. And a few times you could see three, four and five defenders and one Eagle around his pass.
Vick needs to read the coverage better and find the open man, or make a decision to run or throw the ball away. Turnovers are killers and Vick knows it. Look for him to make the necessary corrections to prepare for Atlanta.
No. 3: Linebacker play.
We saw the linebackers flow in the direction of the play a lot. Too many times they over-pursued the play on one side or another leaving a gaping hole. If you need to see it, look at the first Rams scoring play. All three LBs flowed too far and were blocked out of attacking the run. Correct this and watch the run defense get better—much better.
With the front four that the Eagles have, look for a much lower blitz percentage and a much higher reliance on the linebackers to fill gaps and play the pass. Many are quick to blame Casey Matthews. And he needs to improve for sure. But the whole linebacker corps needs to work on their gaps and flow.
No. 2: Mental mistakes.
On the offense, these took the form of wasted timeouts and delay of game penalties. The first game OK, but it can’t keep happening though. Marty has to get the play in, Vick has to get it called and the offense needs to get it executed. We need those timeouts later when Andy throws a red flag for some strange reason.
On defense mental mistakes showed up as third down penalties. How many times did we all think the defense was off the field when a yellow flag spoiled our fun? Sure, some were bogus penalties…all the more reason to fix the real ones.
No 1: Backfield blocking.
As good of a game as LeSean ”Shady” McCoy had on the ground, there were times when he and others out of the backfield picked up the wrong guy on a blocking assignment. Too many times this got Vick pole-axed in the backfield. It’s a tough assignment, finding the blitz and picking up the extra guy. But it has to be done, otherwise Vick can look forward to taking hits all season long.
This is nothing more than needing to spend a little more time in the film room.
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