April 6, 2013 |
One year ago, when the Eagles acquired DeMeco Ryans, the narrative from the first day was that Ryans fit better in the Eagles' 4-3 defensive scheme than the 3-4 defense the linebacker played in with the Houston Texans. One year later, the Eagles must change that narrative. Former coach Andy Reid, who cited Ryans' fit in the 4-3, was fired. Chip Kelly arrives with a new defensive scheme that will likely include elements of the 3-4. Ryans appears be one of the players hurt by the coaching change, and the Eagles are due to pay $6.6 million to a defender who might not be as effective - or on the field - as much as he was last season.
April 5, 2013 |
HE CAME HERE to be the glue, to pull together a disjointed defense that had underperformed the year before because of a perceived softness and a lack of leadership. Of the muted criticisms aimed at DeMeco Ryans from time to time, softness or lack of leadership were never among them. He was tough, he could tackle, and he wasn't afraid to talk. None of that, as it turned out, was enough to save the Philadelphia Eagles' defense from itself last season. Whether it was early under the big-play susceptible schemes of Juan Castillo, or later under the more erratic tenure of Todd Bowles, Ryans' hopeful midweek messages to his team and fans began to sound more and more like the rantings of Monty Python's "Black Knight" as November became December, still uttering bravado even when no limbs remained.
March 26, 2013 |
Looking to improve a punting game that has been lacking, the Eagles signed two-time all-pro punter Donnie Jones to a one-year contract after his former team, the Texans, signed Shane Lechler to a deal on Friday. The addition of Jones led to the release of Mat McBriar. Signed by the Eagles during training camp last summer, cut before the season, and then brought back in September, McBriar never fully rebounded from offseason foot surgery and finished tied for last in the NFL in net punting average.
February 1, 2013 |
THE EAGLES have been slow to join the 3-4 defense party, but it sounds as if they are headed that way under new coach Chip Kelly. As everything continues to remain a state secret, we are only going to find out when we find out. But with more and more teams headed that way, there seems to be an unstated-but-growing consensus in the NFL that the 3-4 gives you more options against the variety of wide-open offensive attacks that are now the standard....
November 27, 2012
Up-Down Drill Nick Foles In a season full of disappointment, the latest has been back-to-back uninspiring performances from the rookie quarterback. Any evaluation on Foles' future has to come with the caveat of playing behind a rotten line. But he has not looked like the answer to the Eagles' quarterback problem. Bryce Brown Given the opportunity to log more carries, Brown was amazing and, well, not amazing. The running back set a franchise record for rushing yards in a game by a rookie, but he also fumbled twice.
November 21, 2012
DOMINIQUE Rodgers-Cromartie might not be a man of letters, but he is a man of the world. He peers through orange glasses, his fashion sense and his common sense unclouded by pesky lenses. He observes, and he reports. Sunday evening, DRC's geek-chic getup belied his frankness: "I've seen it many times in this league: Guys pull themselves out for personal reasons. They don't want to get hurt, or whatever. You see them go on the field, their heads down, saying, 'Aw, [shoot], here we go.' " The Eagles had just suffered their sixth loss in a row, their worst run under Andy Reid.
November 12, 2012
2 Cowboys tight end Jason Witten and quarterback Tony Romo failed to connect on just two pass attempts. On 10 tries, the combo completed eight passes for 47 yards. 6 The Eagles got six first downs thanks to Cowboys penalties. 29 Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant averaged 29 yards per catch on three catches for 87 yards. 3:56 The Cowboys had the ball for just 3 minutes, 56 seconds in the fourth quarter. Still, the Eagles managed just six points.
October 26, 2012 |
HE'S CALLED "Matty Ice" as a compliment, a nod to his ability to shake off some of the worst starts and circumstances the quarterback position can experience and play the last few minutes as if someone pressed restart. Nineteen times in his four-plus seasons, Matt Ryan has driven the Atlanta Falcons to victory in the waning minutes of a game, including three straight occurrences leading into Sunday's game against the Eagles. Just perfect. A defense coming off two fourth-quarter meltdowns, a defense that just saw its coordinator fired, that will have Todd Bowles talking into DeMeco Ryans' ears for the first time this Sunday, will have its first test against a guy whose fourth quarters make Eli Manning seem like a hack.
October 12, 2012 |
IF OFFENSES want to pull in their horns to keep from giving up sacks, as has happened the past few weeks, the Eagles' defense can deal with that. But not being able to generate turnovers is a problem that must be fixed, several Birds defenders said Wednesday. "You just have to be focused on getting the ball out, when the ball is up in the air," middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans said. "We've got to find a way to come down with those things. " The Eagles have created one turnover the past three games - Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie's end-zone interception of Giants quarterback Eli Manning in the game before last.
October 5, 2012 |
The Pittsburgh Steelers won't just be getting a couple of key players back from injury Sunday. They'll be getting their defensive mystique back. People are intimidated by safety Troy Polamalu, despite that cuddly persona he has created for endorsements. People are downright afraid of linebacker James Harrison, who spends too much time in commissioner Roger Goodell's office to do any endorsements. The Steelers have other good defensive players, but Polamalu's ferocity and Harrison's borderline personality disorder are at the heart of the team's success.