Bird Droppings: Can’t Catch Sh*t

Around here we must assign blame. A team can’t simply lose– they must lose for a reason. A reason so unimaginable and inexcusable that we have to take to the airwaves and bloglines to shred the team to bits, call for the coach’s job, and demand that such and such player be ostracized from the community lest he covet our wives and eat our babies.

The Eagles are not a good team. With the exception of the defense – which isn’t perfect but is very good – there are huge problems everywhere. The offensive line is not good. Sam Bradford is not good. The running backs are inconsistent. The receivers stink. Everyone makes too many mistakes. The coach’s balls have shrunken multiple sizes this season. And the kicking game can’t be reliably counted upon to hit a makable field goal, keep the ball in bounds on kickoffs, or even make a goddamned extra point.

But, we’re from Philadelphia and we fight need to blame someone. Who do we blame for this debacle? To the Droppings!

 

The receivers

What a pile of poo. Seven – SEVEN! – drops?! And those are just the official ones. There seemed like more.

I’m quick to blame Sam Bradford for just about all the Eagles’ ails this year (with good reason), and though he routinely puts receivers in a position to fail, last night the blame fell squarely on the (back) shoulders of Jordan Matthews, Miles Austin, Zach Ertz, Darren Sproles, DeMarco Murray, and friends. Especially Jordan Matthews. What a dick. I tweeted during the game that he should be embarrassed, and, lo:

“It’s something that needs to be fixed. It’s embarrassing,” Matthews said. “I feel like I’m No. 1 on that list of guys who will take the responsibility on my shoulder to get it fixed. It’s not who we are as a team, it’s not who I want to be as a player. It’s got to get fixed.”

Well, that’s the first thing he did right all night.

Bradford routinely throws behind receivers, but they have to step up and bail him out once or twice. The lone interception last night was indeed thrown to Matthews’ back shoulder, but it was hardly uncatchable. And some of the drops were actually well-thrown balls– not high, not behind a receiver, but actual precision passes right to the numbers.

But though there might not be an excuse for the drops… there could be a reason:

 

Sam Bradford

Voila_Capture 2015-10-26_07-28-09_AM

If someone doesn’t bring this as a sign to College GameDay next week, I’m going to be very disappointed.

Bradford wasn’t awful last night. This is all relative, but he’s shown signs of improving each of the past few weeks. Slowly… and slowly… and slowly… but somewhat maybe a little bit surely, deer-in-heat-Crossing-Broad Bradford looks to be improving. Last night, besides some genuinely good throws (a perfectly placed pass to Zach Ertz along the sideline comes to mind), Bradford moved well(-ish) in the pocket, appeared less panicky than usual, didn’t turn the ball over (besides the Matthews drop), and managed not to vomit all over himself on the bench. Small victories for Sam I Am, to be sure, but he finally appeared to be an NFL quarterback.

Almost.

His habit of nearly getting receivers killed remains. Here he is once again serving up Matthews’ delicious head atop a bed of arugula and sprinkled with a tart vinaigrette to opposing defensive backs:

matthews op

Chef Sam is glad you enjoyed the wideout tonight. Can he offer you some dessert? Perhaps a disgruntled running back who can’t understand why his quarterback threw the ball before he was looking?

Murray shrugs at Bradford after a mis-timed pass
Murray shrugs at Bradford after a mis-timed pass

And please, feel free to wipe your mouth on Sam’s fucking sleeves– that’s what they’re there for:

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Chef Sam thanks you for dining tonight:

J-head

No for real, I’m beginning to wonder if all the mis-timed passes and frantic slings from Bradford, which put receivers in precarious positions, are making the footsteps just a bit louder. Like, you can’t directly blame Sam for the drops last night, but, mixed in with the first six games of the season, you can’t help but wonder if a little for who, for what might be creeping in after receivers’ heads have been market price entrees all fall.

I give Bradford 1.2 headlights this game.

 

Conversation with pregnant wife

Actual exchange in the first quarter:

Pregnant wife: Can you get up and get me a glass of water?

Me: Sure. Let me just watch the Eagles’ next drive.

Pregnant wife: What does that mean– until they score a touchdown? Might be a wh…

Me: No, just their next series. Will probably only be three plays.

Pregnant wife: Oh, OK.

One play. It was one play– the interception on the bad pass which was dropped by Matthews. My pregnant wife thanks Chef Sam for the expedient service at Del Capo Receptiar.

 

“The Eagles are lucky to be in this game”

That was Cris Collinsworth at the end of the first quarter. Heard that before.

 

Eagles strips

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Noticed this early in the game, including on the interception– Eagles seemed to be aggressively going for strips early. It’s no wonder they lead the league in takeaways with 19. I’m guessing there’s some stat that tells Chips giving up a few extra yards here and there is fine if it’s balanced with more takeaways. Problem: the Eagles’ offense stinks and can’t convert them into points. Last night, they turned three turnovers into just six points.

 

Matt Tobin can’t block

tobin op

Sure, he did an OK job filling in for Jason Peters last night, but he’s not a very good lineman.

 

Dennis Kelly can’t block

dennis kelly op

Great effort here by Dennis Kelly.

 

Caleb Sturgis can’t kick

The kicking game is costing the Eagles about seven – SEVEN! – points per game. Usually three on a missed field goal, and four on a ball that is kicked out-of-bounds and starts off an opposing drive at the 40, leading to a touchdown rather than just a field goal. Sturgis booting one out-of-bounds after kicking a 52-yard yard field was simply him bringing balance to the Eagles’ kicking force. They can’t have nice things.

 

Byron Maxwell can’t tackle

You know what? I’m not gonna get all over him for this. Was it bad? Yeah. But the defense has been pretty great, and Maxwell has been sufficiently decent and better than Nnamdi Asomugha and Cary Williams (not saying much). He tackles like a wuss, but the Eagles got 99 problems right now, and Byron is just 31.

 

Al Michaels

I like Al Michaels. I think he’s sometimes too sleepy for Sunday Night Football and often times comes across as disinterested, but I enjoy his deep knowledge of the game, the subplots – usually the line – and subtle grumbles about whatever it is Al Michaels feels like grumbling about that night.

Last night, I thought a small piece of him died when he and Cris Collinsworth had to explain the rules of the NASCAR playoffs. Like, I can’t believe I have to read thisThey also lamented, on multiple occasions, the NFL’s needlessly complicated rules.

 

Jason Peters

It’s a minor miracle that Jason Peters only suffered back spasms of some sort and says he’ll play against the Cowboys in two weeks. It looked like his career was ever… which would’ve probably meant the same for Bradford’s.

 

Jaws Tweet

Dynamite drop-in, Jaws. That broadcasting school is really paying off.

 

Ryan Matthews

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There are two sides to this:

  1. Ryan Mathews is clearly a harder runner than Murray, doesn’t give up on plays, fights for yards, is faster, has more success, and appears to be all-around just better than Murray, so he should be playing more
  2. He might not be a feature back and overexposing him will throttle his effectiveness and perhaps get him hurt

One thing is certain, though: Chip Kelly needs to take some damn ownership and stop throwing Duce Staley under the bus. You call the plays, coach! It’s obvious that one running back is more effective than the other. If you want him in there, PUT HIM IN THERE! Claiming ignorance as to who’s carrying the ball is either passing the buck to the extreme or incompetence. It rolls up to you, Chip. If you think Mathews should’ve been in there, then that’s on you.

 

Bennie Logan penalties

Congrats to Bennie Logan on obtaining the rare double offsides. It takes a special type of person to do it two times in a row.

 

Quick drives

The ensuing Eagles drive – a quick three-and-out – happened so fast that I missed the entire thing while checking my Twitter mentions. Like, looked down, scrolled for a minute, looked up and, boom, commercial at two-minute warning. Eagles kicked upon return.

 

Third down play calls

We’re getting dangerously close to Fat Man territory with Chip Kelly on his third down play calls. If you’re screen game is killing it – which was often the case the first two seasons – then yeah, by all means, call one on third down. But in the absence of decent outside and downfield blocking, it’s getting old real fast watching Chip call swings passes and screens on third down. That 3rd and 9 play call in the fourth quarter – a screen pass to Josh Huff for a one-yard loss – was inexcusable. The Eagles were in field goal range, so you either throw it for a first down or run it up the middle to set up a better field goal attempt. Sturgis’ miss from 50 yards probably would’ve been a make from 47. Doubly worse, the Panthers had excellent field possession (again) and had to drive only 43 yards or so to set up their easy field goal on the next drive.

For someone who is supposedly as astute as Chip about playing the odds and thinking outside the box, he makes a lot of poor judgement calls. Where clock management was Andy Reid’s problem, field position management is Kelly’s.

 

Jason Kelce

Everyman has become an everyman. What happened to him?

 

Final drive

This is the final Eagles drive (before garbage time):

First play: Sam Bradford sacked, fumbles, mercilessly recovered by Jason Kelce, penalty on Matt Tobin (declined)

Second play: Swing pass thrown behind Darren Sproles, incomplete

Third play: Sam Bradford’s pass to Jordan Matthews is so inexplicably awful that officials assume it had to have been tipped. Nope– just Bradford, whose elbow was nicked ever so slightly. Play overturned and declared a pass, opening the door for a pass interference penalty against the Panthers, giving the Eagles a first down in the way you might hand a blind man a kaleidoscope. Here, you’re not going to do anything with it, but just play around a little bit, see if it makes any cool twisty sounds.

Fourth play: Sam Bradford sacked for a six-yard loss. Mr. 69 decides to take Bradford from behind:

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Fifth play: Sam Bradford completes a seven-yard pass on 2nd and 16 to Jordan Matthews, who didn’t drop it

Sixth play: Zach Ertz drops a pass on a short crossing route, incomplete

Seventh play: “Through the hands of Miles Austin!”

 

Narrative

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I have nothing against Nick or Adam, but this is the sort of forced narrative that pollutes sports talk radio airwaves. Chip’s 33-3 record and losing the National Championship at Oregon have nothing to do with his mediocre+ results thus far in the NFL. This is stupid.

 

Pretty sure Eagles is misspelled on Bradford’s jersey

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Yeah, that’s fitting. H/T to reader Phineas

 

Jugs

Gonna need more time on jugs during the bye week.

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32 Responses

  1. I just saw a report that Jordan Matthews has been dealing with a bad ligament injury in his hand for 3 weeks. That might explain why it’s gotten worse every game.

  2. This all setting up for what I had long feared since Kelly’s arrival…….Chip Kelly fails, bolts back to CFB, and leaves behind a mess that takes the next Eagles GM and coach several years to mop up. As their inadequacies continue to surface and the displeasure of fans/media mounts, Chip will feel pressure that he’ll deem unworthy and jet off to a nice and comfy college job. There’s a reason why college return rumors have surfaced with this guy for 3 years straight now!

  3. That Dennis Kelly GIF is laugh out loud funny. Dude got pushed back 15 yards from the line of scrimmage and just genuinely looked like he wasn’t trying. Tobin leaves one guy alone to double team someone, allowing an unabated path to Bradford. This O-line is hot garbage.

    Malcolm Jenkins is having a really good year overall, but he’s gotta make that tackle as the first point of contact 10 yards out on that TD. That being said, yes, Maxwell can’t tackle.

    1. Tolbert is 260….name a corner or d back that’s making that tackle solo….swarm to the ball. He had no help.

  4. Ahh! Ha! Ha! Ha! What a fuckin’ train wreck of a team! I know the Redskins are not going anywhere, but the blind pathetic Eagles fans believe they’re winning the Super Bowl every fuckin’ year!!! Ha! Ha! Ha!

  5. Lets see here the genius Chip Kelly resigned that bum Riley Cooper and cut DeSean Jackson.

    The genius Chip Kelly signed a washed up has been in Miles Austin and drafted 2 stiffs in Josh Huff and Jordan Matthews.

    The genius Chip Kelly failed to resign Jeremy Maclin, and now as a result of the genius Chip Kelly’s moves, our receivers stink and wouldn’t make plays against a CFL team and there’s only one man to blame and that’s the genius Chip Kelly.

  6. Yes Kyle, it looked like Jason Peters’s career was ever. Holy hell you guys are lazy. Mark is the best writer here and he just regurgitates post game bullshit he hears on NBC and NFL Network. I’ll give you bonus points for not using MS Paint in this train wreck though, nice work.

    Chip Kelly will get 1 more year to burn this franchise down further. By week 10 next season he will be pissing on the ashes and leaving it behind for the next sucker to try and clean up.

  7. Is Connor Barwin on the team this year?

    I don’t remember hearing his name called all season, and I have seen hipster douche extraordinaire write any of his awful Connor Barwin-is-a-hipster-God articles lately. No sightings at the pop up beer tents in No. Liberties? No sightings of him being oh-so-cool riding SEPTA?

  8. Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa sheeep baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. Culture does not win games…..PLAYERS DO…..Gimmick coaches do not win championships……FUCK OFF

  9. So when Chip fails to make the playoffs, how is Lurie going to justify bringing him back and still giving him free reign over personnel decisions? If you strip him of that authority, Chip likely leaves. If you let him keep making those decisions the fan base is going to revolt. Hell, they’ll probably revolt even if Chip does accept it. Y’know, cause he’s f–king terrible.

  10. “The Eagles are not a good team.”

    Wait. What?! Kyle, isn’t this a Super Bowl bound team? The best offense the Eagles ever put on a field? Weren’t you concerned about the difficulties of covering a Super Bowl Championship run in January with a newborn baby at home? Wasn’t Sam Bradford the next Drew Brees? The three headed monster was going to dominate, right? Isn’t Chip Kelly a genius and the greatest coach the Eagles ever had? Didn’t you have them at 7-0 going into the bye and weren’t you warning us not to get ahead of ourselves and that we should savor every week because this year was like 2004…not wait it was going to better than 2004 because the Eagles were shoo-ins to win the Super Bowl in February?

    What happened, K-Dog?

    1. I love reading this guy’s posts. He pretty much posts word for word what I would post.

      Also enjoy Kylie writing such a long drawn out article, actually feeling like a real writer, only to have everyone skip straight to the comments.

  11. Play calling is atrocious; everybody knows what is coming with the non-option zone read (Bradford is never going to run it making the concept of the zone read void) which means ‘execution’ or not, the defense is ready to stop it. If Kelly is the innovator on offense like he’s supposed to be, then use that to your advantage and come out with any type of formation but that. Run three TE for the whole first quarter, make the 11 guys on the other side of the ball have to think and then react instead of knowing what’s coming and blowing up the play before it even has a shot. Once the ball is moving and the defense is on it’s heals, THEN run your stupid freaking play over and over again when it will then work.
    If every team is going to run Cover 2 with two safeties deep every game b/c you can’t beat it, the year is over unless you come up with something else.
    And for Christ’s sake, stop blaming the execution. There is no ‘executing’ a swing pass behind the line of scrimmage on 3rd & 9, you need everything to go right from a perfect pass, to one of your players actually catching it, to each of the worthless linemen to get out in front and actually blocking a guy instead of flopping around at their feet like a bunch of beached whales, to your receiver – again if he actually catches it – to now running at least ten yards to get the first down. Belechik calls max protect and heaves that shit to Gronk and hopes one guy beats the other team’s guy, not every person on your side of the ball having to do everything right and then hoping he still runs for the first.

    1. To be fair, Belichick has Gronk to do that with and the dude is basically unstoppable. Still, it was a horrible play call by Chipper.

  12. love how jordan mathews has an injury to blame now….maybe he sucks and has peaked in college and his ability is already fading…it happens you friggin missinelli lovers

  13. also, on the Mathews front, people seem to forget that if you put the injuries to the side and take a look at the numbers the guy has been a top 5 back for many years now.

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