Posts for Bennie Logan

Two teams enter. Only one can lose.

Mark Saltveit - January 3, 2016

The Eagles and Giants are both out of the playoffs. Chip Kelly’s gone and Tom Coughlin will reportedly retire after Sunday’s game. But the outcome is definitely not “meaningless.”

Philadelphia and New York are two of the six 6-9 teams going into week 17, and three more are just one game worse at 5-10. The losing team could rise as high as the 9th pick in the draft, while the winner could fall to 17th — and gets a harder schedule next year.

So what happens if both teams want to lose?

That’s not a given, of course. Fans have paid good money for their tickets, and even if he does retire, Coughlin may want to finish his 20-year coaching with a win. (He’s 170-149 so far.) The Eagles may have the common “just fired a coach we were sick of” surge.

But assuming they are both playing for the long run, it could be a weird kind of chess match. Sitting their healthy starting QBs might be too obvious, but Odell Beckham, Jr. could “tweak something” while warming up, something he does fairly often anyway. Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul and WR Dwayne Harris are “questionable” on the official injury report already.

It’s easier for the Eagles, who have already ruled out CB Byron Maxwell and NT Bennie Logan. Logan has clearly been playing injured since at least December 6th. Not coincidentally, the team’s run defense has collapsed during that stretch.

CB Eric Rowe has done pretty well for a rookie, even when thrown into games against wide receivers as good as Megatron, so it makes sense to test him against ODB if he does play. He’ll be seeing plenty of the Giants star for years to come if he does emerge as an Eagles starter. He’d probably get torched, but his confidence seems strong and the sooner his learning process can begin, the better. They could go whole hog and start Randall Evans at the other corner slot.

But if the Eagles really want to lose, the answer is easy: just give DeMarco Murray all the carries he wants.

The Case for the Eagles Making a Late-Season Run

Mark Saltveit - November 10, 2015

As always, one half-decent win (especially over the Cowboys) sends the hopes of Eagles Nation soaring, inevitably to be dashed. Chip Kelly was very quick to throw cold water on any thoughts of the season turning around at his Monday press conference.

He correctly pointed out that last year, the Birds were 9-3 after they DESTROYED Dallas on Thanksgiving, leading to all kinds of NFC Championship Game talk. And then they lost three straight to miss the playoffs entirely.

Yet, there are some good reasons to think this season can get a lot better, and there is precedent for that sort of thing. Continue Reading

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Eagles – Skins: 6 Surprises

Mark Saltveit - October 4, 2015

1. The offensive line actually got worse. And then it got better

This OL has been hanging by a thread all season, and then Andrew Gardner got injured. Surprisingly, he turned out to be a key part of this year’s line, and it got worse in his absence. Then Jason Peters reinjured his quad and left the game midway through the first half. In the second, Lane Johnson hurt his left knee on a PAT try, and was pounding the turf in pain but came back in at the next opportunity.

Jimmy Kempski has been warning everyone who would listen that the Eagles have a dangerously thin bench on the offensive line. I’ll admit, I was annoyed by his relentlessness on the issue but I take it all back. He was absolutely right and the Eagles are paying the price.

And yet, in the second half, the line had a miracle recovery, even with Peters and Gardner out. Somehow, despite three sacks and approximately eleventy billion QB hits in the first half, the remnant line found a way to give Bradford plenty of time to develop long plays.

2. Sam Bradford went deep

Fans have been yelling at the Eagles to have Sam go deep all year. It has been tough with teams running coverages to take away the bomb and a shaky OL (which to be fair gave Bradford plenty of clean pockets in the first three games). So in the second half today, with the line ripped apart by injuries and the offense in tatters, Sam Bradford started throwing long.

The surprise is, it worked! First Agholor’s one-handed grab for 45 yards. Then a miss to Matthews (still exciting) and the 62-yard TD bomb to Riley Cooper of all people (just to add a little humiliation for the Skins DBs. The bombs kept dropping, hit or miss; Matthews for 31 yards, incomplete to Ertz, 10 yard touchdown to Celek (the other forgotten receiver), a 39-yarder to Miles Austin for another TD!

FedEx Field turned into the Land of Forgotten Receivers for Philly today. Continue Reading

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Injuries all over the place

Mark Saltveit - October 4, 2015

LeSean McCoy and Nick Foles both got hammered in game three against Washington last year, and neither was the same for a few games. Shady took a helmet-to-helmet spear from David Amerson that left him splayed out on the field for a while; he had 19 carries for 22 yards that day, and was 10 for 17 the following week at San Francisco. Foles was nearly suplexed on Chris Baker’s cheap shot that led to a bench clearing brawl.

This game against Washington may be even worse. The Eagles started with only five active defensive linemen, and before the end of the first quarter DE Brandon Bair — starting in place of the injured Cedric Thornton — was out for the game with a groin injury.

Two other defensive starters were on the bench after the Skins first drive: CB Byron Maxwell and ILB Mychal Kendricks. They both have good if raw replacements in Eric Rowe and Jordan Hicks, respectively, but the roster is getting dangerously thin, even as Washington is grinding out long drive after long drive while the Birds can’t sustain a drive.

And Bennie Logan looked “uncomfortable” after the second drive, which might have been some kind of injury or simply exhaustion by that point. He kept playing, though.

The defense is playing remarkably stout (with a couple of bad exceptions) despite fatigue and a tough run game by Washington. But they’re already looking winded, and any further injuries could be devastating.

On offense, the news is even worse. Matt Tobin was already struggling in place of Andrew Gardner. Then Jason Peters went out after reinjuring his quad, which had left him questionable for the rest of the game. He started but was having a lot of trouble on the first drive sliding and blocking edge rushers. The effects are obvious — Bradford has rushers on him almost immediately on a lot of plays.

Another Eagles Strength: The Run Defense

Mark Saltveit - August 30, 2015

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Defensive linemen have a crappy job in the Eagles’ 3-4 defense.  It’s as brutal and difficult as any position in football, but thankless, too!

By design, they focus on stuffing the run instead of quarterback sacks, which bring all the glory (and big paydays). Three guys square off against five lineman and a tight end or two, battling for a draw so that linebackers can run past them and make highlight reels. And the offense’s pretty boys get to score almost all the touchdowns.

So let’s take a moment and appreciate how great the Eagles’ run defense is.  Even as run stuffers, they get no respect because Chip Kelly’s tempo offense means they face a lot more plays than most teams, which means they give up more total yards.

The standard statistic is total rushing yards allowed in a season.  Last year, the Eagles gave up 1,771 yards, exactly in the middle of the league.  But they faced 473 snaps, 5th most in the league. Denver, praised for giving up only 1,276 yards, faced the fewest run plays in the NFL.

The better statistic is yards per carry, and the Eagles tied Denver for 4th in the league, at a miserly 3.7 YPC.  But the Eagles also forced 10 fumbles and kept six of them, best in the league.  The Bronco’s only took away one.

So let’ s see how the Eagles did, at hostile Lambeau field, in shutting down the Green Bay Packers top two runners:

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Yeah, that sounds about right.