Posts for mark sanchez

Eagles – Lions: 5 Counterpunches

Mark Saltveit - November 26, 2015

The Eagles surprised everyone by being even worse than last week. It didn’t seem possible.

On the team’s own website, Chris McPherson apologized to fans for the game, Ike Reese called out [some of] the players for not doing everything they could to win, and Greg Cosell identified Malcolm Jenkins as the guy who missed key tackles allowing Ameer Addullah’s 23-yard run today as well as Doug Martin’s 84-yard run last week.

That was the team’s own announcers. And everyone else was more negative, as they should have been.

You know how bad they played, and you probably watched at least part of the game, or you wouldn’t be reading this. So there’s no point rehashing that part of the story. Here are five other points worth considering. Not everyone played terribly or gave up. And since this team is sure to get blown up this off-season, perhaps including the coaches, it’s important to note where the problems were.

1. Real injuries hurt this team.

It wasn’t only lack of effort. The offense was moving well until Jason Peters left the game, after a lineman rolled up on his leg. Then the drive moved backwards and Caleb Sturgis sproinked a field goal off the post. Jason Kelce had entered the game hobbled by a bad knee, and the offense couldn’t weather these two weak spots at key positions in their ultrathin offensive line.

Sanchez was under severe pressure the rest of the game, taking six sacks and nine hits while the run game evaporated. This team’s problems this year started with Chip Kelly not investing enough in the offensive line, and that failure (more than scheme or play calling) has been the root of this team’s troubles.

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Why Didn’t Josh Huff and DeMarco Murray Get More Touches?

Mark Saltveit - November 24, 2015

At least Chip Kelly admitted that he was out-coached Sunday.

The Eagles scored two first half touchdowns, fueled by Josh Huff (39 yard catch-and-run, 39 yard kickoff return) and DeMarco Murray (three 10+ yard runs). Then they went away from these players and the offense fizzled. Huff ended the game with only 17 offensive snaps (of the team’s 71) and not a single target after his touchdown. Murray had 30 snaps (42%), but only 13 carries (for 64 yards, 4.9 YPC).

The lack of runs was puzzling. [Editor’s note: Mark is new here and clearly wasn’t around for the Andy Reid Era. Welcome to Philadelphia, Mark.] Chip’s system does best with a rough balance between run and pass, something like 45% – 55%, and they averaged 4.9 yards per carry on Sunday (including 11 on a beautiful read-option keeper by Sanchez). Yet they ran on only 28 plays and passed 41 times, completing just 26 with three sacks and three back-breaking interceptions.

In Murray’s case, he fumbled twice, which may be one reason he didn’t get more touches. (The Birds kept the ball both times, as the first was re-fumbled by the Bucs and the second ruled down by contact.) That doesn’t explain why Kenjon Barner, who played well, only got one snap before garbage time and Sproles saw little action even after scoring a touchdown. Sanchez couldn’t deliver even screens to Sproles through the air. So run it.

Of course conventional wisdom says to pass more when you fall behind. But that’s not the way Chip’s system works. It’s built on big runs at tempo speed, especially as you wear down your opponent. Oregon scored (and still scores) at record levels running, by breaking 10, 20 and 40 yards plays. And those runs open up the passing game.

The passes Sunday were short, too– only a yard and a half longer than the runs (at 6.4 YPC). If your goal is to come back quickly, that’s not the kind of passes that will do it. And Sanchez was pretty wild with his throws. He overthrew Celek and Ertz on consecutive plays to kill one first quarter drive, and missed at least half a dozen screens or simple throws to the flat.

Even assuming the need to pass, it makes no sense that the team went away from Huff on a day they sorely needed play makers. He was clearly in a rhythm. On his touchdown, he caught a simple slant six yards past the line of scrimmage and made six defenders miss as he cut all the way across the field, running with vision and decisiveness. But that was his only target of the game.

At his press conference yesterday, Chip Kelly seemed a bit puzzled himself: Continue Reading

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Eagles – Bucs: 6 Good Things That Turned Bad

Mark Saltveit - November 22, 2015

A lot went wrong in this game, obviously. All of the Eagles linebackers were terrible, which is why Tampa broke big runs in the first half. Kiko Alonso gave up a TD to an unknown TE (Cameron Brate) that he was covering just by not turning around. On a third and three from the eight yard line.

The Bucs kept making big plays with simple formations that Philadelphia couldn’t adjust to, empty sets and Stanford-style extended offensive lines. Vincent Jackson scored a TD on a play where he and a TE were the only likely receivers. The odds were about 97% that they were passing to Jackson, but the Eagles played off of him and it was an easy TD. There was no reason not to double team him. Hell, triple team him.

But the most frustrating part of the game for me was how even the good things that happened for Philly just set up worse things to follow.

1. Near miss turnovers.

The Eagles gamble on a lot of turnovers, and often do well by it. They lead the NFL in forced fumbles. But it can also bite them.

At the start of the second quarter, the Eagles forced two fumbles in a stretch of three plays, but couldn’t come up with the ball. At least that resulted in a punt.

Near the end of the first half, the Birds batted down (and nearly intercepted) two passes — after which Charles Sims made an amazing catch for a touchdown on the next play. Byron Maxwell tried for an interception at the one yard line instead of breaking up Sims’ catch, which he easily could have done with a hard hit. Touchdown, Tampa Bay with 1:05 left in first half.

2. Over-aggressive play.

The Eagles clearly gave up in the second half, or (at least for the defense) maybe were just too exhausted to play hard. But when they did throw themselves into the game , that often helped the Bucs too.

Zach Ertz knocked himself out of the game attempting to vault over a defender on a shot pass that wasn’t going anywhere. He flipped and landed painfully on his head and neck, suffering a concussion. With only four days until the next game on Thanksgiving, there’s no way he’ll clear the protocol in time to play against Detroit.

There were three neutral zone infractions by linemen trying to get a jump on the pass rush, and one by Brandon Graham in the first half extended the drive that later included Doug Martin’s 58 yard run, and the Bucs first touchdown.

3. Josh Huff trying to do it all.

Huff had a great 39-yard catch and run for the Bird’s first touchdown, and 40- and 30-yard kick returns. But he also ran out a couple of kickoffs he probably should have downed. That resulted in a Philadelphia drives that started at the 8, and a weird confused handoff attempt with Riley Cooper that only got to the 16. Last year, he got injured and missed the first part of the season attempting to make something happen on a similar deep kick in a preseason game.
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Eagles – Dolphins: 6 Disgusting Failures

Mark Saltveit - November 16, 2015

“This was a team effort” they always say after a win. Well, this defeat was a team effort too, and there is a lot of blame to go around.

There were a handful of players on the Eagles who performed well, or were at least solid. Josh Huff had a strong game, for once. Brent Celek was incredible. And Walter Thurmond had a beautiful sack for a forced fumble safety. Donnie Jones had another great punting game.

Sam Bradford was 19-for-25 for 236 yards and a touchdown. Yeah, he got injured, but how many people can say they expected him to take as many hard shots as he has this year and not get hurt? Even when he did, it was his shoulder and a concussion, not his twice-repaired knee. Win?

The Eagles secondary did a good job on Jarvis Landry, aside from his one ridiculously lucky catch on the bounce off Connor Barwin’s helmet. Then again, it was inexcusable how easily Landry caught that ball; he didn’t even have to lift his arms. Just as with Dez Bryant’s leaping catch on Matt Cassel’s early Hail Mary last week, the DBs should have been able to find that ball and slap it down, if not catch it.

And, um, who else… I guess Brandon Bair warmed the bench well? Pretty easy when you’re inactive. Other than that, everybody was terrible and deserves at least a share of the blame for one of the worst losses in Eagles history, relative to how bad the opponent was. [Editor’s note: I don’t think the Dolphins are as bad as everyone else does. They’ve been playing significantly better under the new coach.]

Here are a quick six nominations for Big Failure of the Day.

1. Chip Kelly

I like Chip. I’ve written books about the guy. I wish him the best going forward. But he’s the captain of the ship, and he has total control. The buck stops with him.

Some people don’t like the way he assigns blame after games, talking about drops or execution. Tonight, for example, he said that long snapping was a big factor in the loss. Well, yeah, it was. I like the way he speaks honestly and describes the elephant in the room. Dorenbos was terrible today. That’s fine.

But Chip is the boss. If a players stinks, that’s on Chip for choosing him and playing him and calling plays that involve that guy.

Tonight, for example, Chip knew that he needed a way to coach around Suh. And…. nothing. Suh had his biggest game of the year, and disrupted Philly’s run game and pass protection.

End of the first half — I have no problem with Chip taking a shot. If you don’t like aggressive play calling, you shouldn’t have hired Chip. And the same people complaining about that also complain when he plays it safe, saying they miss “Big Balls Chip.” You can’t have it both ways.

That said, when you take your shot, you need to make damn sure it’s a safe one. If no one’s open, throw it away, or take the sack, or scramble. Don’t risk an interception + return. It’s on Chip to communicate that to his quarterback.

Other mistakes — getting away from the run when you know your dinged up offensive line is much less effective in pass protection. As GM, trying to skate by without beefing up the OL in the first place. Not a secret, but a real, big error. Not going to Celek more than four times, when he’s averaging more than 33 yards per catch carry.

2. Jon Dorenbos

Dorenbos makes a good living for doing only one thing — hiking long and accurately. He didn’t, leading to a missed field goal and a blocked punt. The Eagles lost by one. Draw your own conclusions. [Editor’s note: He also makes a good living as a public speaker slash magician. And another week like this one, he’ll be glad he’s planned for the future. That’s just the nature of the position, even though Dorenbos has been damn near perfect for, what, a decade now?] Continue Reading

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Eagles – Giants: 7 Ruined Narratives

Mark Saltveit - October 20, 2015

The Eagles game worked out the right way, leaving the Birds in first place in the miserable NFC East weeks before I thought they’d be able to claw their way into that position. It was an ugly game, obviously, but it broke a lot of popular theories about this team and the Giants. That’s at least interesting. Here are a few of the failed stories:

1) Sam Bradford was rusty, he’ll get better.

Nope, he’s getting worse. It was intolerable when Bradford threw two interceptions in each of the first two games. Then he kept his slate clean against the Jets and Washington, leading to false optimism. Now he has has returned to Sanchezian double-INT games, and upped the ante with a third tonight.

I’m not going to advocate benching Sam because people forget all of the problems that Sanchez had: besides interceptions, he failed to see wide open receivers (e.g. the Seattle game), and never threw downfield or even outside the numbers. And while he could theoretically run with the ball, the fact that he never did — and his success the one time he did, in the first Dallas game — made his refusal to do so even more painful.

But Bradford was just bad tonight. His long throws have been routinely short all year, and his three interceptions tonight were made worse by the fact that he wasn’t even under any pressure. The Eagles had a hefty lead. It was a battle of wills between Sam trying to let the Giants back into the game, and their stubborn refusal to accept his gift. In the end, New York “won” that epic crap-off.

A lot of you wondered earlier in the year why Bradford didn’t take shots down the field. Well, tonight Sam showed you!

I suppose Bradford could still turn this season around and prove that he’s a legitimate franchise quarterback, but right now, the best thing you can say for him is that he helped the team a lot by not signing a long-term contract when they asked him to.

2. Eli Manning is awesome in Ben McAdoo’s offense.

The praise for Eli and McAdoo was totally out of hand before this game, and up through the first drive which in fact was a thing of beauty for New York. The MNF crew were even going on about Tom Coughlin’s “New Age West Coast offense,” which, yeah, is cutting edge 1985 stuff.

What that offense mostly is, is predictable. The Eagles destroyed it last year in a humiliating shutout, and only allowed one TD drive tonight before they got New York’s number. Sure, the Giants are executing better and improved their offensive line somewhat — Odell Beckham Jr. wasn’t even playing well yet last October when the Eagles faced him — but the Eagles have figured a couple of things out since then, too.

Against the Eagles tonight, Eli Manning was the same old Eli, looking nervous and getting picked off a lot. The short-passing game undoubtedly did reduce the margin of victory, though, since the Eagles’ run defense was a steely-eyed monster and any alternative was was bound to do better. Even the Colts’ Swinging Gate play. Continue Reading

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Here’s Mark Sanchez Singing Backstreet Boys Karaoke

Kyle Scott - June 3, 2015

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Noted good guy, cheesesteak fan, and quasi-celeb Mark Sanchez was filmed, briefly, by one ballsy patron at a bar, somewhere, singing Backstreet Boys’ 1999 hit, I Want It That Way, which, for my money, is the best boy bad song of all-time, just narrowly beating out ‘N Sync’s Bye Bye Bye. Sanchez was with noted bigot Riley Cooper.

The video was supplied by a 97.5 listener who called the studio line late last night and forwarded the video to Jon Marks. He was on the morning show early this morning. Hear it here.

Here’s the Vine. Make sure to hit the audio button on this bad boy: Continue Reading

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Connor Barwin: It Was Mark Sanchez’s Idea to Visit Amtrak Victims

Jim Adair - May 16, 2015

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Connor Barwin, while being a card-carrying member of the Everymen, is one of the more respected athletes in Philly. He bikes, rides SEPTA, hosts concerts for charity, and a ton more. So when we heard he was visiting Amtrak victims at Temple University Hospital with Mark Sanchez, it wasn’t surprising. But according to Barwin, it was all Sanchez’s idea. As he said yesterday on Breakfast on Broad:

“It was Mark’s idea. We were all obviously talking about it in the locker room that morning and it was Mark’s idea to go visit the hospital. Obviously I ride that train a lot, Mark rides that train a lot from being in New York. And he just thought it’d be good to show some support. It was great to talk to everyone at the hospital, and then we did get to see some of the victims that were still in the hospital. It was really nice … it was cool to kinda hear their story and talk to them.”

So Sanchez brought food and it was his idea? What a guy.

Report: Eagles Re-sign Mark Sanchez, Are Close on Maclin

Jim Adair - March 8, 2015

Photo Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

At least one more hole on the Eagles is now filled: Backup(ish) quarterback. According to reports, the Eagles are bringing back Mark Sanchez on a two-year contract worth $9 million, $5.5 million of which is guaranteed. That money is somewhere between backup and starter money, so Sanchez could compete for a starting job (or take the gig as a mentor to the next generation of the much-hyped top pick).

On the wide receiver side, the Eagles and Jeremy Maclin are reportedly very close to getting a deal done, but aren’t quite there yet. And as for Byron Maxwell, which looked to be a done deal? His agent said it’s not quite done:

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It’s likely that’s just a rules thing, but it looks like Tuesday’s gonna be a real busy day.