Q&A Exchange with Eagles Eye

 

Today we exchanged questions on the Eagles and Giants with Tom Jackson of Eagles Eye Blog, part of the Bloguin Network.  Tom is a rare bird, an Eagles fan that we can respect.  He has passion for his team and respects the fans of the other NFC East clubs.  This is a good opportunity for us to learn more about the 2013 edition of Philly. For Giant fans living in a cave, that organization is undergoing a major makeover with a new head coach.  Check out the answers to his questions on their site.  Below are the answers to our questions from Tom:

 

Mike Mayock of NFL Network noted (when commenting during the KC game) that Vick gets into trouble with his passing because of his footwork on certain plays. Can you tell us more about this?

I think Mike Mayock was stretching the narrative a bit when he complained about Mike Vick's "footwork"… No QB in the league has picture-perfect footwork when he is being assaulted from several directions on nearly every pass play in the manner that Vick was being rushed by the Chiefs… Dontari Poe was awesome in his pass rushing technique against the Eagles in that particular game… He and others put big-time pressure on Vick… This is the key for the Giants, by the way… Put huge pass-rush pressure on Vick… don't give him time to set up his footwork… When Vick has someone in his facemask, he turns into a very lousy QB with very lousy footwork. He will throw off his back foot. But this is true for nearly every other QB in the league. The thing with Vick is he has possibly the strongest throwing arm in the league and can sometimes get away with bad mechanics…but only up to a point. If Vick is kept clean by his blockers, he is among the best QB's in the league. If he is exposed to excessive pressures or hits, he turns into one of the worst QB's in the league.

 

Your first impressions of Chip Kelly? I read one of your recent posts on the topic, but for our readers, can you summarize your thoughts? Super Bowl in Philly?

My thoughts on Chip Kelly are one-half optimistic, and one-half realistic. Look, he's a smart football guy and probably will wind up on Bill Belichick's payroll someday, as he seems to be of one mind with Belichick offensively and there's no denying the two are the best of friends. But let's face it— Kelly is a successful college coach who is currently embroiled in "On The Job Training" in the NFL. This is not an easy task. Kelly is going through a steep learning curve. He's already made predictable rookie mistakes, like bad time-out management in close games and blatant non-challenges in others. The important fact is this— Kelly has no current control over his defensive personnel or the realization of the necessity for defensive dominance in the NFL. He can strive to put up all the fast points he wants to on offense, but the fact is that defense wins in the NFL. The Giants' past record of Lombardi Trophy winners are proof of this fact. Chip Kelly is all about offense—and in my opinion will wind up a very successful offensive coordinator somewhere in the NFL, or a very successful head coach back in the NCAA someday. Just not in Philly… No Super Bowl for Kelly in Philly… it's just not in the cards. I give him three years of struggle at best in Philly, and then his contract will be bought out, and the Eagles will bring in a proven former NFL head coach to seal the deal on a total package. Sometimes, winning in this league is all about timing. Unfortunately for Eagles fans, this is not Chip Kelly's prime time in the NFL…

 

Michael Vick is a lightning rod for critique. We see him as the double-edged sword, the QB who can giveth and taketh away, literally in one play and then the next. Can he control his downside and become more consistent?

I've often said Mike Vick is the MVP in almost every game he plays— the problem is, he's the MVP for BOTH teams, because he keeps both teams in the game.
 
He's actually shown a lot more aptitude for the playbook this season. It's apparent that he has been studying defenses and not goofing off in his free time. Frankly, I've followed his career ever since he was a rookie with Atlanta, and I've never seen him better prepared or in better physical shape. He seems to be taking this season very seriously. But the fact remains, he is prone to mistake-riddled decisions when he's pressured from the defensive right side (his left side)… If the Giants want to rattle Vick, they need to bring pressure (sometimes disguised) to force him to run to his right. When he tries to escape to his right side, he is usually toast…and often, a tasty turnover results…

 

ProFootballFocus.com has the Eagles defense as 31st out of 32 teams in the NFL in overall defense. The only team worse than the Eagles is the Redskins, which coincidentally or not is the only team that the Eagles collected a win against. Can the Eagles defense stop anybody? And if so, how will they be able to right the ship?

The Eagles are simply lacking any true consistency in run-stop or pass rush. Oh, they will come up with a nifty play here or there from their newly acquired free agents (like NT Isaac Sopoaga and LB Connor Barwin) and highly-drafted 2nd-year guys like DE Vin Curry and rookies like strong safety Earl Wolff, but the fact is there is no consistent push by the Eagles against the running or passing attack of their opponents. Combine this fact with the reality that the Eagles' secondary is just awful right now, despite the addition of Cary Williams at CB, and the reality is the Eagles cannot get off the field on most third-down plays. And this failure to get a fair share of 3-and-outs is the main reason why Chip Kelly's philosophy of "Score more points than they do" is a failure so far at the NFL level. You can't score any points while the other team has the ball… at least not offensively…

 

If you are gameplanning against the Eagles, how do you attack them on offense and defense?

If I were game-planning against the Eagles, I would first establish my running game, hopefully having some early success there so that I would draw their linebackers and safeties up as close to the LOS as I could…. then just let Eli bomb away at the Eagles' horrible safety and cornerback coverages… Of course, this assumes that the Giants' O-Line and overall pass-pro is up to the challenge of the day. Keep Eli clean, and the Giants win. It's as simple as that.

 

Which player is the biggest disappointment thus far in 2013? The biggest positive surprise? Which rookie shows the most potential to be a "Giant" killer in coming years?

The biggest Eagles disappointment so far is safety Nate Allen. We really thought this guy would be fulfilling his 2nd round draft status (South Florida) from 2010, even after rehabbing from patellar tendon surgery that following year. He just seems to have lost his direction and feel for the game.
 
Brandon Graham (DE/OLB), the #1 pick out of Michigan in 2010, also seems to be missing in action lately. He was supposed to be a difference-maker in the pass-rush attack, and it just doesn't seem to be happening.

I don't know if I can pinpoint one Eagles rookie that could actually end up a "Giant-Killer" in future seasons… I don't think we had a really good draft in that sense. I'd like to think that RT Lane Johnson would be that kind of impact player to contribute to big wins in the future… but right now the #1 draft pick from 2013 is struggling. Heck, I don't think we have any real impact rookies to match up with the Giants at all this season or in the future… maybe Zach Ertz eventually gets something going at TE?

 

Final score/how do you see the game playing out?

Regarding a projected final score of Sunday's game, I am sensing a Giants' victory, even if only by the mere scientific probability that the Giants are due for a "W"… there is no way that the Giants are an 0-5 team. I think Eli and his offense will find a way to take advantage of the Eagles' exposed secondary. All he needs is 3 seconds in the pocket. That's assuming a good day from the Giants' O-Line and pass-pro RB's… and if that's a given, the Giants will prevail, 28- 17…
 
Both teams walk out of the stadium at 1-4… and both with time to rectify their situations. There are still 11 more games in the regular season. Dallas and Washington have shown they can be had. Both the Giants and Philly will still be in control of their own destinies.
 
 
 
 
Thanks Tom for your answers, as they are very helpful.  You'll have to pardon me for not wishing your team any luck this Sunday, but I can certainly wish you and your blog all the success over there.     
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