Vick and McCoy's Usage Should be Monitored During Early Portion of Schedule

Vick and McCoy's Usage Should be Monitored During Early Portion of Schedule

The Washington Redskins defense weren’t the only ones who looked completely exhausted by the end of the Eagles’ 33-27 win on Monday night. Michael Vick was hit seven times on dropbacks and ran nine times with the football, and was noticeably hobbled in the final minutes. By his career-high 31st carry, LeSean McCoy practically needed to be scraped off of the turf.

Usage is going to be a concern all season as long as Chip Kelly’s offense keeps moving at 100 miles per hour, inevitably leading the NFL in plays from scrimmage. Vick has only made it through a 16-game season once in his life to begin with, while Shady is currently on pace for 496 carries which would absolutely destroy Larry Johnson’s record 416.

Obviously McCoy isn’t going to touch the ball 500 times in a season, and only Vick can truly protect himself, but the question remains. How are these guys going to survive the season at this torrid pace?

Forget the season. The first true test with regard to these heavy workloads will arrive in eight days. The Eagles host the San Diego Chargers this Sunday, then must turn right around and play a game against the Kansas City Chiefs four days later next Thursday.

If you think Vick is limping around now, and Shady seemed gassed on Monday, what condition do you imagine they’ll be in after they’ve played their third full NFL game in a span of 11 days?

It’s a little simpler to conserve Shady, at least in theory. Bryce Brown did have nine carries at Washington, and figures to be featured in that spell role going forward. Chris Polk was conspicuously absent from the offense this week, but he’ll likely get some touches in the future.

Of course, McCoy was the only person Chip could rely on the salt the lead away in the fourth quarter, a big reason for his inflated number of carries. Brown hasn’t yet shaken the reputation that he’s prone to fumbles, and they haven’t even trusted Polk enough to give him the ball at all.

How they plan to keep Vick upright is another dilemma entirely. This is the same guy who took it upon himself to become Shady’s lead blocker on Monday – twice! As much as you have to like it when your quarterback is doing whatever it takes to win, Vick’s lack of an “off” switch and unwillingness to concede a play is over are going to get him killed – as usual.

Not much Chip or anybody else can do for Vick at this point. McCoy’s load is the real issue here.

It will be interesting to see how the snaps are divided at running back in the coming weeks, but the recipe calls for more Brown with a dash of Polk. The Eagles should lean on those two more earlier in games especially, so the biggest weapon in that backfield is still at the team’s full disposal when the fourth quarter rolls around.

Chip was asked about the proximity of the games at his day-after press conference, and didn't sound concerned in the least:

We've known the schedule since we got here.  We know every game is the ultimate importance for us.  There's no way you can say, Hey, we got another game next Thursday, let's focus and concentrate on that.  I think everybody's attention is on getting ready to play San Diego.  That's what this thing is all about.

It’s great to have a head coach who is committed to the running game, but the new challenge is finding the right balance of playing time for one of the best backs in the league. Chip Kelly seems to have a plan for everything though, so it’s possible there isn’t really a problem here at all.

Joel Embiid to play Monday vs. Nuggets; Jahlil Okafor questionable (illness)

Joel Embiid to play Monday vs. Nuggets; Jahlil Okafor questionable (illness)

Joel Embiid will play Monday night against the Nuggets at the Wells Fargo Center.

The reigning Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month is still unable to play back-to-back games. He'll likely be out Tuesday night when the Sixers travel to Memphis to play the Grizzlies.

The home crowd will get see Embiid but they may not get to see him paired with fellow big man Jahlil Okafor. Okafor is questionable on Monday with an illness.

Robert Covington (left knee sprain, flu) and Jerryd Bayless (wrist) are also out on Monday.

More coming...

Penalties the only consistent theme for Doug Pederson's Eagles

Penalties the only consistent theme for Doug Pederson's Eagles

CINCINNATI — There’s one thing the Eagles are very consistent at, and it’s nothing to be proud of.

The Eagles continue to be one of the most penalized teams in the NFL, and with 10 more infractions in their 32-14 loss to the Bengals on Sunday, they increased their 12-game total to 100 — second-most in the NFL this year.

Five times they’ve been called for 10 or more penalties, and that’s one shy of the most games in franchise history with double-digit penalties in a season.

And there’s four games to go.

The Eagles have been cited for penalties seven or more times in all but three games. They’re on pace for the third-most penalties in franchise history.

Earlier this year, the Eagles committed seven or more penalties in four straight games for the first time in six years. The last month, they did that again.

This is not a disciplined football team. Not remotely.

“The penalties are hurting us,” said Brandon Graham, who was called for a personal foul after a low hit on Andy Dalton Sunday. “You kind of get frustrated a little bit and sometimes a lot of stuff starts happening. But we have to clean that up.”

The Eagles are on pace for 133 penalties. The franchise high is 138, set in 1994 by a Rich Kotite team that lost its last seven games. The 2005 team — torn apart by the Donovan McNabb-Terrell Owens feud — committed 134.

The only team with more penalties than the Eagles this year is the Raiders with 112. They always lead the league in penalties and at least this year they’re winning anyway.

The Eagles aren’t. Their lack of discipline has contributed greatly to their current stretch of seven losses in a nine-game span.

For the Eagles, it’s been just another part of the season that’s gotten away from coach Doug Pederson and his players.

“Penalties have got to stop,” Pederson said Sunday night. “Obviously, the turnovers and things like that too. It’s just not characteristic of how we coach and how we play.”

But it’s how this team has played. Consistently.

Only against the Bears, Cowboys and Giants have the Eagles committed fewer than seven penalties. When they commit 10 or more, they’re 1-4

“Some of it is focus, and some of it is anticipating the snap count,” Pederson said. “Some of it is a little on the quarterback, because we’re using so many snap counts and cadences to get indicators from the defense to tip their hat a little bit.

“Guys are geared up. We’ve got to focus in on that, because it’s something we work on every single week. Obviously the silent count we work on every week.”

Here’s a breakdown of the Eagles’ 100 penalties:

12 — Jason Peters

8 — Jason Kelce

7 — Nolan Carroll

6 — Zach Ertz, Allen Barbre

5 — Jalen Mills, Fletcher Cox

4 — Dorial Green-Beckham, Brandon Graham, Carson Wentz, Malcolm Jenkins

3 — Nigel Bradham, Rodney McLeod, Najee Goode, Marcus Smith, Brent Celek

2 — Jaylen Watkins, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Isaac Seumalo, Destiny Vaeao, Trey Burton, Matt Tobin

1 — Kenjon Barner, Darren Sproles, Ron Brooks, Jordan Matthews, Wendell Smallwood, Vinny Curry, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Donnie Jones, Bennie Logan, Chris Maragos, Leodis McKelvin, Halapoulivaaati Vaitai.

And here’s a breakdown of the types of penalties the Eagles have been hit with:

22 — False start

16 — Offensive holding

10 — Unncessary roughness

8 — Defensive pass interference, offensive pass interference

7 — Defensive offsides

4 — Delay of game, illegal formation, defensive holding

3 — Roughing the passer, facemask, neutral zone infraction

2 — Chop block, defensive 12 men on the field, encroachment, illegal contact, running into the kicker

1 — Unsportsmanlike conduct, horse collar tackle, illegal block above the waist, illegal shift, offensive 12 men on the field, offensive offsides, illegal use of hands