10 observations from Eagles-Buccaneers

10 observations from Eagles-Buccaneers

Should Foles be the Eagles' red-zone QB?

October 13, 2013, 4:15 pm
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Riley Cooper celebrates with DeSean Jackson after catching a 47-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter of the Eagles' 31-20 win over Tampa. (AP)

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TAMPA, Fla. -- Ten observations from Raymond James Stadium, where the Eagles’ 31-20 win over the Buccaneers improved their record to 2-0 vs. winless teams over the past eight days (see Instant Replay):
 
1. The biggest difference right now between Michael Vick and Nick Foles is the red zone. Foles has been dramatically more productive this year inside the 20, and there’s no more important part of the field. Foles on Sunday was 3 for 4 for 34 yards and a TD in the red zone, and so far this year, he’s 5 for 9 for 35 yards, with three passing touchdowns and one rushing. That’s a 104.2 passer rating. Vick this year in the red zone is 5 for 19 for 38 yards with one passing TD, two rushing TDs and a 57.1 passer rating. Overall, the Eagles have scored four touchdowns on seven red-zone possessions with Foles at QB and five TDs on 14 red-zone drives with Vick.
 
2. And how about Foles’ touch on the deep ball. He doesn’t have a rocket launcher like Vick, but he’s very accurate on the deep ball, and he showed it Sunday with big TDs to Riley Cooper and DeSean Jackson.
 
3. Did Foles do enough to win the job from Vick? You know what. Yeah. He did. Gotta find out if he’s the future. He lit up a really good defense Sunday with 22 for 31 for 296 yards, three TDs and no interceptions. So far this year, he’s 46 for 61 (67 percent) for 542 yards with six TDs and no INTs. He’s been exceptional. What else could he have done? It’s time. (Watch what Brian Westbrook has to say on the subject.)
 
4. What really drives me crazy about the Eagles’ defense is its inability to just choke teams when they have the chance. Tampa’s last drive of the first half, after the Eagles took a 14-10 lead, Tampa started on its own 16. Touchdown. The Bucs' second drive of the third quarter, after the Eagles took a 21-17 lead, they started on the 1 and drove down the field for a field goal. When you have chances to turn the momentum of a game -- especially against a hapless offense with a rookie quarterback making his second NFL start -- you take command of the game. The Eagles just don’t have the personnel to do that.
 
5. Tough to watch Trent Cole these days. This is a guy who from 2006 through 2011 -- a six-year period -- was third in the NFL with 63 sacks, behind only DeMarcus Ware and Jared Allen. But he was invisible again as a pass rusher Sunday and he’s clearly struggling when he’s asked to cover. He has three sacks in 21 games over the last two years, none in six games this year. He’s just not the same guy.
 
6. Nice to see Cooper finally show up with a career-best four catches for 120 yards. You figured this game would be a great opportunity for him, with Darrelle Revis manning up on Jackson and Johnthan Banks on Cooper. And playing in his hometown, he came up big. Maybe I won’t get any Kenny Britt tweets for a few days. Hours? Minutes?

7. Tim Wright? Yeah, Tim Wright. Buccaneers rookie tight end from Rutgers who came into the game with six catches for 47 yards. This defense turns tight ends into stars. Wright caught seven for 91 Sunday, giving Glennon a legit second target behind Vincent Jackson. The Eagles simply have nobody who can cover tight ends. And Jason Witten is coming to town Sunday. Yikes.
 
8. I loved LeSean McCoy’s game Sunday. None of his rushing yards came easily, but he just kept hammering and hammering against a very tough front and by the time the game was over he somehow had 25 runs for 116 yards. To go along with a couple catches for 55 yards, McCoy had 171 yards from scrimmage. That gives him 870 yards from scrimmage after six games.
 
9. Six games into his career, I’m ready to anoint Earl Wolff the Eagles’ best safety. I know, it’s not saying a whole lot. But the kid really goes out and battles. He’s physical and aggressive. This was his best game so far. He’s going to be a very good player.
 
10. I can’t emphasize this enough: Six games into Chip Kelly’s NFL coaching career, the Eagles are only the third team in NFL history to open a season by netting 400 or more yards in their first six games. This is with a new staff, a new scheme, a ton of new players and two quarterbacks. When he has his personnel in place, this offense is going to be terrifying.
 
OK, I’m off to the clinic to get decontaminated! See you guys later!

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