Beyond the box score: Looking at the Philadelphia Eagles vs. the Arizona Cardinals

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A look at some things about the Philadelphia Eagles that the box score does not tell you.

Anyone can look at the Box score and get a snapshot of what happened in a game, but I'm hoping to look at the upcoming Giants opponents a little deeper. We're all very familiar with the Philadelphia Eagles, but there are some things I noticed while watching the Eagles against the Arizona Cardinals. I planned on watching all three of the Eagles first games, but due to time constraints I have only viewed the Cardinals-Eagles game this week. I'll watch the Eagles-Browns game hopefully Saturday in preparation for next week.

When the Eagles were on offense

Maybe it's just me, and I'm sure I'll look stupid on Monday for saying this, but Vick just doesn’t look as fast this year. He still has speed, but he doesn't seem to possess the scary dynamic speed. NFL.

Breaking News!! The Eagles don't run LeSean McCoy enough.

Well hey now! Down 24-0 Eagles run the ball twice in a row with McCoy with 8:30 left in the 3rd quarter. Pretty sure that’s Andy Reid was on a bathroom break. Let's hope he stays on the sidelines for Sunday night's game.

In the past it the Eagles would run screens once a series (or so it seemed), I only counted two this week against the Cardinals. I might have missed one, but the main point is they didn't use the screen game much.

Here's something the Giants must have noticed. In the fourth quarter the Cardinals blitzed the Eagles offense three times in a row up the middle. Three times in a row the Eagles OL didn’t block at least one of the blitzers. The Eagles are now starting Dallas Reynolds (whoever that is) at center because of the Jason Kelce injury. The Giants recently have blitzed Vick a lot off the LT to force him right,but they should consider putting the pressure up the middle with the speedy Jacquian Williams.

The Cardinals also had a delay blitz going that was very effective, and again that was into the interior of the offensive line.

Well, the Cardinals dominated the Eagles offensive line for the most part, and were also effective blitzing most of the game in general. The Eagles didn't hit any real big plays to back the Cards out of the blitz. Perhaps this a week Perry Fewell dials up some effective blitzes (the Giants have blitzed a very high percentage against Vick recently). I also had a note in here that the Cardinals were able to get pressure on a 3 man rush. The Eagles offensive line has to play better.

The Eagles run a lot more I formation than I thought they did.

Michael Vick has throw a good number of interceptions, but the Eagles are also having trouble holding onto the football. Byrce Brown almost got it knocked away, he's not aware enough of his surroundings and holds the ball too loosely. He'll lose one because of that soon.

The Eagles red-zone offense still lacks an identity. The first time in red zone near goal line—Eagles threw the ball three times. incomplete, incomplete, Vick misses a blitzer gets crushed fumbles the football.

The Eagles were missing Maclin in this game, but Demaris Johnson had a nice game. The Eagles love them some small, shifty, fast wide receivers (Johnson is Maybe 5'9, but probably smaller).

Pro Football Focus numbers (Cardinals game)

Danny Watkins 4.3

Evan Mathis 3.2

Todd Hermanns 1.7

Up 24-6 with 10:17 left in the fourth quarter the Arizona Cardinals challenged the ruling on the field…of an Eagles 3 yard pass completion.Seriously. If I was a replacement official I would have charged the Cardinals a time out for nonsense. Who wants to see a replacement referee go under the hood for 45 minutes to view to rule on a three yard non-scoring play? Apparently Ken Wisenhunt.

This is why PFF is not gospel. Michael Vick was hit 40,000 times (conservative estimate) on Sunday and the three highest-rated players are offensive linemen. I think I was watching a different game.

These three are the highest rated offensive players for the season as well.

When the Eagles were on Defense

Here's what you should be watching out for: Yards after the catch. The Eagles can not tackle. The Eagles defense is very fast, and they fly to the ball, but they miss a lot of tackles especially in the secondary.

The Cardinals running game is not great, but there were a lot of negative run plays for the Cardinals offense. What's weird is the Cardinals run offense got much better at the end of the game when they were trying to salt away the clock and the Eagles knew they would run, than it was in the first half of the game when they were trying to establish the run game.

The Giants and Cardinals will have a different approach on offense because they have different offensive strengths, but the Cardinals used a lot of short completions over the middle of the field to control tempo. The Giants will do some of that as well, and as the first note up there indicates there are plays to be made after the catch. (Cruuuuzzzz time? Let's hope)

At the 8:30 mark on NFL game Rewind, the Eagles ran a little bit of the amoeba defense. Tapp was the only player with his hand on the ground while the Eagles stood up Cole and Babin and moved around a bit pre-snap. The play resulted in a sack. Interesting play design. Often the Eagles rushed four with their wide 9 alignments, but that was a nice change up.

Dominque Rodgers Cromartie complained last year about playing in the slot. Well he was onto something because he's been very good outside this year.

Note: Don’t run a draw against the Eagles they usually sniff those out pretty well. This defense is fast. Oh, D.J. Ware isn't on the team anymore? Never mind then.

Sometimes I thought I was watching a hockey game with the way the Eagles rotate their defensive linemen. Line change! Or whatever a coach would say, I don't watch that much hockey.

The Eagles let the Cardinals run the victory formation at the end of the game so that was nice. If the Giants get the same opportunity, there should not be a week long debate about a play that had no impact on the outcome of the game.

The Eagles have done a good job against wide receivers this year, but let's be real. The WR corps the Eagles have stifled are the Browns, Eagles, and Cardinals. Does the depth of these WR corps impress anyone? The Ravens are okay with Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin, but in all reality the strength of their passing game has been Dennis PItta and Ray Rice. The Eagles cornerbacks will be facing a much different kind of test this week, it'll be interesting to see how they respond.

There was nothing of particular interest to note on special teams. The punter did not have enough hang times on punts, but he has been released so there is no relevance here. DeSean Jackson is not returning punts, though he might against the Giants.

Thoughts about the upcoming game? Questions?

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