Thursday, July 10, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Eagles-Bucs: What We'll Be Watching

Fifty Shades of Red Zone. The Eagles are second in the league in yards per game (454.8) and third in first downs per game (23.6), but only eighth in scoring (27.0). That’s because they can’t score touchdowns when they’re inside the 20. They’re 30th in the league in red-zone efficiency with just 7 TDs in 17 opportunities (41.2 percent). With a defense that is giving up 27 points per game, that’s not going to cut it.

Eagles-Bucs: What We'll Be Watching

Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. (Matt Rourke/AP)
Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. (Matt Rourke/AP)

Fifty Shades of Red Zone. The Eagles are second in the league in yards per game (454.8) and third in first downs per game (23.6), but only eighth in scoring (27.0). That’s because they can’t score touchdowns when they’re inside the 20. They’re 30th in the league in red-zone efficiency with just 7 TDs in 17 opportunities (41.2 percent). With a defense that is giving up 27 points per game, that’s not going to cut it.

Inoffensive Line. The Eagles’ offensive line hasn’t played up to its potential this season. Too many penalties. Too many breakdowns in pass-protection. And last week, run-blocking problems. LeSean McCoy had five runs for losses against the Giants. Had three in the first four games.

Tight End Focus. With Darrelle Revis expected to shadow DeSean Jackson most of the day, Chip Kelly needs some other pass-catching options Sunday. This might be a good week to play more “12” personnel (1 back, 2 tight ends) and maximize Brent Celek and Zach Ertz. Celek had a big 25-yard TD catch last week and Ertz is averaging 21.4 yards per catch.

Bringing the Heat. The Eagles’ blitz was very effective against Eli Manning Sunday. They blitzed him on 45.3 percent of his drop-backs and he completed just 8 of 24 passes and threw two of his three interceptions when they blitzed. This week, they’re facing a rookie quarterback making just his second NFL start. Pressure would be nice.

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Who will win Sunday’s game?
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Walk, Don’t Run. Greg Schiano likes to run the football, especially now that he has a rookie quarterback behind center. Doug Martin is a workhorse back who is averaging an NFL-high 25 carries a game, but just 3.4 yards per carry. Bill Davis’ defense has done a pretty good job against the run, holding opponents to 3.9 yards per carry.

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Paul Domowitch Daily News NFL Columnist
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Paul Domowitch Daily News NFL Columnist
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