Friday, August 1, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Owens up?; More on Niners game

Updating: Jeff Owens, the Eagles' seventh-round rookie defensive tackle, stashed on the practice squad so far, has Tweeted: "Just found out that I will be playing on Sunday!!!! #ThankYouJesus!!!!!!"

Owens up?; More on Niners game

Updating: Jeff Owens, the Eagles' seventh-round rookie defensive tackle, stashed on the practice squad so far, has Tweeted: "Just found out that I will be playing on Sunday!!!! #ThankYouJesus!!!!!!"

From that, we might safely infer that when the Birds IR Brodrick Bunkley, who needs elbow surgery, they will officially promote Owens to the 53-man roster.

Oh, and by the way -- Kelly Washington is back in the house, working out. A response to the latest special teams coverage disaster? Plucky Chad Hall probably can't help the coverage as much as Washington would. Birds do need a fifth receiver. 

***

 Some incoherent thoughts, some off-the-mark conclusions and one or two astute observations as we mourn the passing of Week 5 of the NFL season:

* These next 2 games against the Falcons and the Titans are going to tell us a lot more about the Eagles than the previous 5 did.

*  The collective passer rating of the 5 quarterbacks the Eagles have faced this season is an unimpressive 81.1. Alex Smith, David Garrard, Shaun Hill, Donovan McNabb and Aaron Rodgers have combined for 31 interceptions.

* On those 2 Niner fourth-quarter touchdown drives that turned a seemingly comfy 24-10 Eagles lead into a 27-24 nail-biter, Smith completed 10 of 10 passes for 99 yards and 2 touchdowns. The rest of the game, he was 15-for-29 for 210 yards, one TD and 2 interceptions.

* King Dunlap is an equal-opportunity sack allower. He gave up 3 of the Eagles’ 4 sacks Sunday, all to different pass-rushers – Travis LaBoy, Justin Smith and Manny Lawson. For the life of me, I can’t understand how a guy with arms as long as his can allow guys to bullrush him like LaBoy, Smith and Lawson did. Dunlap is the quintessential looks-like-Tarzan-plays-like-Jane offensive lineman. If Jason Peters can’t play Sunday, which is a very real possibility, Andy Reid needs to consider either moving left guard Todd Herremans out to tackle or giving rookie Austin Howard a shot.

* Herremans had two very big plays Sunday. He and center Mike McGlynn had a nice double-team block on linebacker Patrick Willis that sprung LeSean McCoy for a 29-yard touchdown run. And he saved McCoy’s bacon late in the fourth quarter when he recovered a fumble by the running back at the San Francisco 32-yard line. David Akers ended up kicking a 45-yard field goal, which turned out to be the difference in the game.

* The Eagles defense continues to have trouble getting off the field on third down. The 49ers, who had converted just 30.2 percent of their third-down opportunities in their first 4 games, converted 8 of 13 (61.5 percent) against the Eagles. The Niners converted a third-and-10, two third-and-8s and a THIRD-AND-21! For the season, opponents have converted a disturbing 11 of 36 third downs of 6 yards or more.

* Sunday’s 5 takeaways against the Niners were the most by the Eagles since they had 7 against Carolina last year in Week 1.

* Mike Bell has 16 carries this season. Just 2 of them have been for more than 3 yards (4 and 9).

* LeSean McCoy has just 2 negative-yardage runs in 68 rushing attempts this season. He’s got 10 runs of 10 yards or more, including his 29-yard touchdown run against the Niners. Mike Vick has 9 runs of 10-plus yards.

* The Eagles’ run defense will face another big test Sunday when the Falcons come to town. They’re second in the league in rushing and are averaging 36 rushing attempts per game. The Eagles will have to stop Michael Turner and Co. without tackle Brodrick Bunkley, who is out for the year with an elbow injury. That means Antonio Dixon and Trevor Laws will have to step up. Dixon played well against the Niners after Bunkley got hurt. He collected the first sack of his career and was a factor in the middle against the run.

* Some run defense numbers after 5 games: opponents have averaged 3.8 yards per carry on first down, 5.1 on second down and 5.0 on third down. Yards allowed per carry by quarter: 5.1 in the first, 3.4 in the second, 4.1 in the third and 4.0 in the fourth.

*  In 2008, Eagles defensive backs had 8 ½ sacks. In 21 regular-season games since then, they’ve got 2 ½, including one this season by rookie safety Nate Allen.
 

 

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