Category Archives: Jeremy Maclin

It’s Dallas Week

PHI: 8-4, 1st in NFC East
DAL: 4-8, 4th in NFC East
Spread: Eagles by 3.5
Where: Jerry Jones Big Pile of Money (Arlington, TX)
When: Sunday, 8:20 on NBC.
Last Week: The Eagles beat Houston on Thursday, 34-24. Dallas upset the struggling Colts in overtime, 38-35.

Three key matchups

Miles Austin vs. Asante Samuel – With Dez Bryant out for the rest of the season after breaking his ankle, Jon Kitna will have to rely on his number one, Miles Austin. That’s where Asante Samuel comes in. Samuel has missed the last two games with an injured knee but is expected to return against Dallas. He’s the Eagles best coverage player in the secondary and will provide a huge boost in keeping Dallas’ leading receiver in check. Austin has made 56 catches for 804 yards and five touchdowns. Samuel has a league-high seven interceptions.

DeMarcus Ware vs. Michael Vick – This match-up is simple. Ware leads Dallas

Dallas' Demarcus Ware chases down Lions QB Shaun Hill a couple weeks ago. Ware's 9.5 sacks leads the Cowboys. He poses a serious threat against the Eagles QB Michael Vick. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

with 9.5 sacks and is the most dangerous pass-rusher in the NFL and Vick is the most dangerous quarterback in the NFL. Ware has 6.5 sacks in nine career games against the Eagles and has only half a sack against Vick in one game. Whether or not Ware can contain Vick will be the key to this game. Vick has rushed for 467 yards and six touchdowns but has also thrown for 15 touchdowns, making him a duel-threat and in the talks for MVP.

Keith Brooking and Bradie James vs. LeSean McCoy – Running the ball is going to be key for the Eagles. But that task will be the most difficult when LeSean McCoy has to do it against the strong inside line backers Keith Brooking and Bradie James. The two have combined for 177 tackles and two forced fumbles on the season. McCoy is on pace for his first career 1,000 rushing season. He’s run for 823 yards on 168 carries, averaging 4.9 yards per carry, with seven touchdowns. His ability to get involved in the passing game could also help Vick by spreading out James and Brooking along with Ware. He leads the Eagles with 67 catches and has added two scores as well.

IT’S STILL DALLAS — Despite the Cowboys’ extremely disappointing season – many experts picked them in the Super Bowl – it’s still Dallas. The Cowboys and Eagles have one of the most heated rivalries in all of sports. Dallas has won the last three meetings with the Eagles (all last season) and are 3-1 under Jason Garrett. But Philadelphia is the much better team with a more dynamic offense than Dallas.

The big question is going to be whether or not the Eagles defense can stop Dallas’ pass attack. The one-sided Cowboys are without their best receiver on the year, Dez Bryant. But with Miles Austin and Jason Witten still healthy and very dangerous options, they could give the Eagles defense some problems. Philadelphia has surrendered at least 24 points in eight of their 12 games this season.

Eagles WR Jeremy Maclins tries to run against Houston in last Thursday's win over the Texans. Maclin's eight TD's has made him a top target for Vick.

But with the big numbers Dallas can put up against Philadelphia’s defense, the Eagles have dangerous weapons of their own. Jeremy Maclin is enjoying a great season for the Eagles, catching 56 balls for a team-high 820 yards and eight touchdowns. DeSean Jackson only has caught 38 balls but his 762 yards, 20.1 yards per catch, and five touchdowns are enough to make him a very dangerous option for Vick.

The ground game could also be a huge factor. Where Philadelphia is gaining yards in bunches thanks to the seasons McCoy and Vick are sharing, Dallas is struggling greatly in that aspect. Felix Jones and Marion Barber have combined for only 844 yards on 235 carries for three touchdowns. With the Eagles stingy run defense allowing only one 100-yard rusher all season, don’t expect Jones or Barber to be much of factor in this game on the ground.

Roose’s prediction (7-5): Dallas is tough but the Eagles are tougher. Kitna will get hit hard more than once and Vick will be able to work his magic against Dallas. Defense still has some problems but Eagles still win, 33-17.

Birds in first; head to Chicago for big NFC matchup

Eagles RB LeSean McCoy waltzes into the end zone after his 50-yard touchdown on a 4th-and-1 in the last four minutes of play gave the Eagles the lead for good. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Final Score: Eagles 27, Giants 17
Eagles best play: Michael Vick bobble the snap on 4th-and-1 but recovered, pitching it left to LeSean McCoy who took it 50 yards to the house with over 4:30 left in the game to give the Eagles a 24-17 lead.
Eagles worst play: In one of the Eagles’ three red zone possessions that ended in a field goal, Jason Avant dropped a pass all alone in the back of the endzone.

Three stars
J. Maclin (PHI) – 9 catches, 120 yards.
L. McCoy (PHI) – 14 carries, 111 yards, TD. 5 catches, 29 yards.
A. Samuel (PHI) – 2 INT, fumble recovered, 2 tackles.

Breaking down the game

THE GAME CHANGER —With under five minutes left in the game and the Eagles’ chances running out, they found themselves in a do-or-die situation. On fourth-and-one, the Eagles chose to run the ball. Instead of trying to muscle it through the Giants stout offensive line, which held LeSean McCoy to 13 yards on the game, the Eagles opted for a toss.

Vick bobbled the snap but got control of it in time to pitch it left to McCoy, who busted through the Giants secondary for a 50-yard touchdown. Vick found Avant for the two-point conversion to make it a 24-17 game with just over four minutes remaining.

McCoy added a 40-yard run on the next possession to get himself over 100 yards on the game in the win.

The Giants saw their chance at tying the game halted when Eli Manning fumbled the ball away. Asante Samuel recovered it for his second of the game. (AP Photo/Rob Carr)

DEFENSIVE STAND — We all know how goofy Eli Manning looks. The Eagles made him look even more foolish in the game, forcing him to throw three interceptions. Manning also didn’t help his cause when he dove forward and fumbled the ball in the fourth quarter, halting the Giants drive when they trailed 24-17.

The Eagles were all over Manning, forcing bad throws and poor decisions. Manning managed to complete only 20-of-33 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns. The longest pass he completed was to Brandon Jacobs, who picked up most of the 22 yards after the catch.

The ground game for New York, which was one of the best in the league, was absolutely stuffed. The Giants managed only 61 yards on the ground with over half the yards coming on Ahmad Bradhaw’s 17-yard run and Manning’s 16-yard run that ended in a costly fumble.

FINE GAME FOR SAMUEL — Other than being fined $40,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Giants WR Derek Hagan, Samuel had himself a tremendous effort. He picked off Manning twice and recovered two fumbles, the first forced by Brandon Graham and the second off of Manning in the win. Samuel also had two tackles which could be a career high the way he wraps up ball carriers.

HOBBS ON IR — Ellis Hobbs was injured on a scary play in the third. Taking the opening kick-off of the second half, Hobbs was hit head-to-head by Giants DL Dave Tollefson, injuring his neck. No foul or fine was issued to Tollefson because Hobbs isn’t considered a “vulnerable” player and that helmet hits are allowed on ball carriers with established possession (*cough*bullshit*cough*).

The hit left Hobbs lying on the field for over 11 minutes before being taken off on a stretcher.

Hobbs was placed on the injured reserve today. Hobbs missed the last nine games of the 2009 season with a neck injury.

PHI: 7-3, 1st in NFC East
CHI: 7-3, t1st in NFC North
Spread: Eagles by 3.5
Where: Soldier Field (Chicago, IL).
When: Sunday, 4:15 on FOX.
Last Week: The Eagles beat the Giants, 27-17. The Bears shut out the Dolpins, 16-0.

BATTLE FOR BEST IN NFC — People will get a good look at what the Eagles high-powered offense can do against one of the best defenses in the NFC. They saw last week they could over come a tough Giants defense but a repeat performance would solidify them as the top contender in the conference.

Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, and Jeremy Maclin are all enjoying years to remember. Vick is a top MVP candidate with his performance this season, throwing for 1,608 yards, 11 touchdowns, and no interceptions this season. He had the highest pass rating (108.7) in the NFL. He’s also run for 375 yards and five touchdowns.

 

Bears RB Matt Forte runs through two Dolpins last Thursday in their 16-0 win. (AP Photo/J. Pat Carter)

On the Bears offense, Jay Cutler has completed over 61% of his passes for 2,064 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. He could struggle against the Eagles secondary which features ball hawks Asante Samuel, who leads the NFL with seven picks, and rookie Nate Allen, who has three. As a team, they’ve picked off a league-high 19 passes.

 

The Bears are relying on their defense, which has allowed an average of 290 yards a game this season, third in the NFL. They’ve also allowed an NFL-low 14.6 points per game. D.J. Moore leads the team with four interceptions and ends Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije have a combined 11 sacks.

Chicago will be well-rested for this game, having 10-days off before kickoff. Their 16-0 win over Miami on Thursday helped keep them in pace for first place in the NFC North.

This game is going to come down to whether or not the Bears weak offense can score on the Eagles strong defense. If their defense holds up their end of the bargain, it could be a very low-scoring game. If not, expect the Eagles to win in a blowout.

Roose’s prediction (6-4): The Bears defense will hold the Eagles offense  enough to win but they won’t score. Eagles win, 19-10.

A Look Into the Bye

Thank God it’s here. After Sunday’s heartless drubbing to the Tennessee Titans, 37-19, the Eagles head into this week’s bye with some questions to be answered.

For starters, Kevin Kolb’s performance did not convince me just yet that he should cough up the starting position despite Michael Vick expected to be near 100% by the following Sunday home against Indianapolis. And with DeSean Jackson expected to be back, the Eagles offense could go toe-to-toe with the Colts.

The Eagles have a big question to answer this bye week: Kolb (shown) or Vick? (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

 

VICK OR KOLB? — I think the answer should be very easy, at least for me. At the starter of the season, Kolb was named the starting quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles. He lost his job to Vick when he suffered a concussion against the Packers in their week one 27-20 loss.

Vick started the next string of games before a rib injury forced him out of the starters role in week four against the Redskins. Kolb resumed his role as starter and performed very well before a miserable performance against the Titans.

But as I stated, Kolb was named the starting quarterback at the beginning of the season. He should continue that role heading into week nine against Indy.

For starters, he did nothing to merit losing the job in last week’s loss. Granted he didn’t play well but neither does a lot of starting quarterbacks in a team losing effort like the one Philly had.

Kolb has actually done very well so far this season, completing 97-of-153 (63.4%) of his passes for 1,035 yards, six touchdowns, and four interceptions. Two of his picks came last week on errant throws, signs of a lack of focus in a game that was out of reach.

Other than the picks, Kolb has been very accurate downfield, hitting Jeremy Maclin and Brent Celek for some long passes in the past few weeks. Kolb can and will get better as the season goes on.

A healthy DeSean Jackson is the type of boost Philly need as they head into the tough part of their schedule, starting with Indy. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

 

RETURN OF JACKSON — Another piece that will make Kolb much stronger in the Eagles return week nine is Jackson’s recovery from a sever concussion he sustained in week six against Atlanta.

Jackson said the hit “felt like a car accident,” and was knocked out of the game. He said he feels a lot better this week and is eyeing a week nine return.

The return of Jackson will give Kolb, or if the Eagles opt with Vick, their biggest play-maker back. Jackson has 19 catches for 395 yards and three touchdowns. He also has one rushing touchdown.

Jackson’s return will also knock Jorrick Calvin from the punt returner’s role. Calvin made a key fumble in the Eagles loss to Tennessee last Sunday. Granted Andy Reid won’t want Jackson to be taking any unnecessary hits, Calvin may still get to hold onto the returners spot another week.

Jackson’s Concussion Puts Damper on Win

The Eagles offense suffered a huge blow when Atlanta's Dunta Robinson's vicious hit on DeSean Jackson game the receiver a sever concussion. (Clem Murray/Philadelphia Inquirer)

Final Score: Eagles 31; Falcons 17
Eagles best number: 326 – yards Kevin Kolb threw for.
Eagles worst number: 3 – number of field goals missed by David Akers.
Eagles best play: After scoring on an end-around earlier in the game, Kolb faked an end-around in the third quarter and hit Jeremy Maclin in stride for an 83-yard touchdown.
Eagles worst play: Kolb left WR DeSean Jackson hanging on a lobbed pass in which the star receiver took a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit delivered by Dunta Robinson.

Three stars
J. Maclin (PHI):  7 catches, 159 yards, 2 TD.
K. Kolb (PHI): 23/29, 326 yards, 3 TD.
T. Cole (PHI): 5 tackles, 2 sacks.

Breaking down the game

JACKSON SUFFERS CONCUSSION — It’s one of the most talked about things in sports: concussions. Jackson became a statistic on Sunday while being on the the receiving end of a vicious hit that knocked him out of the game and probably the next few weeks with a concussion.

The Falcons Robinson blind-sided Jackson, who turned around to try and make a catch on a soft pass from Kolb. The helmet-to-helmet hit knocked both players out of the game.

Jackson, the Eagles biggest playmaker, suffered a sever concussion and is likely out of next week’s game against the Titans.

With the league taking a stance against these type of hits, no one has yet to be suspended for them. Only a handful of fines have been handed out. Should Robinson be suspended for the hit? How about James Harrison of the Steelers for knocking two players from Sunday’s game against Cleveland? How about all the other countless incidents that happen on a weekly basis? If the league wants to crack down, make an example out of someone and get the head injuries to a minimum.

MACLIN STEPS UP — Jackson’s concussion allowed Maclin to step-up, which he did on Sunday. Maclin’s performance made many fantasy owners happy (or those who sat him – me – sad) with his seven catches for 159 yards and two touchdowns.

Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin makes a diving catch in the second quarter for his first touchdown of the game, an 8-yard score. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

His first score was a nice diving catch in the front right corner of the end zone. Kolb struck Maclin with a bullet into his chest for the 8-yard score in the second quarter to make it 21-7 game.

His second came on a fake end-around in the third in which he bolted down the left side line and caught Kolb’s offering in stride for an 83-yard score.

Maclin has big-play ability written all over him as well. But what separates Maclin from Jackson is that he is a smarter route-runner with better hands. Many people don’t believe it but Maclin is the Eagles best wide receiver and could turn into  Kolb’s favorite target.

BE GONE, PINK SHOE! — You may have noticed the pink equipment on a handful of NFL players the past few weeks. One of those players was Akers, who sported a pink cleat on his left foot.

Eagles kicker David Akers kicks with the unlucky pink left boot on Sunday.

But while the pink gear is an obvious stance for breast cancer awareness, it was a hinderance to Akers’ ability to make field goals.

In his first three attempts, Akers’ kicks all went wide left. But in the fourth quarter, Akers ditched the pink cleat for his old one and punched the ball through the uprights, finishing 1-for-4 on the day.

RUN DEFENSE SHOWS UP AGAIN — The Eagles run defense has really made a stance since getting run over by the Redskins a couple weeks ago. Coming off a strong performance in San Francisco, the front-seven again stuffed a big-time running back on Sunday.

The Eagles held Michael Turner to only 45 yards on 15 carries and the Falcons only gained 65 yards on the ground. Atlanta has a top-10 running game in the NFL and Turner is also in the NFL’s top 10 for yards so unlike last week against a weak San Fran offensive line, this was a big step towards becoming a strength once again.


A Familiar Road

Two weeks removed from another heart breaking loss in the playoffs have left Eagle fans searching for answers once again. Does Andy Reid need to go? Is the Donovan McNabb era done? Is Kevin Kolb ready to take the reins? Is the offensive line good enough as it is now? Who do we draft in April? I’ve certainly been asking myself these questions a lot and have found myself asking random Philly fans at Flyers games or those who walk into my liquor store who look like they know a thing or two about football.

Lets address Reid first. He is signed through 2012 meaning we have to endure three more years of watching a 60% pass-heavy offense. Yes the Eagles have the extraordinary talent and skill at the receiving position in DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, Kevin Curtis, and Brent Celek but a lack of balance has killed this offense many times versus good defenses, especially Dallas three times this year. Reid is not a terrible coach, in fact he’s an excellent coach, but he is not getting the job holding the play card. Fortunately for him, there is not a better option out there to replace him (unless Tony Dungy or Bill Cowher decide to enter the coaching world again).

Now to our quarter backs. People started calling for Kevin Kolb again during Week 17 and the Wild Card after the offense couldn’t get anything going versus the Cowboys. McNabb’s completion percentage was around 60%, a terrible number when you’re in a West Coast-style offense that relies on the short passes and screens. There were a number of times where he would over throw the speedy Jackson and Maclin, throw behind the sure-handed Celek and Avant, or throw at the feet of LeSean McCoy and Leonard Weaver.

I am not turning on McNabb at all. I have supported him time and time again and will continue to as long as he is our #5. But we are in a similar position that Green Bay was in two years ago. I am not saying Kolb and McNabb are of the same caliber as Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers (though I hope Kolb. This is the same scenario. You have a proven franchise QB who has been in the system for over 10 years and is a fan favorite but you have a good young QB who was drafted to be the successor but has been holding a clip board for a couple years.

What does that mean? It means the Eagles need to trade McNabb to a team who is willing to cough up a top 15 pick for him. I do believe McNabb is worth that pick. I then see Kolb taking the starting spot for next year.

Now I want to cover the draft since we now have two first round picks in my dream world. They need help in two spots, maybe three: safety, strong-side linebacker, and maybe right guard. Texas’ Earl Thomas or USC’s Taylor Mays could be good choices for the safety spot and I’d like to see that addressed first.

Now the reason I think that only one offensive line spot needs improving is that I don’t see a whole lot wrong with our o-line. Jason Peters, the LT, will not have another bad year despite making the Pro Bowl. LG Todd Herrimans and C Jamaal Jackson had great years despite Jackson’s being cut short in Week 16 with a torn ACL. Winston Justin played some great ball at RT, making the signing of Stacy Andrews seem pointless. Now his brother Shawn needs to focus this off season, mature, lose weight, and get his back straight. I made a comment to him on Twitter and he said he wants to play again. Just incase he is still a question mark, I think Reid should use his knowledge and draft another good guard.

Now I didn’t make this one of my questions but it is a hot topic as well: Brian Westbrook. Our beloved B-West could potentially retire because of his knee injuries sustained the past couple of years. We’ve seen Barry Sanders retire because he didn’t want to have bad knees and we’ve also seen Terrell Davis retire because after his knee injury, he wasn’t the same explosive back he once was. I would love to see a healthy Westbrook/McCoy tandem next season but it is a big question mark on whether or not it will happen.

There is a lot to do this offseason. Outside of McNabb, the rest is minor tweaking. Though Reid said McNabb is the guy in 2010, a change is very likely and we will see in the next couple months if it will be McNabb taking the snaps or the start of the Kolb Era.