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Has the Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback controversy been reignited all over again? We’ll see. Kevin Kolb, who started in place of the injured Michael Vick on Sunday night, played well during the Eagles’ 27-24 victory over the winless San Francisco 49ers. Was his performance (21-of-31, 253 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs) good enough to retain the starting QB duties for Philadelphia’s Week 6 home game against the surging Atlanta Falcons? Good question. My guess is he will, but partly because it would be cautiously wise to let Vick rest his injured ribs for at least another week. Who knows though? It’s not as if head coach Andy Reid has been entirely conventional with his approach to managing the dynamic situation. Reid was rightfully not put on the spot just yet with that line of questioning during his Monday press-conference. He did, however, answer a number of questions about last night’s game, the ever-changing injury situation for the Eagles, and what the team will be hard at work correcting and improving upon during the upcoming week of practice and preparation. (Transcription courtesy of Eagles’ official team site.)
On injuries: “On the injuries front, RB (Eldra) Buckley has a elbow hyper-extension, OT (Jason) Peters has a knee sprain and MRI in the morning, CB Dimitri Patterson finished the game with a little back strain and WR DeSean (Jackson) had a knee strain from the last punt that he returned.”
On tonight’s performance: “It was a good win. It’s tough to win on the road, particularly this far west, in what I think is a good football team. Things just have not bounced their way. (Head Coach) Mike Singletary, I think, does a heck of a job. He has a tough, tough football team. That defense out there, I game planned against them all week and that’s a tough bunch to get yards on and likewise for their offense. They are working some things out, some young guys in there. They’re explosive at times, and in that defensive side too. Special teams, what a difference that made for them. (WR Ted Ginn) is an explosive player. Once they get him back in the offense, he’s an explosive player. All in all I’m proud of my football team. I think that they played their hearts out. Five takeaways in defense, (S) Quintin (Mikell) got his first touchdown as a pro. Offensively (LeSean) McCoy, you’ve got to give him credit, he’s a tough kid. There was no doubt he was going to play. He practiced, he went places a lot of people won’t go with a broken rib, 92 yards, carrying the football, 130 total yards. (QB) Kevin (Kolb) had 103 quarterback rating. (QB) Michael (Vick) is still starting quarterback so we won’t get that controversy going there. That’s what it is.”
On resilience shown against the 49ers: "They’ve done this, this is what the 49ers, when I say a tough football team, this is what I’m saying… You’ve got to play four quarters against them. We talked about it all week, their ability to come back. They did it against the Saints, you saw them against the Atlanta Falcons. This is what they do, they play four quarters. I’m proud of my guys, it’s been a long day today. We came out Friday, it’s been a long couple days on the west coast. The guys stayed focused, they kept pressing the defense. The defensive line then stepped up and played their hearts out against what I think is a good offensive line. I’m just proud of them. "
On backup quarterback Kevin Kolb’s performance: “You know I think he did a pretty good job, we’ll look at the tape and see. There are some things I think he could have done better. I think he’ll tell you there are a couple throws he’d like back but all in all he managed the game well. He was accurate, there was no hesitation putting the ball in tight holes. He did it with conviction. I thought he stepped and played like we know he can play. The guys have so much confidence in him, everyone was right with him.”
On taking control during the second half: “We need to do that. You’ve got to do a little thing here and there, they (San Francisco) did a good job. They had two nice defensive plays against our tight end. When you’ve got opportunities like that, you’ve got to finish that. That’s something we can do better and learn from that.”
On scoring a touchdown right after the 49ers: “It was, again, special teams we’re working through that. We lost leverage on it. You can’t lose leverage with Ginn. He got us a couple times there. Right there at the end he got us. They were able to push the ball in. We came back. I started from the 20 and we took it and moved it right down the field. I thought the execution was good. We had a holding right there in the red-zone. We overcame that and scored which is tough to do.”
On not having K David Akers kick at the 30 and 36: “I’ll tell you it was very windy down there. It was blowing… having it back I probably would have let him kick at the 36 there, even with the wind. That’s the direction the wind was blowing, I should have punted that thing down there and let our defense play it. David felt good about it. Normally, when he feels like that he normally pumps them right in but that wind was so gusty, even though he had it, I should have used better judgment on my part.”
On not having all their starters playing: “I don’t think this crew cares. They just say okay, next guy get in. That’s a tribute to (General Manager) Howie Roseman and the job he’s done with the personnel. Players just believe in their guys, they jump in and go. I don’t think they really care who is out there and who is not out there. They play their hearts out, that’s what they did.”
On how they forced 49ers QB Alex Smith into turnovers: “I go back, I have a lot of respect for him as a football player. He’s had so much turnover and Mike’s working on stabilizing that for him. That’s a tough, tough thing as a quarterback and I don’t think people realize how tough that is. The one common ingredient among all quarterbacks is that if you can get pressure on them then you’ve got a good thing going from a defensive standpoint. That’s what we were able to do.”
On the toughness of RB LeSean McCoy: “I’m going to tell you, he’s a tough nut. There was zero hesitation throughout the week that he was going to play. He was safe to play which was most important, then it was a matter of him being able to endure it. He wanted the ball, he wanted the ball, he wanted the ball. Tough kid.”
On Kolb’s improvement: “I think he will continue to do that. I think that a young quarterback, that’s what you’re going to see. I mentioned that from the beginning. There’s a maturation process that takes place when he plays. You just don’t step in one year and set the world n fire. That’s not how this thing works. That’s the reason why Michael moved into that spot. It cuts that maturation process down when another guy plays. The kid stepped up and played well today. He did a heck of a job, he had an opportunity to prepare all week. He was in the building long hours, he worked very hard, his teammates believe in him, which is a huge thing. He went out and performed on national television, a road game—which he had not done before. Nice job with it.”
On a more physical appearance by the defense: “The guys were relentless, I thought. Not that they haven’t been. They were coming off the football and playing relentless football. You’re talking about one of the best runners in the NFL. They were able to do a pretty good job against them. I don’t know the final numbers. The tight end (Vernon Davis) is a heck of a player, he got a couple down the stretch there. Looked like he got hurt after the last one, he’s a dangerous guys. Crabtree, I thought, played out of his mind, he had a phenomenal game. He made some moves out there that for a wide receiver were something.”
“He’s going to have to have surgery on that elbow,” Reid said. “That’s not a good thing. He had ligament damage in there. The nerve to where your funny bone is, that nerve shifted and so they have to go in and straighten it out. It’s not a career-ending thing, but it’s going to take time to get him back.”
Tough blow for an already suspect Eagles defense. I suppose the silver lining here is that DTs Trevor Laws and Antonio Dixon have played well in the rotation. So while they’ve lost a starter, it’s a position of relative depth.
It wasn’t pretty, but the Philadelphia Eagles went on the road and got a big win over the San Francisco 49ers. The win puts them at 3-2, which ties the Eagles at the top of the NFC East with the Redskins and Giants. Dallas lags in last at 1-3.
The 49ers were driving in the final 30 seconds, needing just a FG to send the game to overtime. On a 3rd and 10 from the Eagles 44 yard line, 49ers QB Alex Smith was hit by Trevor Laws as he threw and the ball was lofted up for an easy pick by rookie CB Trevard Lindley. It was the 5th turnover of the night forced by an Eagles defense that made big plays, but struggled to stop the leagues second worst offense overall.
On offense, the story was the play of LeSean McCoy and resurgence of Kevin Kolb. In his fourth career start Kolb bounced back from last week’s loss to deliver a 253 yard, 1 TD performance where completed 67& of his passes. Plus, he was under pressure all night after Jason Peters left with an elbow strain and backup LT King Dunlap struggled. Kolb finished the evening with a 103.3 QB rating.
That said, the Eagles best offensive player tonight was LeSean McCoy. Shady rushed for 92 yards, including a dazzling 29 yard TD. He also added 5 catches, accounting for 138 yards of total offense.
Not a pretty win, but an important win. The Eagles host the Falcons next week at Lincoln Financial Field, where they’ve yet to win this season.
The Niners marched straight down the field on their first possession with an impressive 7+ minute drive that resulted in a Michael Crabtree TD pass. The Eagles offense would respond with a perfect 9-9 drive from Kevin Kolb that ended in a Brent Celek TD pass.
Then the 49ers started to get sloppy. A Frank Gore fumble forced by a big hit from newly installed starting SAM Moise Fokou led to an Eagles FG. Then an Alex Smith threw a bad pick when the 49es were driving. A few series later, DeSean Jackson had a nice punt return to give the Eagles good field position on a drive that ended in a dazzling 30 yard TD run from LeSean McCoy.
The Eagles offense started to really struggle as protection started to break down in the 2nd quarter, mostly thanks to King Dunlap who is filling in for Jason Peters, who was injured on the Eagles first drive.
The 49ers would add a FG late, then Kevin Kolb fumbled(after being hit by King Dunlap’s man) giving the 49ers great field position for 3 more points before the end of the half. Then luck went the Eagles way as Joe Nedney pulled the kick wide right.
The Eagles go into the half up 17-10
The Eagles have announced that Broderick Buckley suffered an elbow strain and his return is doubtful.
Bunkley was injured on the first series of the game.
The Eagles have announced their inactives for tonight.
Air Force’s own Chad Hall will dress as the 4th wide receiver in his first NFL game.
49ers RB Brian Westbrook spent 8 seasons in Philly and is the Eagles all time leader in yards from scrimmage.
The Eagles single game record for yardage(583) came against the 49ers in 2005.
Andy Reid’s first post-grad coaching job was at San Francisco State.
San Francisco is 17-11-1 all time against the Eagles, but Philly has won the past 4 matchups.
Andy Reid is 15-6 against NFC West teams.
This is the first time that the 49ers have played on Sunday night since 2005 and that game was in Mexico City.
Opposing quarterbacks have only thrown 7 passing TDs on the 49ers in
San Francisco’s past 12 home games, which ranks as the fewest in the
NFL during that time span.
The first time these teams met was an Eagles home win almost 49 years ago to the day.
In a rare occurrence, the Eagles and Phillies will not only play on the same day… they’ll be on TV head to head. This week, Eagles starting QB Kevin Kolb was asked whether he and the have been following the Phillies success.
“Yeah, absolutely. We’re big fans of theirs. Obviously, what Roy Halladay did the other day was pretty impressive, and hopefully we can do our own impersonation to match what he did."
Today will probably be the ultimate bellweather for which team currently owns Philadelphia. The Eagles have struggled this year, but they’re on national TV in a “make it or break it” type game. The Phillies are looking to book their place in the NLCS for the 3rd straight season.
Big game for most teams and you can bet we’ll be checking the ratings tomorrow morning. For his part, Kolb says his confidence level for tonight is high.
“Yeah, it’s super high. And our team’s is super high. We know that we need to go in there and get this one. We had an unbelievable week of work. Our intensity level’s been through the roof, and I feel like we have a great game plan, so those three things need to combine into a victory.”
LeSean McCoy cracked a rib in the first half of last week’s game against the Redskins, he went on to have a very productive second half… This week he looked like he might be a doubt to play on Sunday after missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday. However, he was a full participant in practice on Friday and declared himself ready play.
“I feel good. I feel ready to go. Very excited to get out there and play some football. It’s another game for us.”
Andy Reid also said he expects McCoy to play, “I’m anticipating that he’ll be able to play the full game and do what he needs to do there.”
RB LeSean McCoy is listed as questionable with a cracked rib, but he did fully participate in practice today which is a good sign for his chances of playing on Sunday.
For the second straight week, the Eagles will face one of their franchise's greats in his first game as an opponent. Brian Westbrook was released by the Eagles at the end of last season and ended up signing with the 49ers during the preseason this year.
There were a few teams we knew had interest in Westbrook, most notably the Redskins, but he chose to sign a one-year deal with 49ers. Whether it was because he thought they had a chance to win, because he had a chance to play, or they just offered him the most money (he’s only making $1.25 mil) wasn’t clear. If the first two were his reasons, things obviously haven’t worked out like he expected.
The 49ers are off to an 0-4 start and Brian Westbrook has barely gotten off the bench. Westbrook has carried the ball exactly once this year for zero yards and has caught two passes for six yards. Certainly part of this is because he’s backing up one of the better backs in the game, Frank Gore, and therefore isn’t going to be featured or have as many opportunities as he did year. Still, his production hasn’t just slowed down… it’s flatlined.
I asked our 49ers blog Niners Nation why they think Westbrook has been such a non factor this season.
I’d imagine it has something to do with his age and something to do with the team’s total trust in Frank Gore. I was expecting a lot more two back sets with Gore and Westbrook but it really hasn’t happened. From listening to press conferences it seems like the team has some concern about his ability to be blended in but in reality, nobody has really said anything of substance about it.
Last week he was on the field for a play and Alex Smith had to wave him into a different spot on the field. He was never seen again after that. It’s really hard to tell what exactly is going on with this at this point.
That Westbrook wouldn’t be the player he once was is no surprise to anyone that’s watched him over the past year or two. He’s clearly lost a step or two and all the injuries he’s accumulated over the years really had begun to catch up with him. That said, who could have expected him to manage just six total yards over the first games of the season?
If he does eventually break out this season, let’s just hope it’s not this weekend.
First, his response to whether the penalties on the offensive line are lack of discipline or compensating for lack of talent.
"Now, I thought there was one close call. A couple others that were just perfect positioning and took him to the ground. You can't do that in this league anymore. Back in the old days, that was considered a heck of a block. You cannot twist a guy and put him on the ground, and a couple of those occurred. And then there's been a couple of the holding calls that just were not needed. A man's releasing and then a hand goes out and you just can't do those things during the play. Now the discipline thing, big picture, everything's just a little different in each situation, but the discipline thing, the pre-snap, or post-snap, but during the play, we've just got to get that corrected, because it's holding us back just a little bit there."
One of the major concerns this week is what the Eagles offense might look like if LeSean McCoy can't play. Will they go with one primary back in his absence or a RB by committee?
"Both are possibilities right now. There's going to be several decisions here, made late in this week. So we're getting on a plane, and I hope it's on paper Friday, and it could be Saturday. And then you're handwriting a few things there. So there's going to be several decisions made very late in this week on how we're going to operate. Everybody's ready with their preparation. Some guys are getting the hard work on the field, some guys are trying to get themselves ready physically, but all of the preparation's going to be there."
On whether he anticipates having RB LeSean McCoy play on Sunday and if not, what is he able to do with the group of running backs that will play:
"Well, we'll see on [McCoy]. He's day-to-day. He's a tough guy, now. I'll tell you what, you put the film on in that second half, you would have never thought that he had any type of injury at all. Tough guy. Give him credit for that. He played hard. He played physical, even when he was banged up just a bit there. I think [RB] Mike Bell's an outstanding back. He's ready to go. We also have a couple other guys that I don't want to get into quite yet, personnel-wise, but they'll be ready to go, as well."
On why Mike Bell's numbers are down:
"Just too few of tries there for him. Look, there was a couple that he had some chances on there, but Mike Bell's the type of guy that he'll get better as the game goes on."
On whether his injuries at training camp have held him back early in this season:
"Well, it's irrelevant now. I think he's ready to go now. I think he's pretty comfortable how we do things and exactly what his responsibilities are, so I think we're alright there."
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