Eagles

Eagles' starting O colder than the temperature

Eagles' starting O colder than the temperature

BOX SCORE

Frigid temperatures at the Linc on Sunday were in the teens. The wind chill dipped into single digits.

The Eagles' starting offense was colder.

Nick Foles didn't inspire much confidence as he and the starters put together a lackluster four drives in the first quarter as the Eagles eventually went on to lose the meaningless regular-season finale to the Cowboys by a score of 6-0 in an absolute snooze-fest (see Roob's observations).  

Before Sunday, the last time the Eagles were shut out was the last game of the 2009 season. The last time they were shut out at home was in 2005 against the Seahawks.

The good news is, the Eagles' defense played well for most of the afternoon and the entire team escaped without any real injuries.

The bad news is, confidence in Foles might be at an all-time low with a playoff game just two weeks away (see report card).

With the loss, the Eagles finished the regular season with a 13-3 record and failed to win the meaningless game that would have given them their first 14-win season in franchise history.

The Cowboys won and finished their season with a 9-7 record, which doesn't look terrible, but they missed the playoffs and had an extremely disappointing season a year after they were the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

Sunday's game was the first scoreless game through three quarters in the NFL since December 2007.

The first half was brutal too. It was 0-0 after 30 minutes. The highlight of the first half was when punter Donnie Jones forgot to take off his warmup pants and had to do it in a hurry before booting a ball to the Dallas 4-yard line.

This was the first time an Eagles-Cowboys game had ever been scoreless at halftime, according to ESPN. It was the first scoreless half in Philadelphia since 1993.

It was the first scoreless game at halftime in the entire NFL since December 2011.

Turning point
The Cowboys put together a 99-yard touchdown drive after Jones pinned them at the centimeter mark. It put them up 6-0 after Dan Bailey's missed extra point. That's all they needed. 

Key stat
Foles was 4 for 11 for 39 yards and an interception. He had a passer rating of 9.3.

He became the first Eagles quarterback to have a passer rating under 10 with at least 10 passing attempts in a game since Donovan McNabb in 2007. He's the second player in the NFL to do it this season, joining Matt Cassel.

Offensive stud
No, he wasn't great, but Nate Sudfeld made a few good plays, including a 22-yard scramble. Sports talk radio will be fun in Philly for the next two weeks.

Offensive dud
Foles was pretty terrible in his four first-quarter drives. Maybe the offense could have put up points if Torrey Smith doesn't drop a pass on third down on the first drive, but it's hard to say. Foles didn't gain any confidence Sunday afternoon.

Defensive stud
Vinny Curry was forced to play a lot Sunday because Brandon Graham was out. He played really well. He was a force against the run, even after most of the other starters were out.

Defensive dud
Rasul Douglas didn't have a great game (see rookie report). He had a particularly bad series on the Cowboys' scoring drive early in the fourth quarter. He was beaten on a 20-yard slant for the touchdown.

Sidney Jones watch
Jones played some significant time in his NFL debut and had an up and down day. He showed he can play tight coverage at times. He did let Ezekiel Elliott get wide on him for a first-down run and later was beaten by Terrence Williams on a sluggo route, but the pass fell incomplete.

Jones left briefly in the third quarter after cramping and didn't return, although he was listed as probable to return.

Key plays
• Dak Prescott hit Brice Butler for a 20-yard touchdown pass to break the scoreless tie in the fourth quarter. Douglas was beaten on the play. That capped a 99-yard touchdown drive. It was the only score of the game.

• Sudfeld scrambled for 22 yards on third down in the third quarter, but the Eagles' offense stalled. Then Jones drilled a perfect punt that went out inside the Cowboys' 1-yard line.

• On Sudfeld's second drive, the Eagles started in Dallas territory, but Mack Hollins dropped a pass on first down. Then came a short run and a sack. That was the Eagles' best chance to score in the first half.

• Foles threw a terrible interception about 2/3s through the first quarter. He just underthrew the pass terribly.

• The Eagles stuffed Elliott on fourth down on the Cowboys' first drive.

• On a key third down in the first quarter, Smith dropped a pass on third down when he was wide open. The fourth-down pass fell incomplete.

Injuries
Graham (ankle) sat out Sunday's game. He should be good to go for the playoffs. Same with Jalen Mills (ankle).

Up next
It's playoff time at the Linc in two weeks.

Key staff member of 19 years leaves Eagles

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Key staff member of 19 years leaves Eagles

While the Eagles have been figuring out their new-look coaching staff, one of the more important people in the NovaCare Complex is leaving.

Head athletic trainer Chris Peduzzi announced on Tuesday that he is stepping down from his role with the team.

"We thank Chris for his contributions over the last 19 seasons and we wish him and his family all the best," the Eagles said in a statement.

Peduzzi took over as head trainer after Rick Burkholder went to Kansas City with Andy Reid in 2013. But Peduzzi had been with the Eagles in some capacity since 1999, when he joined the franchise as an assistant trainer.

“It has been an honor and a blessing to be part of this organization for the past 19 seasons,” Peduzzi said in a statement released by the Eagles. “I especially want to thank Mr. Lurie for his faith in me to care for the health of his players. I never took that lightly. I also want to thank Coach Pederson and Howie Roseman for the opportunity. I have had the pleasure of working alongside so many great people, from my staff and co-workers to our coaches and of course the players. More than anything, I am going to miss those daily interactions.

"However, I do believe the time is right for me and for my family to step away and take some time off. This was not an easy decision, but one that I have put much thought into and I appreciate the organization’s support and wish them all the best in the future. I am so proud of what we have been able to achieve together. To bring the Lombardi Trophy to Philadelphia this year was an amazing experience and I believe we have built a strong foundation that the team can continue to build on for years to come.”

Duce Staley would have been the easier choice

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Duce Staley would have been the easier choice

The right choice isn't always the easy one. Ultimately, we won't know for some time if the Eagles' tabbing Mike Groh for the job of offensive coordinator over Duce Staley was the correct call. But we know they didn't take the easy way out.

Staley has spent 14 seasons with the Eagles as a player and coach. He's been in charge of the Eagles' running backs since 2013 and even interviewed for the head coaching spot after Chip Kelly was fired following the 2015 season. He has the utmost respect of the guys who have played for him and from the organization. His time coaching in Philadelphia has spanned three head coaches (Andy Reid, Kelly, Doug Pederson). That tells you how the folks in the executive offices feel about him. He would have been the easier choice. He juggled egos and the Eagles' crowded backfield skillfully. He smoothly integrated Jay Ajayi into the Birds' system after a midseason trade.

Duce checked a lot of boxes. But Pederson and the Birds chose to go with Groh, who has been with the club for just one season. (They did, according to a league source, reward Staley with a new title: Assistant head coach/running backs.)

The 46-year-old Groh coached the Eagles' wide receivers last year and is credited with helping Nelson Agholor find his game and confidence. Groh has coached in college and the pros for 18 seasons, including a stint as the offensive coordinator at his alma mater, Virginia. Perhaps that gave him the edge in Pederson's and the team's eyes. 

Despite Pederson's calling the plays, the job of offensive coordinator is not just a title. Frank Reich played a huge role game-planning and acting as a sounding board. 

Can't imagine Staley is too happy about this development. It will be interesting to see if he chooses to stay or go elsewhere. But if the track record of Pederson and Roseman is any indication, they did a pretty good job putting together the staff that helped them win their first Super Bowl. So they've earned some trust on the hiring end.