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Where is the Defense?: Titans beat the Eagles in OT

Despite the best efforts of the offense and Carson Wentz, the Titans take a victory in overtime against the Eagles. Wentz, while throwing the ball 50 times was effective as he completed 33 of his passes for 348 yards. He was finding a lot of his big targets as both Ertz and Jeffery had over 100 yards receiving today. Even running the ball was effective as they had over 100 yards on the ground. But there were two glaring problems that stopped the Eagles from winning this game. 

The first and most pressing of these issues was the secondary. Jalen Mills, Corey Graham, Ronald Darby and Sydney Jones were unable to stop anybody. This has been a problem since week one. The Titans led by Mariota had 82% percent of their total yards through the air. This is the main reason the Titans won this game 26 to 23. Mariota would end up with 344 yards on 30 completions on 43 attempts. His top guy was Corey Davis who caught nine passes for 161 yards and one touchdown. 

The other big issue was the lack of protection. Wentz sacked four times and it seemed like he had someone in his face or a defender touching him on every play. This issue should fix itself with time, but it is not to be taken lightly as some of these plays were in big situations. 

Heading in to a big week five matchup at home against the Vikings. There is plenty the Eagles need to address and hopefully they can do this before next Sunday afternoon. 


Halftime Report: Eagles at Titans

The Eagles (and legions of their fans) traveled to Nashville to take on the Tennessee Titans. After 30 minutes of football, the Birds lead, 10-3, thanks to a 56-yard touchdown pass and Avante Maddox's first career interception. Here's what we saw in the first half of today's game:

What Worked

  • Michael Bennett Arrives. Bennett was the Eagles' biggest addition this offseason and the veteran made his presence felt in a big way early in the game. In addition to his sack that ended the Titans' second drive, Bennett had a half-dozen pressures on Marcus Mariota and dominating any lineman he lined up against. On a day where the Eagles defense looked mediocre, Bennett has been a huge bright spot.
  • A healthy offense. Despite looking out of sorts at times, the Eagles offense looks healthy for the first time all year. The return of Alshon Jeffery seems to have opened things up for Zach Ertz over the middle and Jordan Matthews was able to sneak up the seam for a 56-yard touchdown. After grinding for points and yards in the first few weeks, it looks like the Eagles offense finally has some explosiveness.

What Didn't

  • Protection problems. The Eagles' first drive was derailed by the Titans pass rush, which got to Carson Wentz twice, hitting the QB and forcing a pair of incompletions. Tennessee employs a complex, amoeba-style defensive front that can bring a variety of exotic looks. The Eagles need to think about keeping in a tight end or running back to keep Wentz off the ground.
  • Coverage woes. The Titans came into today's game with the reputation as a team that could run the ball and do nothing else offensively. But Tennessee has run a lot of play action and taken advantage of the Eagles' undermanned secondary and overeager defensive front. We've written about the Eagles defensive struggles on the road, but despite only giving up 3 points, Mariota has carved up the Eagles defense and there have been a lot of easy throws down the field for the former Oregon Duck.

Halftime Adjustment

 The Eagles offensive line needs to figure out how to keep up with the Titans' defensive line stunts. Wentz was knocked around and completed just 5 of his first 12 pass attempts due to the consistent pressure in his face. Jeff Stoutland and the offensive line needs to neutralize the Titans' pass rush and give Wentz a chance to push the ball down the field like he did on that TD pass to Matthews. 

Second Half X-Factor: Jalen Mills

The much-maligned corner has been isolated on Corey Davis a lot today and he's been beat for a pair of deep passes and it could've been worse if Davis didn't drop a would-be touchdown on the game's opening drive. If Mills can keep up with the Western Michigan product and limit the big plays, the Eagles' lead should be safe in the second half. 


Flyers Loan Carter Hart, Phil Myers, Mark Friedman to Phantoms

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(Photo: Kate Frese)

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

The Flyers are preparing to make final cuts and release the final roster. They are not quite there yet, as they remain one player short of the final 23-man roster.

The Flyers did announce three cuts on Sunday afternoon, bringing the roster to 24. Defenseman Phil Myers, recalled to play in Saturday's preseason finale, was sent back to the Phantoms. Defenseman Mark Friedman was also loaned to the Phantoms. Goalie Carter Hart will also head to the Phantoms to begin his professional career.

Continue reading "Flyers Loan Carter Hart, Phil Myers, Mark Friedman to Phantoms" »


Flyers-Bruins: Postgame Review

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(Photo: Kate Frese)

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

The Flyers closed out the preseason with a strong third period in a 4-1 win over the Bruins, ending the preseason with a 4-3-1 record. 

While there were dicey moments during the first couple of periods, the Flyers got some solid performances from some additions to the lineup and players making one last push to be on the roster.

More from some of the standouts from the Flyers win over the Bruins in our Postgame Review.

Continue reading "Flyers-Bruins: Postgame Review" »


Flyers Close Preseason with Win Over Bruins

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

As the third period progressed, you could see the Flyers starting to show signs that they are ready to turn the page and get the regular season started.

It wasn't a pretty game from start to finish, but a strong third period led the Flyers to a 4-1 win over the Bruins in the preseason finale on Saturday from TD Garden.

Continue reading "Flyers Close Preseason with Win Over Bruins" »


Wilson Chandler Sidelined With Strained Hamstring

By Brandon Apter, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

The Philadelphia 76ers opened their preseason on Friday night with a 104-84 win over Melbourne United. For the most part, everything was positive about the win from Markelle Fultz's shot to Ben Simmons' passing, but unfortunately the team didn't leave the match-up unscathed.

Continue reading "Wilson Chandler Sidelined With Strained Hamstring" »


Flyers-Bruins: Preseason Game 8 Preview

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(Photo: Kate Frese)

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

It's the final trial run for the Flyers in the preseason, as the team closes out the eight-game schedule with a trip to Boston to face the Bruins.

The Flyers started off the preseason with wins in three straight games after losing the opener in Long Island. Since then, they have lost three straight games, including one in overtime. The Flyers will be looking to end the preseason on a high note as they head on to the regular season.

Game time from Wells Fargo Center is set for 7 p.m.

Continue reading "Flyers-Bruins: Preseason Game 8 Preview" »


Flyers F Corban Knight Out 3 Weeks

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(Photo: Kate Frese)

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

For the last few weeks, it looked like Corban Knight had earned himself a spot on the Flyers roster. Those dreams may have come to an end.

The Flyers announced that Knight will be out for three weeks with an upper-body injury, after leaving Thursday's game early.

Continue reading "Flyers F Corban Knight Out 3 Weeks" »


Preview: Eagles Clash With Titans

By Gia Lanci, Sports Talk Philly Staff

The Eagles were able to hold on and get a win against the Colts, mainly due to their red zone defense. The offense will need to step up to beat the Titans since they just could not get the job done against the Colts. The offense is looking for Jay Ajayi and Alshon Jeffery to be vital players coming back from injuries. The defense will have to hold off Mariota and their running attack in Tennessee. With Carson Wentz’s return last week, there was concern about him still being a little rusty. Going into this game with key players coming back, the Eagles will hopefully figure out their team chemistry.


Tackling the Titans

When the Eagles went up against the Titans in the 2014 season, they won 43-24. Their record after this game was 8-3. Some players that helped with the win were Jordan Matthews (6 receptions, 77 yards), Zach Ertz (4 receptions, 30 yards), Malcolm Jenkins (5 tackles) and Fletcher Cox (1 sack).

The Titans had a completely different team. Marcus Mariota was not the quarterback and their record was only 2-9. This season, the Titans are 2-1 with a good pass game coming off of a big win against one of the top defenses in the NFL, the Jaguars. The Eagles defense has one of the best defensive lines in the league right now. As long as they can stay healthy, they can continue to be a top defensive line.


Relying on the Defense

The defense was the main reason week four was successful. With crucial contributions from Derek Barnett, Fletcher Cox, Chris Long, Brandon Graham, Malcolm Jenkins and Nigel Bradham. They made major efforts to hold the Colts to 16 points, even with mistakes from the offense. The defense will need to make up for the injured Rodney McLeod.


Injury Report

Eagles

Out

RB Darren Sproles is still suffering from a hamstring injury. Wendell Smallwood will have a lot of action and is well prepared for the Titans. Safety Rodney McLeod tore his MCL last week against the Colts and will be out for the season. He had very good chemistry with Malcolm Jenkins. Veteran Corey Graham will have to take over his position.

Questionable

RB Corey Clement and LB Nathan Gerry were questionable last week as well, but were both able to play. The Eagles have Josh Adams available if Clement is unable to play and LaRoy Reynolds and DJ Alexander will provide extra depth at linebacker for Gerry. WR Alshon Jeffery will hopefully return this week. He was supposed to return in the start of the week, but then got sick with a virus and is questionable to return.

Titans

Out

After weeks of injuries, RB David Fluellen and T Dennis Kelly are the only Titans out this week. They are third string and second string respectively, so all starters are cleared to play against the reigning Super Bowl Champions.

Questionable

Backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert is the only Titan listed as questionable this week. If he is unable to go and Mariota’s injury flares up again, Tennessee will be in big trouble.

Marcus Mariota is expected to play, but his injury will definitely affect his throwing arm.


Broadcast Information

Time: 1:00 PM

TV: Fox

Radio: 94.1 FM WIP

Online: NFL.com


Flyers Training Camp Update: Reading into Final Roster Battles

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(Photo: Kate Frese)

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

The Flyers were back on the ice in Voorhees on Friday morning before making the trip to Boston for the final game of the preseason against the Bruins, set for 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Two more players were cut from the camp roster with Tyrell Goulbourne and Carsen Twarynski being sent to the minors. That leaves just 31 players on the roster.

There are a number of injuries that make some of the decisions easier. Goalie Alex Lyon remains out for another two-to-three weeks at least. There has been no firm timetable for Michal Neuvirth’s return and with less than a week until the regular season begins, it seems likely he misses the start of the season. Defenseman Sam Morin is also out long-term, recovering from offseason ACL surgery, and is expected to return around February at the earliest.

Prospect Pascal Laberge will be heading to the Phantoms when he’s able to get back on the ice, but it appears that road to recovery could be long. Laberge posted a photo on Instagram on Friday morning from a hospital bed.

The Flyers later confirmed that Laberge had hip surgery and there is no timetable for a return. Not encouraging, especially for a player that has already missed a lot of time during his most important years of development.

With those four factored out of the equation, the Flyers have 27 active players in camp and four cuts to make. It could be three depending on the update on Corban Knight, who left Thursday’s game with an upper-body injury. Knight was very much in the running for a roster spot, quite possibly the favorite for the fourth-line center job.

With realistically three cuts left to be made, it’s fairly easy to start reading between the lines and deciphering who is ahead in the roster battles:

  • Mikhail Vorobyev making the team looks very likely now. He’s played in the third-line center role for the duration of the preseason and his spot has never been in question.

  • Jori Lehtera was back on the ice and centering the fourth line, but after missing two days in the midst of reports that he is a suspect in a cocaine bust in Finland, his place is in question. Jordan Weal can hold down fourth-line center and pending Knight’s health, he may be the favorite. Lehtera didn't speak much regarding the report, but said he does expect his name to be cleared in the case.

  • Taylor Leier appears to be an odd-man out. He didn’t play Thursday and he’s spent the past week outside the top four lines.

  • Mark Friedman has remained in camp for the duration, even though he seems likely to be the final defenseman cut. Carter Hart is also still in camp with his spot still more up for grabs among goalies. Whether one, both or neither make the final roster, being around for the entire preseason speaks volumes. They’re closer than the rest of the pack.

  • On Hart specifically, it’s really tough to tell if he’s in line to make the team or fall short in competition with Anthony Stolarz. Take this for what it’s worth though: Hart played the full game on Thursday and Brian Elliott played the whole on Monday. Stolarz was the backup in both games. Elliott is expected to play again on Saturday. So if Stolarz doesn’t see the ice at all for three straight games, that seems pretty telling.

Here were the Flyers line combinations on Friday, which remained relatively similar from the past couple of days. The only notable change was the swap between Oskar Lindblom and James van Riemsdyk.

Giroux-Couturier-Konecny
Lindblom-Patrick-Voracek
van Riemsdyk-Vorobyev-Simmonds
Laughton-Lehtera-Raffl
Leier-Weal-Weise

Defensively, there was just one change. Radko Gudas was paired with Friedman and Robert Hagg was back alongside Andrew MacDonald.

Provorov-Gostisbehere
Hagg-MacDonald
Sanheim-Folin
Gudas-Friedman

Just one more preseason game remains and then it’s on to the start of the regular season. The final roster decisions will likely become known in the hours following the game on Saturday or on Sunday morning.