The Eagles opened up with 13 (1RB, 3 TE) personnel:
and, for the first time I think ever, we responded with a Nickel defense. Normally we come out in a 3-4 if there is more than 1 tight end or a fullback is in the game. This matchup got us a sack as Kerrigan matched up one on one with the tight end closest to the center.
Otherwise it was mainly our Nickel vs their 11 and our 3-4 vs their 12 and 13. On 3rd and longs we gave a few exotic looks. A couple of times we went 3(DL)-3(LB)-5(DB):
and a couple of times we showed a 3-2-6, the 3 lineman in this play–which resulted in a sack–were Kerrigan, Murphy and Smith:
On 3rd and 5 we pulled Compton off the field and went into a Dime package (4-1-6) with Terence Garvin at linebacker:
We also had a few plays where we lifted the slot corner off the field in favor of a 3rd safety.
Depth Chart for our Nickel:
- DE: Kerrigan and Smith with Murphy off the bench.
- DT (Nose and 3Tech): Baker, Hood, with Francois and Ioannidis off the bench
- ILB: Foster, Compton with Garvin on some 3rd downs
- CB: Norman the whole way. Breeland shared time with Dunbar on the first drive. Dunbar had a hard time getting lined up with Whitner on one play and I don’t think we saw much of him after that.
- Slot CB: Fuller, sometimes replaced by a 3rd safety.
- Strong Safety: Nacho with Whitner off the bench
- Free Safety: Blackmon with Whitner off the bench.
In the 3-4, where we replace the slot corner with a 5th defensive lineman, Francois got the start. I’m going off of memory so if I missed a guy let me know in the comments. Also you can like, comment in the comments.
Where the disembodied head of EA Sports’ Kirk Herbstreit revolves around me and repeatedly chants “He just simply used POWER”:
The Power play reared it’s ugly head again. In the preview I talked about how the Eagles like to fake like they are going to run Power and throw a bubble screen to the outside. This time they switched it up and actually ran the Power play, because it’s us, so obviously you have to try. Instead of passively reading blocks and getting run over, we attacked it with our play side linebacker (Foster in this case) and Safety. Both guys will aim for the pulling guard and stop this play for a short gain:
Philly ran Power 3 times for 11 yards. It’s become a non-factor which is something that seemed light years away from happening after the Giants’ game. Having a safety willing to fill against the run has been the most important addition to this defense for the season. On a Power play in the 4th quarter, Foster and Whitner did the same thing to the pulling guard, forcing Sproles to bounce outside into Smith and Breeland.
[After the jump: All-22 video, Counter, Link to the Chart, Grades…and more words!!]
The New Guy: Yeah the right tackle experiment for Philly went worse than expected. It wasn’t just the sacks, he did a few things that made no sense on any level. Like blocking a guy the WR was supposed to crack block, and ignoring Ryan Freakin’ Kerrigan in the process:
Hope to see him again.
Counter: The Eagles ran ‘Counter’ at us twice out of the same formation (pulling the Guard and Tight End.) The first time they ran it, they motioned the WR inside and Foster new exactly what was coming. He blitzed his gap, and Baker looped around him for a TFL:
So after 5 drives, our defense generated 5 punts.
On the 6th drive, Wentz hit a 54 yarder in which it looked like Blackmon’s eyes deceived him into following the outside receiver instead of the slot. It lead to the Eagles’ first points with a field goal.
Their next big play came on the following drive when they caught us on a safety blitz to the outside:
The call was outside zone and the running back was able to cut it back into the bubble for 22 yards.
2 plays later they high-lo’d Blackmon’s zone responsibility:
And Blackmon forgot the cardinal rule of zone coverage: if someone is crossing underneath you, get ready for somebody to be coming in behind you. The WR on the inside of the Triangle/Bunch ran a crosser and sucked Compton out of his zone responsibility as well. Those crossers have been baiting our underneath coverage on the regular. That play hit us for 23 yards, followed by this seam route for 22 yards:
They called a good route against our Tampa 2 coverage, but Whitner’s drop is too deep and Foster doesn’t squeeze Ertz outside enough (although that’s a tougher assignment since Foster is responsible for the RB underneath.) The result was a wide open Zach Ertz for another chunk of yards. 67 yards in 3 plays and they got 3 more points out of it.
On the next and final drive, the Eagles tried that same seam route:
but we had it covered and Wentz had to dump it off underneath to Sproles for a minimal gain.
In that same final drive they hit a Dig route for 18 yards. On that throw Blackmon had RB responsibility and we were playing 1 safety high. They lifted the top off our defense and snuck in the outside wide receiver on a Dig route:
2 plays later they went back to the same concept and:
Blackmon was playing “Robber” coverage, which is an underneath coverage where he gets to chose which threat is the most important to cover. He blankets that “dig” route and Wentz has to hold onto the ball and eat a sack:
I don’t think I need to rehash how Kerrigan did on pass defense, so I’ll just say New Guy lol and move on. Smith got a -2 for a run where he was blown off the line and became the main culprit behind a 22 yard gain. Francois got a +3 for a play where he stunted into a double team, fought through, and picked up a sack–he was supposed to be just a decoy on that play. I didn’t give Murphy a positive on his last sack because if you look at it, he slanted and fell down. Then got back up and Smith handed him a quarterback to tackle. Jenkins got sealed out by a friggin tight end, not cool, but he bounced back and fought through a couple of double teams. Jenkins did not come close to being on a Pot Roast or Reyes level of performance, but I can see why he’s coming off the bench for now.
This was the only unit to grade out negative versus the run. The issues were spread out, but if I had to choose the biggest error, it would be from Foster when he failed to recognize his line slanting inside versus outside zone. He needs to haul ass outside since he’s the new contain guy, instead:
I can’t grade individual pass coverage (I can see when they mess up, but to be aware of each time they correctly execute their assignment? Nope.) so I’m just grading our DB’s run defense:
In the preview I talked about how the Eagles liked to single out a DB to the tight end side, and pull their offensive lineman into him:
I thought Nacho would be the main target but they managed to formation us into having cornerbacks defend the run in the first half. The second half though, we saw Nacho with a few opportunities to defend the outside run and take on offensive lineman:
Safety run support: Check.
|Pressure||14||2.5||Ryan F’in Kerrigan|
Coverage issues: see above.
- New Guy, want to see him again.
- They didn’t move the ball until their 6th drive.
- Pass concepts that worked once (Seam and Dig), didn’t work a second time. Coach Barry is still playing chess.
- A couple of issues with outside runs, but overall we are light years ahead of where we were 3 weeks ago.