Skins DEFENSE vs Eagles (I)

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Formations

Nothing too fancy except for on a couple passing downs:

that’s a 2-4-5.  We also slid the line around and grouped defensive ends to the same side, in an effort to confuse blocking schemes and generate pressure.  Outside of that we stayed in our base 3-4 and Nickel the whole way.

Foster usually lined up to the wider side of the field, while Brown took to the boundary.  We kept 2 linebackers in the whole game, Dime packages were scrapped for this one.

Eagles kept anywhere from 1 to 3 tight ends.  Before their left tackle (Peters) went out the game they used their 6th offensive lineman as a blocking tight end.  On a few plays we treated Ertz as a WR and kept an extra CB in the game even when they had 2+ tight ends.  That might have had something to do with Everett struggling with Ertz early.

The Show

Defensive Line
Player + Total
McGee 3 1 2: Just A Guy, won’t hurt but isn’t going to disrupt either.
Ionnandis 5 2.5 2.5: Able to hold up to doubles and recognize all blocks.
Allen 5.5 8.5 -3: Discussion below
Hood 3 0 3: Way stronger at the POA, especially at nose.  Thanks Tomsula.
McClain 4 2 2: Just A Guy #2, except not really.  Can get under blocks and disrupt occasionally.
Total     6.5: Just need to fine tune a rookie and we have a unit that can go.  Thanks Tomsula.

Jonathan Allen checks in for his first NFL game and it was up and down as one could expect from a rookie.  Eagles tend to base their runs with outside zone stuff and will occasionally change it up with a wham block.  You would like to see your DL stop the OL from reaching the linebacker behind him: the whole intent of a wham block.  Ionnandis did this, Allen (circled) not so much:

They ran it a few times when Allen was in the game to the tune of 6.0 ypc; this would-be change up became a fastball.

On the good news front, Allen seemed more than able to handle zone blocking, both outside and inside:

He can let his 1st round athleticism take over on the basic stuff, he just needs to get comfortable handling blocks coming at him from his blind spot.

Ionanndis and Hood were the most improved guys on this roster.  Technique and strength at the point of attack were night and day from last year.  Last year, Hood was struggling inside and mutterings out of Redskin park hinted he was miscast as a Nose and would be at defensive end if not for depth issues.  All that seems to be resolved now as he took the majority of his snaps at nose and held up just fine.

McGee is probably slated for 5 technique.  He struggled with doubles inside and let guys get under his pads.  Against tackles and tight ends however, his 341 pound frame was more forgiving of that issue.

Linebackers
Player + Total
P. Smith 6 3 3
Kerrigan 7.5 3.5 4: lined up to the open side more often.  Less TE crushing, but better paths to the QB.
Foster 7 3.5 3.5: Picked up where he left off last year
Z. Brown 14 3.5 10.5: Biggest upgrade of the offseason.  Run defense is A level. Coverage‚Ķcheck back later
Galette 0.5 0.5 0
Anderson 0 1.5 -1.5: Struggled a bit holding the edge on outside runs
Totals     19.5:  Zach Brown baby.

A couple new faces entered into this corps with Zach Brown being the most welcome sight for sore eyes.  This here blog has officially placed Compton along with Pot Roast in the Please Never Again HOF.  Brown occasionally struggled with finding his zones in coverage, hence the minuses, but that is the stuff that can be coached up.  What can’t be coached up is this SPEED:

Also worth noting: both Brown and Foster understand the importance of depth with their zone drops.  I can’t count how many 3rd downs we gave up last year because Compton didn’t realize he had a receiver behind him that needed to be covered.  Zach Brown is the FA pickup off the off-season and is a big reason we could have a competent defense this year.

Galette and Anderson seem to be on a pitch count.  The only thing that popped up was Anderson’s inability to set the edge, something I’m not too worried about.  Manusky’s coaching cloth is cut from his days as an OLB coach and Tomsula is right behind him to teach leverage to any rookie who needs to know.

Kerrigan and Smith were asked to do more zone drops compared to last year.  Getting after the QB is still goal #1 for them, but we are going to mix up who drops into the hook zones a lot more this year, it won’t just be our inside linebackers.

The pick 6:  This one was set up early in the game on the 2nd drive.  Sproles and the WR to his side ran a corner/flat route combo that Hi-Low’d the OLB.  In this case it was Smith who was put in conflict:

Two drives later they brought out the same formation and we spread out our 5 man line to shorten the distance Kerrigan needed to cover in his zone drop.  They ran the same corner/flat route combo and that was all she wrote:

Coaching +1.

Defensive Backs
Player + Total
Norman 3.5 1 2.5
DJ 3 7 -4: Got picked on early
Fuller 7.5 0 7.5: Blew up screens all day.  Thanks Torrian Gray?
Everett 2 8.5 -6.5: Drew the shortest straw.  Manned up Ertz often
Breeland 2 1 1
Total     0.5: exotic blitzes caused a few busted coverages

Kendal Fuller was a terror on outside screens.  Someone somewhere coached this DB corps on how to handle WR blocks and a quick check of the coaching roster shows DB coach Torrian Gray spent the last 10 years in the fertile spread offense land of Blacksburg and Gainesville dealing with outside screens on the regular.  I don’t even know why Philly kept trying to test us outside, I mean fine…go right ahead please and thank you:

When tested deep, Fuller was in the receiver’s hip pocket and got the pass breakup:

What didn’t work as well were the guys behind our corners.  In the last clip you can see Fuller take outside leverage and funnel to the deep safety, in this case Swearinger.  But DJ got baited by an underneath route and was left hoping Fuller could save him from a public Monday scolding.  Everett’s shaky day was easier to tolerate since he got manned up on Ertz whose got route running chops I don’t see any DB not named Josh Norman able to shut down.

What does it mean for the future?

  • Allen will probably be tested with trap and wham blocks until he proves he can handle them.
  • Ionnandis and Hood version 2.0: Thanks Tomsula
  • Underneath crossers and wheel routes are the scariest to watch right now as the back 7 adjust to the new zone drops.
  • We aren’t giving up any easy yards on WR screens
  • We don’t play a Zach Ertz in week 2, that gives Everett a break.
  • Holy crap Zach Brown, where have you been all my life.
  • CHART