Manusky acted like a mad scientist with some of our line ups, this was 3rd and 3:
Galette is playing inside linebacker.
McGee has outside contain; something he has struggled with all year
Zach Brown is lined up as a defensive back over Ertz–not good:
Galette covers the same gap as Ioannidis.
McGee gives up contain
Zach Brown is playing cornerback.
Does Galette know inside linebacker reads? Can McGee keep up with Wentz on contain? Why the hell is Zach Brown playing cornerback?
Later on a 3rd and 6 we come back with Galette at inside linebacker again:
As soon as that gap opened up between Kerrigan and Foster, a true inside linebacker would have fired through. But instead you have a guy shuffling towards the sideline unsure of how to attack the running back and giving up a first down. Rather than forcing a punt and getting the ball back down one touchdown, they go on to score to make it 31-17.
Quarterback scrambles and deep shots.
On the first play of this drive Dunbar (circled) had trouble fighting through traffic and covering his crossing route:
So on the next play DJ makes a call for Dunbar to pass off his crosser to Nicholson. Problem is, Dunbar doesn’t realize this means he has to now carry anything deep that Nicholson would’ve had:
That left Mason Foster one on one with Ertz which resulted in a 46 yard play. There are a lot of ways to look at this play, but I’m seeing it as:
A minus on Dunbar for not picking up the deep route that Nicholson left for him
A bad adjustment. I mean just let Dunbar fight through traffic and cover that route. It was a 2 minute drill and that shallow crossing route wasn’t going to kill us.
-2: losing pass rush lanes and RPOs slowed us down
+ plays are good.
- plays are bad.
If it's a ho-hum play, like a 3 yard gain on first down, then usually nobody will do worse or better than -1 or +1. But give up a 64 yard touchdown (-4) or get a TFL/Sack (+2) and I go higher in either direction.
Pressure: Did the quarterback comfortably hold onto the ball for longer than 3 seconds: -1. Did the QB feel pressure in 3 seconds or less? +1
Those were a couple plays where Ziggy got blown off the line. He would occasionally stalemate a block, but he never fought through doubles like Ioannidis:
The Eagles offense is coached by three former quarterbacks in HC Doug Pederson, OC Frank Reich (Terp), and QB Coach John DeFilippo.
Pederson is an Andy Reid disciple so we can expect a healthy dose of option football and small wide receivers blessed with smurf speed. Reich was responsible for Phillip Rivers’ best years (and yes he’s the guy who led the biggest comebacks in college and the NFL) and DeFilippo somehow managed to eek out a Pro Bowl tight end in 2015 with Johny Manziel and Josh McCown at quarterback.
All three heads put together generate an attack that looks to create confusion with mesh routes (air raid), stretching of defensive flat zones (west coast), and dual threat quarterbacks that force you to keep one guy protecting a keeper or bootleg at all times (option.) So basically this is Kansas City’s offense all over again, except it’s Philly so the concepts aren’t clever, they’re just prickish and annoying.
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.
2: Just A Guy, won’t hurt but isn’t going to disrupt either.
2.5: Able to hold up to doubles and recognize all blocks.
-3: Discussion below
3: Way stronger at the POA, especially at nose. Thanks Tomsula.
2: Just A Guy #2, except not really. Can get under blocks and disrupt occasionally.
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.
4: lined up to the open side more often. Less TE crushing, but better paths to the QB.
3.5: Picked up where he left off last year
10.5: Biggest upgrade of the offseason. Run defense is A level. Coverage…check back later
-1.5: Struggled a bit holding the edge on outside runs
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:
-4: Got picked on early
7.5: Blew up screens all day. Thanks Torrian Gray?
-6.5: Drew the shortest straw. Manned up Ertz often
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.
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!!]
So you know that play where Will Compton sacked the quarterback and then immediately followed up with an awkward DABZ? No? Well no worries because I’ll walk you through how we got to the thing that should’ve died 6 months ago. The sack that spawned Quavo Compton happened on the 2nd drive but it’s origins are connected to an earlier play:
The formation is a 3 x 1 set with a tight end lined up tight next to the offensive tackle. The WR from the trips (3 receiver) side will go in motion. The center and guard are going to flow left like the play is an outside zone running play. The RB will also sell it as an outside zone running play by running parallel to the line of scrimmage as he fakes getting the handoff: