Tag Archives: Eagles

FFODC Previews The Eagles

WHAT Skins (3-2) vs Eagles (5-1)
WHERE Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA
WHEN Monday, October 23, 8:30 PM
THE LINE  Skins +4.5 (O/U: 49)
WEATHER  H: 77, L: 64; Partly Cloudy

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.

Run Defense vs the Eagles

Wham:  In week 1 the Eagles ran a package of “wham” runs.  Basically a wham run allows for 1-2 offensive lineman to release immediately into the linebackers, creating a 200 pound mismatch and lots of room for the running back to run.  From what I have seen, they use wham with Blount at running back probably because it helps him build up a head of steam and do this:

LeGarrette Blount has averaged 4.9 yards AFTER CONTACT per carry in 2017. Only 8 running backs currently average 4.9 yards PER CARRY

It’s a deception play that Ioannidis was able to recognize, while Allen was not.  The result was a series of runs that yielded 6 yards per carry:

It’s a play that our offense uses, so whoever replaces Allen on Monday will have practiced against it.  Ioannidis shut this down by holding onto the lineman (legally, of course) who were trying to release to the linebacker level; that’s the cliff notes on how to beat it.

Otherwise, the Eagles core run package consists of inside and outside zone.  Those were the runs Allen excelled against; Ioannidis and the linebackers all perform well versus zone, how we do will probably come down to how Allen’s replacement (McClain/McGee/Hood/Francis) performs.

Versus DBs:  With the perimeter runs, the 49ers had success targeting our secondary whether is was catching us off-balance with motion:

Or targeting Baushaud Breeland in the run game:

Philly saw that and probably wants a shot at our DBs as well.  They have a couple of formations designed to target DBs, a twins formation like San Francisco used:

And a 3 tight end formation that will force our corners to stick their nose in the run game:

Zone Reads:  Another formation they like to roll out is a bunch formation split out wide which allows the QB lots of room if he keeps on a read option:

against Preston Smith this has no chance of working; he’s shown the athleticism to shut down both the quarterback and running back by himself on zone reads (see: Terrelle Pryor in Cleveland 2016.)  But what about Junior Galette and rookie Ryan Anderson?

Key Matchups:


If Breeland can’t go, rookie Fabian Moreau will most likely get the start and we have no idea how willing he is to take on pulling lineman and tight ends.  Best case scenario is for us to put DJ over the tight end side whenever possible.


Outside zone was Jonathan Allen’s specialty, it will be trial by fire as we try to find our #2 DT next to Ioannidis.  Versus Nickel, the Eagles like to play a 3 on 2 game with their left guard, left tackle and tight end vs the defensive end and linebacker.  They let their center try to reach/hook the defensive tackle, if he’s successful there is a big run in the making.

Hood has lost his swag the last couple of weeks as Centers have been dominating him one on one.  If that happens this week there will be huge alleys for running backs to cutback into.  Nose tackles are paid to dominate centers and stalemate against double teams at the very least.  If Hood can’t win, it will be up to newcomer AJ Francis, Stacy McGee (not his natural position) or Terrell McClain to take over.


We know Smith can handle them, but does Galette have the discipline–he tends to get up field and lose contain–and does Anderson have the eyes to contain zone reads?  No false steps allowed with the amount of space the Eagle’s formations will put them in.

Pass Defense vs the Eagles



Trips:  Three receivers to one side of the field is the Eagles base formation, they love to run every route they can from it and occasionally pound it up the middle.  The 3×1 formation spreads defenses out creating well defined mismatches.

It can put our rookie FS Montae Nicholson alone with deep coverage.  To exploit that, the Eagles have run a cross/post route combo which puts the Free Safety in conflict:

And attacked the FS directly with the inside receiver:

To the single receiver side the Eagles like to line up either 6’3 218 pound WR Alshon Jeffery or 6’5 250 pound TE Zach Ertz.

Related to that, Quinton Dunbar likes to “press and go”:

Can he get away with that technique versus guys who are Megatron clones?

2×2:  In week 1 they deployed a lot of 2×2 formations which put a safety one on one with Zach Ertz in the middle of the field, and they found success with Ertz vs Everett.  But ever since then, they have been rolling with Trips (3×1) and it’s been working for them.

Bubble Screens:  They have been calling bubble screens out of trips about three to four times a game in an effort to bait aggressive coverage and then attack deep.

FWIW: the Cardinals ID’d two formations that the Eagles liked to run the bubble out of, one is with the backup TE lined up as the #2 receiver:

with the other being Agholor lined up in the slot and Alshon Jeffery lined up outside him as the lead blocker; in both cases Arizona removed their OLB from the line and placed him over the trips side.

That being said, the screen is a play Kendall Fuller has blown up since week 1.  If they try it again, it will be in an effort to set up something over top like this slant (the underneath route isn’t a bubble, but same concept):


Key Matchups:


Trips formation puts us in a single high safety look which means Nicholson will have to win one-on-one matchups.  He is a rookie and you got 3 former quarterbacks on the coaching staff, I’d expect at least one or three deep shots thrown in his direction.


Dunbar has one thing he’s really good at, but I don’t think he’s faced guys this big on every snap.  It will be interesting to see if he keeps pressing at the line or backs off and lets his off-coverage skills do the work.

Three Predictions

  • McClain or Francis (they signed him for a specific reason) wins the Jonathan Allen job in our Nickel front
  • Nicholson gives up one big play
  • Wentz eludes 3 sacks.  Gruden loses his mind, anoints him the GOAT.

Skins 24-20, IF Breeland (or Norman?) starts.


Skins DEFENSE vs Eagles (I)

Click here for the play by play chart



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.

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…check 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.

Redskins Offense vs The Eagles (I)


When we sent out more than 1 tight end, the Eagles responded with a 4-3 and usually inserted a Safety into the box:


In an effort to get the ball out on the perimeter we positioned a Bunch/Triangle set tight to the line:


The Bunch (top of the screen) afforded us quick throws outside and also allowed us to crack down on edge defenders and pull lineman out wide to get them matched up on defensive backs.

Continue reading Redskins Offense vs The Eagles (I)

Redskins Defense Vs The Eagles (I)


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.

The Show:

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!!]

Continue reading Redskins Defense Vs The Eagles (I)

Breakdown: Defense vs Eagles (II)


I Hear He’s a Dabist:

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:

Continue reading Breakdown: Defense vs Eagles (II)