Man Up: Herremans again proves his value
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Man Up: Herremans again proves his value
Sheil Kapadia, Philly.com
Before I get to the player-by-player breakdown, a few notes on the offensive performance overall.
I thought the Eagles' gameplan was excellent. The Redskins had shown in their first four games that they could really rush the passer. With a makeshift offensive line, Marty Mornhinweg and Andy Reid protected against that attack in a variety of ways. Short drops for Michael Vick. Rolling him out away from pressure. Playing with two tight ends. Running the ball with LeSean McCoy.
Those were key factors in keeping the Redskins off-balance and neutralizing, for the most part, their pass rush.
In the second half, a couple issues that we saw in the first five weeks creeped up. Vick and Vince Young each threw interceptions. And the Eagles failed to convert on a 3rd-and-1 and then a 4th-and-2.
But the bright side is they were able to run the clock out and put the game away after taking over with 2:44 left.
Keeping all that in mind, here's the player-by-player breakdown:
Michael Vick - I'll have the full breakdown in Mike Check Wednesday, but he completed 18 of 31 passes for 237 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Vick also ran four times for 54 yards (when you take away the three kneel-downs). The interception was in the red zone and came on a pass that hit a Redskins defender in the helmet at the line. Vick has been having a lot of balls batted at the line this season. The most encouraging sign was probably how comfortable he looked taking 3- and 5-step drops and getting rid of the ball quickly. The cameras caught Reid getting on Vick a little bit after a third-down incompletion in the red zone. My guess is it had something to do with the protection call. Ryan Kerrigan came untouched on the play and was in Vick’s face as the Redskins blitzed with six rushers.
Vince Young - He played two snaps in relief. Protection was good on the first play as the Redskins only rushed four defenders, but Young took off and ran for 2 yards. He threw an interception on the second play.
LeSean McCoy - I wrote last week that it felt like the Eagles had yet to acknowledge just how well McCoy had been playing. Well, that changed this week as he rushed a career-high 28 times for 126 yards. He had an 11-yard run in the red zone. He had a 21-yard run in the first. He did a great job of making London Fletcher miss near the line of scrimmage on a 14-yard run in the fourth. And he picked up 20 yards on three carries on the final drive to help put the game away. I’m probably most impressed with McCoy's ability to make moves in traffic and make people miss. As a blocker, he had an excellent chip on Kerrigan as Vick hit DeSean Jackson for 12 yards on 3rd-and-2. He also had a good blitz pickup on the Young interception. As a receiver, McCoy had 13 yards on two catches, including a 10-yard gain on third down. He dropped a shovel pass in the red zone on what looked like it would have been a touchdown.
Dion Lewis - He played a couple snaps and had two carries for 10 yards. He gave great effort on the 8-yard run in the red zone that was originally ruled a touchdown, but then overturned. It'll be interesting to see how the coaches split playing time between him and Jerome Harrison going forward. There really aren't a lot of snaps to go around.
Ronnie Brown - It was a brief run for the veteran, who will be best remembered for his run/pass fumble against the 49ers. Brown was only on the field for one snap and will now resume his career in Detroit.
Owen Schmitt - He only played seven snaps, but I don't think I'm going too far in saying this is the best he's looked as a blocker in an Eagles uniform. Schmitt had a nice lead block on McCoy’s touchdown run in the second. And he threw good lead blocks on McCoy’s 11-yard run and his 7-yard run on the final drive.
Winston Justice - Gotta give Justice credit even though Reid said he wasn't 100 percent. As I mentioned above, the gameplan put the offense in a good position to succeed. Justice held up well in protection. The only time I noticed him having trouble was on the 23-yard completion to Jackson, and obviously that wasn't too bad. Justice wasn't as good on run plays. He wasn’t able to block Barry Cofield on an early McCoy run that was stopped for no gain. And he had trouble on a 2-yard McCoy run to the right in the first. But overall, not a lot of issues.
Danny Watkins - I thought he played better than last week. Only a couple issues for Watkins in his second career start. He made a great block, taking the defensive tackle to the ground on a McCoy run that was stopped for no gain in the second. He had another good block on a McCoy run that was stopped for no gain. Watkins helped open up a hole for McCoy on his 14-yard run in the fourth. And he made a nice block on McCoy’s 3-yard carry on 2nd-and-1 in the red zone. Kerrigan got between Watkins and Jason Kelce on an early third-down throw, but Vick got rid of the ball. He bumped into Justice, and neither made a block on a McCoy run that was stopped for no gain in the second. And Fletcher went right past him on a blitz on 4th-and-2 in the third. Overall, though, an encouraging performance.
Jason Kelce - He played better than a week ago, but still had some issues. Kelce's snap was high on the near-disastrous play where the ball went over McCoy’s head and towards the end zone. Barry Cofield went right around him and hit Vick on a third down in the second. He had some trouble with the defensive tackle on the play where Vick got intercepted. He had some trouble again on Vick’s 11-yard completion to Jackson in the third quarter. And Kelce got beat by Kedric Golston in the third, although in all fairness, Oshiomogho Atogwe got to Vick first for the sack. He was good in protection on the first deep attempt to Jackson. And he took out Rocky McIntosh on McCoy’s 11-yard run in the second.
Evan Mathis - Outstanding game for Mathis. He did a good job on the deep attempt to Jackson on the first play, blocking the defensive tackle and then switching to the blitzing linebacker. His block opened up room for McCoy’s 7-yard run in the first. He did a good job blocking in the open field on McCoy’s 21-yard run. He made a good block on McCoy’s 3-yard carry on 2nd-and-1 in the red zone. On the final drive, he shoved Fletcher to the ground on McCoy’s 11-yard run. Mathis then blocked Fletcher at the second level on the next play, a 7-yard McCoy run. The only misstep I saw was when he got pushed back into McCoy on a run that lost 2 yards in the third.
Todd Herremans - As I re-watched the game, I got to thinking: Where would this team be without Herremans? Last year, he and Jason Peters were the only two linemen the Eagles could count on consistently. Before this season, he was suddenly called on to fill in at right tackle after the Eagles' other options proved to be disastrous. And with Peters and King Dunlap banged-up, he filled in at left tackle Sunday. Not only has Herremans been versatile, but he's played well. Herremans passed off the linebacker and then crushed Atogwe on McCoy’s 11-yard run in the red zone in the first. He made the key block on Celek’s 7-yard touchdown. His block opened up room for Lewis on the 8-yard run. He and the whole left side of the line did a good job on McCoy’s touchdown run. Herremans picked up Fletcher, who was blitzing on Vick’s 26-yard completion to Maclin. And his blocks helped open up room for McCoy’s 11-yard run and his 7-yard run on the final drive. The only hiccups: Herremans was called for holding on the play where Vick scrambled and had to leave the game. And he was called for a false start on the second offensive play. But overall, Herremans was tremendous.
Kyle DeVan - He came in at the goal line and lined up between Herremans and Mathis on the left side. DeVan made a good block to open up space for McCoy on the touchdown run.
Brent Celek - Forget the receiving numbers. Celek is blocking at an extremely high level and was a major reason why the Eagles were able to run the ball Sunday. He had a key block on Brian Orakpo to open up a running lane for McCoy on his 21-yard run in the first. He delivered a good block on LaRon Landry on McCoy’s touchdown run in the second. He made an excellent block on Orakpo on McCoy’s 11-yard run. As a pass blocker, he pretty much blocked Orakpo 1-on-1 on Vick’s 23-yard completion to Jackson. As a receiver, Celek had four catches for 42 yards and was targeted nine times. He had a drop the first time Vick targeted him, but it didn’t really matter as it would have been only about a 6-yard gain on 3rd-and-15. The 7-yard touchdown in the first could not have been executed any better. He showed great concentration on the 21-yard catch in the second. And Celek's 9-yard grab in the second got the Eagles into the red zone. He had a shot at another touchdown in the second, but I couldn’t tell from TV whether Fletcher deflected the pass or if Celek just dropped it. Last thing: Did you notice him line up as a fullback on a few occasions?
Clay Harbor - He played about 21 snaps. Harbor had two penalties in three minutes - one on special teams and a false start on offense. Harbor had some good moments as a blocker. He did a great job blocking Fletcher on McCoy’s 11-yard run. And he made good blocks on McCoy’s 11-yard run and his 7-yard run on the final drive. Earlier, it looked like he completely whiffed on his block of Orakpo in the second, but Vick took off for a 25-yard gain.
DeSean Jackson - I know the first play looked ugly, but I liked it. I think it’s always a good idea to take a shot deep with Jackson early, just to get opposing defenses thinking about him. Overall, Jackson had three catches for 46 yards on seven targets. He did a good job to catch a 23-yard pass and get down immediately before Landry could do damage in the first. He also had a 12-yard grab on 3rd-and-2.
Jeremy Maclin - We probably haven't made enough of the fact that he got through a major medical scare in the offseason and is now performing as one of the best receivers in the league. Maclin had five catches for 101 yards on seven targets. He picked up 26 yards on a catch in the second. He did a good job getting to the football after Vick’s pass in the second was deflected high up in the air. I’m not sure how DeAngelo Hall didn’t get a hand on the 59-yard catch in the third quarter. It looked like Maclin had a drop early on, but it would have only been about a 2-yard gain near the sideline. Maclin gave good effort as a blocker downfield on McCoy’s 21-yard run.
Jason Avant - He had three catches on four targets for 28 yards. Avant had an 18-yard grab over the middle on 4th-and-2 on the Eagles’ first scoring drive. He gave good effort as a blocker on McCoy’s 11-yard run in the second.
Riley Cooper - He played about five snaps but was not targeted.
Steve Smith - He played seven snaps and had a 7-yard catch in the fourth.