Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Man Up: Improvement from the Eagles' O-line?

Below is the player-by-player breakdown of the Eagles' offense in Sunday night's loss against the Falcons, after having re-watched the game.

Man Up: Improvement from the Eagles' O-line?

Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin was targeted 15 times on Sunday. (AP Photo / John Amis)
Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin was targeted 15 times on Sunday. (AP Photo / John Amis)

Below is the player-by-player breakdown of the Eagles' offense in Sunday night's loss against the Falcons, after having re-watched the game.

But first, an overall point that needs to be made: The Eagles' offensive line is improving.

There's always going to be a lot of talk about Michael Vick, his style of play and the need to protect him. And rightfully so. The Eagles need Vick to get to where they want to go, and they need him to be healthy.

But on Sunday, the offensive line gave Vick time to make throws from the pocket. LeSean McCoy missed his block on the play where Vick was injured, and the Eagles' quarterback slammed into Todd Herremans. I'm not sure how the offensive line is responsible for that injury.

More coverage
 
Les Bowen: Red-zone red flag for Eagles
 
Inside the Eagles: Defensive weaknesses cost Eagles

The Eagles were one of five NFL teams to not allow a sack in Week 2 (joining Tennessee, Buffalo, Oakland and Detroit). On average, teams gave up five quarterback hits. The Eagles gave up six. The offense scored 31 points, LeSean McCoy averaged 5.3 yards per carry, and Vick/Mike Kafka averaged 8.5 yards per attempt.

In other words, the offensive line played pretty well. The group still had breakdowns here and there and needs to improve, but when listing reasons why the Eagles lost Sunday night, I don't think offensive line play even cracks the top 10.

Keeping that in mind, here is the breakdown:

Michael Vick - I'll have the full analysis in Mike Check tomorrow, but there are two areas to examine with Vick. One is Vick the passer. He showed a lot of progress in that area, getting rid of the ball quickly, reading the blitz and not relying on his legs. Overall, Vick finished 19-for-28 for 242 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He showed good patience and made a good throw to Jeremy Maclin for 20 yards in the first. He did a good job of getting rid of the ball on a completion to DeSean Jackson where the Falcons sent six at the end of the first quarter. He did an excellent job finding Maclin for the first touchdown as the Falcons sent seven defenders at him. He stepped up in the pocket and hit Jason Avant for 29 yards in the second. He made a nice throw in the face of pressure to Brent Celek for 24 yards.

The second area is ball security. Vick was charged with three turnovers. The first fumble wasn't really his fault as defensive tackle Peria Jerry made a great play. The second fumble was careless. And the interception should have been reviewed, but it was still a bad decision and a bad throw. Vick also made a dangerous throw to Celek in the end zone in the second that could have been picked off. That's two weeks in a row he's thrown into traffic in the red zone.

Mike Kafka - If you're a regular MTC reader, you know I've said all along Vince Young should get the nod ahead of Kafka as Vick's backup, but the second-year QB showed a lot on Sunday night. He finished 7-for-9 for 72 yards. The only incompletions were the Maclin drop and the Hail Mary. Kafka made a good read on first down late in the fourth. The Falcons zone blitzed and sent five. Kafka got rid of the ball quickly and hit Maclin for a 9-yard gain over the middle. He showed good patience and made a good throw on the 43-yard completion to Maclin. The Falcons sent seven and overloaded the left side on the final drive. Kafka calmly hit LeSean McCoy on a swing pass and picked up 7 yards. We'll see if the Eagles start him on Sunday.

LeSean McCoy - As a runner, McCoy is playing at a very high level. When there's not a lot of room, he's making something out of nothing. When there is room, he's making people miss and picking up big chunks of yardage. Overall, he carried 18 times for 95 yards and two touchdowns (5.3 YPC). The one hiccup was a 3rd-and-1 play where it looked like McCoy went the wrong way, as NBC analyst Cris Collinsworth pointed out. McCoy was 8-for-10 on 3rd-and-short last year so that failed attempt was surprising. As a blocker, McCoy has shown improvement since he entered the league, but Sunday was not one of his better performances. He was a little late on his blitz pickup on Vick’s 2-yard completion to Celek. He did a poor job picking up Falcons LB Sean Weatherspoon on the Vick interception in the third. Weatherspoon and a defensive back hit Vick on the play. McCoy did not do a good job picking up safety William Moore, who hit Vick as he collided with Todd Herremans and sustained the concussion. It wasn't all bad for McCoy as a blocker. He did a good job picking up a blitzing defensive back on Vick’s third-down attempt to Avant. And he picked up a linebacker on Vick’s 29-yard throw to Avant in the second quarter. But overall, he needs to be more consistent as a blocker.

Ronnie Brown - He played nine snaps, carrying three times for 10 yards. But 11 of those yards came on the fake toss/handoff in the first. I'm with Al Michaels and Collinsworth. That was a good-looking play. Brown has not looked great as a blocker through two weeks. He did just enough to slow down a blitzing DB on Vick’s 29-yard completion to Avant in the second. I don't see him getting more carries in the coming weeks.

Dion Lewis - He played only one snap, entering the game at the end of the first quarter and doing a decent job of blitz pickup.

Owen Schmitt - He played 11 snaps but was not targeted. Didn't notice Schmitt too much as a blocker either.

Jason Peters - Collinsworth was not shy about his man-crush on the Eagles' left tackle. Peters was outstanding throughout, but especially in the run game. He got out in front and knocked the defensive back over on the stretch play to McCoy in the first. He did a good job picking up a blitzer on Vick’s third-down attempt to Avant in the first. He did a nice job in protection on Vick’s 20-yard completion to Maclin over the middle in the first. He got out to the second level on Brown’s 11-yard run. He delivered a great block out in front on McCoy’s 6-yard run in the second. McCoy ran right behind him for a 23-yard gain in the third. And how about Peters leading the way on the Maclin 36-yard catch and run in the third? There was a false start, but other than that, outstanding game.

Evan Mathis - Mathis was really impressive in the run game. He made an excellent block on the 11-yard Brown run in the second. He made a nice block on the linebacker on Vick’s 7-yard keeper in the second. He took the defensive tackle to the ground on McCoy’s 6-yard run in the second. He made a nice block on McCoy’s second touchdown run. He delivered a powerful block on McCoy’s 19-yard run in the fourth. In protection, he held up well, but had a couple issues. He got bowled over by defensive tackle Vance Walker, who hit Vick as he released a nice throw to Celek for 24 yards in the third. And Mathis had some trouble with Corey Peters on Kafka’s 2-yard pass to McCoy. He did a good job in protection on Vick’s 20-yard completion to Maclin and again on the 16-yard completion to Maclin.

Jason Kelce - We haven't heard his name much the first two weeks, and that's a good thing. Let's start with pass protection. Like Mathis, Kelce had a couple issues, but was overall pretty good. He got beat by Jerry, who hit Vick as he completed a pass to Jackson for a first down. He made an excellent block on a defensive back during McCoy’s 10-yard screen in the second. Good hustle by Kelce to block Weatherspoon on the 36-yard Maclin catch and run. In the run game, he got just enough of the defensive tackle on Brown’s 11-yard run in the first.  He had some trouble with Jerry on McCoy’s 6-yard run in the second. He had trouble with Jerry on McCoy’s 4-yard run in the second. Kelce did a good job of getting out in front and blocking a linebacker on McCoy’s 23-yard gain in the third.  He made a nice block on McCoy’s second touchdown run and again on McCoy’s 19-yard run in the fourth.

Kyle DeVan - He too had some trouble with Jerry, but DeVan showed improvement from Week 1. DeVan got beat by Jerry in the red zone in the second, but Vick took off and ran. On the play where Vick took off and fumbled, DeVan must have been expecting a quick throw. The Falcons only rushed three, and he and Kelce double-teamed Ray Edwards. But at one point, DeVan turned around completely and faced Vick, who was in the pocket, and Edwards slipped by him, nearly coming up with a sack. Later, DeVan had some trouble with Jerry on Kafka’s 2-yard pass to McCoy. He made a good block on McCoy’s 3rd-and-1 carry in the fourth.

Todd Herremans - After having watched Herremans the first two weeks, I'm wondering why he wasn't moved to tackle earlier. Let's start with the good. He made a nice block on the 11-yard run by Brown in the first. He made a nice adjustment, picking up a blitzer on Vick’s first-down completion to Jackson. He did a good job on John Abraham on Vick’s 9-yard completion to Celek. He had a good run block on McCoy’s 3-yard run in the third that picked up a first down. He cleared some space for McCoy’s 5-yard run in the third. Herremans had a nice block on McCoy’s 19-yard run in the fourth quarter. He made a good block on McCoy’s 3rd-and-1 carry in the fourth. The issues? He had a little bit of trouble on Vick’s first-quarter completion to Celek. And Abraham got the better of him on Vick’s high throw to Celek in the second. Abraham beat him to the inside on the play where Vick dumped it off to McCoy in the third. Overall, though, a good showing. Abraham had 13 sacks last year and two sacks in Week 1. The Eagles shut him out and limited Abraham to one QB hit.

Brent Celek - He was the Eagles' second-most targeted receiver behind Maclin. Celek ended up with four catches for 43 yards on seven targets. He got the Eagles down to the 3 with a 9-yard catch, but they ended up settling for the field goal. He made a 24-yard grab in the second. In the second half, Celek dropped a pass near the goal line, but the Eagles ended up scoring on the drive anyway. He and Peters did an excellent job double-teaming Edwards as Vick picked up a first down with his legs to set up the McCoy touchdown in the third.

Clay Harbor - He played 25 snaps. Not counting the Week 17 game against the Cowboys last year, that's the most of his career, according to Pro Football Focus. Harbor was asked to block Edwards 1-on-1 on Brown’s red-zone run in the second. That didn’t work out so well as Edwards dropped him for a loss. He was not targeted as a receiver.

DeSean Jackson - Jackson's numbers weren't great (two catches, 21 yards), but he had a good "little things" game. The highlight was Jackson chasing down and tackling Edwards after the fumble recovery. He also gave good effort as a blocker on McCoy's touchdown run in the third. Jackson has dropped three balls in two weeks, including one in the end zone on third down against the Falcons. But Atlanta was called for an offsides penalty on the play.

Jeremy Maclin - He was targeted 15 times and came up with 13 grabs for 171 yards. Unfortunately, the play a lot of people will remember is the drop at the end. Maclin should have made the catch and clearly felt terrible about it after the game. Earlier, the Falcons rushed seven at Vick in the red zone, and he found Maclin wide open for the Eagles’ first touchdown. Maclin had a great catch and run on the 36-yard touchdown in the third. He had a big 3rd-and-8 catch for 9 yards to set up McCoy’s second touchdown.

Jason Avant - Like Maclin, Jackson and Celek, Avant too had a drop. Overall, he was targeted four times and had one catch for 29 yards. That reception came on a play where the Falcons blitzed in the third. Avant got just enough of Dunta Robinson on the 36-yard Maclin touchdown.

Steve Smith - He looked pretty healthy to me. Smith played 18 snaps and had two catches for 29 yards. I get the feeling Andy Reid will want to get him even more involved next week against his former team.

Riley Cooper - Cooper played only three snaps. I'm not sure why he wasn't in the game on the Hail Mary, given that Cooper is the Eagles' biggest receiver. And unless I missed something, the Eagles were one player short on the play after Maclin got the helmet-to-helmet hit by Robinson. Cooper lined up at wide receiver, and the Eagles had both tight ends and McCoy on the field, but were only playing with 10.


You can follow me on Twitter or become a fan of Moving the Chains on Facebook.

Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
About this blog
Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for philly.com. His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at skapadia@philly.com or by clicking here

Follow Sheil on Twitter. And become a fan of Moving the Chains on Facebook.

Download our NEW iPhone/Android app for even more Birds coverage, including app-exclusive videos and analysis. Download it here.

Reach Sheil at skapadia@philly.com.

Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
Latest Videos:
Also on Philly.com:
Stay Connected