Saturday, April 19, 2014
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Man Up: Education continues for Watkins

Here's the player-by-player breakdown of the Eagles' offensive performance against the Browns after having re-watched the game:

Man Up: Education continues for Watkins

Jason Kelce (62) blocks for Michael Vick as he prepares to throw. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Jason Kelce (62) blocks for Michael Vick as he prepares to throw. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

Here's the player-by-player breakdown of the Eagles' offensive performance against the Browns after having re-watched the game:

Michael Vick - The numbers were rather pedestrian: 10-for-18 for 98 yards. Vick was under attack for much of the first half and completed just one pass to a wide receiver. Nine of his 18 attempts were to LeSean McCoy. The next time we see him in a game will likely be Week 1 in St. Louis against the Rams.

Vince Young - He went 9-for-12 for 58 yards. Good improvisation on 3rd-and-5, rolling to his right and finding Chad Hall for a first down. On Young's touchdown run, the Browns sent seven, and the Eagles only had six in to block. I am still of the opinion that he gets in the game if Vick goes down. Young is more talented and more experienced than Mike Kafka. He may not know the offense as well, but it's up to Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg to simplify things for him so he can succeed.

LeSean McCoy - Most of his damage came as a receiver. McCoy caught seven balls for 69 yards. McCoy had an 87 percent catch rate last year, according to Football Outsiders. In other words, 87 percent of the time he was targeted on a pass play, McCoy made the reception. Only Felix Jones and Pierre Thomas had higher catch rates among running backs with at least 25 targets last season. On the ground, McCoy had a nice 7-yard run in the first, but picked up just 5 yards on his five other carries. He delivered an outstanding blitz pickup on the 9-yard completion to Brent Celek. Maybe I’m nitpicking here, and I know I brought this up several times last year, but McCoy sometimes gets careless with how he holds the football. I noticed it again when he took the direct snap and ran for 4 yards.

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Ronnie Brown - He's looked good the past two weeks. Brown carried six times for 41 yards and also had three catches. He showed nice patience on the 13-yard touchdown run. As a blocker, it looked like he picked up the wrong blitzer on the play where D'Qwell Jackson crushed Vick and was whistled for a penalty.

Dion Lewis - He got in the game with the starters, but saw more action with the second unit. Overall, nine carries for 41 yards. The highlight was a 17-yard run in the fourth. And Lewis showed good toughness picking up a first down on 4th-and-1.. As a blocker, he did a good job on Young’s third-down incompletion to Johnnie Lee Higgins.

Brent Celek - He caught two balls for 15 yards. Celek made a nice block on McCoy’s 3-yard pickup in the first. But he missed his block on a 2-yard McCoy loss in the second.

Clay Harbor - Your new short-yardage option, ladies and gentlemen. Harbor picked up 7 on a 4th-and-1 carry in the first. In the third, he was called for back-to-back holding and false start penalties.

DeSean Jackson - He was targeted four times but didn't come up with a catch. If that happens in the regular season, you can worry. For now, reference that career average of 18.3 yards per catch.

Riley Cooper - It's worth noting that when the Eagles ran two-receiver sets, he was on the field with Jackson. Cooper was targeted just once and didn't have a catch.

Jason Avant - He was the only wide receiver who had a catch with Vick at quarterback, picking up 14 yards in the second quarter. But Avant did an outstanding job as a blocker on Brown’s 13-yard touchdown run.

Chad Hall - He made a nice adjustment on his only catch, picking up 14 on 3rd-and-6 in the third. Hall was called for a false start in the third.

Johnnie Lee Higgins - It was pouring, but he dropped a third-down catch in the third.

Sinorice Moss - He had two catches for 20 yards, including a 13-yard grab in the fourth.

Jason Peters - He held up fine in protection and on run plays. Peters did a good job on McCoy’s 7-yard run in the first, and he made a good block on Brown’s 6-yard run in the second. He missed the linebacker, who dropped McCoy for a 2-yard loss in the second.

Todd Herremans - Herremans held up just fine as well. He made a good block on Brown’s 6-yard run in the second.

Jason Kelce - When I re-watched the game, he was not as bad as I thought the first time around. Let's get to the issues first. The play where Browns defensive tackle Phillip Taylor crushed Vick is why I like to re-watch games. It was 3rd-and-3, and the Eagles ran a fake handoff to Brown. To sell the play, Danny Watkins and King Dunlap pulled, looping behind Kelce to the left side. That meant Kelce had to shift quickly to his right to block Taylor. Kelce got beat, but the execution was more complicated than I realized when it was happening live. Later, Kelce was called for holding on a run play. There was confusion on a second-quarter Vick throw where Watkins picked up a blitzer and Kelce was slow to shift to Taylor, who hit Vick. On another play, he and Watkins were slow to pick up a stunt. And on a run play, the linebacker got through between Kelce and Herremans to drop McCoy for a 2-yard loss. Kelce and Vick botched the exchange on a snap too. There were actually some good moments though. He did a nice job picking up a blitzer on Vick’s 9-yard completion to Celek. And you could see his athleticism on the Harbor carry. Kelce delivered an excellent lead block on Brown’s 13-yard touchdown run. Overall, it's probably what you'd expect from a rookie who has been practicing for only a month. At the same time, it's not as good as you need from a starting center for a Super Bowl contender. I see the appeal of Kelce, but I don't understand the rush. Why not start the season with Jamaal Jackson and go with Kelce if you need to later in the season? Why not wait until 2012 and give him some time to learn? Those seem like fair questions to me.

Danny Watkins - Watkins obviously struggled quite a bit. It looked like the first big hit on Vick was his fault. The Browns rushed five, but Watkins and Kelce blocked the same guy, leaving Scott Fujita with a clear path to the quarterback. Later, Taylor shoved him out of the way and pressured Vick, who was able to dump it off to McCoy on a screen. He got confused on a play in the red zone where the Browns showed blitz but only sent four. Watkins didn’t block anyone, and Taylor had a direct path to Vick to force the incompletion. But like Kelce, there were bright spots too. I’ll give him hustle points for looking for someone to hit in the open field on the first-quarter play when Vick scrambled and lost control of the ball as he hit the ground. Watkins jumped on it even though it wasn't ruled a fumble. On another play, a linebacker got a running start at him, but Watkins, without much effort, shoved him to the ground. He did a nice job in pass protection on a Vick incompletion intended for Avant in the second. And Watkins picked up a blitzing linebacker on the Vick touchdown run. Overall, lots of issues. But isn't this part of the learning process for a rookie offensive lineman? The question is: How long before he starts putting it all together? We're just about two weeks from the opener.

King Dunlap - Dunlap held up alright in protection, although he had a few issues as well. He got pushed back, but held his block on Vick’s 9-yard completion to Celek. He was later called for a false start. And Dunlap had some trouble with the DE on a 3rd-and-15 play. He got pushed back into Vick on the 6-yard completion to McCoy on a third down. I'm not sure how Vick got the pass off around him. The DE beat Dunlap badly on a second down late in the first half and got in Vick’s face.That may have been a designed screen though. Dunlap had other good moments in pass protection, including the play where Vick scrambled for 8 yards in the second. He's a different player than Peters on the left side. When Peters is going good, he's all over the DE, not letting the player get anywhere near the QB. With Dunlap, it's never as pretty, but he's shown in the preseason that for the most part, he can stay in front of the pass rusher. The plan right now might be to start the season with Dunlap. If he plays well, stick with him. If he doesn't, wait for Justice to get healthy and then move him back into the starting lineup.

Evan Mathis - He looked comfortable at left guard and would probably be the first interior lineman called on if Watkins or Herremans went down, or if Herremans moved to tackle.

Jamaal Jackson - One of the reasons I can't figure out the push for Kelce is that Jackson has looked very good all preseason. He looks comfortable. He looks healthy. He looks like he's had no issues with Howard Mudd's new scheme. Jackson seems to know what he's doing on every play. It's evident that he's started 72 games in his career. If he was struggling or having difficulty returning from his injuries, I could better understand wanting Kelce to win the job. But that hasn't been the case. The one hiccup was the botched snap with Young, but other than that, Jackson played well once again.

Julian Vandervelde - He was slow to react to a stunt in the third as Young was forced out of the pocket. Didn't notice him too much other than that.

Reggie Wells - I was as puzzled as anyone when they brought him back, but Wells actually held his own against Cleveland. He was slow to pick up a stunt on Young’s deep attempt to Higgins in the fourth, but other than that, was fine in protection. And Wells made a nice block on Brown’s 4-yard run in the third.


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Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
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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

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