We'll do something a little different today on the daily "What they're saying" post. All film breakdowns! Enjoy, and get your learn on...
“The defense doesn’t know what to do,” Harbor explained. “If they’re gonna put all linebackers out there, they don’t know if we’re gonna go in tight and pound the ball or if we’re gonna spread out wide and throw the ball. If they bring in linebackers to guard us, we can all run like receivers. If they bring in defensive backs, we’re gonna get in tight, or we can still stay out wide and pound the ball. It’s really a chess match between the coaches there. And anything they do, we win.”
You probably still remember the second-quarter run play where Mychal Kendricks (!) and Nate Allen (!!!) both blasted through the line of scrimmage to drop DeAngelo Williams in the backfield for a loss. One thing that jumped out is how similar it looked to a play against the Patriots that really stuck in my craw. Let's compare the set-ups:
McDonald’s will sell you a double stack hamburger for a dollar, an astonishing food value for so little money. Chip Kelly coached his first NFL (preseason) game Friday against the New England Patriots, and served up a heap of double stacks, himself.
In this case, the “double stack” is a flexible (aka “packaged”) play with one running back and four out receivers –- one behind the other, wide on each side. It was one of Kelly’s signature plays at Oregon, and spun off into the triple stack play later.
The All-22: Philly’s speed kills, but it’s Chip Kelly’s fakes that confound defenses - Doug Farrar, Sports Illustrated
With all the talk about the Philadelphia Eagles’ fast-break offense under new head coach Chip Kelly, the real effect of that offense will be seen over time as NFL defenses adjust and adapt to concepts they may not have seen. It’s great to be able to run plays as quickly as 13 stopwatch seconds apart, as the Eagles did in Thursday’s 14-9 win over the Carolina Panthers. But it was how quarterbacks Michael Vick and Nick Foles (and to a degree, third-stringer Matt Barkley) sold play action in many ways that decided Carolina’s defense to a large degree. And we’re finding out that there’s much more to Kelly’s playbook than a bunch of guys running around in a wishbone.
The multiplicity of that offense has already been discussed estimably by many, includingGrantland’s Chris Brown, Mike Tanier of Sports On Earth, and our own Chris Burke, and Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said after the loss that he really could have done without it. For Rivera, it was less about the speed of the Eagles’ game, and far more about what they were doing with it.
“I’m not sure if it was as much tiring as much as we probably overplayed the play action and it’s all part of it,” Rivera said. “It stymies your pass rush. One of the things that you can’t do is you can’t allow that play-action to [stop] you doing your assignment. We started watching the mesh point a little bit too much, in my opinion. I’ll get an opportunity to see it on tape but I really thought that we were letting it freeze us a little too much and they did some really nice things. This is assignment football when you play a team like this.”
Great, thorough work as always by Tommy. A sampling:
CHANEY - So disappointing. Played ILB in 3rd Qtr. First play was a run to his side. Got blocked and RB went for 15 yds right through that area. Made a nice play vs screen pass in the late 3rd. Got in RB’s hip pocket and made the tackle right after catch. TFL. Good tackle. Played late in the game against fringe guys and failed to stand out. Struggled to get off blocks. Wasn’t instinctive. Needs to play WLB on a 4-3 team.
ACHO - The Eagles 3rd best ILB and I’m not sure it is close. Came into the game in the mid-3rd. Made tackle on run play away from him on first snap. Moved laterally. Stayed back. Then made a good tackle. There was a run play in the late 3rd Qtr where Acho made the read and stepped up to make the tackle. As he was taking the RB down, Chaney was 2 yds behind him…I assume still trying to read the play. Yikes. Bit on run fake on 3rd/shot and left the FB open in the flat. FB caught pass and got the 1st down. Acho chased him down and made the tackle. Used spin move to get off block and make tackle on inside run. Had good coverage of TE on short route, but couldn’t make tackle. Gave up extra 5 yds. Does a solid job in coverage. Nothing special in terms of athleticism, but looks like a polished LB.
In case you missed my two breakdowns yesterday...
On Thursday night against the Panthers, Kendricks had a great game. A few of his better moments:
- He made a nice open field tackle on a Cam Newton scramble.
- He blew up DeAngelo Williams in the backfield for a loss. He read run, hit the hole, and made the play.
- He blew up a FB in the hole. The Panthers wound up getting a nice gain anyway, but it was good to see Kendricks get physical with a FB.
- He dropped into coverage several times (mostly into a zone), and was not targeted at all.
All of the above was good, but where I was really encouraged with Kendricks was when he blitzed. Kendricks didn't get many opportunities as a blitzer last season, which was a waste of his skill set. According to Pro Football Focus, Kendricks only rushed the passer 37 times in 2012. That's 2.3 times per game. By my count, the Eagles sent Kendricks on 6 blitzes in the first half alone Thursday night. He made plays on 3 of those, which I'll highlight below:
Over the last two seasons, the Eagles have had a grand total of ONE kick return that went for more than 33 yards. That is beyond pathetic, and should be an area where the Eagles will almost certainly be better in 2013. Last night against the Panthers, the Eagles showed signs of life in the kick return game.
The Eagles only had two opportunities to return kicks, and I'll show them both: