There's an overload of excellent Eagles content out there this week. Here's a round-up of the best stuff that I could find...
Here are five film breakdowns (with screen grabs) from Sheil Kapadia, Fran Duffy, Derek Sarley, and Jeff McLane), and one extremely thorouh player-by-player breakdown by Tommy Lawlor. Tremendous stuff here...
“It’s just a numbers game, a mismatch that we try to get when I go over to the left or the right,” Peters said. “Get the defense off-balance and then run into their weakness.”
Added Kelce: “It’s just another thing the defense has to think about. It’s just another thing the defense has to prepare for. And the whole thing with tempo is just trying to catch the defense on their heels and make them feel uncomfortable. So the shift can do things like that. Just a little change of moving a tackle over to a different position, and now all of a sudden the defense has to react, figure out where to line up and play the ball rather than thinking about the situation, the down and distance, the personnel that’s on the field and things like that.”
Zach Ertz lined up to the left of Jason Peters at the Eagles’ 46 yard line.
When the ball was snapped, he took off down the seam before turning his head around, finding the ball, making the catch and somersaulting to the ground for an 11-yard gain.
Ertz got up, found the official, tossed him the ball, looked towards the sideline for the next play and set up at the exact same spot in-line next to Peters.
Not a lot to think about for the rookie after his first career catch. The Eagles were about to run the same play twice in a row.
In a game that featured a number of examples of great coaching, execution and game planning, it was tough to come up with only two plays from Monday’s season-opening win over the Washington Redskins to feature in this piece. After much thought, it became clear that the first item to be addressed had to be running back LeSean McCoy’s touchdown run in the third quarter, which in the end would prove to be the game-winning touchdown.
On second down from the Redskins’ 34-yard line, the Eagles came out in their most popular personnel grouping of the night - 11 personnel, with one running back (McCoy) and a tight end, Brent Celek. Throughout the game, the Eagles offense came out in a wide variety of formations in this grouping, some of which included what is called an “unbalanced line,” which you will see below …
One of the plays I’ve been most excited about seeing this group run is the “sweep read,” which changes up the regular outside zone read by pulling multiple linemen and shifting the quarterback’s read from the defensive end to an unblocked defensive tackle. The Eagles ran this play several times on Monday night and by highlighting two of those occasions we can demonstrate the bind into which it puts the defense:
Back in May, amid a throbbing bass, fly swatters and the frenetic pace of his first NFL practice open to reporters, Chip Kelly sneaked in a few plays during installation periods that used an unbalanced offensive line with the right tackle lined up inside the left tackle, and more radically, both tackles split wide.
They weren't new formations for Kelly, who gave all sorts of unorthodox looks at Oregon. And NFL teams have been using unbalanced lines for years. But the new Eagles coach tucked the plays back in his toolbox and didn't unveil them during open practices during training camp, or against the Patriots in two scrimmages, or in four preseason games.
D JACKSON – Terrific game. This is the DeSean we’ve wanted to see for a couple of years. Wasn’t just a threat. Actually produced in this game, going 7-104-1. Caught screen on 3rd play of the game. Love that. Gone are the days of DJax going deep over and over. Get him the ball and let him make plays. Got the ball 4 yds behind the LOS and still got 16 yds on the play. Even better. Jackson had a chance to run out of bounds early, but initially went inside and then cut out wide to get out of bounds. I have no problem with DJax avoiding hits by getting out, but in the past he was too quick to do that. Here he got a good gain and then played it safe. That’s smart football. Opened the 2nd drive by making a short catch and then using his great acceleration to explode up the field for a gain of 26. Caught a pass on crossing route in the mid-2nd and got upfield for the 1st down. Then went out of bounds. Got tackled late by Deangelo Hall and that drew a flag. DeSean jumped up and shoved Hall. He wasn’t penalized for that, but probably should have been. Has to be smart. If the Skins are dumb enough to give you 15 yds, take ‘em. Don’t give them right back.
Mixed results with his blocking. Had some good blocks, but needs to more consistently get in there and occupy his defender.
Jimmy note: Tommy writes up his notes on every Eagles player that sees action. The above is probably a little more detailed than the norm, but Tommy's detailed game review posts are must reads every week.
You can hate the Eagles as an institution. Hell, there have been plenty of times over the last two years when I’ve hated the Eagles. Andy Reid ran a rigid, West Coast offense with the imagination of an accountant — the kind of accountant who accidentally loses all your money investing in non-Google search engines and then says, “That’s on me, I have to be better.”
Let's be honest: Football is not really that fun. It's awesome, dudes get lit up and we feel it in our chest-caves, it's intense, it's communal, and it's the dominant narrative generator in the world of sports. I wouldn't call it fun, though. But after an offseason that called into question whether it’s morally responsible to enjoy this sport, and after an opening Sunday of Carolina-Seahwaks, Gabbert, all of the Steelers getting hurt, Weeden, the Jets-Bucs Stupid Bowl, and the usual 10 seconds where you wonder whether someone just died on a football field after a hit, after all that, to see a team be so arrogantly creative, so wildly entertaining … that was something anyone could love. The Eagles deserved to be playing sports the same night as Rafa-Djokovic. Last night, the Eagles were fun.
Jimmy note: The above is the most boring part of Chris Ryan's article, and I did that by design to make sure you go read of all the awesome stuff inside. I literally "laughed out loud" several times. Very fun piece about the Eagles being fun. FUUUUUUNNNNN!
Chip Kelly did it. On the league's biggest weekly stage, against the archnemesis division champions, on the road, Chip Kelly's Eagles whipped Washington. That 33-27 final score masks a dominant performance in which Philadelphia had a win probability of 87 percent or higher from the moment it made it 19-7 onward. Washington came back because the Philadelphia defense played conservative zone coverage for most of the second half and the offense dumbed things down. It seems pretty likely that the Eagles didn't want to put anything else on film that they could unveil in future weeks while they were up multiple touchdowns.
"The version that Chip Kelly has brought to Philadelphia is in itself new to the NFL. We’ve all had the two-minute offense where quite frankly we are snapping the ball at that speed, the idea of playing for a full game like that, you know, is new for me in watching it in the NFL. They’re putting the pressure really on the defense to get lined up and communicate and recognize again what all the options are and be in position. Even when it isn’t something that is going what I call Mach speed, it still forces you without a huddle to do a great job communicating."
-- Tom Coughlin, Giants head coach
Jimmy note: This is great. Phil collected quotes from players and coaches around the league, who give their whether or not the Eagles' offense is sustainable.
The story of the second half was that the Eagles slowed down, for whatever reason. Some attribute it to simply being worn down from running that fast pace in the first half. Others will say that the Eagles started to play conservatively on defense in order to run the clock down and protect their lead. Meanwhile, the Redskins picked up their pace and seemingly staged a near comeback by playing a lot better than they did in the first half.
If the Eagles were truly "playing it safe", the data certainly supports that theory. According to Win Probability (WP), courtesy of Advanced NFL Stats, the Eagles were never truly in danger of losing to the Redskins.
Less than 2 minutes into the first game, Chip Kelly gets his first test. Obviously, Chip went for it. In fact, what I liked most about this play was that he continued to use the no-huddle. Many coaches would have kicked a field goal in that situation. Several other coaches would have gone for it, but would have called a TO or at least huddled up first, giving him some time to think about a play call. Few, if any, would attack it the same way Chip did (no-huddle, no hesitation).
Jimmy note: Lots of math lies within, if you're into all that.
As of Sunday night, the Eagles were a 50-to-1 longshot to win the Super Bowl, according to Las Vegas oddsmakers Bovada.com.
One wild win over the Redskins later, the odds have improved to 28-to-1.
In case you missed it at the Red Zone...