Friday, December 26, 2014

Eagles-Pats: Film Review of Offense

Here’s the breakdown of the Eagles offense in the Patriots game after re-watching the tape (note: the NFL doesn’t provide the all-22 in the preseason):

Eagles-Pats: Film Review of Offense

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles. (Elise Amendola/AP)
Eagles quarterback Nick Foles. (Elise Amendola/AP)

Here’s the breakdown of the Eagles offense in the Patriots game after re-watching the tape (note: the NFL doesn’t provide the all-22 in the preseason):

FIRST TEAM

Quarterback: Nick Foles bounced back from a sloppy preseason opener against the Bears. He completed 8 of 10 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown. The protection up front was better and thus he had more time to pick his spots. He tossed a strike to Ifeany Momah on a 12-yard slant. He set in the pocket and threw a rope to Brent Celek for 23 yards over the middle. Foles overthrew Momah, who had a half step, over the top in the end zone deep. It wasn’t a bad pass. He went through his reads before finding Celek for 22 more yards. On third and goal, he threw to Zach Ertz for a touchdown.

Running backs: LeSean McCoy made something out of little on an outside zone play and picked up 13 yards. He probably danced a little too much on another OZR and was dropped for -2 yards. McCoy’s been holding the ball out on certain rushes. Darren Sproles didn’t get any runs, but he had a six-yard catch out of the backfield and wormed his way for seven yards on another short pass from Mark Sanchez.

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Wide receivers: Ifeanyi Momah started for the second straight game with Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper out. He had a frustrating outing. For all the gains he’s made, he’s still shaky. Momah used his length to pull in a pass from Foles, but fumbled the ball. He caught a 12-yard slant despite getting little separation and tight coverage. Sanchez threw low to him in the end zone, but the ball was in his hands and it squirted out to Arrelious Benn for the score.

Brad Smith played only five snaps and must have suffered his groin injury before leaving. I still think he’s on the roster. Arrelious Benn showed awareness in saving Momah’s bobble. He showed his special teams value by blocking a punt. Jeff Maehl was probably a little rusty in his first game back from injury. Still, he fumbled after a short catch.

Jordan Matthews showed fans the Matthews we saw through most of training camp. He caught all nine passes thrown his way for 104 yards a week after three drops. He dove for a low throw by Sanchez and showed strong hands. He played with the starters some and had one catch for four yards. He did most of his damage with Sanchez. Matthews caught an 18-yard curl in a Pats zone. He picked up ten yards after a screen to the slot. He used a stiff arm to pick up additional yards after another screen. He caught a short crosser from Sanchez and got vertical for 25 yards. He’s not super quick, but put the burners on after a bubble screen and gained 19 yards. The 4.4 40 he ran at the combine doesn’t transfer to the field, at least not yet, but he’s fast enough.

Tight ends: Brent Celek caught two passes for 45 yards. One the second, he took a big hit from safety Patrick Chung and lost his helmet. Celek is as tough as they come. Another solid effort by Zach Ertz the receiver. Lined up opposite Chung in man coverage, he ran a dig and gave Foles a big target on the six-yard TD. Later, he drew an illegal contact penalty on Chung. He made a leaping 25-yard grab after he beat the linebacker downfield. Get used to it. He still needs work as a blocker and missed his man on a McCoy carry.

Offensive line: Evan Mathis looked like Evan Mathis. Jason Kelce was solid. He was pushed back a few times by Pats nose tackle Vince Wilfork but also had his share of wins. Some of Kelce’s shotgun snaps have been sloppy. Todd Herremans has been the most consistent linemen through two preseason games. Jason Peters had trouble with a Pats lineman on a stunt, but Foles avoided a would-be sack by throwing the ball at Celek’s feet.

Allen Barbre was effective against the run. His pass protection needs work. He allowed a sack when Pats end Rob Ninkovich got around him. Barbre gave him too much space in his vertical step.

SECOND/THIRD TEAM

Quarterback: Mark Sanchez had his second straight impressive outing. The Eagles should feel good about their backup situation. He completed 11 of 12 passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns. His lone incomplete was an interception. He telegraphed his throw to James Casey, threw behind him and the safety jumped the route. He was otherwise near perfect. He showed good arm strength on downfield throws to Ertz and Matthews. He made the correct reads on underneath passes to Matthews and Damaris Johnson on a 5-yard TD out of the backfield. He looked in command of the offense.

Matt Barkley had another decent game. He looks more comfortable than last preseason. Many of his nine completed passes were on short stuff, but he zipped an 18-yard pass to B.J. Cunningham in a tight window and hit Trey Burton on the money for an 18-yard gain on a crosser. The interception wasn’t his fault. His throw to Johnson on a wheel route was a touch short, but it bounced off his receiver’s hands. G.J. Kinne didn’t play.

Running backs: With Chris Polk, Matthew Tucker and David Fluellen sidelined, Henry Josey got more playing time. He looked better. He got north on almost every inside zone rush. He’s quick. He muscled for a first down on third and three. He hopped to his left and got skinny through a slit for nine yards. He did most of the work on a screen that went for 27-yard yards. He stayed inbounds. He’s a likely practice squad candidate. It’s probably wasn’t a good sign, but Damaris Johnson was moved from receiver to running back for this game. He rushed seven times for 15 yards. He’s obviously quick and gets vertical, but didn’t seem to finish off his runs. He bungled the wheel route pass that bounced off his hands. He showed why he’ll land with some team if (when) the Eagles cut him when he shook a Pats defender on a 21-yard catch and run.

Wide receivers: Josh Huff left with a shoulder injury he suffered on a kick return. Quron Pratt and Kadrone Boone played, but were never targeted.

Tight ends: James Casey caught a 7-yard dig and later plunged for a first down over a Pats defensive back. His blocking was effective. Trey Burton had his struggles as a blocker, but he easily beat a safety inside on an 18-yard completion.

Offensive line: Matt Tobin appears to the Eagles’ best reserve lineman. Chip Kelly said Tuesday that Tobin would be the first tackle-guard off the bench with Barbre currently starting. He’s athletic and fast. He’s best in run blocking when he gets to the second level as he did on a Josey 14-yard carry to his side.

David Molk had another solid effort and is the likely backup center with Julian Vandervelde ailing. He hasn’t played much guard yet, Kelly said, and will need to get reps there if he’s to dress. He’s not large (6-1, 290), but looks like he understands leverage. He was quick off the ball and with his hands in run blocking. He was knocked aside rather easily once in pass pro. He drew a holding penalty, but may have had no choice when a rusher broke free of another blocker and was bearing down on the quarterback. He got downfield and hit someone on Josey’s 27-yard TD screen.

Andrew Gardner looks like he has a roster spot. He’s a little top heavy for a tackle, but makes up for it with good footwork. He sealed a defender off when Josey picked up 15 yards on the ground to his side. Dennis Kelly allowed pressure on a Sanchez screen. He still looks like he’s catching up after missing most of last season after back surgery. Kelly probably has a roster spot wrapped up, but may lose it once Lane Johnson returns from his suspension.

 

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Birds' Eye View is the Inquirer's blog covering all things Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL.

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