I don't even know where to start with this game. It was so bad. Let's just get straight to the film because talking about the game is already depressing me.
Watching the game live, I thought Wentz was okay throughout the game. I thought he faced way too much pressure to ever really play a good game and that as usual his receivers just weren't getting open at all.
I was wrong. Wentz played worse than I thought in the first half. That's just me being honest. I had some people accuse me last week of Wentz bias or whatever but honestly I always just say my thoughts here otherwise what's the point. Wentz sailed some throws but that wasn't the biggest issue. He just wasn't seeing the field properly and was too hesitant, as this play shows.
He looks directly at Josh Huff and just doesn't pull the trigger. Huff is wide open, there is no way the safety is getting over there. I haven't seen an Eagles wide receiver with a release that good off the line of scrimmage all year either, maybe Huff should play more. This actually looked a good throw live and it is an excellent throw (Jordan Matthews has to keep his feet in bounds here) but he totally misses Huff wide open. He missed another deep throw too a few plays later, he misread the coverage and threw to Matthews when he was covered and missed someone coming open on the other side of the field.
For what it's worth, I had a discussion with Fran Duffy about this play and he said that in a 3 level stretch play like that, the primary read is the intermediate throw to Matthews. He said it's impossible to see if he saw Huff. I disagree though, I think he clearly sees Huff and goes to throw it but for some reason pulls out at the last second. It should be noted though, that if Matthews is where he is going all the time, it's an incredible throw for sure.
However, I was also wrong about Wentz in the second half. He was better than I thought. Towards the end of the game, he made some absolutely incredible throws. Throws that only a handful of quarterbacks can make. Let's have a look at some of them to cheer us all up.
As Jon Gruden would say, I love how Wentz is a two handed monster here. When he's on the move, he's keeping his eyes downfield and he's not letting go of that ball. The throw is just beautiful too, it's perfectly placed so Dorial Green Beckham can catch it and run. Of course it didn't count because of a stupid penalty but anyway.
Although Dorial Green Beckham shows huge upside and makes some great plays with the ball in his hands. This stuff annoys me. He turns and looks for the ball over the wrong shoulder and by the time he turns around the ball is gone. Maybe the ball was overthrown anyway but it lands only a yard or two away from DGB, he can't make mistakes like this.
This throw is a beauty, an absolute beauty.. Look at where Jordan Matthews is when Wentz releases the football, he's a yard behind the cornerback. Wentz has faith in Matthews and throws a perfect ball. It doesn't get much better than this.
This throw is also very good. His pocket movement is excellent and his ball placement is superb. The best thing about this throw in my opinion is how fast his release is. That is a really good trait to have, Wentz gets the ball out of his hands here lightning quick.
Check out this throw to Zach Ertz too. That's a dart into a tight window and shows that Wentz has a cannon. So overall, Wentz played average. He had a really bad start, even when there wasn't pressure so you can't solely blame Big V. He picked it up though in the second half and played really well until that final drive when he took two awful sacks that he simply can't take. Just remember he's a rookie though, he's going to have some rough games. All I'm looking for at the moment is traits and to show that he can play in this league. I'm already sold that he can play in this league. There was no chance he was going to have a really good game playing behind this offensive line anyway.
The offensive line didn't pass protect well at all. Jason Kelce had another below average game and he commits way too many holding penalties. Even Allen Barbre and Brandon Brooks weren't great this game. Big V was a disaster in pass protection. Whenever he wasn't helped he just looked lost at sea. I'm surprised the Eagles are giving him another chance but I can't imagine he'll play much next week if he starts out the way he did this week.
The Eagles had success running some boot action too and I'm surprised they didn't use it more so Wentz could roll to the right and avoid whoever Big V was blocking. I didn't like Doug Pederson's game plan much this week. There was a lot of slow developing routes downfield that didn't work because Big V couldn't block. I would have preferred a dink and dunk type attack with more screens and short curls.
*Insert weekly comment that the Eagles wide receiver still aren't getting open enough against press man coverage and that the Eagles can't stretch the field at all*
As I'm showing a lot of Wentz to you guys, the running game never really gets as much comment from me so I apologise for that. In the off season I'll probably do some long pieces on the Eagles running game and really dive into it to make up for it.
Once again, I don't have a lot to show for the running game. The Eagles ran the ball okay but it wasn't consistent enough. Big V actually run blocked fairly well but the Eagles struggled to move the interior defenders. Ryan Mathews showed some juice on some runs none of the Eagles running backs showed the ability to really make a defender miss. This run just summed up the Eagles game to me.
I mean, why is Jason Peters pass blocking on a running play? It's third down and the Redskins only have 6 in the box so the Eagles decide to run it with Barner. It would have made sense if Jason Peters had decided to remember that he's run blocking on this play and not pass blocking. This just annoys me.
I don't actually think the Eagles secondary played as badly as many think. The Redskins wide receivers are really talented, the biggest problem by far was the pass rush. None of the Eagles cornerbacks played great but none of them were terrible either. Actually, Ron Brooks was pretty bad. Jalen Mills can't cover DeSean Jacskon one on one with no help. Does that surprise anyone? I have no idea why Schwartz asked him to cover Jackson in situations like this in the slot.
Jackson is a nightmare to defend in the slot because because he can beat you deep by going to the inside or the outside. Expecting Mills to cover Jackson here is asking a lot. Mills had a bad start but he played really well in the second half and made a couple of pass breakups on the goal line. I liked the way he stuck with Garcon on this deep comeback here.
I think Mills is suited to covering bigger and slower possession type receivers. He doesn't have the long speed to cover the really top end speedsters but in his defense, there are very few cornerbacks who can line up with players like DeSean Jackson one v one and succeed consistently. Lots of Eagles fans hate how arrogant Mills is (he was wagging his finger a lot) but I like it. Cornerbacks have to be arrogant and annoying. When they get beat, they can't get down, they have to just get on with and still play with confidence. I think Mills has that ability and he still intrigues me a lot.
As I mentioned above, the pass rush was just awful. Fletcher Cox had a bad game, Brandon Graham had a bad game. Vinny Curry had a bad game, Connor Barwin had a bad game. They just couldn't get pressure.
I do have one issue though, Schwartz should have blitzed more. I counted about 4 or 5 all game. I get that Schwartz has a philosophy but if you can't get pressure on someone like Kirk Cousins you simply have to Blitz. Cousins is a bad quarterback when under pressure. You have to do whatever you can to make him feel uncomfortable, bring some cornerbacks, send Mychal Kendricks round the edge, have Hicks and Bradham blitz. When he did blitz, they were slow developing blitzes too with guys coming late that means your secondary still has to hold up. You simply have to try more than just keep rushing the same 4 players and keep failing to get pressure. I also thought Schwartz played man coverage too much and Rodney McLeod was often far too deep to impact the play. That's what safetys have to do when you have such a good deep threat like Jackson.
This was a really bad play too. I don't really get what happened here. It's cover 2 but there's no middle linebacker as Hicks if all the way over the other side. That just leaves a huge space in the middle of the field, Jenkins doesn't stay with Davis and it's as easy as a throw as Cousins will ever have to make. The middle is just wide open.
Malcolm Jenkins didn't have a good game at all. He did do this though.
What a play. Jenkins reads this all the way and Marcus Smith didn't bite on the play fake and managed to pressure Cousins. I'm shocked that Cousins made a mistake when under pressure...
I could write an entire article about how bad the Eagles run defense was. Bennie Logan played well and Jordan Hicks played okay. The rest of the defensive front were bad. The Redskins created huge rushing lanes and the linebackers frequently had an offensive lineman charging at them which made it difficult for them to shed blocks.
I don't want to blame everything on the wide 9 because that's stupid. Schwartz has run the wide 9 for ages and frequently had really good defenses that can stop the run. However, there were issues this game with it. The Eagles didn't execute it well enough. The wide 9 was created to stop outside runs and funnel everything inside. The Eagles still couldn't set the edge despite this and they let the Redskins get outside way too much.
Someone want to explain to me what Brandon Graham is doing here? He's not setting the edge that's for sure. Last week I praised him and said he always sets the edge really well. The only answer is - Graham is clearly reading my articles and doesn't like me. I have no other answer.
Some really bad run defense here too. Barwin is so wide they just leave him alone and he can't get back inside and make the tackle fast enough. Then Rodney McLeod gets beat. Then Mychal Kendricks misses a tackle. Not good stuff Eagles.
Fletcher Cox got manhandled by Brandon Scherff in the run game. Cox was too focused on getting up the field and left a huge hole behind him on a number of occasions. I did enjoy Bennie Logan telling Vernon Davis to get off him though.
Bennie Logan did have a really good game, his injury was a disaster for the Eagles. The Eagles were defending the run pretty well before Logan went out injured but the Eagles should have enough good players on their defensive line to cope with one injury.
This is where I think the wide 9 does cause a problem. Look at the gap between the Eagles defensive tackle and defense end. The Redskins ran through that gap a lot and had a lot of success. I understand the Eagles want to attack, but if they leave that huge gap and Nigel Bradham charges up the inside they aren't going to have a lot of success. Beau Allen gets absolutely dominated here too.
The Eagles run defense was just flat out bad. They blew gaps inside, couldn't set the edge, then they would overpursuit when they did set the edge and of course just missed too many tackles. The Redskins used a lot of misdirection to counter the Eagles aggression (as the Lions did last week) and it worked. I will say this though, the Redskins do deserve credit too. They used a number of different run plays, kept the Eagles guessing and made some really impressive blocks. Their running backs also frequently made someone miss or chose the right hole, they were very good.
I'll end it there for this week. I think the Eagles will bounce back next week against the Vikings on defense. I'm not predicting a win, but surely they can't be that bad again on defense, right?