First off, I'm travelling a lot at the moment which is why this post is a little late. I'll be unable to get anything up on the site after preseason Week 3 and Week 1 of the regular season sadly, but every other week should be fine. NFL Game Pass here in the UK no longer allows you to watch the all22 during preseason which is annoying so I'll just be looking at the normal film until the regular season comes around.
Breaking down preseason tape isn't easy, especially without the all22. Normally, I keep an eye on specific players that I really want to watch rather than break down the key plays of the game. There's no focus to this weeks post, I'm just going to post some observations and plays that I found interesting. Starting with the offense.
Enough has been said about the game, let's just get to the film.
Most Eagles fans are excited about the three tight end set being used this year (mainly because it means less receivers on the field) and it is clear that Trey Burton, Zach Ertz and Brent Celek are all good receiving threats. However, for the three tight end set to really succeed, all tight ends need to be able to block well. Here they block perfectly which is a great sign. Ertz is a really underrated blocker because he's constantly compared to Celek who is one of the best blocking tight ends in the NFL. I expect the Eagles to line up like this a lot and then split Burton and Ertz out wide, which will give defenses nightmares especially in the redzone.
Just to prove my point again, here's another nice block by Ertz on a Kenjon Barner run. I know it's very difficult to judge running backs in preseason but I thought Barner had a really nice game. He's not going to suddenly break out and have 1000 yards from scrimmage because he simply isn't that good, but I think he's a good option to have and should definitely get a few touches a game in this offense. He runs with power for a small guy and his stiff arm here highlights that well.
I really like this play from Barner too. A lot of running backs who are trying to prove themselves will just charge up field as fast as they can to avoid a negative play or try and break a big run on every play. Barner shows good patience here which is impressive for a young running back and he cuts up field quickly when the hole appears. Nothing fancy but he's taking what the defense is giving him which is sometimes all you need.
Last Barner clip for now but this play impressed me again. He needs to catch the ball better as he fumbles it a little bit but the second he has the ball in his hands he shows good burst to avoid the defender. I like the way he just puts his head down at the end to get the first down rather than try to cut back inside too.
I wanted to focus on Nelson Agholor but without the all22 it was hard to do. However, even on the TV copy you could tell that he still doesn't look explosive enough. When I recently broke down Agholor's film, I commented how poor he is at using his hands when trying to create separation and how weak he is with cornerbacks at the line of scrimmage. This play highlights this, it's not a bad route but he still doesn't show any real explosion. However, he has a chance to run by the cornerback who just steps in his way. Agholor may want pass interference to be called but you have to be more physical than this. Agholor should use his hands to swat or rip past the cornerback but instead he leans his head into him and gains no separation at all while being forced towards the sideline. This is not encouraging at all.
Another receiver I have never been high on is Josh Huff. I thought he was wildly overhyped last offseason and I just don't think he's very good. Despite this, you can see that he's explosive when watching him. He's at the top of the screen here and although it's hard to see without the all22 you can at least see the burst and speed that he has. I just didn't see this with Agholor at all, Huff isn't a better player but he's clearly more explosive.
On the previous play, Chase Daniel had no time to throw the deep ball to Huff because of the protection. Andrew Gardner was at left tackle this play, can someone explain to me what he is doing? He doesn't even extend his arms or try to get his hands on the defensive lineman's chest. Let's hope Gardner isn't asked to play tackle much this year because this is ugly.
I decided not to focus on Carson Wentz for this piece because without the all22 I didn't feel I could add anything extra to what BLG wrote recently. I decided to show this one clip though because I love that he's always trying to throw the ball before taking off and running. To be a great quarterback, you have to win from inside the pocket and want to throw the ball first, running should be a last resort. Wentz is constantly keeping his eyes downfield here even after he has ran around the Bucs defender. This play is encouraging because it tells me that he doesn't want his athleticism to be the main part of his game, his running ability should be a last resort but it can still be deadly just like above.
Let's move on to a few clips of the defense. I love this play because it symbolizes Jim Schwartz' defense to me. It's not just the front 4 that are in attack mode, it's the linebackers too. Bradham and Hicks just charge up the middle instantly and both of them make a play on the Bucs running back behind the line of scrimmage. This front 7 will almost certainly be the best thing about the Eagles next year.
I'll end with a couple of clips from players that stood out to me. Jaylen Watkins still isn't a strong tackler but his coverage is certainly impressive for a backup safety. He showed off his coverage skills on a couple of plays and this pass break up here is excellent.
Lastly, Steven Means had a pretty good game. He was obviously only going up against backups but he certainly caused the Bucs more problems than Marcus Smith did. His spin move here is excellent, he gets up field quickly off the snap which makes it look like he's going round the outside but then he shows good quickness and athleticism to spin inside and get pressure. It's a shame he didn't get the sack but this play ended in an Eagles interception so!