Considering it was a preseason game, I actually enjoyed the first half of the Eagles game this week quite a lot. There was a fair few wow plays and some nice interceptions. However, as always for this post, I'll try and breakdown some of the stuff you may have not noticed or simply stuff that I found interesting and not just post the major highlights. I focused equally on the offense and defense this week but I'll start with the defense.
Most of the clips are from the first half because watching the starters interests me more. Remember there's no all22 in preseason so I'll be looking at the normal film. Lets get to the film!
Lets begin with textbook coverage by Nolan Carroll. After watching Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams for a year, I simply love cornerbacks that turn their head around on deep balls. Watch Carroll here, he is waiting for the Steelers receiver to turn his head around and look for the football. When he does that, Carroll gets himself turned around and swats away the ball. Perfect.
I think a lot of people will be surprised by Jim Schwartz' defense this year. Everyone seems to expect him just to rush the front 4 and never blitz but when I watched his 2014 tape with the Bills he was not afraid to send extra rushers at times or use some odd looks. Against the Steelers, Schwartz showed a number of different looks that intrigued me and I'll show you a few now. Here he drops Curry into coverage and rushes 5.
A few plays later, he drops Brandon Graham into coverage and rushes 4.
In the next quarter he then sends Eric Rowe on a cornerback blitz. These 3 plays (dropping Curry and Graham and blitzing Rowe) show me that Schwartz isn't just going to rush 4 on every play like some people think. I really hope he finds a way to blitz Mychal Kendricks effectively next season too. Another thing to note on this play, Curry fails to set the edge. Graham and Connor Barwin are excellent at setting the edge so Curry will need to improve in this area.
Despite needing to improve on setting the edge, Curry is still one of my favorite defenders to watch. He doesn't get any pressure here because the right guard double teams him but he absolutely explodes past the right tackle. He takes a couple of steps up field and then just charges inside and the tackle just gets flat out beat. Without the help from the guard here Curry would have gone straight through to the quarterback. I bet when Fletcher Cox is on the field the guard won't be free to help out the tackle either...
Speaking of rushing the quarterback, Steven Means can really play. Look at his quickness and use of hands here, the right tackle tries to punch Means in the chest but Means just brushes him aside and bends the edge well. The pressure here certainly causes the interception, Means has to make this roster.
Here's another excellent play by Means and he beats the right tackle the exact same way as before. He really does use his hands well which is really impressive. Also on this play, it's nice to see Rowe making a play on the ball. Rowe has obviously struggled this offseason but I still think he's a talented player. Let's end with some clips of the offense.
Here's a simple short pass by Bradford, nothing to see here right? Wrong! Firstly, the offensive line holds up well here, especially Isaac Seumalo which is good to see. Seeing Sproles lining up as a wide receiver is also fun, he should certainly get some snaps there this season. Lastly, Brent Celek is lined up as the outside receiver which is interesting. I can't see him doing that much this season but I really think Zach Ertz and Trey Burton should line up out there at times. I like how Doug is using his players so far in preseason. After watching Chip's offense for 3 years I forgot you can line players up in different positions to create favorable matchups!
This play made me happy too. Nelson Agholor is not good enough to line up as the X receiver and beat press coverage one and one consistently. However, that doesn't make him a bust. The Eagles need to do this more, get him in motion and line him up as the Z receiver where he can get a free run off the line of scrimmage. Because of Chip's tempo, this is something Chip could never do and I hope Doug uses motion a lot to get Agholor some favorable matchups and let him avoid press coverage.
Here again Agholor is used in motion although this time it's to create misdirection. I actually thought Isaac Seumalo had a good game but this play is poor and he ends up on the floor which is never a good sign. Something I noticed in college with Seumalo is that he lunges in pass protection and it can lead to him looking really stupid. Hopefully he cleans up this issue and stops lunging in pass protection because he looks a good player when he isn't lunging.
Let's end with my favorite preseason player - Kenjon Barner! I highlighted him last week so I'll only show a couple of clips of him this week but I could have shown 5 or 6. He just looks really good. I love this run, he stays low and shows real patience. I highlighted last week his patience as a runner and you can see it again here. I love the quick change of direction after getting through the whole too, he shows some good burst.
Here's another solid run. He looks elusive, decisive and shifty. It's only preseason so I try not to get too excited but I really do like what I see from Barner. Lets hope he keeps it up and I would love him to get some snaps with the first team next week.