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Eagles Film Room: Just call him 'Clinical' Carson Wentz

Wentz and the Eagles made a lot of great plays in Week 3. Were they just as good on second consumption?

James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that was fun. The Eagles absolutely dominated a very good Steelers team in a way that I didn't think was possible to be honest. Watching the All-22 was awesome this week because you could see the Eagles game plan work perfectly.

Feedback for last weeks post seemed to be positive so I'm going to stick to the same layout. I could show so many good clips so apologies if I don't post something you expected me to. Feel free to comment below if you want to see a specific play or player more in depth and I'll post it on my Twitter (@JonnyPage9).

Someone did ask me to post more negative clips and I said I would normally post more of them. However, that won't start this week. I'm keeping everything positive this week because I'm in a great mood, the Eagles totally dominated the Steelers and there also weren't any total bonehead plays by anyone.


Passing Attack

The Eagles passing attack was clinical on Sunday. Carson Wentz was smart, accurate and made a couple of beautiful throws. He's not playing like a rookie, it's almost absurd how well he's playing really. Pre-snap he was excellent again but post-snap I thought he was even better than previously. He has shown improvement with each week in the post-snap phases and he seems to process information after the snap quicker than he did in week 1. He threw short a lot this week but that's because the Steelers take away a lot of the deeper routes and keep everything in front of them by playing a lot of zone coverage.

Last week I looked at a few plays that showed off Wentz' pocket movement. This week, I want to look at his ball placement. The coaching staff has done an incredible job with his footwork and mechanics which means he isn't sailing any passes at the moment and his accuracy is great. Wentz has the arm talent of a top 5 quarterback, no doubt. He can throw darts with perfect velocity if he needs to but he also throws a beautiful touch throw and his deep accuracy has been excellent.

Here's an example of a dart from Wentz. He knows Dorial Green-Beckham has the size to box out the cornerback and he places this ball perfectly. The Steelers ran quite a bit of zone coverage on 3rd down and Doug Pederson called some great zone beaters. In the throw above he called the dagger concept. Jordan Matthews clears out the space for DGB to run into and Wentz reads it and throws it perfectly.


This is another throw that has perfect ball placement. At first I thought this was an awful drop by DGB but when you watch it up close, the Steelers cornerback does make a really nice pass breakup. However, this ball is thrown perfectly.

Check out his footwork here in the pocket, that's pretty much perfect. Also, I loved this play call for a number of reasons. Firstly, it was straight after a turnover, Doug wanted to go for the kill which I love. Secondly, Doug runs this designed shot play out of a 2 back set. By going into a 2 back set, the Eagles are trying to force the Steelers to play a coverage with only one deep safety. Wentz recognizes it's single high post-snap and makes the correct read and a lovely throw.


Wentz makes this throw just look effortless. Celek is open but the throw still has to have the right amount of touch to get over the linebackers. This ball couldn't be placed any better and it's an easy catch for Celek. Wentz' footwork is excellent and it's a 3 level stretch play and you can see him reading the go route and waiting for Celek to get behind the linebackers. The Eagles love the 3 level stretch plays and they work excellently against zone coverage.


This doesn't really show his placement but I couldn't not show this throw. Wentz is reading the defense to the left side of the field but feels the rusher coming through the middle. He avoids the rusher while keeping his eyes downfield. He could possibly scramble for the first down but he knows that Sproles will come open up the sideline so he buys a time and throws a perfect strike to Sproles. What a play.

Few other notes: The offensive line deserve huge credit as their pass blocking was simply outstanding all game. Lane Johnson and Jason Peters were both excellent on the edges and the interior was much better than last week. Jason Kelce still got pushed back a few times but for the most part he was pretty good.


Finally, the Eagles won with misdirection again.

I spoke in length about the Eagles using misdirection last week and it was the same thing this week. Lining Celek up in the backfield and having him block to the same side as the jet sweep completely fools the defense and it's a great design. The best way of seeing if misdirection works is watching the linebackers. Yeah, this play fooled them. Sooner or later, the Eagles are going to hand the ball off to the receiver running the jet sweep a few times in one game just to keep the defense honest.

Running Game

The Eagles running game came alive on Sunday against a really strong Steelers front 7. I was really impressed with the Eagles running backs and the offensive line was absolutely awesome. Brent Celek and Trey Burton also blocked really well. I didn't expect Burton to be able to block at all well so that was a nice surprise. Zach Ertz has developed into a decent blocker now so the Eagles have 3 legitimate good tight ends who can both block and catch. Lane Johnson and Allen Barbre in particular I thought were absolutely dominant and stood out on the offensive line in the run game.

That clip shows both of them working the Steelers front 7 and that wasn't the only time. These blocks from Johnson and Barbre are simply so good. Also, check out Trey Burton's block coming across the formation on Steelers number 98. We finally got a good look at Wendall Smallwood and he was really impressive as this run shows. He has more burst than any of the Eagles running backs and you could see it on Sunday. Here he hits the hole really quickly and bursts through the middle and delivers a lovely spin move which almost gets him in the endzone. I would love to see more of Smallwood and Barner carrying the ball throughout the rest of the year.


Here's another perfectly blocked play by the offensive line and it's another good run by Smallwood. He could have easily cut it back as there was a big hole but Steelers number 50 was coming to close it quick. By stopping and cutting back he would have lost his momentum too. He made the right decision to get skinny and burst through the smaller hole made by Jason Kelce flattening number 79. He showed some moves at the end too and was unlucky to be tripped up by the Steelers safety who made a really nice play.

Smallwood has an impressive ability to make cuts and moves without really slowing down at all which makes him difficult to tackle. The last two runs show this ability off well, he can spin and juke without really losing a yard of pace.


Here's another clip where the run blocking was dominant and this is a great run by Kenjon Barner this time. Just look at these blocks, basically every single guy executes his job perfectly. I thought Barner had an excellent preseason and if you read my preseason week 1 and 2 reviews on BGN, you might remember I consistently mentioned how much his patience as a runner impressed me. Here he reads his blocks well and waits for the hole to develop and then bursts through it. Smallwood obviously stood out but I still like the way Barner runs. He isn't as talented or as fast but I think there should be a role for him, especially on these outside runs that take time to develop.

It was really good to see the Eagles running game get going, especially without Ryan Mathews who when healthy is still a really talented back. I thought the running backs would be an issue going into the season but I'm glad it's not so far. Doug's play calling has been excellent and he's helped his running backs out with some misdirection and the offensive line was dominant on Sunday.


Pass Defense

I loved the Eagles game plan this week on defense. They played a lot of single high on the early downs and managed to take away the shorter throws and stuff the Steelers running game for no gains. This forced the Steelers into a number of 3rd and longs and then the Eagles played a lot of 2 man coverage which meant they could double Antonio Brown. I think Brown was only targeted once on 3rd down throughout the game but I may have missed one.

Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham also had another great game. Bradham is looking like an absolute steal so far this year. Stephen Tulloch also shows great awareness in coverage but he isn't as fluid as Hicks or Bradham are. There's a reason the Eagles have been so good against tight ends and running backs in the passing game this year, the linebackers are excellent. Theo Riddick will be a great challenge in week 5 though.

The Eagles cornerbacks were fine in this game but the 2 Eagles safetys played absolutely out of their minds. Malcolm Jenkins was phenomenal, it was one of the best games I've ever seen from a safety. Just look at some of these plays.

That play, is simply outrageous. I mean, Brown has Jenkins twisted around and beat. Jenkins hips are so fluid and he's so athletic he somehow manages to keep up with Brown and almost intercepts the pass. Jenkins also understands how to cover, you can see him slightly pull Brown back but it's very subtle and this will never get called a penalty. You need to do things like this in coverage and if you don't you're going to get beat.


Here's another awesome play by Jenkins on 4th down. I'm not entirely sure of the coverage here, it's definitely a combo sort of coverage with cover 2 on one side and Jenkins must have man responsibility if Brown goes underneath or something. Whatever the call, it's fantastic coverage and an awesome play by Jenkins.


Here's a 3rd down where you can see that 2 deep type look which means the Eagles can basically double Brown. It worked all game because the other corners won their matchups, here Carroll and McLeod show good coverage too.


Jalen Mills will probably take some criticism considering he got beat a lot but I thought he played a really tough game. Covering Brown one on one is basically an impossible task but I thought he played well considering the circumstances. He had a lot of help from Jenkins on 3rd down but sometimes he was asked to cover Brown pretty much one on one like in the clip below.

Mills sticks with Brown here really well, not a bad play by Jenkins again is it?


I thought I'd show this play because it's such a heads up play by Nolan Carroll and it also shows another combo coverage called by Schwartz to take away Brown. The Eagles are in 2 man coverage on Brown's side but in zone on the other side. Big Ben recognises this and throws to the other side. Carroll reads the play perfectly, he bails from the receiver running a fake screen and nearly picks off the pass intended for the slot receiver running a fade.


So the secondary had a really nice game. The defensive line however, totally took over the game. Brandon Graham was outstanding once again, he's playing at such a high level right now. I had someone ask me if I thought Fletcher Cox was slightly disappointing the first 2 weeks of the season and I said he's played well but hasn't taken over a game yet. Well, Cox took over the game on Sunday.

Check out this sack. Look at the power that Cox has. Cox isn't just powerful either, he lines up at defensive end at times and shows incredible speed and athleticism. His use of hands may be his most underrated trait. He uses his hands so well to fight off offensive lineman and get to the ball as quickly as possible.


Also, I had to show this play. I mean, look at Cox move?! That guy is over 300 pounds and he's moving like that in the open field! It's not like this play is designed either, he obviously just sees Ben is about to release it and sees the center getting up the field and takes a chance that Brown might be right behind him. Most defensive lineman wouldn't even both to turn around here and try make a tackle. It's good to see that he isn't going to stop working just because he got paid.


Speaking of moving well, Jordan Hicks can also move pretty well...

This play is just trademark Jordan Hicks. He does this so frequently. He reads the play perfectly, shows great speed to get to the receiver quickly. He doesn't charge him like a stream train and overrun the play, he waits for the receiver to make his move and makes a great tackle. Hicks is so good.

Run Defense

The Eagles run defense was outstanding this week against a really good Steelers running game. Although Cox and Graham stood out, the entire defensive front 7 was awesome. I could probably look deeper at the run defense alone but this post is already getting long enough and I focused on the pass defense. Just check out a couple of these plays, there were a lot more like this, the front 7 was awesome against the run.

Everyone does their job here and DeAngelo Williams has absolutely nowhere to go. Beau Allen and Bennie Logan both occupy blockers, Marcus Smith sets the edge and Jordan Hicks plugs the gap. It's pretty cool that the Eagles feel confident enough to stop the run with 3 of their 4 starters on the defensive line being rested on this play (Cox, Barwin and Graham).


Final play from me today, guys. Here's another great team play against the run. Kendricks sets the edge and Barwin makes a really great play, shedding two blocks and getting to the ball carrier. Barwin has had a really good year so far, I'll be honest I didn't see him being able to play in this scheme as a defensive end but I was wrong.

Until next week.

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