Eagles Film Breakdown: Halapoulivaati Vaitai (Big V) Pass Protection

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

[Promoted from the FanPosts]

Welcome to Issue #3 of the Amateur Hour, Eagles Film Breakdown! By: Shark Fighter & jose.cereza

Welcome back to Amateur Hour! I haven’t done this in a few weeks because I got lazy but after Monday’s game and the uncertainty at left tackle I wanted to go back and watch some film on our possible left tackle for the rest of the season, Halapoulivaati Vaitai. Aaaaaaaaaand I figured I might as well share my findings with you nice people.

Feel free to go back and watch/read the previous Breakdowns: Issue #1 -- Issue #2

Halapoulivaati Vaitai

There’s no doubt that Big V has some big shoes to fill. Jason Peters is 35 years old and was somehow still playing at an elite level. The man is headed for the Hall of Fame. Vaitai is a 5th round player from TCU in his 2nd year. Obviously his draft position doesn’t determine how good or great he may become, Jason Peters is proof enough of that, but I point it out to show that obviously there were things missing from Vaitai’s game that caused teams to pass on him 4 or 5 times.

(I do want to add one little side note. I played many many years of football but I have never been an offensive lineman. Most of my experience is at linebacker. So I will point out little things I see but I am in no way an authority on the subject. But hey, this is called "Amateur Hour" after all, what did you expect?)

[PHI 1-10 PHI 45] C.Wentz pass short right to T.Burton pushed ob at WAS 48 for 7 yards MfMW3dc.0.gif

This was Vaitai’s 2nd play in after Peters went down. This was also the only play I saw where they moved Ryan Kerrigan to line up on Vaitai. But it doesn’t matter because Dougie P is having none of that and rolls Wentz out to the right away from Vaitai/Kerrigan. Vaitai does a good job blocking Kerrigan for the .5 seconds he has to until Kerrigan kinda gives up because the play went away from him.

[PHI 2-3 WAS 48] C.Wentz pass incomplete deep left to M.Johnson. 4gKhY1J.0.gif

I think you’ll find most of Vaitai’s plays like this one, absolutely nothing to see. Vaitai does a great job blocking Terrell McClain, keeps his feet and controls the situation. Even when he gets pushed back at the end he seems to recover well to re-engage if he needed to.

[PHI 1-10 WAS 27] C.Wentz pass deep middle to Z.Ertz to WAS 6 for 21 yards 0OgyYDz.0.gif

Vaitai vs Junior Galette, and Vaitai does a good job. He stays with Galette and keeps Wentz clean. He does reach a little too far at the end and losing his footing so it’s probably a good thing that this play didn’t go on any longer.

[PHI 2-Goal WAS 9] C.Wentz pass incomplete short left to A.Jeffery. nOcMoXx.0.gif

Once again Vaitai is by himself against Junior Galette, who comes out like a freaking karate-chopping ninja. Just look at those fists of fury! But Big V feels no intimidation. He does a great job of keep his hands up and on Galette the whole time and keeps him out of the play.

[PHI 3-Goal WAS 9] C.Wentz pass short right to C.Clement for 9 yards, TOUCHDOWN. 8J78H0N.0.gif

Vaitai has no problem taking care of Galette again. He falls over at the end of the play but that’s because he tripped over some guys already on the ground.

[PHI 3-16 PHI 11] (5:36) C.Wentz pass short left to B.Celek to PHI 14 for 3 yards. 76KQpRx.0.gif

This play wasn’t pretty for any of the linemen, Vaitai included. He does a good job shuffling out and getting in position for the screen, but Jason Kelce and him let Zach Brown go right in between them. Someone has to pick Brown up. I would say Vaitai needs to learn open-field blocking from Kelce but he missed the block too.

[PHI 1-10 PHI 44] C.Wentz pass short right to Z.Ertz to 50 for 6 yards. 94xH6vH.0.gif

Chop block! It’s not pretty much it gets the job done, but only because Wis blocks his guy into McClain. Vaitai needs to watch this play and see how Lane does it. Good thing this was a designed quick pass, because Wendell Smallwood’s block was pathetic.

[PHI 1-10 WAS 46] C.Wentz pass deep left to A.Jeffery pushed ob at WAS 22 for 24 yards. cR0MeAX.0.gif

And here we see Vaitai force Galette to submission. OK, not quite. But he still does a good job blocking and moving his feet and eventually Galette falls down.

[PHI 1-10 WAS 22] C.Wentz pass short left to Z.Ertz to WAS 10 for 12 yards. YsUmMMF.0.gif

Vaitai does a good job staying with Ryan Anderson here when Anderson tried to cut inside of him. Big V doesn’t get too deep so he’s able to stay with Anderson. Even if this wasn’t a quick pass I think Wentz would have had plenty of time to throw.

[PHI 1-Goal WAS 10] (11:14) C.Wentz pass short right to N.Agholor for 10 yards, TOUCHDOWN. Am5pyht.0.gif

I believe this is the last Eagles pass play of the game. Vaitai takes his guy and just drives him out of the play. I love that he’s still blocking him a good 2 seconds after the ball is thrown


I came away much more confident in Vaitai after watching this. He looked to be in complete control and kept Wentz clean. There were a few plays I didn’t show. One was a false start by Vaitai, but every lineman does this occasionally so I won’t get on him for that quite yet. Didn’t Peters lead the league in false starts a year or two ago? The other plays were pretty bland, much like some of the ones I did show. And there was the Wentz-Houdini escape play but I figured you can find that replay [here].

But let me know what you think! Can Vaitai be a serviceable (maybe even good) replacement on our offensive line?

Bonus Breakdown:

A quick recap of the Eagles/Redskins series this year.