Jonny Page and myself will be tag-teaming Eagles Film Review this season by splitting it up into offense and defense. We’ll alternate sides of the ball each week, but it will allow us to focus on each side and provide better content. The unfortunate part of the first four weeks (preseason) is that All-22 tape is not released on NFL Game Pass, therefore we will be working with broadcast angles to provide the best analysis possible.
For the first week, I will be covering the offense while Jonny takes care of the defense.
A disclaimer, these breakdowns won’t be harsh because it is preseason and coaches want to try different things. On that note, I try to keep an open mind to anything I see that may be questionable or irregular.
Blount’s Pass protection
We’ve heard a lot about LeGarrette Blount’s inability to find his way on the field on third down. I don't have third down snap counts or anything of that nature in front of me, but the speculation of that is attributed to his ability, or inability to be a weapon in the passing game. We didn't get an extended look at Blount in pass protection, but the play above isn't ideal, especially with the blitzer being a defensive back. What this forces Wentz to do is move to his right instead of allowing him the decision to slide left or right. I can't tell for sure because I don't have access to the All-22, but it looks like Jordan Matthews may have had a route that was developing open for Wentz to the left side.
Wentz’s pocket presence and ability to keep the feet moving
One of my biggest criticisms of Wentz was how often his feet quit moving last year. At times it looked as if somebody had poured cement around his feet, keeping them in place. Here, Wentz keeps his feet moving, feels the pressure, hitches up and makes a bit of an off-platform throw with a lineman in his lap and a defender at his feet. Something else you can see here is Wentz actively working through his progressions, going from to right, keeping his eyes downfield.
We’ve seen reports throughout camp that Dillon Gordon has been working at fullback. I noticed they used him at fullback for Blount and Corey Clement, but most of the run game tape is useless. The Packers sent blitz after blitz all night long, ruining most of the tape for projection purposes. I’m not going to make any judgements on the Gordon package until we see it deployed against an actual NFL gameplan.
The Eagles’ lone touchdown
Again, another blitz. Here Wentz evades the sack from Matthews and delivers a strike across the middle to rookie
Future Hall of Fame wide receiver Mack Hollins. I am all aboard the Mack Truck, but again I want to highlight Wentz’s athleticism and something that, unfortunately, we can’t see in this play. What we can see is that Wentz knows how to manipulate his body and athleticism to make defenders miss. He did it in 2016, specifically against the Giants, but utilizing this is key. It allows Wentz to extend plays when they break down, and it appears that the cast of receivers the Eagles are trotting out know how to find openings when the quarterback is in trouble. Again, Wentz keeps his eyes down field through the pressure, looking to make a play.
What I mentioned earlier, that we can't see on screen is the impact that wide receiver Torrey Smith has on the Packers’ defense, which allows Hollins to make this play. Fran Duffy did an excellent job breaking it down in the tweet below.
Feels good to have a deep threat that defenses respect and have to account for, doesn't it? We can't say for sure that Smith will have this sort of impact once the regular season roles around, but if he can then it opens up more possibilities within Pederson’s playbook.
I’ve seen a lot of folks voice their displeasure with Agholor not hauling this pass in. As somebody who hasn't been in Agholor’s corner, I’m fine with this. I place more blame on Wentz for a high pass, which I’ll get to in a second. For Agholor, this is a preseason game and going up for a high pass, you expose your ribs for a shot in the end zone, against much heavier players. Ultimately, that didn't end up being the case, and it’s not encouraging, but I’d like to see Agholor as healthy as possible throughout the preseason. While many have reported that Agholor has looked better than before in camp and OTAs, Jimmy Kempski, one of the best and more realistic evaluators on the beat has stated that Agholor still struggles with drops. For now I’ll reserve judgement on him.
Back to Wentz’s pass, he struggled with missing high in 2016, a trend that seemed to become more evident as the season went on. Adding to missing high, Wentz’s short accuracy seemed to decline later in the season, possibly as his mechanics started to break down. Again, I can't see if a defensive lineman got a hand in the way from the broadcast angle, but if not, it’s something the team should continue to work on.
I’ve been busy with Texans training camp, so unfortunately I’ve not been able to stay updated with the live events going. I’ve had to live off of BLG’s daily recaps to stay up to date on the latest happenings. I’ve heard Marcus Johnson’s name, as well as Greg Ward’s, but not much of Bryce Treggs. Treggs didn't do anything fancy, but he played a clean game from what I was able to see, working his way back the ball nicely. In the play above, he takes advantage of the cornerback playing off-coverage with the blitz coming. Treggs catches the ball in space, turns it up field and gets the first down.
For the deep catch Treggs made, I can’t credit him here much. He blows past King, but if you take a closer look, the Packers look to be playing a Cover 2 with two deep safeties. On the opposite side of the field, the corner passes his receiver off to the safety. Kevin King who is in coverage on Treggs anticipates safety help that never comes. I’m chalking this one up as blown coverage.
Check out Warmack at left guard. He moves downfield, whiffs on the guard and ends up on the ground. I’ll admit, I didn't watch Warmack’s tape, but Jonny did and his impression was the Warmack was on the ground too often. Again it’s hard to do much against the blitz, but that block (or attempt at one) wasn't ideal.
For Warmack fans, it wasn't all bad. There were a few bright spots in pass protection like the play above. Warmack does a good job of getting his hands on the defensive player and keeping him clean of McGloin, who proceeded to throw an interception anyway.
I am a Mack Hollins enthusiast. Get excited for the rookie wide receiver! In the play above, you can see Hollins (bottom of the screen) is learning the nuances of wide receiver. Check out the hand fighting to get off the jam. Hollins immediately slaps the corner’s hands away getting a good inside release. If McGloin would've hit Hollins, Hollins’ soul count could've been at three with the mean stiff arm he showed earlier in the game.
The second play of Hollins getting off the jam isn't as clean as the first, but he still makes i work. It’s important to note that these corners aren't as polished as the starters he’ll face in the regular season, but he’s showing he knows how to win and that he has the tools in his arsenal to do so.
That’s all I have for meaningful analysis on the offense for the first preseason game. I made a few observations as well, and they are as follows:
- Nate Gerry was around the ball a lot. He made a few plays, but got lost in space and missed a tackle once in coverage.
- Vinny Curry and Chris Long looked quick off the edge. I truly believe the Eagles’ pass rush will be feared with those two and Derek Barnett rotating in and out.
- Corey Clement initially didn't look bad catching the ball, then he had an egregious drop near the end of the third quarter. I like Clement’s performance a bit more than I liked Pumphrey’s, but again, this tape was useless with all of the blitzes.
That’s all I have for this week. Once again, I’ll be tweeting live videos of the plays after they happen on Thursday night. You can find them on my Twitter account: @TjackRH. Also a heads up, Jonny and I have a podcast dedicated entirely to breaking down Eagles All-22 film and we’ll have weekly episodes throughout the season. You can find that, along with previous episodes here. If you have any questions, suggestions or anything you'd like to address, feel free to send me a Tweet, as sometimes I don't have the chance to read the comments!