First off, apologies for not having a post up last week on the offense. As I live in England, I have to use NFL Game Pass Europe which has been updated in the offseason and it basically sucks right now. I had no coaches film last week and I still don't currently, so I have gone to great lengths to find a way to get the all22 for this week!
I'm going to break down the offense a little different to how I did last year. Last year I would ramble a lot and I would rather cover more this season by being a bit briefer with my points! So after watching the all22 a couple of times, I will just basically list all my thoughts on the offense below and I will include clips if I feel they are helpful! Anyway, here is what I thought of the offense this past week.
- I thought Doug Pederson had a great game play-calling and gameplan wise. I don't blame him for bailing on the run game and he used various formations really well throughout the game. On the first drive alone, the Eagles used Alshon Jeffery in the slot, bunch formations with Ertz as the X Iso receiver, unbalanced formations with Lane Johnson next to Jason Peters and Jeffery stacked behind Torrey Smith. This Eagles offense is tough to gameplan against.
- Pederson also schemed open his receivers on quite a few occasions. I always thought Pederson was unfairly criticised last year and I think this year he has shown that he is capable of being a very good offensive coach. I love these two designs. On the first play, the motion from the running back shows Wentz that it's man coverage and he knows that Ertz will come open.
This is just a cool design. Mack Hollins is in motion and he then fakes like he's blocking for a running play for a split second before releasing into the flat. It's just a cool little play
- Wentz was pretty damn good. I thought he had a good rookie year but the improvements are night and day compared to last year. Wentz is getting through his progressions so much quicker than last year and he has a great command of the offense this year. He's just playing really good football right now and it's crazy how much he's being asked to do in this offense considering he's only a 2nd year pro. The sky really is the limit for him. This is one of my favorite throws by him, I love the pocket movement too.
- Wentz' velocity on intermediate routes was great and so was his ball placement throughout the game on intermediate throws. I think his mechanical improvements have helped his ball placement quite a lot. The ball placement here is lovely.
- Torrey Smith still looks extremely explosive, but man those drops were bad. I like Smith and I know that he has never had a high catch percentage, but he has to make those plays that he dropped on Sunday. Those drops cost the offense points. Check out the ball placement on these throws too, phew. The fake on the second one is beautiful too, Wentz doesn't panic under pressure and just looks so calm.
- The final drive of the game was another good example of Wentz throwing with great velocity. He was throwing comeback routes from the opposite side of the hash with ease. It was really impressive to see. This is a good example of arm strength but also perfect ball placement.
- On the touchdown throw to Agholor, he threw it before Agholor had even cut inside. That's called throwing with anticipation folks! It's also a bullet of a throw.
- Wentz' athleticism was also on full display throughout the game. He's a bit of a 'goofy lanky white guy' when he runs which means people can underrate just how good of a runner he is. We know he can be awesome outside of structure but I was still shocked to see just how fluid he moves when he was scrambling for yardage yesterday. Can he play running back?
- Mack Hollins looked really impressive. Check out just how smooth he is when running this comeback. This is really impressive. It's also good to see him lined up as both the outside WR and the slot WR throughout the game, his versatility will help this team in the long run.
- What do I say about Isaac Seumalo? When I broke down his film last year, I said that I thought he should be a center and that I had concerns about him playing next to Jason Kelce who is also undersized. Seumalo obviously had a nightmare in pass protection Sunday, but I really think (and hope) that was more of a one-off. I think a change will have to be made soon though, I just don't see how you can continue to play Seumalo and Kelce next to each other. They don't compliment each other at all.
- The Eagles screen game was bad. This isn't good at all because the offensive line is built to be great in space and Sproles is awesome at running them. Despite that, everything was just wrong with the Eagles screen game this week. I charted running back screens and it was just bad. The Eagles ran 6 screen passes (I didn't count the swing route to Sproles as a screen personally) and only 1 of the 6 was successful which was the one to Sproles that went for 14 yards. 3 of the screen passes were incomplete, 1 went for -3 yards and the other 1 was picked off. That is pretty damn terrible for any team, let alone a team that relies on screen passes as a big part of their offense. The Eagles need to improve this quickly.
- Ugh, do I have to talk about the running game? The Eagles tried running more downhill concepts last week and it didn't work at all. So this week they went back to what they had success with last year, sweep plays with Sproles and getting Kelce in space. The problem is these plays aren't very consistent at all and they seem to be a bit boom or bust. I charted the running plays and about half of them were sweep plays this week, that shows that they had little confidence in being able to run the ball up the gut this week.
- Sproles had 2 big runs over 10 yards, but the 11 yard run at the end of the first half shouldn't count. The defense was playing way off, so when you talk about the rushing yardage keep that in mind. Sproles longest run came with an unbalanced line as Lane Johnson was lining up next to Jason Peters, maybe Pederson will have to try some more interesting concepts to try and get this running game going. Also, this is why coaches love Jason Kelce still. Check out this pancake in space, my goodness.
- Smallwood still needs to show me that he belongs in the NFL. I did not like Smallwood at all last season and some of you even thought I was biased against him when I wrote about him in the off-season! My biggest issue with him was that he showed absolutely no patience behind the line of scrimmage and that he had poor vision and also had no contact balance. So far, nothing has changed this season. If you give Smallwood a lane, he will burst through it and can gain yardage quickly, I don't deny that. But he has to be more patient and show more creativity behind the line of scrimmage or he is really going to struggle behind this offensive line. This play is not blocked well, I get it. But there is no point trying to truck a defensive tackle. Literally none. Just try and juke, look for a cutback lane. Do anything but run headfirst into a defensive tackle, please.
- The interior of the offensive line isn't getting any push at all on the majority of running plays. Kelce and Seumalo only seem good in space. As I said earlier in the post, Seumalo and Kelce just look too small to play next to each other. This was the same last week and it means running backs like Blount who need a crease downhill to get going will just have no success in this offense. I would like to see Seumalo at center and somewhere bigger at left guard like Wiz. I think ideally both Kelce and Seumalo should be surrounded by bigger lineman to help them out.
- I also thought the tight ends didn't do a great job run blocking this week. Ertz has been fantastic as a receiver but I thought he struggled this week at times. Even Brent Celek had a few questionable plays and Trey Burton struggled a little bit too.
This offense is on the right track. Wentz is developing at a really good rate and is playing really good football right now. The receivers are making a big difference to the overall offense and the Eagles passing game is looking like it will be really successful this season. I do not believe the running game is doomed for the entire season yet, I would like to see a change on the offensive line until I say for certain that the running game is just flat out bad. I hope we see more Clement in the next few weeks running some power/counter plays because he was really good at that in college. Realistically though, as we all know going into this season, this offense solely relies on Wentz to be effective.