BECAUSE OF THE FINAL SCORE, MY FRIENDS.
Who was apparently right about Doug Pederson all long.
Jason Kelce and the offensive line
My game ball would go to Kelce, who had as close to a highlight-reel performance as a center can have. Philadelphia went with a misdirection and screen heavy offensive game plan against the Redskins, exposing the lack of athleticism in their linebacking corps. As such, Kelce — the best mover of an agile bunch — was tasked with a ton of space blocks.
That’s where Kelce is best. (Brandon Brooks and Isaac Seumalo ain’t too bad either.) His angles were as textbook as they come, especially on a Darren Sproles TD run that saw him take two for one.
Sproles TD was made by C Jason Kelce. Pulled and reached LB Mason Foster, maintained the block all the way to the first down marker. Sproles cut back inside, Foster couldn't prevent the TD. #Redskins #Eagles pic.twitter.com/y06i4VREX0— Mark Bullock (@MarkBullockNFL) December 4, 2018
In 2017, I said Kelce was a better player than Carson — the best player on the offense, as a matter of fact. Nobody liked that.
In 2018, my opinion is unchanged.
Welcome to Philadelphia, Golden!
After a rough beginning to his tenure as an Eagle, Tate finally had the game of impact we all hoped he could and would. It came in the form of a 7 reception, 85 yard, and 1 touchdown game that saw Tate convert a couple third downs and a tough 2 pt conversion. Also on the night: a little improv play with Carson Wentz as Carson dropped him a beautiful bucket pass up the sideline as he scrambled. Felt like the Sproles touchdown against the Steelers in 2016.
Before the game, Next Gen Stats shared a stat that indicated how heavily Tate was getting force-fed the ball when he was on the field; it was something we also noted in the things we learned piece after the Giants game. Tate wasn’t integrated into the offense because he was receiving a massive amount of schemed-up attention when he was on the field; tonight, his touches were much more natural and less...”try-hard,” I suppose.
And integration came naturally.
Man, watching Fletch beat up on backup offensive guards and I don’t care who says what.
Shout-out to Sproles, who looked as spry as you could have hoped on a 14-yard TD scamper. Sproles is the smartest and most savvy of Philadelphia’s current healthy running backs, and while he offers less explosiveness and physicality, he’s still a tough runner who regularly finishes forward and the best space player of the three. Seemed he was on a pitch count tonight — I’d love and expect to see more touches for Sproles against the Cowboys, especially on the screen plays Philadelphia was rocking tonight.
That reminds me...
The screen game
I have been very critical of the screen game, but it was great tonight! Loved it for two reasons:
- Little inside screens don’t have the clear screen signal: when linemen flare out into space, but not too far down the field so as to not get penalized. Same goes for play action screens, which disguise that motion as regular run blocking. Philadelphia’s screens were designed to not draw defenders in, using Carson’s height as an advantage to pop balls over closing defensive linemen. Love it.
- They called them not at the 40 yard line every time. More so near the 20s — both their’s and the Redskins — to mix up tendency. Easier to catch defenses unawares that way.
Doug gets a W too for that.
Because Mark Sanchez was that much worse
Rasul Douglas baby!
He got burnt by Josh Doctson on a deep, multi-break route — yes. That’s where Sul will always be weak: in off-man coverage, asked to be sticky and patient without getting a bump. He’s much stronger when he gets to play up into the line of scrimmage and attack with hands.
Other than that, what excellent and aggressive downhill play from Sul! Best tackling performance I’ve seen from an Eagles CB all year, and while that may not be a high bar, it was refreshing nonetheless.
The Washington Redskins
OH YOU AIN’T SEEN THE SCOREBOARD YET MY DUDE?
The Dallas Cowboys
Just a little preview of next week’s W’s, L’s and IDKs.
Alshon wiped the field with this dude, man.
Once touted as a top corner in the league, Norman represents well the volatility of the position: a lot of good stuff has to bounce your way to be viewed as a super productive corner in the NFL; and Norman’s style of play has never been lockdown.
Sure, Norman had the goal line pick — but that wasn’t a quality play of his, but rather a right-place-right-time benefit from a bad throw.
Case in point right there.
Generally, Alshon’s physicality and quick breaks won out over Norman, who needed to have a blue-chip day to buoy a Washington defense that couldn’t much match up with the Eagles anywhere else.
Just tough stuff here.
After only a series or two, Jernigan was sidelined for the rest of the game with back spasms. Of course, we know that his offseason injury was related to his back, so seeing back spasms as the issue behind his absence is particularly concerning.
While Jernigan was still a snap count player, he would have been mighty helpful to have in the rotation for one big reason: every snap he takes is a snap T.Y. McGill and Treyvon Hester, total liabilities, do not take. Jernigan, as a warm body, offers more than they do.
I saw a few folks on the ol’ timeline today get razzed up about LeBlanc, but I’m not really sure what’s there. Perhaps it’s the least of the evils over the past few weeks — the Eagles have been rotating some rough secondary players in there — but LeBlanc is just a rosterable player with good quickness, poor size, poor physicality, and meh instincts.
Ideally, he’s your backup nickel corner — which, if he were backing up Avonte Maddox, I suppose that’s why he’d be playing right now. I’m fine with him, but I don’t see anything exciting.
I dunno how this dude is rostered, man.
I dunno what else to say about Zach Ertz. He is one of the smartest route runners in the league — easily the best among tight ends — and is basically the Eagles’ WR1. Sure, they don’t use him downfield — only short to intermediate — and players like Gronk and Kelce have him beat there. But as a player you can insert into route combination and win on breaking routes, he is unparalleled among his peers in the league.
Ertz is basically a supersized wide receiver. Man on man is he special.
Congratulations go out to him for his record-breaking performance.