What a frustrating game the Eagles’ loss to the Chargers was... lets get to the film quickly. The usual disclaimer - I will be breaking down film on my Twitter account and then uploading the tweets with some more analysis in this piece. I obviously cannot post everything so I will focus on certain things each week that stand out to me. I might see something a few times on film but only upload one example as you don’t need to see everything, so you will have to take my word if I say that I have seen something multiple times.
I am going to break down the offense followed by the defense each week and I will post the plays in order so you can see how the game played out.
This week I am going to focus largely on the defense because I think a lot of people have questions about this unit. As always, let me know your thoughts in the comments and I look forward to discussing the game with you all. Let’s get to the film!
Right, let’s begin with this miss! Meant 11 personnel clearly, but I think this is a bad miss but not a terrible one? I am glad to see Jalen Hurts getting off his 1st read but you would like a top QB to make this throw. All QB’s will miss throws like this. I’d just like Hurts to make more ‘big time’ throws than he does currently.
Eagles All22 offense thread v.Chargers. Lets start with 1st drive 3rd down. Eagles in 13 with Chargers clearly showing zone. Hurts correctly moves from 1 read (Smith) to Goedert over the middle after seeing cover 3. Feels some pressure but pass should be completed as he is open. pic.twitter.com/DZ0absdTV1— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 9, 2021
I’ll be honest, I don’t usually break down running plays in detail because I find studying the pass game more interesting. But this was the same gameplan as last week. A ton of under center running. One drive was literally just 13 personnel under center runs, which was awesome. I thought all the OL run blocked pretty well and Scott and Howard both looked really good. The run game is looking very, very good right now.
Eagles OL were moving people early on. This is a great example of each OL winning his assignment & flowing in unison perfectly. The TEs also provide help. Also - look at what the threat of Hurts running does to 49. That's the benefit of having a QB who can keep it. pic.twitter.com/7BDWc8EqZ8— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 9, 2021
Sirianni done a fantastic job keeping Hurts’ reads simple for the most part. There was a lot of 1-read isolation routes to Smith on the outside and a lot of simple reads such as the one below. You basically read the safety, throw the post or the cross depending on what the coverage is or check it down. Just a feeling I have, but I think Hurts throws the ball with much better timing and accuracy on simple reads when he stays calm and he isn’t being asked to read too much. I could write a whole article on DeVonta Smith’s route running from this game too - it was awesome.
Classic post/cross combo. Under center helps create room for throw Great call by Sirianni to make it easy on Hurts - just read the single high safety. Smith is already elite at the nuances of route running. Check the slight lean upfield before cutting up & he is so so smooth. pic.twitter.com/8sbAuSOcV3— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 9, 2021
It was weird how bad the Chargers were at containing Hurts this game. I can’t see many teams making it that easy... but fair play to Hurts for taking advantage. Would love to see him keep his eyes downfield here but I am nitpicking as it was 3rd down and he got the 1st so, I am not going to complain!
The Chargers were awful at containing Hurts to his right side this game. Weird as youd think that would be a point of emphasis. No problem with run here (gets 1st down on 3rd & short) but I'd like Hurts to try and keep his eyes downfield if possible as Watkins defender falls over pic.twitter.com/u1iaLa4dKv— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 9, 2021
Everyone was talking about this play on Sunday! It’s another example of a bad miss (not a terrible one) but one you would like a top quarterback to make. For Hurts to really get to the next level, you want to see these completed. Personally, I actually don’t mind him drifting slightly as it makes it a better angle to complete the ball but he has to reset his feet before throwing. People often say ‘arm strength doesn’t matter’ but it does because certain quarterbacks can throw this ball off platform (Josh Allen, Aaron Rodgers etc) but Hurts doesn’t have the ability to. He needs to be properly set in order to complete this.
The throw everyone was talking about! Chargers showing blitz & clear press man coverage. Hurts knows he is looking at Smith on the corner route from slot. Smith wins with a good release but Hurts never sets his feet and misses. I don't mind drifting to the left but need to reset pic.twitter.com/X0cQEwA0RZ— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 9, 2021
I don’t like picking on individuals much but I’ll just say this - I am surprised the Eagles are not starting Nate Herbig at right guard.
I thought Driscoll clearly stood out as a weakness in pass pro this game at RG. Had a few bad moments. Little confused by the design here - would love Gainwell to quickly get out as a checkdown. Hurts wants to go to him but KG is too slow to get out but isnt helping block either pic.twitter.com/9NLMIXXUdH— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 9, 2021
Oh baby. My favorite position to break down is wide receiver and I already can’t wait until the offseason where I can study Smith in more detail. This guy gets how to get open. This stuff is so hard to teach.
Smith is so good at route running. Check out the pacing here. Start slightly slow... then put the burners on for a split second to make it look like a go and also move ever so slightly wide in order to get in to get in the CBs blind spot before stopping. This is clinic tape. pic.twitter.com/elVRWMdqFB— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 9, 2021
Let’s talk offensive design for a second. In a good, well-designed offense, you ideally want each play to have an option against coverages and to be prepared for blitzes. Normally, if you sense the defense is bringing more men than you have blockers (it looks like 6v5 presnap) then you should have a ‘hot’ route built into the play. I can’t see it here. I am guessing (total guess) the running back is meant to turn around if there is a blitz and catch the checkdown. Good offenses would do this. This passing game sadly is not great. It’s hard to blame Hurts unless he is meant to check it down to the receiver running the drag but that is a weird ‘hot’ route to have built into the play. I want to see immediate improvement in this area.
I need this play explained. Bad design or bad QB. Chargers show blitz, 6 come v 5 OL. As a QB you HAVE to know your hot route... but in defense of Hurts I don't see an obvious one. Is it really the crossing route from the right WR? Or should the RB stop and checkdown? Just ugh pic.twitter.com/sbdZb9pNRR— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 9, 2021
My favorite throw by Hurts all game. He seems to grow in comfort throughout the game each week and when he trusts his protection and steps up he looks very good usually.
I thought this was Hurts best game in the pocket all season. He was more willing to stand and deliver. This is probably my favorite example and his eyes never drop and he waits for Smith to come open and delivers a strike. pic.twitter.com/IunVk27gXG— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 9, 2021
I am going to talk about the defensive system and coaching in the second half of this article. Let’s get one thing clear though... do not criticize Jonathan Gannon for not blitzing (he did about 30% of the snaps) and don’t criticize him for playing 2 high all the time (he played a ton of single high) or for playing zone coverage all the time (he played a lot of man). This game plan was not the same we saw earlier. But... it yielded the same results. And that is a problem. I still think the Eagles have too many snaps like the one below where there is no presnap disguise and the cornerbacks are too soft. I think Gannon needs to trust his corners more, especially on 3rd down like below.
Eagles Defense all22 thread v Chargers. Good example of why Eagles D is seen as 'passive'. Its not 2High zone. Its single high man coverage. So its not 'scheme' but its 3rd down and CBs are clearly coached to prevent big play. There's no disguise. Its too easy! pic.twitter.com/fbWCP90Tgt— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 9, 2021
The Eagles played a lot more single high man coverage this game. I thought it was Darius Slay and Steve Nelson’s worst game of the season. I think it is very likely that those two things are linked.
I think scheme is so important when evaluating any players but especially CBs. Slay & Nelson probably had their worst games of the season and the Eagles played a lot of single high (+ against 2 good WRs). I've also seen a few blitzes early on but Herbert was very good. pic.twitter.com/R33I1lwTP0— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 9, 2021
We spoke offensive design earlier... now let’s talk defensive design. There are way too many plays where a mistake happens. It’s not always easy to see why or who made the mistake but they happen to frequently. I don’t know if it’s poor coaching. Too much change. Bad players who can’t handle change. I don’t know. But it happens too much. Personally, I would lean towards the coaches changing the defense a lot throughout the season and the players struggling to remember every play or every call. Or the coaches aren’t coaching each play properly. I don’t know... I just hope it gets better.
Eagles defense has too many plays where mistakes are made by someone. Hard to pinpoint but you know there is an error. Poor coaching? Scheme? Confusion? I am guessing if CB follows the WR inside here someone (Harris?) should take the flat/TE but he doesn't and it's very easy pic.twitter.com/GwAVYi44ce— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 9, 2021
Here is a simple corner blitz but no one covers the flat. A good quarterback will take advantage of this all day long. This is an ‘aggressive’ play call but still gives up an easy completion.
Coaching? Talent? Too many basic errors where we give up easy completions. Please don't say Gannon is just rushing 4 because he's blitzed a lot this game! But I'm guessing Taylor is supposed to drop into the flat to take the easy throw and he gets caught up by PA. Too easy. pic.twitter.com/PQf83HuqnU— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 9, 2021
Here’s another one! Avonte Maddox is clearly playing with outside leverage and expecting inside help. Surely this inside help isn’t McLeod as he’s far back. So you would think Singleton should be in the middle... but it looks like he’s taking the running back. So, maybe it is Barnett who should be covering the middle? But how is he going to do that from the defensive end? In which case, it’s bad defensive design. Or... maybe Maddox isn’t supposed to take outside leverage! We don’t know the call, we can’t be sure. I just know there are too many plays like this that leave me feeling annoyed.
I feel like I'm going crazy... there's so many plays this week I don't know what I'm seeing. Whose fault is this? Why are Singleton/Barnett covering the same zone? Why is Maddox playing outside leverage when he has no inside help at all? (Another single high man cov snap btw) pic.twitter.com/2zpjE0Uu6f— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 9, 2021
Last negative... I just threw this in as I love good football and this is such a lovely play design. Well done Chargers.
TJ Edwards was great this week & has been far more aggressive downhill recently. So guess what good offenses do? Take advantage! Look at the FB fake a lead block (knowing Edwards is keying off him) and then release to flat. Sometimes you have to say fair play... love this call. pic.twitter.com/z7Aze6SICe— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 9, 2021
Onto the positives... can we talk TJ Edwards for a minute? I have always loved him playing in base and attacking the running back but I did not think he had the athleticism to be a full time linebacker. I think I was wrong. He will never be great in coverage and still isn’t an elite athlete but he is playing outstanding against the run and his instincts are so good on plays such as wide receiver screens that he can compensate for his lack of athleticism. I am not going to describe all these in detail... just have a look at these plays from Sunday. Some are them are as good as I’ve seen an Eagles linebacker make in a long time!
TJ Edwards... beats the block, gets to the edge, stops the 1st down on 4th down. Wow! Also, I know he's playing less but credit to Singleton. Check out the closing speed and willingness to make this play. The Eagles are playing the run a lot better since the first couple of weeks pic.twitter.com/kv53QTxiFj— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 9, 2021
Seriously look at TJ Edwards on this play?? Diagnose quick, flat out juke the guard, get to the edge and make the tackle. This guy put on a show against the run. I really did not think he had this in him athletically. Fair play, proved me wrong! pic.twitter.com/mszgH9rk0m— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 9, 2021
TJ Edwards... can play sideline to sideline now? He looked awesome on Sunday against the run and even started to show some range on plays like this! For a UDFA who was limited athletically he's looking pretty good right now. pic.twitter.com/ZY1hxNhC1v— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 9, 2021
Marcus Epps is one of my favorite players to watch on tape this season. He flies around, can cover the slot, play in 2High and is competent against the run. I think he has a chance of being a decent safety moving forward, personally.
I'm also starting to become a bit of a fan of.. Marcus Epps?! He keeps playing well to me on tape. Made a stop in man coverage on 2nd down then does this on 3rd down lined up against Keenan Allen. That's pretty good! pic.twitter.com/1QoT39bwRr— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 9, 2021
I thought Fletcher Cox had a good game on Sunday... moving on...
People don't wanna hear it due to lack of pressure but... Cox had some big time plays against the run this week. He jumped off the screen a couple of times early on. pic.twitter.com/8PKwk3mjV1— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 9, 2021
That’s all for this week... let’s hope for a win next time. Go Birds.