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Eagles All-22 Film Review: Observations from the loss to the Chargers

On Jalen Hurts, Jonathan Gannon’s defense, and more.

Los Angeles Chargers v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

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!

OFFENSE

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

DEFENSE

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Last negative... I just threw this in as I love good football and this is such a lovely play design. Well done Chargers.

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!

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 thought Fletcher Cox had a good game on Sunday... moving on...

That’s all for this week... let’s hope for a win next time. Go Birds.