Another Eagles win! Once again, the Eagles beat a team with a very bad quarterback but, hey, a win is a win. This was quite an interesting game to watch on offense, so let’s get to some of my big picture takeaways.
Well, the offense started off very badly. Everyone was shouting ‘run the ball’ but actually this wasn’t the easiest game to run and early on they couldn’t just ‘establish the run’ easily which meant we got to see the Eagles passing game without a strong running game and it wasn’t too pretty. I didn’t really like a lot of Nick Sirianni’s calls especially early on (there was A LOT of Flood/3 level stretch plays) and it seemed like the Eagles were calling a game where they knew the offense couldn’t score more than 10. That’s just my hunch. Jalen Hurts was late all game to get the ball to his check down and he needs to speed up his processing still and eliminate what is NOT there so he can get backside/to his checkdown. Some good examples of what I mean below.
Lack of receivers open & spacing seemed off to me early on. 3 level stretch here but WRs are so closely aligned neither of them are free despite a good post-snap look. Reagor (I think) runs a poor route and is too slow to stretch the field . Hurts should get rid of ball. pic.twitter.com/fe4RRQ3Uwg— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) December 28, 2021
Next drive also ended with a failed 3 level stretch. Giants do a good job taking away the deep/intermediate route as well as the backside dig. Hurts here just has to read 'touchdown to firstdown to checkdown' & get the ball to Howard. Give your guy a chance to get the 1st down. pic.twitter.com/lCaPgquIN7— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) December 28, 2021
However, Hurts wasn’t at fault for all plays. I just thought the pass game looked a bit stale and boring early on and the receivers were not really winning and sometimes Hurts had nowhere to go. It was a weird start. I think the Eagles offense is built around the run game and if they are asked to straight up throw on 3rd and medium/long they are still pretty limited as a passing attack with Hurts at quarterback.
Been really happy with Sirianni overall but the passing game early on was weird. Why we leaving in both tight ends to block? Ends up with 3 pass catchers v. 8 in coverage. Really not sure what Hurts could have done on a few of these plays early on. pic.twitter.com/83Mba8HDE9— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) December 28, 2021
I LOVED this adjustment from Sirianni. There is a million ways to run a 3 level stretch play and the Giants were really good at taking away the intermediate route with good spacing in their zone coverage. So, Sirianni decided to throw a little fake bubble screen in there just to open up the intermediate route for Hurts. This is such a small little detail but it brings me a lot of joy when breaking down the film and seeing the schematic battles between coaches.
This is why I love watching film. Eagles have run 3 level stretch concepts about 3/4 times and it hasn't worked. Little adjustment by Sirianni - fake the screen to open up the intermediate route. Hurts just about has enough arm strength to get the ball there on time! pic.twitter.com/uhavbEn2id— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) December 28, 2021
This play highlights where Hurts is at right now in terms of processing for me. There was a very similar play where he was intercepted on a post/wheel concept (which Sirianni loves running) where he did not see the safety. Here, he gets everything he wants pre-snap but he has to see that the outside cornerback is clearly playing zone coverage the whole time. Once you know this, you have to be very careful about him passing off the post to the safety and coming back to the wheel from the inside receiver. I think Hurts is good at recognizing what is happening pre-snap and he often goes to the right place if you were coaching on the ‘chalk board’ but he is slow to react to defenders not doing what he expects post-snap. This is something he can improve on but it is not easy to do so and we will have to wait and see if he improves it enough to be considering a high level passer.
Biggest area of improvement needed for Hurts = seeing the whole field. Post/wheel concept. Fake bubble gets slot corner to bite so therefore Smith is open on the wheel right? Wrong! The outside CB is clearly playing zone and can just pass off the post. Hurts HAS to see this. pic.twitter.com/SJFK39iUgL— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) December 28, 2021
After the opening series, Hurts was much better at getting to his checkdowns quickly. I really think the coaches called a simple game because they knew they were playing against an inept offense and quarterback in Jake Fromm.
This is impossible to ever prove but you can't help but feel the Eagles told Hurts after the first few series just check it down and don't make any mistakes. They knew the Giants offense was not going to score enough. The offense was very, very basic but they won the game so?? pic.twitter.com/xxXkgEaKyO— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) December 28, 2021
This is another lovely design by Sirianni. The Eagles passing game continues to look excellent when it is based off of run looks and can confuse the defense. As a straight up drop back pass game I think it is lacking but Sirianni has embraced the run game which means the Eagles can get some easy yards by using the threat of the run and Hurts mobility to freeze defenders. DeVonta Smith made a few awesome catches in this game too, he is really really good.
This play is awesome. Giants 24 is supposed to have Smith in man cov but motion loses him. 29 plays it perfectly and takes Smith yet he still can't cover him on the sideline. This is an unreal catch! Also love the design, Sirianni is building more easy throws out of run looks. pic.twitter.com/o8eajruhY6— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) December 28, 2021
I love stuff like this, way too much than I should!
Watching the Eagles players celebrate Lane Johnson's TD hits me right in the feels... pic.twitter.com/G6ZScKPvaA— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) December 28, 2021
This was a fascinating game to study as unlike the past few games, the Giants played the run pretty well! They used a lot of 5 man fronts and were also really good at bringing extra players into the box late (such as a safety or a corner blitz) which caught out the Eagles a few times. The Eagles still ran the ball pretty well but they had to fight for their yardage hard.
Eagles All22 offense thread v. Giants. This could be an interesting one! Lets start by looking at Dickerson moving defenders to create a hole for Sanders. He's going to be fun to watch in the run game for a long time. Good to see Sanders hit the hole quickly too. pic.twitter.com/KIceg3wLHZ— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) December 28, 2021
Giants 96 made some plays so fair play to him! I actually quite enjoyed seeing the Eagles have to fight for yardage in the running game this week. I do wonder if other teams will see what the Giants did and also try to copy some of what we saw this week but it is hard to keep an offensive line down like the Eagles for long. Even on some of the ‘tougher’ runs the Eagles had to grind out, they were stilling picking up 4-5 yards a carry which is hardly terrible!
First game in a while where this was a real battle upfront in the run game. The Giants DL were aggressive and made some plays against the run. No idea who Giants 96 is but fair play as this is a hell of a play by him. pic.twitter.com/5Fh6hl0991— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) December 28, 2021
The Eagles still picked up their yards on the ground but they were a tough grind. Giants had a few tricks throughout to help against the run such as slot blitzes & 5 man fronts (as you can see here). Just watch Kelce, Herbig & Johnson have to battle for these yards. Fun matchup! pic.twitter.com/11ZCPH0ZWJ— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) December 28, 2021
Full disclaimer... the Giants offense was BAD. I hate picking on individuals too much but Jake Fromm did not play like an NFL quarterback. With that in mind, I have largely focused on the defensive line this week because it was very, very easy for the Eagles secondary. I have no idea how the Giants let Fromm start this game over Mike Glennon but anyway...
The Eagles defensive line were dominant this game. Fletcher Cox was the best player on the field and Javon Hargrave, Josh Sweat and Milton Williams were also excellent. The Giants offensive line couldn’t handle Sweat on the EDGE when he lined up there and was 1on1 with the offensive tackle.
Eagles Defense All22 thread v. Giants. This was a weird watch because the Giants offense was... bad. Like, real bad. Anyway, some fun looks such as this stunt with Avery as the off-ball LB. Great rush by Hargrave and Sweat to crash the pocket. Eagles DL dominated the Giants. pic.twitter.com/KxnizYRJle— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) December 29, 2021
The Eagles continued to rotate their safety’s a lot. They showed a lot of 2high pre-snap but rarely played 2high in the first half. This is a lovely little pressure that allows all the defensive line to matchup 1on1 and they pretty much all win - I am not going to pick out individuals here as they totally crash the pocket and Fromm has absolutely no idea how to handle this. The Eagles did play 2high more in the latter stages of the game when the Giants were throwing more.
Late safety rotation turnrs cover 2 look into cover1 man. Eagles bring a 6 man pressure which gets everyone 1on1 and then basically everyone wins their matchup which is nice! pic.twitter.com/NPg9UB6gjT— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) December 29, 2021
I was really impressed with the Eagles run defense this week. In particular, T.J. Edwards/Alex Singleton stood out to me with how aggressive downhill they were. Some of this is obviously due to the opposition but still, I think both linebackers played well this week. I know some don’t like Singleton but I do think he is someone you can lineup and play with, although ideally you would want an upgrade of course! By playing downhill fast, the Giants lineman didn’t have long to double team the defensive tackles and this allowed them to often win 1on1 matchups. Milton Williams stood out big time this game and I really like his ability to anchor here and not get moved in the run game. He will be coming up a lot more in this article...
Eagles run defense was really good this game. Milton Williams as always jumped out on the DL. Edwards/Singleton were really good at playing downhill fast and stopping the Giants double teams upfront. pic.twitter.com/yyFFOW5oVU— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) December 29, 2021
I said this week last... Cox is flying right now. He was dominant this week and was dominant last week. Even when he is doubled teamed here he holds his position and ends up making a play. I think some people online are almost bored of pointing out how good Cox has been the second half of the season but I’ve tried to share clips nearly every week which highlight just how well he is playing recently.
I said this last week too (which is a very good sign) but this was prime Fletcher Cox again. He dominated this week and has had an excellent second half of the season. pic.twitter.com/n1O0bNkloa— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) December 29, 2021
I love this pressure from Milton Williams and his relentlessness in getting to the quarterback but... what is this throw?!
Milton Williams got some nice pressure here and is really coming along nicely but my goodness was Jake Fromm bad this week... what is this throw? It was one of the worst QB performances I've ever seen. pic.twitter.com/5eXzcfeMdV— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) December 29, 2021
This one is just as bad...
Honestly... what is this throw? pic.twitter.com/t6x2ST7H6t— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) December 29, 2021
As I’ve already mentioned, I was really impressed with the Eagles run defense this game. I’ve already pointed out the front 7 but the secondary also did a really good job.Avonte Maddox is always aggressive downhill and all 3 safety’s showed the ability to come into the box late and provide extra run support. This example shows Anthony Harris but Marcus Epps and Rodney McLeod both did this in the game. I always think good run defense requires everyone to consistently do their job and all the Eagles run defenders compete and play hard against the run which is excellent.
Remember when Barkley would be able to make a safety in the hole miss? Didn't happen this game anyway! Epps/McLeod & Harris were all active in helping to stop the run this game. pic.twitter.com/U7YbKmfaNE— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) December 29, 2021
I probably mention him too much but Milton Williams really does flash every single week. He had probably his best game of the season this week and made a couple of real splash plays. I was glad he got this sack as he deserved one. I am excited to properly dive into his tape after the season but I am already pretty optimistic based on what I have seen this year.
Milton Williams upside is high... the athleticism on show here from a DT who has been excellent against the run all year is pretty impressive. Quite a few people saw him as an EDGE defender coming out which shows you the athleticism that has. pic.twitter.com/GTO8ZaRyx0— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) December 29, 2021
Just another play by Milton Williams... Eagles nailed this 3rd round pick. He's looking very good right now. Shows the ability to disengage quickly and keep his eyes on the ball carrier. Great stuff. pic.twitter.com/zGl6Wpfs4a— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) December 29, 2021
Someone else with upside... Genard Avery! I said a few weeks ago that I still don’t really know who he is but he makes some absolutely nuts play like the one below. Not many EDGE defenders have this athleticism to make a play like this. Fair play him Avery who is carved out a role in this defense an an EDGE defender.
Avery makes some absolutely absurd plays every so often... I highlighted one a few weeks ago too but this play is nuts! I think he really suits this outside defender in the 5man fronts the Eagles run a lot against certain teams. He has plays where he looks so explosive. pic.twitter.com/E6IYTiCObv— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) December 29, 2021
Let’s finish with a pick 6 because... why not? Eagles disguise coverage against by using late safety rotation and it also looks like a combo coverage with zone/man on each side of the field. McLeod reads Glennon’s eyes perfectly and makes a brilliant break on the ball which leads to a defensive TD for Singleton who was close enough to the ball carrier to get the interception. It is incredible to think back to the first few weeks and how little the Eagles would disguise their coverage or run anything complex. It does prove that new coaches do need time before we judge them.
Overall, it is hard to judge the Eagles defense completely because they have played some really bad offenses but I have been impressed with how they have played the past month or so. Hopefully we see them properly tested... in the playoffs!
Another coverage disguise and brilliant play on the ball by McLeod. Pre-snap showing 2high but post-snap turns into what looks like a zone coverage on the right and man coverage on the left. pic.twitter.com/BHvMYDgnRW— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) December 29, 2021
Until next time, comments and feedback appreciated as always!