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Eagles All-22 Film Review: Observations from the win over the Giants

Featuring Jalen Hurts’ room for improvement, defensive line dominance, and more.

New York Giants v Philadelphia Eagles

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.

OFFENSE

Passing Game

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.

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.

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 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.

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 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.

I love stuff like this, way too much than I should!

Running Game

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.

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!

DEFENSE

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.

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.

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...

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 love this pressure from Milton Williams and his relentlessness in getting to the quarterback but... what is this throw?!

This one is just as bad...

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.

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.

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.

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!

Until next time, comments and feedback appreciated as always!