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

Closer look at Jalen Hurts’ development, Jonathan Gannon disappointment, and more.

Philadelphia Eagles v Washington Football Team Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

The Eagles won another game! This was a game of two halves so plenty of positives and negatives. Let’s get to it.

OFFENSE

Passing Game

This was easily one of Jalen Hurts best performances as an NFL QB. He just made good decisions, read the defense well, processed things pretty quickly and was very accurate. This was a game where Hurts had to put the team on the back a little bit as the run game struggled to get going early on (more on that later!).

I do this in chronological order so I am going to start with an out of structure play by Hurts but this actually isn’t the stuff that impressed me the most. Anyway, you simply can’t coach plays like these. There are a handful of QBs in the NFL who can make plays like this on 3rd and long. It also highlights why so few teams play man coverage against the Eagles because Hurts can just do this when defenders have their backs turned. This means the Eagles often get pretty predictable coverages which helps Nick Sirianni to call good plays against zone coverage. This is just a crazy athletic play.

Not a negative necessarily, but I think for the Eagles offense to get to the next level, they need to start taking advantage of how much MFC (middle field closed, single-high, whatever you want to call it) that they get. Washington actually played more 2-high than most teams do against the Eagles, but the Eagles get a lot of single-high coverage due to teams wanting an extra man in the box against the Eagles run game. This means explosive plays have a chance outside the numbers and the whole offense (not just Hurts, I think DeVonta Smith ever so slightly gets redirected here and slows down) needs to improve this, especially if they want to be taken seriously as an actual playoff contender this year. This is the next step for the offense and Hurts.

Sirianni ran a lot of 3 level concepts as always this week and Hurts read it well as he normally does. I love this throw. When Hurts reads the coverage correctly and isn’t surprised by anything post-snap, he is one of the coolest and calmest QBs when facing pressure. He shows no fear here, stands up and delivers a strike on time and accurately. Personally, this is the stuff that gets me more optimistic about Hurts as I know he makes freaky plays out of structure but these accurate on time throws was not something I was ever sure he would be able to do consistently well but, he is doing it pretty well right now. It looks like Goedert is his 3rd read here as it looks like he is reading the Hi-Lo 1/2 in the middle of the field first and then works his eyes and feet to the right but who knows, just because he looks at it doesn’t mean it is first in his progression! But if it is his 3rd read then this is even better.

Speaking of freaky out of structure throws... what more can you say about this play? Just enjoy it. After having some debates last week in the comments about Hurts arm strength - this is a play that impressed me too as this is not an easy throw to make across your body. Whether or not I was looking at it closer this week due to discussions last week, I was more impressed with Hurts arm talent this week than I have been in the past. He made 3/4 really nice off platform throws where he had enough juice to get the ball where it needed to go and some of them surprised me to be honest!

It may be slightly unusual to show an incompletion and compliment Hurts’ accuracy but I thought this was another super accurate ball. He is very accurate in the intermediate level outside the numbers or on out breaking routes. Sirianni builds a lot of these routes into the offense which is good coaching.

Another really clean throw, good timing, reads the coverage well, perfect accuracy. Again, this is the stuff that makes me more optimistic on Hurts future than the crazy outside of structure stuff as there is a limit to how successful you can be if you rely on these types of throws too much (think Carson Wentz...).

Technically, I would argue he probably shouldn’t lock onto Dallas Goedert here and his lack of field vision means he misses a wide open DeVonta Smith but... he makes a great throw and completes an off platform throw while facing pressure. Every QB misses some reads, it happens, lets not nit-pick too much!

Running Game

This was a really interesting game to study in terms of running the ball. Before we get into the scheme part, can we just appreciate that ‘talent > scheme’ sometimes... not much you can do as a defense schematically here when a quarterback turns a bad play into a 6 yard gain!

So, onto the running game. The Eagles started out with a lot of heavy personnel (2 or 3 tight ends) and ran a lot of inside stuff with the TE’s being heavily involved (split-zone was used a lot) and the Eagles could not move the Washington defensive line. Jonathan Allen was constantly in the backfield and it was a real struggle to run the ball. I think Sirianni continued to run the same stuff that has worked recently and Washington were too good to move and the run game struggled. Personally, I think Sirianni was too slow to change as the first few drives told a similar story. Some examples below.

However, what we saw later on was the Eagles stop running from heavy personnel and start to spread Washington out with a lot more 11 personnel. They also stopped charging up the middle and started running some outside zone where they could avoid Washington’s interior line (mainly Jonathan Allen!). When the Eagles made this change, they had much more success and whilst I am glad that Sirianni made this change, it would be nicer if he made the change slightly earlier to help the Eagles in the first half.

DEFENSE

This was such a disappointing game from my point of view. I have defended Jonathan Gannon a lot and have been really happy with the improvement of the defense in recent weeks and I have outlined here how the Eagles have changed the way they have played and been a lot more aggressive on defense. For whatever reason, this was back to the bad, passive, 2-high on every snap, no disguise, zone coverage that I really disliked at the start of the season. I would say something around 80% of the snaps in this game were 2-high zone. There were obviously reasons why but I didn’t like it. Lets get into what I saw.

Beginning with a positive... Josh Sweat was a beast this game. He was great against the run and had a few great rushes too. He’s been excellent the past few weeks and is playing at a pretty elite level right now. He’s an all round good EDGE defender in another scheme where he consistently lined up outside he’d have elite numbers to match his talent, in my opinion.

Back to the scheme, this is what I mean by the passive, zone coverage. You all know what I mean because you remember the first weeks of the season.

Here is another example. I find it frustrating as in recent weeks there has been loads of disguised coverages in recent weeks or combo with man/zone and there was just none of it in the first half at all. This is just too easy to play against.

I mean... what is this? Both safeties are so far back - you can’t even see McLeod despite absolutely no one threatening him deep. 1 cornerback against 2 wide receivers with Avery sort of shading over to that side.

It wasn’t all Gannon or the scheme’s fault to be fair as Taylor Heinicke made about 3/4 absolutely nuts throws in the first half of this game. Heinicke is one of those quarterbacks who just makes plays that make you just sit there and say ‘wow’ at times.

As well as passive zone coverage, they were also a little passive in the run game early on. They did get this sorted later (I thought Alex Singleton was really good but I know this won’t be popular) and ended up playing the run much better as the game went on.

Someone else who plays the run really well every week is Milton Williams. What a nice player this guy is becoming. I remember having discussions on Twitter after we drafted him about whether he would have the strength to play the run as a DT. How he is getting double teamed and still making plays. I can’t wait to look at this film in more detail this offseason.

Before we all totally kill Jonathan Gannon, he did make some adjustments by disguising his coverages in more in the second half and even playing some man! The Eagles didn’t give up a point in the second half and only allowed 16 points, so it did get better.

This was one of my favorite examples of disguised coverage and I love how aggressive the Eagles rush is here. In particular T.J. Edwards just charged the running back and allowed Sweat to get 1 on 1 with the tackle who couldn’t handle him all day. Avery isn’t very good at dropping into space but he is athletic enough to do it and I don’t mind doing it every so often to try and confuse opposition quarterbacks.

*Insert weekly insane Genard Avery play*. For real though, the coaching staff deserve credit this year for getting something out of Avery who has been a total bust before this season. He does continue to make 1 or 2 splash plays each week.

What do you know, with the game on the line, the Eagles started to play more single-high man coverage and Slay was even used to shadow Terry McLaurin around the field! The main man was Avonte Maddox however, who continues to absolutely ball out this year. He made play after play at the end of the game.

Game on the line, right at the end, Eagles go man coverage and put Darius Slay on McLaurin. Someone explain the first half to me. Anyway, great coverage by Slay on McLaurin and Alex Singleton on the left. Anthony Harris (28) has great coverage on the tight end and does a great job undercutting the route which forces the ball to be overthrown slightly and then Rodney McLeod makes a superb pick.

Hopefully next week I am breaking down lots of backups and we get a look at some interesting young guys! Should be fun.