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Eagles All-22 Film Review: Jaquiski Tartt is an extremely physical player

A closer look at Philadelphia’s new safety.

San Francisco 49ers v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Eagles signed a safety! I think we all thought the Eagles needed one more player at that position and the Eagles clearly agreed. Let’s get straight to it, this is a fun one as Tartt is an extremely physical player who I bet a lot of Eagles fans are going to really like. Tartt is number 3 in all clips.

Stats

All stats are from PFF are from last season only. He has years of stats available but I always think it’s better to focus on the past year. All figures only include safeties with 20% snaps played, which is 98 total players.

- 61 PFF grade, ranks 56th.

- 47 tackles, ranks 52nd.

- 12 missed, ranks 16th highest.

- 15% missed tackle rate, ranks 27th highest.

- 20 ‘stops’, ranks 23rd highest.

- Allowed 136 yards in coverage, ranks 82nd highest.

- Allowed 8 yards per reception, ranks 93rd highest (which is really good!)

- 0 interceptions, and only has 4 in 7 years.

Strengths

+ Very versatile as a safety. Can play single high, split-safety or as a more ‘traditional’ strong safety in the box. Good at rotating late which is will be very important in this defense.

+ A smart player who recognises plays in front of him well, especially in zone coverage. Very instinctive, you can tell he’s played a lot of games.

+ Outstanding in run defense. Can play in the box very well and almost looks like could be a LB at times.

+ Very good at coming downhill extremely quickly when playing as a deep safety or a split safety. This is extremely important for a defense like the Eagles who want to keep the game in front of them.

+ Gets physical in man coverage and matches up well against bigger, physical tight ends who aren’t the quickest.

+ A really hard hitter. An old fashioned ‘punisher’ who will make receivers think twice about catching the ball over the middle.

Weaknesses

- Sometimes a little reckless as a tackler. I disagree with PFF over his missed tackle rate based on what I saw but he will fly past players on occasions.

- Better with the game in front of him and can get caught on over the top at times.

- Injury problems have held him back over the years. The way he plays the game means contact injuries will be a problem.

- Doesn’t have the ability to play man coverage a great deal. Wasn’t asked to do it a lot last year at all, which was probably deliberate.

- He can get beat in coverage and could do more to help out his cornerback at times when playing split safety coverage. He looks a little clunky in some of his movements when redirecting in coverage.

Overall

Tartt is a great example of a player you need to watch and not just look at stats. When you look at the PFF stats above, you get the idea he is a bit of a loose tackler but excels in coverage. This simply isn’t true. The stats show this because he isn’t asked to do much in man coverage and it’s hard to assign blame to players in zone coverage as easily. I don’t really trust stats when it comes to safety play anyway.

Tartt is one of the most physical players I have watched in a while. He will instantly become the Eagles hardest hitter and will bring an attitude and physicality to the defense from the safety position that we haven’t seen for a long time. I love players like this (who doesn’t?) and I think every team could do with at least one player who plays the game like Tartt does. You can’t have too many players who put their bodies on the line like Tartt does but there is always space for a couple, even in the modern NFL. I didn’t see any silly hits that caused penalties, all the hits seemed tough but legal.

The injury problems have been a real concern throughout his career but if he stays healthy, I would assume he has a good chance to play a lot of snaps. Someone requested in the comments last week I break down Epps and Harris so I will do this the next 2 weeks but my gut feeling is that Tartt will start if healthy, possibly over Harris. I might change my mind after watching Epps and Harris in more depth but I think Epps and Tartt could be a good safety duo.

Something else I wanted to note that isn’t a strength or a weakness but he had a really good relationship with Jimmie Ward. You could literally see on the field how they celebrated plays with each other and spoke after a lot of plays. I really liked to see this as you could tell the two of them understood each other. Hopefully, if he does start next year, he can build a strong relationship with whoever starts opposite him as relationships and an understanding of how others play is a massive part of playing defence. Tartt and Ward are very different players but together, they formed a really good starting duo.

The Eagles needed a safety and they got a good safety in June which is all you can ask for really. I think without the injury issues he wouldn’t be available this late in the offseason but I think he is player who will be exciting to watch next year and will help this Eagles defense to improve overall.