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Eagles All-22 Film Review: Takeaways from the win over the Vikings

Closer look at Jalen Hurts’ growth, Jonathan Gannon’s adjustments, and more.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Well, how good was that?

The Eagles absolutely dominated the Vikings on Monday night in every single aspect of the game. This is a going to a very positive and very fun article, so enjoy!


Passing Game

I wrote this about Hurts’ performance last week when I felt people were too harsh on him.

For anyone who has read my pieces for a while, it’s fair to call me a Jalen Hurts ‘skeptic’ or whatever that means. I don’t understand the discourse around his play this week. I thought he was fantastic. I saw clear progress passing the football from last year and I think he has taken a step forward. I said I wanted to see Hurts hit his back foot more and deliver the ball in stride. He absolutely improved in this area week 1. He was decisive and got rid of the ball at the top of his drop far more frequently.

We clearly saw this trend continue against the Vikings. Hurts mobility is obviously exceptional, but this was just a proper passing game from the pocket. This was such a big step forward for Hurts as a pocket passer. He delivered time and time again right on time and got into a really good rhythm throwing the ball with outstanding accuracy. He also excelled throwing in the middle of the field! This was a huge, huge weakness of Hurts in previous years and it will really open up this offense if he can continue to use the middle of the field more.

We saw this on show in the first drive of the game. He looks so calm in the pocket and waits for his receiver to come open rather than move on or leave the pocket early. This is a beautiful throw for the first down

I mentioned middle of the field throws...

His processing speed continue to improves too. This is a fantastic play outside of structure but it is only possible because he quickly realises none of the 3-level stretch concepts will come open against this coverage and he eliminates all the routes before feeling pressure and moving to his right. Eliminating what is not there is a vital part of processing speed for a quarterback. You can’t stare down receivers as you simply don’t get the time in the NFL.

As well as improving his processing speed, his accuracy seems to have taken a step forward due to his calmness in the pocket and rhythm he is throwing with at the moment. This throw is a beauty, you couldn’t place it any better.

This might be my favorite throw of the game. Another thing I wanted Hurts to work on was his anticipation. A lot of mobile quarterbacks have historically been too reliant on ‘see it, throw it’ throws. Well, Hurts throws this ball before Smith is out of his break and it’s a perfect ball, once again. The ball placement was consistently so good.

I changed my mind, this is my favorite throw. It almost seemed too easy at times due to how good the offensive line was, but he had to complete this one under pressure and with a defender in his face. The ball placement is just exceptional and he’s continuing to throw the ball perfectly in sync with his drop which is so good to see.

This play was brought back due to a holding call, but is this the best throw of Hurts career if it stands? The accuracy and arm talent to do this whilst rolling to your left, is incredibly impressive.

Hurts mobility was also an absolutely massive factor in this game. He didn’t run or scramble anywhere near as much but the offense Sirianni/Steichen have created does a fantastic job of utilising Hurts mobility as much as possible. They deserve huge credit for buying into Hurts talent and building an offense around him, rather than trying to force him to fit exactly what they want to do. There’s a lot of plays like this that put defenders in a bind and they are really useful on 3rd short/medium where you just need a few.

The offensive line were absolutely outstanding too. They did a superb job of picking up the Vikings pass rush and keeping Hurts safe. Hurts has made fantastic progress this year but there’s no doubt the surrounding talent has benefited him massively. I don’t even think it’s right to shoutout a particular lineman this game, the pass protection was just outstanding from every single one of them. The offense is in a really good place right now.

The only negative I could see really on the film was the play against the blitz in the 3rd quarter. The Vikings sent a few more blitzes and the Eagles were not great against them

Just one final note on the passing game, as good as the Eagles offense was, the Vikings defense was equally as bad. There was a total lack of disguise or variety to their coverages. It was incredibly bland and passive and I really think they made it easy for Hurts and the Eagles. I know the Vikings are a much better defense than this and I do think things will get a lot harder for the Eagles moving forward. This is not to downplay what the Eagles did, I just think the Vikings were really, really bad in this one. I’m not sure why, they were!

Running Game

Believe it or not, I was actually slightly disappointed with some of the run plays on early downs. I thought the Vikings defense was so negative and passive that the Eagles could have actually had more success on early downs. But maybe I’m getting greedy! The Eagles run game remained very multiple this week and we saw some draw plays which I haven’t seen a great deal from the Eagles in recent years, but, is there anything that Jeff Stoutland can’t coach effectively.

The Eagles did have a lot of success running against the Vikings 2-high shell looks which gave them so much space in the box. It was almost too easy at times and I would have been frustrated as a Vikings fan.

The draw play was a nice addition to the repertoire for this week too. The Eagles used it really effectively and it works particularly well against a team whose safeties were as far back as the Vikings were.

As well as the obvious light box the Vikings played (which I mentioned in my stats article!) you also cannot ignore the impact Hurts has on the running game. Even when he doesn’t keep it, defenses have to account for him and you could see how scared the Vikings were of Hurts keeping it in this one. I can’t quite believe the Vikings didn’t adjust throughout the game but anyway, they didn’t!

Hurts mobility also played a huge part in the Eagles running game, which is no surprise. This play on the goal line made me laugh. What else can you really do as a defense? You have a defensive back right there and you also bring an unblocked linebacker to help and Hurts still scores! His size and power is useful in the red zone and I expect him to score a lot of touchdowns similar to this one throughout his career. It reminds me so much of Cam Newton when he was good and it’s so hard to stop these plays near the goal line.


Pass Defense

This was a fascinating game to watch from an Eagles perspective as it was so different from last week. We saw more disguise, more man coverage, more single-high and more blitzes. Basically, we saw a lot of things that we wanted to see last week!

Darius Slay was absolutely unbelievable. He played completely lights out like an elite cornerback. He played Justin Jefferson about as well as you possibly can. The Eagles absolutely gave him support at times but sometimes he was just one on one with Jefferson and he flat out won. It was an incredibly impressive performance. On all these clips below, just watch how he never, ever gets out of his backpedal. He never turns to run and isn’t worried about the threat of Jefferson beating him over the top. He just stays incredibly patient which allows him to break on the ball so quickly. Let’s just post a few clips back to back so you can really see how good he was.

The Eagles also used 2-man to help bracket Jefferson and Slay could then play in trail technique which made it really hard for Jefferson. Jefferson couldn’t beat Slay one on one, so he didn’t have much chance with a safety over the top as well!

When you play more man coverage, you need other defenders to step up. TJ Edwards was fantastic in man coverage and Bradberry also was really impressive.

I keep seeing Eagles fans complain about Reddick/Sweat/Graham dropping into coverage but you just have to get used to it. If the Eagles play 5-man fronts more, then unless you are blitzing on every single play, one of the EDGE defenders at least is going to have to drop into coverage. It allows the Eagles to be way more versatile and unpredictable with their pressure and coverage on the back end. There was a lot more post-snap rotation this week.

With that in mind, I think Reddick needs to do better when he is in coverage. He can’t just be a non-factor in coverage.

Josh Sweat had a really good day and was constantly harassing Kirk Cousins. He is turning into a really, really good player and was definitely the Eagles best pass rusher in this week.

Another play who absolutely deserves a mention on defense was Avonte Maddox who was brilliant. He was aggressive and instinctive both in man and zone coverage. He’s a very good slot cornerback.

As well as more post-snap rotation, we saw some pressure! The Vikings had absolutely no answers for the Eagles 0 blitzes, so they kept doing it in the second half.

I watched Haason Reddick really closely and I wasn’t particularly impressed by him but he definitely had a few better rushes than he did last week. It has only been 2 weeks but I would like to see a big play or two from him next week. I mentioned some concern about CGJ last week, I thought he was much better this week but would like to have this play back.

Also... hello Zech McPhearson!

Something to note, and I wouldn’t say I’m concerned yet, but Jordan Davis was an absolute non-factor rushing the quarterback. He couldn’t get anything, even when lined up one on one with the center. I didn’t actually think he played that well to be be honest.

Run Defense

I’m going to say it: stop crediting Jordan Davis with the Eagles improved run defense this week. Jordan Davis was fine, but he wasn’t the only reason the Eagles improved. The Eagles used more 5-man fronts and had far better gap discipline than they showed last week. Crediting Jordan Davis only does a huge disservice to the players on the field who were far better against the run, starting with Josh Sweat. It was interesting to see the Eagles counter the Vikings formation by going to a 5-man front with the same personnel, all they did was add White to the line of scrimmage.

This isn’t an anti-Jordan Davis point, I just find the discourse online is basically that the Eagles run defense was much better because they used him more and played more 5-man fronts. The 5-man fronts were certainly used more, but the Eagles didn’t really use Davis a great deal more and I thought the overall run defense was just much, much better this week.

Right, that will do for this week. Thanks for all the lovely comments to last weeks post, it is much appreciated! Any questions feel free to ask as always.

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