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!
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
Just one of many impressive throws by Hurts from the pocket. Does a fantastic job waiting for his receiver to come free and delivers a strike. Really calm in the pocket all day, helped by the Eagles OL who were superb in pass protection. This is exactly what I wanted to see. pic.twitter.com/EXzdXFTsGd— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 21, 2022
I mentioned middle of the field throws...
Another big time throw over the middle of the field on a deep in. Remember when the Eagles just didn't use the middle of the field? pic.twitter.com/oZASWmYFHn— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 21, 2022
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.
Hurts reads the 3 level stretch to the left, it's not there so he eliminates it quickly (which is vital), feels the pressure so steps up to his right and delivers a strike for a first down. This is high level quarterback play. pic.twitter.com/7rsJybwpNM— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 21, 2022
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.
I'm gutted this was dropped because this is one of the best throws of his career. His reading of the defense has improved but it's his accuracy that really stands out at the moment. It's like he's able to place this exactly where he wants it with fantastic touch and timing. Phew. pic.twitter.com/FnfD1XOu8Y— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 21, 2022
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.
We're throwing with anticipation now too! Hurts hits his back feet and releases the ball before Smith has completed his break. Highlights the confidence he is playing right now and, of course, it's a perfectly accurate ball too. pic.twitter.com/kUKPoakeGL— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 21, 2022
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 has to be the best one of the lot. The ball placement is fantastic and he fits this into a tight window whilst under pressure! He wasn't pressured much but he hardly seemed bothered by it here. This is a top, top throw. pic.twitter.com/iwSmSqI2Z7— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 21, 2022
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.
Final one... I am so sad there was a penalty on this play. Is this the best throw of his career? I cannot believe how good his ball placement was in this game. This is rolling to his left!! pic.twitter.com/BWITwEuMnX— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 21, 2022
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.
Sirianni/Steichen have done such a good job taking advantage of Hurts mobility in the run/pass game. There's so many plays that put defenders in a bind and it's created a really, really difficult offense to defend. The offense executed at such a high level in the first half. pic.twitter.com/1tqR532WFg— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 21, 2022
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
A little note of caution, the Vikings did start blitzing the Eagles a bit in the 3rd (took their time) and I still didn't think the Eagles Offense had great answers. This is certainly something they must improve. pic.twitter.com/EYqVjsIU0P— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 21, 2022
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!
This play pretty much summed up how bad the Vikings Defense was. They just had no adjustments. The Eagles go empty again and split out the RB, which leaves DeVonta Smith one on one with a linebacker. The Vikings Defense was really, really poor to be honest. pic.twitter.com/ZQb6R2gTvL— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 21, 2022
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.
Eagles All22 offense thread vs Vikings. First drive was a sign of things to come. The Vikings remained in this very deep 2-high shell meaning the Eagles are practically one on one in the box. Great block in space by Kelce and a good finish by Sanders too. pic.twitter.com/Jv39lA13Xq— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 21, 2022
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.
Are the Eagles playing the Eagles defense from last week? This is way, way too easy. Sometimes it's just a numbers game. 6 in the box vs 6 blockers + the threat of Hurts as a runner. Eagles used the draw effectively a few times. pic.twitter.com/0dnsXHMrpe— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 21, 2022
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!
This is the exactly what we saw the Lions do to the Eagles last week. Motion a TE into the box and guess what, it's 6on6 in the box again! Look at the threat Hurts has on the defense too, my goodness. This is too easy. I can't believe the Vikings didn't bring a safety up. pic.twitter.com/rIzB1PFMT5— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 21, 2022
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.
There's basically nothing else you can do as defense. You have an unlocked DB right there to take Hurts if he keeps it. And an unblocked LB also comes over to help. It doesn't matter! Hurts mobility is such a massive difference maker in the RedZone! pic.twitter.com/Jey76mETCj— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 21, 2022
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.
Again, just watch Slay backpedal and never turn and run. He was so patient! It takes balls to not turn and run quickly as defenders are always afraid of the big play but he trusted his instincts (and film study) and continued to stay in phase and covered Jefferson perfectly! pic.twitter.com/NXeNryzizN— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 21, 2022
You know what I'm going to say... Just watch how Slay never turns and runs and just keeps on backpedalling. I'm surprised the Vikings didn't try and run Jefferson vertically a few times as Slay was just dominating him on these routes. pic.twitter.com/7ZkeasfMAw— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 21, 2022
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!
Eagles D handled more man coverage really well. Some 2-man was used to allow Slay to trail Jefferson. The Eagles used lot of strategies to handle Jefferson. I was surprised we didn't see the Vikings move him to the slot more to avoid Slay tbh. White/Bradberry do really well here pic.twitter.com/tkohFBStj4— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 21, 2022
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.
Fantastic play by TJ Edwards (who was superb by the way) but just look at how long slay stays in his backpedal against Jefferson! He had 0 fear of getting beat over the top and was so patient which allowed him to close on the ball so quickly. It was so impressive. pic.twitter.com/3pp9RMUSJg— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 21, 2022
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.
This is fun. Reddick & Graham (lol) drop into coverage. Late safety rotation to single high. TJ Edwards blows up the RB and Slay plays it perfectly against Jefferson one on one! pic.twitter.com/0PNE4L6xJ1— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 21, 2022
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.
In this defense, Reddick absolutely has to drop into coverage at times whether you like or not. With 5 man fronts Gannon will drop one edge defender quite often. With that in mind, I do think he needs to do better in these situations despite it not being his best trait. pic.twitter.com/jULnBrp7rP— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 21, 2022
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.
Josh Sweat was easily the Eagles best pass rusher in this one. He wins on a stunt here and knocks the ball out. It's one of the only times Jefferson beats Slay and you can see how annoyed he is that Cousins got sacked! It's beautiful. pic.twitter.com/AdWtbRsLYS— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 21, 2022
Look at the athleticism. Josh Sweat is really, really good. This was a fantastic way to end a fantastic defensive performance. Huge credit to Gannon and the players. pic.twitter.com/uTwZV2ASJK— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 21, 2022
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.
This is a perfect play by Maddox, who was also brilliant. The Vikings try to Hi-Lo him and he does a fantastic job baiting the quarterback into throwing the route behind him while backpedalling and tracking the football in the air perfectly. pic.twitter.com/SgpF4CfEGa— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 21, 2022
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.
You can't run 0 blitzes like this without trusting your safeties in man coverage. Epps ends up on Jefferson! I love how unpredictable this blitz is too. The LBs do a great job not giving it away and only exploding forward after the snap. The Vikings had no answers at all. pic.twitter.com/B6RJYuRxd7— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 21, 2022
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.
1) Check the rush by Josh Sweat... My goodness. 2) this is a play CGJ would like to have back. Part of playing deeper means changing your angles and he certainly needs to adjust to being the deep safety and takes a weird angle here. pic.twitter.com/ctceNrM8O4— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 21, 2022
Also... hello Zech McPhearson!
Can we talk about Zech McPhearson's coverage on Adam Thielan here? If you couldn't see the numbers on his shirt, you could be forgiven if you thought this was Slay out there. This is a fantastic play! pic.twitter.com/opcnN5dIYR— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 21, 2022
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.
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.
Eagles all22 defense thread vs Vikings! First play of the game set the tone. Vikings brought a WR in the box like the Lions did last week but the Eagles countered with a 5 man front (White on the edge here) and Josh Sweat just makes a heck of a play in the backfield. pic.twitter.com/vBLVRbV6O3— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 21, 2022
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.
No Jordan Davis and a 4man front, but the Eagles run defense was really good. Watch Bradberry come up and set the edge and Reddick/White/Cox all do a great job getting off blocks. The whole team showed far better gap discipline this week. It's way too basic to just credit Davis. pic.twitter.com/Few84NgTfj— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 21, 2022
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.