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Eagles Film Analysis: All-22 defense takeaways from the Jets game

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Philadelphia Eagles v New York Jets Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

It’s time to talk about a loss for the first time all season. This is a tough one to take, so buckle up. Before we get into it, I do have some good news. I am joining BGN Radio and will have a weekly All22 podcast with Shane Haff, which I am really excited about. So if you want to check out my British accent and hear more in-depth analysis, please listen!

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It feels weird after a defeat, but this is a pretty positive article about the Eagles’ defense. They played well! Considering how many injuries they have in the secondary, they managed to do just enough and I think the defense would have won the Eagles the game if Hurts didn’t throw that final interception. The Eagles were very aggressive against the run early on and I was shocked when I started watching the film and saw 4 defensive tackles! This is very aggressive and it worked. The Eagles did a good job for the most part stopping the Jets running game. Jordan Davis had to play a lot of snaps in this game because the Eagles played a lot of 5-man fronts and I thought Davis was really good. He’s having a great 2nd season.

Speaking of great players, I don’t think anyone has been better than Josh Sweat over the past two weeks. Sweat is a great pass rusher, but I thought we saw some great snaps in run defense too, such as this one below.

The Eagles need Reed Blankenship to be healthy because this defense is not the same without him. He is the Eagles' best safety by a mile, and it’s so obvious when he isn’t out there. Just look at how he reads this deep over route and flies down to make a play on the ball. Blankenship has about 3-5 plays every game that make you go ‘wow’ and I’m not sure all the other Eagles safeties combined have had 3-5 plays all season that you make excited. He is a huge part of this defense.

I think James Bradberry stepped up this week, which the Eagles really needed. He had two huge breakups in the redzone against Garrett Wilson. Yes, he got beat a few times by Wilson but Wilson is really good. Without Darius Slay, I think the Eagles needed Bradberry to play well and he was able to move around and play both outside and inside and had a good game. The Eagles are going to need Slay and Bradberry to be really good moving forward because the rest of the secondary is looking like a real concern.

I get excited when it's a 3rd and long because I know that I might get to see this package! This is the Eagles' favorite design currently on pass-rushing downs, and it’s a way of getting all the best pass rushers on the field. It’s just so fun to watch. If you are an opposing quarterback and you see this sub front, you must be pretty concerned about what’s going to happen next. The Jets were extremely brave (or dumb) to only leave 5 men into block and the Eagles took advantage and picked up a huge sack on 3rd down. The Eagles’ redzone defense was really good in this game.

I know Kentavius Street isn’t someone I would normally mention but explain to me how I can’t post this play?! It’s such an athletic play. The Eagles needed Street this week because as I mentioned above, they played a lot of 5-man fronts and Jordan Davis can’t play every snap. Street was surprisingly good as a nose tackle in this game and it’s good to know the Eagles have a backup to Jordan Davis if he needs to take a rest.

Honestly, I could have posted quite a few plays where the secondary looked a mess. I think Terrell Edmunds is pretty awful right now, and after Blankenship went out, this secondary had the potential to be a disaster. Luckily for the Eagles, Haason Reddick and Sweat are playing out of their minds at the moment. They have been so good these past few weeks and the Eagles will need to have a huge game if they have any chance at slowing down this Dolphins’ offense on Sunday.

I thought Nakobe Dean had an up-and-down game. I still think he struggles in run defense and it was on show a few times. He can struggle to get off blocks and probably isn’t as good as Cunningham against the run right now. However, he’s also quite clearly the Eagles' most athletic linebacker and when he identifies a play quickly, his reaction speed is the best the Eagles have. He helps to blow up this run by getting downhill quickly. Milton Williams had another good game, and it’s safe to say at this point that Williams is just a good defensive tackle.

I am not picking on Mekhi Garner at all because it is not his fault. But he was not ready to play at safety in this game. If the Eagles’ pass rush hadn’t been fantastic, you would have seen some big plays thrown over his head. You rarely see a player on tape have no idea what to do, but it’s clear here that Garner doesn’t know what his responsibility is. As I said below, I’m pretty sure that he is supposed to bracket Garrett Wilson here but he just lets him run right by him. The Eagles need to sort out this secondary or it is going to cost them this year. You cannot make a run for the #1 seed in the NFC starting Edmunds and Garner. I think the Eagles need to add another veteran safety who knows how to play in this defense. It’s a real concern for me.

I didn’t want to end with this play but I actually forgot to post it at first. People have complained about Derek Barnett taking snaps because he isn’t very good (which is absolutely true), but the problem is that Nolan Smith currently isn’t very good either. He played 3 plays in a row in this game and didn’t look comfortable on any of them. His final play was this one here, where he totally failed to set the edge, and he never got back on the field again. If he wants to play more, he has to do the basics like setting the edge, or the coaches are just going to keep going back to Barnett. Coaches hate it when players do not execute the game plan more than anything.

Quick notes

  • I thought Josh Jobe had an OK game and despite making some bad mistakes, I am pretty comfortable with him as the backup cornerback on the outside. If Slay is back this week, it would be pretty tempting to keep Jobe as a starter on the outside and move Bradberry back into the slot. The Eagles just need some sort of continuity in the secondary.
  • I would love to give you some optimism about the Dolphins game this week but I’m extremely worried about it. I think the Dolphins' motion is going to cause all kinds of chaos in the Eagles’ secondary. The Eagles just badly need some consistency on the back end. If Sean Desai has this Eagles’ defense playing well this Sunday, I’ll be extremely impressed!
  • I will be interested to see if the Eagles continue to rotate Dean, Nicholas Morrow, and Zach Cunningham at linebacker. It felt quite random on Sunday, but I had no issues with the rotation.

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