I made the wise decision to write about the Eagles’ defense vs. the Commanders’ offense first this week because I wanted to get all the negatives out of the way first. This was a great offensive performance from the Eagles. Let’s get into it!
One of my favorite things about this game was the Eagles returning to the RPO game. They had some really nice ones in this game, especially this simple RPO Glance to AJ Brown. The offensive line did a really good job of staying within 1 yard of the line of scrimmage. This play was one of the ‘easy buttons’ for the Eagles’ offense last year and it’s good to see the Eagles getting back to it. For those who like to complain about the run-pass ration, remember that plays like this could have been a run if the linebacker didn’t charge downhill.
Eagles Offense All22 vs. Washington. 1) I thought the Eagles RPO game was extremely effective in this one. Washington was aggressively coming downhill against the run and the Eagles' used it against them on a number of occasions. This slant is an easy button for this offense. pic.twitter.com/jniYcF9BCr— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 31, 2023
I never talk about injuries on here. However, it was pretty obvious this week that Jalen Hurts wasn’t moving well. I think it impacts the running game massively, but Hurts was able to escape the pocket a few times which was really important. We might have to get used to Hurts not being 100% for a few weeks, but as long as he can still occasionally get out of the pocket and create outside of the structure, then I’m not worried too much. Yet...
2) It was (sadly) very obvious Hurts' knee wasn't great. But he did manage to create a few plays out of structure and get out of the pocket if absolutely necessary. This was a big conversion on 3rd down and it's important Hurts can still move like this. pic.twitter.com/SV9naJ0gjG— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 31, 2023
This play is a great example of why the all22 is so important. I remember this play live and I remember seeing the comments from people complaining about the screen on 3rd and long, but Brian Johnson actually calls the perfect play to counter Washington’s blitz. This play could easily end in a touchdown if DeVonta Smith can just do enough to block his defender. I’ve seen some comments saying that it’s bad game planning to ask Smith to make this block but I will disagree. If you want to be a starting receiver in this league then you have to be able to make plays like this. Personally, I bet DeVonta Smith was pretty annoyed about how he played this one.
3) Ah man. Everyone complained about the 3rd down screen but the Eagles predicted the blitz and had the perfect call. If DeVonta Smith makes this block then Swift could go all the way. He has space as well as linemen in front. I know Smith isn't big but he just needs to do enough pic.twitter.com/m3ELIzyCGl— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 31, 2023
This is another example of Crash (short in and deep out) that I referenced last week. This is just a perfect pass on 3rd down. Hurts drops it in the bucket and AJ Brown fights through press coverage perfectly. This is just a really nice throw and catch.
4) This is a great throw and catch. AJ Brown in the slot fights through press coverage and the Eagles' OL + Gainwell do a fantastic job of picking up the blitz. Hurts drops this in the bucket. It's amazing that Hurts has developed into such a clean pocket passer! pic.twitter.com/mE6LvurIar— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 31, 2023
Here’s another example of Hurts having enough mobility to create outside of structure. I’ll be honest, I don’t really know what the Eagles are trying to do on this play but Hurts and AJ Brown can turn bad calls into good calls! Remember when Hurts couldn’t throw when rolling to his left? Is there anything that Hurts hasn’t improved in the past 3 years?!
5) Despite Hurts obvious limited mobility, he still showed the ability to make some good out of structure plays. Every issue I had with Hurts he seemed to have fixed. I remember when he couldn't throw after running to his left at all! This is a great ball to AJ Brown. pic.twitter.com/8UdXCbvUfn— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 31, 2023
The Eagles do a great job of lining up AJ Brown as a lone wide receiver opposite trips and I found it hilarious how much cushion the cornerback gave him here considering the Eagles are on the 25! This comeback to AJ Brown feels like an easy 15 yards every time they run it. I know AJ Brown is recognized as being an athletic freak, but he also understands the nuances of route running and getting open. The way he finds the cornerback’s blind spot here is perfect. He’s playing out of his mind right now and watching him every week in Eagles’ green is a blessing.
6) Hoping this was a misstep and not any knee pain but the drop looks a bit shaky. AJ Brown is credited with simply being a beast, which he is, but he can also win with nuance. Look at him find the blind spot on this comeback and create yards of separation. It's too easy for him… pic.twitter.com/lYdLU4ijPW— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 31, 2023
Hurts threw some absolute dimes in this game over the middle. Remember when Hurts couldn’t do that? That was fun. He was excellent at throwing over the middle of the field in this game and did a really good job reading the MIKE defender and throwing away from him in this game. This is a lovely ball to DeVonta Smith and it shows you how well Hurts is processing things right now. I don’t really know how to explain this, but this was the first week that Hurts looked like a veteran out there. The game looked like it had really slowed down for him. He’s only 25!
7) Speaking of improvement... Remember when Hurts couldn't throw over the middle? That was fun. This is a dime. He reads the MIKE's positioning and knows he will have Smith open against cover 2 and he lets it rip. Just really good processing and understanding of the defense. pic.twitter.com/enWmD9e70j— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 31, 2023
I don’t think you need a great deal of analysis for this one... What. A. Catch. I have nothing else to say about AJ Brown. I just enjoy watching him completely dominate cornerbacks at the catch point. He feels like the most complete receiver in the league right now because he does everything really well. I actually feel like the one-handed catch hasn’t been spoken enough about online. It is an absolutely ridiculous catch! Imagine being a Titans fan watching these clips?!
8) This is just a ridiculous throw and catch. AJ Brown is playing at a ridiculous level right now. Sometimes, don't get fancy in the redzone, and just throw it to your best player one-on-one. Simple! pic.twitter.com/986p3aDnIu— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 31, 2023
9) AJ Brown is a one-on-one monster. It looks a simple throw but Hurts does a great job reading off the safety early on. Washington played a lot of cover 2 man (which the Eagles rarely face as it's easy to scramble) and the Eagles handled it well. It's a good throw but it's all… pic.twitter.com/PwMkNsokgK— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 31, 2023
I think this is my favorite throw of the day by Hurts. It’s the exact same concept as play 7, but this time from empty. Hurts reads the MIKE once again but this time the Washington linebacker does a good job blocking the throwing lane. Just watch the very subtle pump fake by Hurts. He just moves his body ever so slightly as if he is about to throw to Dallas Goedert. The linebacker moves toward Goedert a little bit and it creates a nice throwing lane for the throw to AJ Brown. I absolutely loved watching this on film. This is so good. So good!
10) Again, remember when Hurts couldn't throw to the middle of the field? Another Hi-Lo and Hurts throws a dime to AJ Brown. Look how Hurts ever so slightly pump fakes to Goedert to create a throwing window by moving the LB. It's just beautiful pocket play. The game feels like it… pic.twitter.com/LUk9gxYbNd— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 31, 2023
I have a few concerns about the Eagles’ run game. That's a very weird thing for me to write because I haven’t said that for a while. Right now, without Hurts being a factor in the run game, it feels a little stale. It’s basically a lot of zone runs without the threat of the quarterback running from the shotgun. This is not what the top NFL running games are doing around the league. I want to see some more Dart (tackle power), traditional power, and counter. I don’t know if Rashaad Penny is any good anymore but I think the Eagles need something else downhill. I’m not expecting the Eagles to suddenly start lining up under-center and run duo but I do think his offense needs to find the running game without Jalen Hurts or they might have to rely on him throwing the ball a lot.
11) I have very little to say about the run game... as it felt quite boring? There was a lot of split-zone and it just felt like the Eagles never got any real push upfront and they couldn't get anything explosive going. It was a disappointing day on the ground. However... pic.twitter.com/qU9vUsEyWd— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 31, 2023
One thing I did like about this game was the use of split-zone throughout the game to set up plays like this. Goedert and Jack Stoll were constantly being used as blockers in split-zone which meant that when Goedert came across the formation here, the defense had no idea he was going to catch the ball. This play is so tough for a defense to stop but it only works if the defense views Goedert as a legitimate blocker when it comes across the formation.
12) Me and @ShaneHaffNFL spoke about sequencing a couple weeks ago, and it felt like the constant use of split-zone set up this important conversion to Goedert. This play is almost impossible to defend and it's a big reason why the Eagles need to keep running a lot of split-zone pic.twitter.com/8jtkgr1xGK— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 31, 2023
I love this play call too. I’m pretty sure it’s just standard play-action and not an RPO because of the offensive line, but either way, it’s a great call. I really like the addition of Julio Jones because he looks big out there and the Eagles' other slot receivers are small. I am fine if Julio Jones just becomes a redzone weapon on this team as it is an area that the offense has struggled with this year.
13 Let's end with Julio Jones! I love the play call and the Washington LB bites hugely on the play-action. Julio settles down in the void and it's a really good catch because Hurts fires it in and it's not his most accurate ball. If Julio just ends up being a redzone weapon, it's… pic.twitter.com/Dz26WuGISQ— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 31, 2023
Ending a film review with Julio Jones is something I never expected to do, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do so! This was a great performance by Hurts and the Eagles’ offense and I really enjoyed breaking it down. This weekend’s game against the Cowboys is a big one... I’ll be back next week to break it all down!