Football is back! Full disclaimer: it is preseason! I wouldn’t take anything too seriously, but preseason absolutely does matter, especially for players on the fringe of starting or making the roster. Let's get into the offense first.
The Eagles have a new offensive coordinator, but this looked like the Eagles' offense from last year. We saw a heavy emphasis on the quarterback run game, a very multiple-run game, a lot of RPO’s, and some similar routes and concepts (such as the slot fade). If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it...
All the talk after the game was about Tanner McKee, and I thought he played pretty well for a rookie in his first game. I liked his film when I watched him after the draft, and he looked like I thought he would. This is what I said about him after the Eagles drafted him.
I love these big old-fashioned pocket passers even if the NFL has passed them by. Five years ago, Tanner McKee is definitely an early-round pick. He can do so many things well. He throws with beautiful touch down the field, is pretty consistent with his ball placement, and can get through his progressions.
This is what we saw against the Ravens too. He got through his progressions and had some really nice throws, including this slot fade which is an Eagles favorite against single-high coverage.
Brian Johnson also loves a slot fade vs. single-high! This was a staple of the Eagles pass fame last year and they ran it twice in this game. Biggest compliment I can give McKee is how confident and decisive he looked. He looked like he had a good command of the Eagles concepts. pic.twitter.com/qJ1DSSezEs— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) August 14, 2023
This was the play that really got me excited. This is a big-time throw with anticipation. McKee has to read the deep safeties, and he is hoping that they are distracted by the over route from the slot and the vertical route from the outside receiver. This is a lovely call against a 2-high look. However, the slot cornerback actually carries the post for quite a while which means McKee has to throw with anticipation because the window is not that big. If you pause when he releases the ball, the receiver is not actually open yet.
Best throw of the game. Throwing with anticipation in your first preseason game is pretty impressive. He lets this ball go before the window is open which is a brilliant sign. He reads the post coming open behind the underneath defender and in-between the split safeties. Love it pic.twitter.com/JJSlku8KYH— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) August 14, 2023
If I'm honest, not much else stood out from the passing game except McKee. I thought Ngata looked OK overall too. This was the play I really enjoyed because it’s something we saw the Eagles run a lot last year. It’s an RPO, where McKee keeps it and dumps it off to Greg Ward on the arrow route. Ward’s pre-snap motion hides him and it’s almost impossible to cover this play. It very much felt like the Eagles’ offense I watched last year, which is a positive!
As I said before, new OC but similar offensive approach. These plays are so tough to stop. It's RPO arrow w/ a pick, and Greg Ward's motion gives him a free release and hides him. Only criticism here is that it is maybe pass interference on the pick? But it wasn't called so! pic.twitter.com/MhMYp7oiYK— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) August 14, 2023
I think there was more to take away from the running game than the passing game in this one. The Eagles running game was really multiple as it was last year, and we saw some of the staple concepts from last year. I think there was more outside zone in this game than I was used to last year, which is something to keep an eye on. This was the run that jumped off the screen. You can’t teach this from Swift. If I’m putting money on the Eagles’ starting running back, I don’t see Kenny Gainwell doing this.
Quick Eagles All22 offense thread vs Ravens. It's preseason but... Why not?! I know you've all seen this but my word, that is a hell of a run by Swift. It felt like a statement run. Love the 2 double teams at the LOS too. Eagles run game was still very multiple for a PS game. pic.twitter.com/NYsG7sj7cP— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) August 14, 2023
I enjoyed watching Tyler Steen’s debut and I thought he looked good overall. The Eagles definitely wanted to feature him in the running game, and we saw him pulling quite a lot. The first time I saw him on the move was on the Dart concept, and there were positives and negatives to this rep. The good thing is he looked very good on the move and looks a good athlete. A lot of teams don’t run Dart because you need an extremely athletic tackle, and I think the Eagles clearly wanted to see if Steen could handle this concept. However, his block at the point of attack is pretty lightweight. He sort of stops and lunges and doesn’t show a great deal of force. If you read my review of him after the draft, I mentioned this as a concern.
- Doesn’t show any ‘elite’ natural power or force in the run game.
Hopefully, this is something he can work on.
It felt like the Eagles wanted to see Steen in action and featured him early on. Here's Dart, with Steen pulling. He moves very well for a big guy but would like to see a little more strength at the point of attack. I thought it was a decent first game though and he looked fine. pic.twitter.com/9t5I8PBOLL— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) August 14, 2023
The Eagles got Steen on the move again, with a pin/pull outside zone run. Despite me just saying he lacks power in the run game, he does a great job on the move here and has a lovely pancake! I think the defensive linemen was slightly off balance but still, it was good to see him looking comfortable on the move.
Pin/Pull outside zone here, watch Tyler Steen pulling No surprise that the Eagles run game was multiple as we know that Stoutland is still in charge despite the change at OC. Here's another example of the Eagles asking Steen to pull and Steen looking comfortable doing so. pic.twitter.com/veg4acnPKo— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) August 14, 2023
I don’t really like Mariota as a quarterback much and don’t think he’s very good personally, but you can see why he’s the Eagles’ backup after watching this game. He had some excellent scrambles and this run here sums up why the Eagles want a mobile backup quarterback. The Eagles are one of the best running attacks in the league and it’s going to be a huge part of the offense this year. It’s pretty basic analysis but a mobile quarterback is so important to having an elite run game, for numerous reasons.
Why is it important for the Eagles backup to be mobile? Because mobile QBs can help create rushing lanes like this! Look how wide 90 has to play this, just in case Mariota keeps it. Penny reads this very quickly and spots 53 over running this early. pic.twitter.com/CvwRrjKkqg— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) August 14, 2023
I didn’t think Penny had his best game, but this was my favorite run of the game from him. This is another RPO with outside zone lock (lock is the backside linemen ‘locking’ down the defensive linemen so the Eagles can throw it if necessary) and there’s another use of the pin/pull concept that we saw a lot last year. I love the Eagles' use of pin/pull which makes their zone running game more effective.
Pin/Pull RPO outside zone lock... Love it. The backside guard and tackle 'lock' blocks means the ball can be thrown. Eagles read 53 and run it with the center pulling. This was Penny's best run of the day too. New OC, but very similar approach to the running game. pic.twitter.com/kCZj2YpGW5— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) August 14, 2023
That’s it for this one, it’s good to be back with new film to study! All feedback and comments are appreciated as always.