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. (Previously: Takeaways from the Eagles offense.)
I saw some positive signs from the defense under Sean Desai and whilst it’s only preseason, I thought there were some signs of a more aggressive defense than we saw last year. In particular, look out for the amount of press coverage that was on show as this is something you can’t always see without the All22.
There were a few players I watched closely, and Jordan Davis was one of them. I thought he was OK overall, but I still have some concerns about his upside. However, this was a really promising sign because I think he looks a little quicker and more agile than he did last year. Also, he played in the Eagles nickel 4-man fronts which is something we did not see much of last year. This is a big deal, as he can’t just be a nose tackle in a 5-man front, especially as I think Desai wants to use that less than the Eagles did last year.
Eagles Defense All22 vs. Ravens. Enjoyed this one and saw some promising signs overall. Watched Jordan Davis closely and saw some good/bad. This rush was positive. He's never going to be truly explosive but looked quicker than he did last year and got pressure up the middle pic.twitter.com/SIw4DyXtuv— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) August 14, 2023
You’ve all seen Jalen Carter’s rush by now, but the coverage behind it had me more excited. I like seeing more aggressive press coverage and we saw a lot more of it in this game. I also enjoyed seeing some late rotation from 2-high to single-high as I think they have the starting cornerbacks to handle it.
You've all seen the awesome Jalen Carter rush, but I was interested by the coverage behind it. 3rd & 10, Eagles rotate from 2-high to cover 1 robber. Interested to see the Eagles go single-high in 3rd and long and thought the cornerbacks were pressing and more aggressive. pic.twitter.com/jjzJYjxcY5— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) August 14, 2023
Kelee Ringo impressed me overall, but he also showed that he does need a lot of work in off-coverage before he’s ready to start. I think he did enough to make the roster though. If you read my review of him post-draft, I mentioned his struggles in off-coverage.
Little too slow in and out his breaks and his hips look a little stiff at times. Better in press than in off-coverage because of this. It showed up in drills at the combine.
Ringo was really good when he was aggressive at the LOS but was a little lost in off coverage. He doesn't get a hand on the WR at all here and looks sluggish in off coverage. Also, interesting to see the Eagles blitz 6 on 3rd and 6. pic.twitter.com/pGea3aogkv— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) August 14, 2023
I still can’t quite believe Ringo fell to Day 3 as you may remember I had a late 1/early 2 round grade on him. Despite his concerns in off-coverage, he looked really good in press coverage throughout the game.
Another 3rd down with single-high, this time cover 1 with the LB in the hole. The corners are pressing again and Ringo does a really good job. Eagles clearly targeted press man corners this off-season and the film showed why! pic.twitter.com/QT9md8SGan— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) August 14, 2023
He hasn’t had very good reports in training camp, but I thought Nicholas Morrow had a good game. I’m not quite sure how he fits with Nakobe Dean as they are both undersized linebackers, but I was impressed by his awareness and closing speed throughout the game. Again, look at the corners pressing.
Another rep where you see the corners pressing at the line of scrimmage. I thought Nicholas Morrow had a good game overall too. He looked quick and decisive. I'm not sure how he fits with Dean but I was glad to see him have a good game after some worrying camp reports. pic.twitter.com/1iDDQm9wM1— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) August 14, 2023
I wasn’t too impressed with Nolan Smith to be honest, but that didn’t shock me as I think he will need a bit of work. I also think he will thrive being used in a variety of roles and exotic blitz looks, and the Eagles aren’t going to want to show those looks in the preseason. This was a welcome to the NFL moment, and I would rather it happen in the preseason than the regular season!
This was a welcome to the NFL moment for Nolan Smith, who won't set the EDGE this badly again (I hope). The Eagles play the run really well (Cunningham in particular does well) and they force the RB backside where Smith should be but he's gone chasing the ball carrier. pic.twitter.com/pMeQoHN8ah— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) August 14, 2023
The Eagles were willing to stack the box when the Ravens went heavy personnel, which was a positive sign. I thought the Eagles' safeties were decent in run defense, and K’Von Wallace had a couple of really good reps, including this one. Wallace hasn’t impressed me very much throughout his career, but he is more experienced in this scheme now and I think he has a good chance of being the Eagles 4th safety this year.
Here's another promising sign. Eagles really stacked the box when the Ravens went heavy personnel and weren't afraid of moving away from the 2-high world. K'Von Wallace had a solid game too and does a great job here avoiding contact and making the tackle. pic.twitter.com/pNuYSkxV5m— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) August 14, 2023
It’s time for the fun stuff. Someone explain to me again how Moro Ojomo fell to the 7th round? I was blown away by his run defense when I watched him post-draft, and he looked excellent against the Ravens. I specifically pointed out his ability to defeat double teams... and I think you could see why in this game. I really, really hope Ojomo makes the roster as I think he can have a role as a run defender this season.
Now let's get to the fun stuff...Ojomo was fantastic. For a 7th round rookie, he clearly stood out. He was so aggressive against the run. Look at him here beat the double team and make the tackle on the running back. I said it when I watched him pre-draft, he was a steal. pic.twitter.com/AcAdbGqpYK— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) August 14, 2023
Ojomo defeating another double team again He's going to be useful at defending the run, without a doubt. Also, Janarius Robinson stood out a couple of times at EDGE too. He looked like he had quite good size/speed for that EDGE position. pic.twitter.com/sLpENC6Dts— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) August 14, 2023
Seriously, I know he’s playing backups but how good did he look for a 7th round rookie in his first-ever game?
Do you know who else stood out in their first-ever game? Sydney Brown! This guy is fun to watch. I have concerns about coverage and I know he will get caught out at times, but how many safeties come downhill this fast? It is so important for the modern-day 2-high safety to come downhill quickly, and Sydney Brown comes downhill as quickly as anyone you will see. This is a fantastic tackle in the open field and whilst I do not expect him to start this year, there should absolutely be a role for him this year. Yes, he doesn’t take the perfect angle and he can be overaggressive but... who doesn’t want to watch this guy play? Just look at the speed and aggressiveness. This wasn’t the only tackle where he looked good either.
Let's end with my 2 fav players to watch in this one: Ojomo & Sydney Brown. Ojomo wins again and forces the RB outside, then Sydney Brown comes FLYING downhill. When you play with deep safeties you need them them to get downhill quickly and Brown does that extremely well. pic.twitter.com/JIS9x7ySPT— 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.