Preseason is all about watching players competing for a role, and I thought we saw some promising signs in this one, especially at linebacker and safety. Let’s get into it.
Despite what I read about on Twitter, I actually thought Dawand Jones probably got the better of Nolan Smith overall. But, pass rushers don’t always need to win every single snap, it’s about creating splash plays and this is exactly what Nolan Smith can do. His athleticism and ability to bend are really on show in this one and it’s a fantastic pass rush which I hope is a sign of what is to come.
3) Nolan Smith v. Dawand Jones was a good battle (I think overall Jones did well despite what I saw on here?) but this rush was so impressive. He uses his length really well and turns the corner so low whilst maintaining balance. This is a positive sign! pic.twitter.com/KbcUmtPouq— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) August 21, 2023
More on him later... but this is a great rep by Christian Elliss in man coverage. However, I also love that once again, on 3rd and long, the Eagles are going single-high and sending a linebacker on a blitz. Look at the press coverage by the corners! It seems clear to me that we are going to be more aggressive this year on 3rd down, and I think we should be with the current group of cornerbacks that we have.
6) Very next snap, Elliss wins in man coverage on 3rd down. Winning against power then in man coverage back to back isn't bad is it! Also another 3rd down with press man cover 1 and a LB blitzing Think we might see a lot of this next year with Dean blitzing pic.twitter.com/OGupZRP0Ey— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) August 21, 2023
If Ojomo can start rushing the quarterback now... then this guy isn’t just going to make the roster. He’s going to get snaps too. I love it when things I see on the film post-draft show up in the preseason. It makes me feel better about myself (which is always good) but, more importantly, it makes me think that it isn’t just a fluke and that this is someone who can develop into a solid rotational option.
7) It's officially now a preseason tradition to end with Ojomo. He looked fantastic in run defense in college but the knock on him was his inability to rush the quarterback, hence why he somehow fell to the 7th. Well, here he is, rushing the quarterback and winning! pic.twitter.com/L8czDr5sYD— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) August 21, 2023
Nolan Smith didn’t just rush the quarterback well, he can also do this in run defense. My word. How many EDGE defenders in the league can do this? That’s a receiver he is chasing down! I cannot wait to watch Nolan Smith develop this year and I am really, really hoping that Desai has a plan to use him in a variety of different ways.
4) How many EDGE defenders are fighting through two blocks whilst keeping their balance and then chasing down a receiver on a reverse? The athleticism is rare and the hunger in the pursuit (despite already being hurt - I think he hurt it earlier) is outstanding. pic.twitter.com/MaVQpbk1WU— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) August 21, 2023
When I first saw this play, I wondered if it was a bit of a flukey fumble where the handoff was poor. I was wrong! This is a fantastic play by Nakobe Dean and it really highlights his positive traits. He flies downhill with his elite burst and deliberately knocks the ball out of the back's hand. I thought he had a good game and we are going to need him this year.
Eagles Defense All22 vs. Browns. 1) I thought a lot of linebackers had good games which was a positive. This isn't just a lucky fumble by Dean, he reacts to the run very quickly, flies through the gap and targets the football. This is an excellent play and he looks explosive. pic.twitter.com/taPb2qePk1— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) August 21, 2023
I didn’t have any clips of him in this one, but I thought Zach Cunningham had a really strong game. The other linebacker that stood out was Christian Elliss. I know he’s been getting good reviews from camp, but until I see it in the game I am never sure what to think. It wasn’t just the pass coverage rep from above that impressed me, but this is a fantastic play. This is textbook linebacker play against a gap scheme run. I think he has a real chance of being the first man up at linebacker.
5) I may be horribly wrong, but preseason has calmed my nerves about the LB position. Christian Elliss also looked good. This is textbook. He reads power, hits the linebacker hard to shed the block and makes a play on the ball carrier. I think he will get snaps this year. pic.twitter.com/NbYx9hbuah— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) August 21, 2023
Moving on from the linebacker position, I also thought we saw good performances from Sydney Brown and K’Von Wallace in particular. There were a couple of clips I could have shown from Wallace, but I simply had to show this play by Sydney Brown. He is just so much fun to watch and is one of the hardest hitters I have seen in a while. There are a lot of concerns about linebacker and safety, and I could be totally wrong, but I feel better about the position than I did 2 weeks ago.
2) Sydney Brown is hilarious. I've got no idea if he can play this hard on an every down snap and stay healthy but he is flying out there. You can't help but watch him every play he's out there, and you can bet some receivers on the other team have an eye on him too... pic.twitter.com/MtaEbatHLi— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) August 21, 2023
We are going to end with Ojomo... because he is my preseason MVP so far. That’s 2 weeks in a row he’s defeated a double team and made a great play on the ball carrier.
8) And here he is getting off the double team and making the tackle despite being the backside defensive tackle. He better make this roster... pic.twitter.com/OVMvQUg7JJ— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) August 21, 2023
That’s all for this one folks, one more preseason game then we can get into the serious business. Quick question... do you prefer the game broken down into pass/run defense or would you prefer it in chronological order, sort of drive-by-drive? I’m thinking of the best way of doing it this year. Thanks!