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Eagles Defense All-22 Film Review: Takeaways from the Browns preseason game

NFL: Preseason-Cleveland Browns at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Pass Defense

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.

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.

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.

Run Defense

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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