Another week, another win for Philadelphia Eagles! There’s much to unpack from this Week 2 game, so buckle up for a long one. Let’s go.
This was a fascinating game on offense because the Vikings' defense was just hilariously weird. I’m sure a lot of you have seen the stats, but it felt like the Vikings either blitzed 6 or dropped 8 into coverage on every single play.
There will be a theme to a lot of these clips, and that is that the offense wanted to go down the field—a LOT. I am OK with this overall, but this was the second play of the game and it’s a 2-man route concept with no checkdown available at all. I thought Brian Johnson did some good things in this one at times, but I’m going to argue that only running a 2-man concept is not good and that it’s no surprise Jalen Hurts looked uncomfortable in the pocket early on. What’s he meant to do here? Another note: the Eagles may have run Dagger (vertical route with deep dig behind it) about 20 times in this game and I’m not joking. They might need to mix it up a bit more moving forward because it got predictable.
Eagles Offense all22 vs. Vikings. 1) 2nd play of the game is a 2-man concept (dagger) with 0 options to check it down. I understand being aggressive, but where is Hurts meant to go if there's pressure? This is tough on a QB from an offensive design perspective early on. pic.twitter.com/nP3T2O9ta4— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 18, 2023
The good news: I loved the Eagles' adjustment to pressure in this game. When the Vikings were bringing 6, they were almost playing an umbrella-type shell on the top of the defense all game and the corners were being told to defend the space in front of them, with the idea that the pressure would get home quickly. It was incredibly aggressive from Brian Flores and the defense and the Eagles’ offense called their bluff and just kept going vertical, over and over. This is a fantastic decision to throw under pressure by Hurts and although he slightly underthrows it, that’s partly because the Eagles running backs just cannot pass protect.
2) However... Brian Johnson's adjustment to Vikings pressure was great. He realized the secondary was sitting on short/intermediate routes and these deep posts were open. This is slightly underthrown due to pressure (poor job by Swift) but it's a great decision and throw by Hurts pic.twitter.com/nxcqPOeFrP— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 18, 2023
Now, this is where I was critical of Hurts in this game. The offense almost became obsessed with the deep shots and Hurts was too slow to eliminate what wasn’t there. He’s staring the dig down here and feels some pressure and tries to escape, when he could have checked it down to Dallas Goedert for an easy gain. However, I also think Brian Johnson doesn’t make it easy because he has Goedert come across the formation and chip, which means he is late to release. So from an offensive design point of view, I don’t think the coordinator is making it easy for his quarterback all of the time either. This is a good example of where I think Hurts and Brian Johnson were both responsible for some of the bad we saw in the passing game.
3) I've got a lot to say about this play from a design perspective (read the BGN article later), but these deep routes vs. pressure are high-risk high-reward. Hurts has to be quicker eliminating these routes and getting to his checkdown but Goedert's motion also makes it tougher… pic.twitter.com/HzQ4AMb2jx— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 18, 2023
This is just bad. By everyone. The Eagles run Dagger (shock) and it’s just all wrong. AJ Brown’s route is terrible and lazy, and it means the deep safety doesn’t need to get any real depth which makes the throw harder than it needed to be. Hurts has decided pre-snap where he is going with the ball and doesn’t read 25 dropping into coverage. And from an offensive design point of view, I am pretty sure the defense knows exactly what is coming here. This one is rough if we are being honest.
4) The INT is bad all around. It's dagger (again!), and the Vikings are prepared. AJ Brown runs an awful/lazy deep route which doesn't draw away the deep safety (Vikings in this 3-high Tampa 2). Credit 25 who gets back from a blitz look but this is bad all around from everyone. pic.twitter.com/JTjOTCDdnG— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 18, 2023
I’m not in the room, so I don’t know if this was actually an RPO or a QB draw with a dummy motion. I think something the Eagles did really well last year, was use RPOs that provide answers to whatever the defense brings. If this is an RPO, then I think Hurts screws up and should throw it to Boston Scott. If it isn’t an RPO, I would argue this play is tough to run against a front 6 and the Eagles’ offense should have an option to do something else.
5) Thought Hurts was a little off on a couple of RPOs/read plays. This ball has to go to Scott... they are 4on3 on the outside if he throws it. He keeps it after reading the EDGE but I'm not quite sure what he has seen here to keep it? This is a great call against pressure by… pic.twitter.com/Q91fGrtwqd— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 18, 2023
I know the Eagles ran the ball a lot in this one, but I haven’t really included many clips because it was so easy to break down. It was just a lot of inside zone from 12 personnel and the Eagles just destroyed the Vikings upfront. I was as happy as anyone to see the Eagles run all over the Vikings, but I do not think this game is going to be similar to many others. The Vikings’ defense had one of the weirdest gameplans I have seen and seemed determined to stop the Eagles' passing game, even if they played some of the lightest boxes I have ever seen. They routinely had 6 in the box against 7 Eagles blockers, and that’s without including Hurts as a rushing threat. It did legitimately feel too easy, and I’m not trying to take anything away from the Eagles’ offense, but just being honest.
6) The Eagles run game was SO simple but so good. I thought Vikings run defense was hilariously terrible, and the Eagles' inside zone game just killed them. It was just 12 personnel inside zone (or split zone) that destroyed the Vikings light boxes over and over. pic.twitter.com/QgSaRA3eL4— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 18, 2023
I have been critical of Hurts and Johnson at times in this one, but this one is solely on Hurts. I get the fascination with the deep shot, and it worked a lot in this game, but you have to eliminate what is not there quicker and get to the checkdown.
7) This was disappointing from Hurts, because I think he's too focused once again on the big play and has to eliminate what isn't there quicker and check this down. The checkdown is wide open (Stoll) and he also takes an unnecessary shot for no gain that he doesn't need to take. pic.twitter.com/aVrti8XyhU— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 18, 2023
However, if you want to play devil’s advocate, focusing on the deep shot absolutely worked at times. And I want to watch a team that is aggressive, so I’m not complaining about deep shots like this at all. This was another great throw under pressure.
8) The focus on the big play did pay off a few times and Hurts delivers a great ball despite having pressure directly in his face. The Vikings defense was just insanely aggressively and the deep shots did bring the offense success, despite the inconsistency it led to at times. pic.twitter.com/6cgmWMXP18— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 18, 2023
The performances of the two tight ends and Jordan Mailata in particular were out of this world in this game. Dallas Goedert is as good as a blocking tight end as there is in the run game. D’Andre Swift was fantastic in this one, and it is absolutely bizarre to me that he barely played last week. He needs to be the main running back moving forward, with Kenneth Gainwell the backup. He’s the most explosive back the Eagles have.
9) Again, look at the hole that IZ creates here. Mailata and the two tight ends were fantastic. Not sure about AJ Brown's block here... but Swift was also fantastic. He was so decisive, quick and explosive throughout. It's pretty insane he played so little last week! pic.twitter.com/VbtwnKEVaL— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 18, 2023
Sometimes you just watch a simple throw, and absolutely love it. I love this throw. This throw just summarizes the progress that Hurts has made over the past couple of years. He trusts his eyes here and reads the coverage perfectly. He looks off the secondary and then delivers a strike. This just looks routine. This is a proper throw.
10) This looks easy, but this is a big time throw by Hurts. This is where his progress the past 2 years is so obvious and why I have a lot of faith in him. Watch him hold the defense by looking straight and knowing this will be open based on the coverage. This is great. pic.twitter.com/6h55ZZ9179— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 18, 2023
Rashaad Penny was pretty bad in this one, and this holding penalty was an absolute killer. I have recently mentioned that Hurts is not as good outside of structure as many people think, but he shut me up with this throw. This is a dime. When Hurts does win outside of structure, it feels like it always goes to AJ Brown. The chemistry between the two is obvious, and I’m gutted he didn’t get the touchdown here because it’s such a good throw.
11) This penalty by Penny is a killer because this is such a great play. Hurts isn't great out of structure as a thrower but when he is good, it always seems to be to AJ Brown. You can tell he trusts him. This would have been such an elite play by the two of them. pic.twitter.com/PDBwVKvRd8— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 18, 2023
This would have been another fantastic touchdown and it was so close. The play in the pocket by Hurts here is brilliant, and he does a great job avoiding pressure and creating a throwing lane. This is a bit of a take (for me anyway - I don’t do many hot takes) but I think Hurts pocket presence looks really good when he knows exactly where he is going to go with the ball, and a bit all over the place when he has to get through his professions. I think it’s still an area he needs to work on, but this is beautiful, and I think it’s caught if Brown doesn’t turn around early or get pulled down by the defensive back!
12) This would also have been an elite TD if this was complete. I think its PI and may be complete without contact from the DB. Hurts pocket presence here is beautiful. AJ Brown's explosiveness is on show but does anyone think he looks back too early which causes him to slow? pic.twitter.com/ROgnwLPTF6— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 18, 2023
Let’s end with the running game and D’Andre Swift because it won the Eagles the game. Swift is too talented to not have a big role in this offense moving forward.
13) Let's end with the running game because, how could I not? Just standard 12 personnel inside zone and the blocking is fantastic all around. The Eagles just dominated the Vikings upfront. The hole is huge but Swift is superb at the 2nd level and creates the explosive play. pic.twitter.com/2XHHtmA68l— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 18, 2023
- I think the Eagles' whole philosophy is about creating as many explosive plays as possible and I think the inconsistency may be annoying at times, but it’s a philosophical decision.
- The Eagles’ running backs cannot pass-protect. Rashaad Penny has been one of my favorite players over the past few years, but I’m a little worried he might be done. He had no juice at all. D’Andre Swift is quite obviously the Eagles' best back too.
- The Eagles asked AJ Brown to run a lot of deep decoy-style routes, and it was pretty obvious to me on film that he was not happy. Superstar wide receivers always want the ball, and AJ Brown is no different so I wouldn’t panic, but it could be something to monitor. Expect him to get involved early.
- It was great to see the Eagles go back to 12 personnel. I said last week there was just way too much 11 personnel and the Eagles mixed it up more this week.