You know the drill by now ... the Eagles win and I break it down. Let’s go.
The Eagles zone running game was as dominant in this game as it was last week. The trio of Landon Dickerson - Jason Kelce - Cam Jurgens was ridiculously good. Honestly, I loved Jurgens pre-season and pre-draft film, but I can’t believe he is playing this well. I said inside zone on the tweet, but after rewatching a lot of the clips the Eagles ran a lot more outside zone in this game, which was a nice change up to last week. The Eagles’ zone running game was so dominant, that they basically just skipped the double teams at the point of attack. Normally, you’d see Kelce double-team and then work his way up to the second level. But in this game, he seemed to just get straight to the second level. The Buccaneers had no answers.
Eagles Offense All22 thread vs. Bucs. 1) This was a 12 personnel inside zone clinic. I thought Dickerson, Kelce & Jurgens were out of this world. IZ normally relies on double teams but Kelce just got to the 2nd level so quickly and trusted the two guards to win one-on-one. pic.twitter.com/7g9gj8tDEg— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 26, 2023
The Eagles’ running game definitely had more variety than it did last week. This was a beauty. Just watch the Bucs linebackers. The Eagles ran a lot of QB draws last year but we didn’t see as many HB draw’s like this one. It just adds another dimension to the Eagles’ running game, which is already looking fantastic this year.
2) Watch the Bucs linebackers! Eagles run a HB draw with center pull and the Bucs 2nd level totally misreads it. The Eagles did run a lot of IZ, but it wasn't just IZ like last week. It's probably a good sign when Kelce has no one to block because the Bucs play it so badly. pic.twitter.com/aRKL0iwXz1— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 26, 2023
The Eagles had a number of different answers to pressure which we will get to later, but I loved this call to run it on 3rd and 6. If the Bucs want to send an overload blitz on 3rd and medium, I was happy to see Brian Johnson take advantage of it and just keep it simple. I don’t think I saw another obvious overload blitz all game. Sometimes, football is a simple game with simple answers.
3) Brian Johnson schooling Todd Bowles with a run on 3rd and 6 to beat the Bucs overload blitz? Why not! Just watch Jurgens on every running play this thread & thank me later. This is really simple but it's very clever and it's an effective way to beat the blitz on 3rd down. pic.twitter.com/mPRIfFZjAY— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 26, 2023
There’s no real scheme take to this play, I just had to post it because of DeVonta Smith’s route on this one. The nuances are just beautiful. He sets this up so well. It’s all so subtle but so effective. Just look at how he slightly leans into the cornerback, then away from the corner while changing tempo to make it look like he is going to fly downfield. Then when he closes the gap to around a yard, he quickly breaks back towards the football and makes the catch. Love it.
4) How many better route runners are there with a free release than DeVonta Smith? The nuances in this route are just delightful. Check the angle of the route, then the slight lean upfield combined with a change in tempo to close the gap and then the cut back towards the… pic.twitter.com/MJtfqAfum6— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 26, 2023
Let’s talk Jalen Hurts, shall we? I thought he had a good game. A 7 out of 10. I do not think he started well, and he was shaky in the pocket. But one of the great things about Hurts is his inability to let a bad start ruin his whole game. After bailing from the pocket too early a few times, he really did calm down and sit in the pocket later on. This is one he would want back, without a doubt.
5) I thought Hurts was shaky early but did settle. This 3rd down was an example of him bailing too early when he should have stayed and hit Goedert. Bailing to your left on this concept is pointless due to the route locations. The good news is he seemed to learn from this one. pic.twitter.com/wbrPOJX5On— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 26, 2023
Let’s go back to the blitz. I was SO happy to finally see some answers. I can’t explain how long I have been waiting for adjustments to the blitz. The Eagles had a number of different ways to counter the blitz, but this was the most common. The Eagles spread the defense out and looked to hit Dallas Goedert over the middle quickly. They didn’t mind allowing free rushers because the plan was clearly to get the ball out extremely quickly and negate the Bucs’ blitz. It worked well all game! I cannot explain how happy this has made me. Please, just keep it up now.
6) Breaking: I liked the Eagles game plan against the blitz! They seemed to have a number of answers, with the quick dropback and throw to Goedert one of many answers. The plan was to get the ball out quickly and negate the rush and I thought it worked! Really positive sign. pic.twitter.com/a9Vjd3PfSj— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 26, 2023
It does not get much better than this. This is an absolute dime. the subtle pocket management to keep the play alive is brilliant. The ability to stand in there, take the hit, and get the ball out is also great. But, the ball placement is as good as it gets. This is an elite throw. The receiver isn’t even expecting it, Hurts just puts it in the only place that the receiver can get it. This has to be one of Hurts’ best throws ever, doesn’t it?
7) Oh my god. This is a throw. No one open on 3rd and 10. Hurts stands tall and doesn't bail. This is what you call throwing a guy open. The ability to take the shot and still deliver this ball to the only location his guy can get it is elite. Top 5 throw of his career?! pic.twitter.com/iS46qNmRAz— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 26, 2023
I have a lot to say about this play. Firstly, I know it was an interception, but I LOVE it. One of the things I wanted the Eagles to add to the offense was choice routes to the running back. When you watch the 49ers, you can’t help but see this consistently with CMC. The Eagles didn’t do it at all last year, and the reason why I love it is because it’s so effective against pressure when you are certain to get the running back one-on-one with a defender (normally a linebacker). Now, this may just be a standard Texas route and not a choice route, but I think it is a choice route and I’ll explain why. So, a number of things could have happened here, let’s look at the options...
1) Hurts just throws a terrible throw on an angle route. I think this is unlikely, because after the game both Hurts and Sirianni said this is a miscommunication.
2) This is a simple hitch route and Swift runs the wrong route. I doubt this happens.
3) This is an option route, and there is a miscommunication. Because there is so much room inside, Swift may think that he has space inside so cuts inside. However, if this route is based on leverage, then as the linebacker is inside of Swift, he should just turn around and catch the short hitch. Personally, I think this is what happened, but I wasn’t in the room so I don’t know!
Either way, I love this play against pressure and I hope we see it again.
8) Here's a surprise... I like this play. Without being in the room I have no idea if it's a choice route or Texas or something else, but I love using Swift like this vs. pressure. This could have been a big play. Obviously there's a horrible miscommunication but I really like… pic.twitter.com/NkuermbNW2— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 26, 2023
Just watch Jurgens and Dickerson... my word. Watching Kelce prepare to double-team and then realize he just doesn’t need to is hilarious.
9) The Bucs run fits are absolutely awful on this play... but look at the POP that Jurgens and Dickerson get! How strong is Cam Jurgens?! 50 looks like he has absolutely no idea what has hit him! Kelce goes to double team, realizes he has absolutely no need to, so just gets to… pic.twitter.com/PCiJEFQe2A— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 26, 2023
The Eagles also ran some counter as we saw here. This was a really diverse run game, and the Eagles haven’t even gotten to the QB run game yet (more on that later). I haven’t given them any credit yet, so I need to shout out Dallas Goedert and Jack Stoll. They are such good blockers for tight ends. It makes the Eagles 12 personnel package so effective.
10) I have nothing else to say about the run game. Whether it was inside zone, QB draw, or counter (shown here) they just dominated. Look at Dickerson here! I can't say enough about Stoll or Goedert as run blockers either. Stoll is nearly a 6th OL at this point. Swift looks so so… pic.twitter.com/PeWPwhaZVZ— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 26, 2023
I think Hurts is late to this throw, but I don’t think it’s a terrible throw or decision. It’s probably a bit overaggressive, but even if the ball is picked they likely take over at their own one or two-yard line. I will never really criticize quarterbacks for being too aggressive. I think DeVonta Smith could actually play this a lot better and should prevent the interception. However, you have to say fair play to the cornerback, because this is a ridiculous interception.
11) This is an interesting one. I don't hate the decision to throw the post over the safety who is clearly not dropping deep enough. It's slightly underthrown, but I think it's a combination of a fantastic play by the CB and DeVonta Smith not coming back to the ball and being… pic.twitter.com/mszIXCjQ8W— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 26, 2023
Here’s that throw to Goedert against the blitz again, this time from empty. Simple, but so effective. Why has it taken so long for answers to the blitz to appear? This is a clear area of improvement from Brian Johnson this week, and it’s something the coaching staff seemed to ignore last year (or just rely on Hurts to ‘make a play’).
12) Let's end with 2 other answers against the blitz. This is a similar play as earlier but from empty. It felt a bit like a 'back to basics' play, where you just get the ball out quickly to negate the pressure. Empty makes this a very easy read against 6 man pressure. I was… pic.twitter.com/w7HCF6CVff— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 26, 2023
It wasn’t just the short throws to Goedert or the throw to Swift against the blitz. I also saw this look twice, with a quads formation and A.J. Brown lined up as the lone receiver. Against pressure, this look just guarantees you will get a one-on-one matchup with AJ Brown against a cornerback, with a lot of space to work due to stacking the other side of the formation. I love this look against pressure, and it worked twice in this game.
13) And finally, the Eagles did this twice against the blitz and it worked. Quads formation with AJ Brown isolated with a ton of space to work with. It basically guarantees a one-on-one matchup and Browns route is sharp and Hurts gets rid of the ball quickly. Simple but… pic.twitter.com/zeyppiaRrQ— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) September 26, 2023
- The Eagles QB run game was essentially unstoppable last year, and we haven’t really seen it this year. I’ve seen very little QB draw, QB Counter-Bash, etc. I would assume the Eagles are saving this for the big games and the playoffs. If so, I would be scared if I was an opposing defensive coordinator. Because when the Eagles start using the QB run game, this running game is going to go up to another level. If that’s even possible!
- This was the best the offense has looked all season, and it felt like Brian Johnson got into a nice rhythm.
- Jalen Hurts clearly hasn’t been at his best, but I wouldn’t panic. He looked more comfortable this week, and the lack of QB run game does take away a lot of his easy yardage. I think it’s clear the Eagles are trying to limit the number of hits he takes early in the season.
- D’Andre Swift is playing out of his mind right now. The running back by committee approach might be dead. Swift is going to get a lot of touches this year.
- The Eagles still have the best Kelce/Swift duo in the league... (I’m sorry, I had to).
I thought this was a step forward for the offense and we saw some progress from both Brian Johnson and Jalen Hurts. I’m hoping the Eagles can build on this and continue to find a rhythm next week. As always, all feedback and comments are welcome!