Eagles Rookie Report: Rookies don't make big plays but make impact

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Eagles Rookie Report: Rookies don't make big plays but make impact

The Eagles took care of business Sunday by beating the lowly Bears, 31-3, at the Linc (see breakdown).

In recent weeks, first-round pick Derek Barnett and undrafted running back Corey Clement have dominated this space. This week, the rookies weren't as impactful in the Eagles' convincing win.

Here are a few of the highlights from this week's rookie report.

2nd quarter, 11:04, 3rd-and-12 at CHI 20 - Eagles 7, Bears 0
Mack Hollins is lined up in the slot on this play against corner Prince Amukamara. Amukamara gets a hold of Hollins off the line, but the rookie receiver gets a nice release off the line and forces the veteran corner to grab hold on the post route. Carson Wentz overthrows this ball as a result of the hold, but the Eagles do get the call. This is why the Eagles like Hollins. He's a matchup nightmare with the size to beat small corners and the speed and quick feet to beat longer corners.

2nd quarter, 0:38, 3rd-and-5 at CHI 26 - Eagles 17, Bears 0
This wasn't pretty by Clement but it got the job done. Wentz is lined up in the shotgun with Clement to his left. A blitzer comes off the edge from the left clean, with only Clement standing in the way of Wentz. Clement gets pushed back but gets enough of the blitzer to allow Wentz to float the ball out to Torrey Smith. The ball falls incomplete, but the Eagles get a first down because of another hold against Amukamara on Smith (see Roob's observations).

2nd quarter, 0:27, 2nd-and-10 at CHI 21 - Eagles 17, Bears 0
Nothing fancy on this play. Wentz again is lined up in the shotgun with Clement lined up to his right. It's a three-receiver set with Zach Ertz as the only tight end on the field. Clearly the Bears are thinking pass with this formation and just 27 seconds left in the half. Instead, it's a straight handoff to Clement. The formation allows the Eagles to get 1-on-1 blocks all around, including center Jason Kelce getting to the second level to block a linebacker. Clement hits the hole with a good burst and nearly picks up a first down.

3rd quarter, 7:09, 1st-and-10 at PHI 37 - Eagles 24, Bears 3
This is excellent play design from Doug Pederson. Nelson Agholor is lined up to the right in the slot. He motions left to the other slot, then swings back for the fake on the jet sweep. All that motion affects the defense. Clement does an excellent job staying patient then runs a little bubble to the left. All Wentz has to do is float the ball over the defensive end's head. Clement secures the catch and finishes off the play, plowing into two Bears' defenders for the first down.

4th quarter, 2:22, 1st-and-10  at PHI 32 - Eagles 31, Bears 3
Cornerback Rasul Douglas has been relegated to backup duty since the return of Ronald Darby last week. On this play in garbage time, Douglas flashed what made the rookie a solid stand-in during the time Darby missed. Marcus Wheaton runs a 10-yard in. Douglas, playing off coverage, as usual, reads quarterback Mitchell Trubisky's eyes and makes a break on the football. Trubisky's throw is behind Wheaton, which allows Douglas to pick it off. Unfortunately, when Douglas rolls over, he bobbles the ball and it hits the ground. Upon review, it's overturned to an incompletion. But the choreographed Electric Slide/Remember the Titans tribute was excellent.

Analysis
Barnett certainly didn't play poorly. The rookie defensive end didn't have any "splash" plays but was disciplined and did have a couple nice rushes. But as we've pointed out all season, just because he's not getting sacks, doesn't mean Barnett isn't making an impact (see report card).

Clement continues to get reps and be steady in production. After rookie camp, running backs coach Duce Staley told Clement to lose weight, work on his pass catching and — most importantly — work on his pass protection. It's to a point now where Clement is easily the team's best back on third down. This is from a guy that went undrafted in large part because he wasn't effective in the passing game in Wisconsin. He finished with four carries for 27 yards and one catch for 12 yards.

It's fair to wonder if Hollins should see more reps over Smith. While Hollins has perhaps earned it, the formula has been working for Pederson at receiver. Smith has been catching the ball more consistently and provides a veteran presence. Hollins will get his reps and he has to keep capitalize. Hollins finished with two catches for 12 yards.

Eagles Rookie Report: Derek Barnett disruptive, Corey Clement scores yet again

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Eagles Rookie Report: Derek Barnett disruptive, Corey Clement scores yet again

The Eagles took over the second half of a 37-9 road win Sunday night over the rival Cowboys (see breakdown).

First-round pick Derek Barnett continued to look the part and Corey Clement found the end zone yet again.

Here are a few highlights in this week's rookie report.

1st quarter, 1:15, 2nd-and-10 at DAL 20 - Eagles 7, Cowboys 6
Barnett doesn't record a sack here, but he certainly makes this play. Byron Bell isn't given any help on this play and Barnett beats him badly with an outside speed rush. Barnett arrives as soon as Dak Prescott finishes his drop and forces the second-year quarterback to throw it before he's ready. Safety Malcolm Jenkins gets the tip coming on a delayed blitz. The ball then hits off Terrence Williams and into the arms of safety Rodney McLeod. 

2nd quarter, 2:37, 1st-and-10 at DAL 25 - Eagles 7, Cowboys 6
On this play, Barnett isn't blocked. Bold strategy, Cotton. Prescott fakes the handoff right and bootlegs left. The hope is Barnett will crash down the line, hoping to blow up the run from the weak side. Instead, Barnett stays disciplined and runs straight at Prescott. This is probably Barnett's most impressive success so far this season. He bears down on Prescott, who is extremely elusive, and wraps the Cowboys' signal caller for the sack (see Roob's observations).

2nd quarter, 9:13, 3rd-and-17 at DAL 18 - Eagles 7, Cowboys 6
I'm not sure if Barnett actually affected Prescott on this throw, but I'll give him credit. Lined up in a two-point stance, Barnett initially looks like he might just settle into zone coverage. Instead, it almost works like a delayed blitz. Barnett charges in on Prescott, who then makes a terrible throw and decision to force a ball to Dez Bryant. The errant throw is easily picked off by cornerback Ronald Darby.

3rd quarter, 10:56, 2nd-and-2 at DAL 11 - Cowboys 9, Eagles 7
When the Eagles have needed a big play this season, they've called on No. 30 on more than one occasion. An eight-yard carry by Clement on first-down sets this play up. Carson Wentz in lined up in the shotgun with Clement to his right. The Eagles' were incredibly effective using traps to help mitigate the aggressiveness of the Cowboys' front four. On this play, right guard Brandon Brooks pulls to the left and seals off defensive tackle David Irving. Both left guard Stefen Wisniewski and left tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai did an excellent job getting to the second level to take on linebackers, allowing Clement to get into the Dallas secondary. Clement yet again shows off his patience and vision and dives in for six.

3rd quarter, 10:56, Two-point conversion attempt at DAL 2 - Eagles 13, Cowboys 9
With kicker Jake Elliott out with a concussion, Doug Pederson made the decision to go for two instead of having backup linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill attempt a kick. And Pederson pulled something interesting from his bag of tricks on this one. Initially, the Eagles line up fairly traditionally with two receivers to the right, a tight end tight to the left and Clement in the backfield. Then the players all motion out wide to the right in a diamond. Clement is the player in the back. Wentz throws the ball immediately after the snap. The ball is thrown backward so it's actually considered a run. Clement secures the catch and plunges in. This was a fun play design.

4th quarter, 10:37, 3rd-and-5 at DAL 45 - Eagles 29, Cowboys 9
Man, the Cowboys are in an awful lot of trouble without Tyron Smith at left tackle. Barnett just blows right by Bell yet again. The best part of this play is the awareness from Barnett. He sees Prescott wind back to throw and knows he won't be able to make the tackle. Instead, he reaches for Prescott's right elbow, knocking the ball loose. Linebacker Nigel Bradham scoops it up and runs it back for a touchdown.

Analysis
What else can you say about Barnett? Sure, the Cowboys are really struggling without their All-Pro left tackle, but the rookie Barnett took full advantage. He's now up to 4 1/2 sacks through 10 games while being a part-time player. Damn impressive rookie season thus far (see report card).

I'm also not sure what else you can say about Clement. Even with the addition of Jay Ajayi, Pederson still trusts the undrafted rookie. He finished with 50 yards on six carries. He's now up to six total TDs this season.

Eagles Rookie Report: Corey Clement says don't forget about me

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Eagles Rookie Report: Corey Clement says don't forget about me

The Eagles bullied the Broncos on Sunday in a 51-23 win at the Linc (see breakdown).

Undrafted running back Corey Clement had his first multi-score game, first-round pick Derek Barnett continues to be disruptive and cornerback Rasul Douglas nearly recorded his third pick of the season.

Let's take a look at some of the highlights in this week's rookie report.

1st quarter, 10:49, 2nd-an- 17 at PHI 34 - Eagles 0, Broncos 0
Douglas could've kept the Broncos off the board and started the rout on the Broncos' first drive. Playing his usual off coverage, Douglas is lined up against the speedy Emmanuel Sanders. Sanders runs a 15-yard hitch. Douglas jumps the route and has nothing but green grass in front of him. Quarterback Brock Osweiler hits Douglas right in the hands but Douglas drops it. Should've been Douglas' third pick and most likely his first NFL score. Still a nice, aggressive play by Douglas.

1st quarter, 4:52, 3rd-and-13 at DEN 5 - Eagles 7, Broncos 3
Barnett just keeps getting better (see report card). On this play, he just blows by fellow rookie Garett Bolles with an outside speed rush and plants Osweiler into the ground. Osweiler has to dump it off to running back Jamaal Charles for a minimal gain because of the pressure created by Barnett and defensive end Chris Long.

1st quarter, 0:59, 3rd-and-10 at DEN 15 - Eagles 10, Broncos 3
Still early in the game, but this would've been a big stop for Denver. Clement sets up the screen perfectly, getting enough of All-Pro linebacker Von Miller to prevent him from blowing up the play but still showing early enough for Carson Wentz to hit him with the pass. Yet again, Clement shows off his balance and vision, allowing his linemen to get downfield. Most notable was right guard Brandon Brooks, whose block clears the way for Clement's 15-yard score.

1st quarter, 0:04, 2nd-and-1 at DEN 38 - Eagles 17, Broncos 3
One thing has been made abundantly clear by Barnett's play so far: he cannot be blocked by a tight end. Apparently, the Broncos didn't get that memo, as Virgil Green attempts to block Barnett on a run play. He's able to slow down running back Devontae Booker before he could even get going. Defensive tackle Beau Allen gets credit for the tackle for loss, but Barnett clearly makes the play.

3rd quarter, 14:55, 1st-and-10 at PHI 23 - Eagles 31, Broncos 9
On the first play from scrimmage in the second half, Clement makes a big play. With Wentz lined up in the shotgun and Clement to his left, Clement comes across Wentz's face and takes the carry off tackle to the right. Brooks and right tackle Lane Johnson blow their men off the line and create a nice crease for Clement. Clement shows off a nice burst for a 38-yard run. He lost 10 yards off the end of the run because of a hold by wide receiver Alshon Jeffery down the field.

3rd quarter, 7:32, 1st-and-goal at DEN 2 - Eagles 31, Broncos 9
This is an interesting wrinkle by head coach Doug Pederson. Wentz is lined up in the pistol formation with Clement deep behind him. They run the option to the right. Miller goes after Wentz, making it an easy decision for Wentz to pitch it to Clement, who has an easy run to the pylon.

Analysis
Remember when Clement was a long shot to make the team? Now the Glassboro, New Jersey, native has become a pretty big part of the Eagles' offense. He finished with 66 total yards and three TDs. Not bad for an undrafted rookie. I've lauded Clement's patience and vision in this space all season. His confidence and burst are starting to catch up (see Roob's observations).

Meanwhile, Barnett has become a huge part of the Eagles' D-line rotation. He continues to show why he was a first-round pick. You have to love the way Schwartz is using him. The 279-pound Vinny Curry gets in early, trying to beat tackles with strength, and he's followed by the 259-pound Barnett, who loves to use the speed rush. Bolles couldn't keep up with either Sunday.

Douglas was beaten for a big play during garbage time but was solid yet again. He continues to make aggressive plays on the ball like he did back in West Virginia. 

Wide receiver Mack Hollins finished with just one catch for eight yards.

Kicker Jake Elliott nailed his only field goal attempt, a 45-yarder. He did miss an extra point.