It wasn’t a good afternoon for Jason Peters against the Bengals.
The Eagles’ 38-year-old left tackle looked his age in the 23-23 tie and it’s fair to wonder if that game was a momentary blip or if this is the beginning of the end for the future Hall of Famer.
Peters on Sunday gave up 2 sacks, 2 hurries and 4 total pressures, according to ProFootballFocus.
Through three games, Peters has already given up three sacks. He gave up just three sacks in each of the last two years. And at this point in the season, he’s among the league leaders in sacks (3), hurries (8) and pressures (11) allowed.
Before Peters missed the last two snaps of the game after limping off the field, he played 89 snaps.
“I thought Jason was doing some nice things,” Doug Pederson said, offering faint praise. “There were a couple times he got edged a little bit. I thought overall he played pretty well. And even in the run game, he still plays at a high level and felt good about his performance. It wasn't perfect, but he definitely was in the right spots and doing the right things for us.”
After re-watching all 89 of his snaps, it surprised me to find out that Peters was actually solid for most of the afternoon. He was actually good in the run game and really settled down in the second half in pass protection.
But there were about five horrible plays and that’s all it can take to ruin a game.
So I sat down virtually with our own 10-year NFL offensive lineman Barrett Brooks to go through the five worst plays from Peters on Sunday to find the issues and figure out if they’re fixable:
Play No. 1
This play happened in the first quarter. This is the first snap of several where Carl Lawson beats Peters. On this one, Carson Wentz was able to escape on second down to throw the ball away. The Eagles actually converted on third down.
Brooks said he understood was Peters was going through on this play. It’s supposed to be a seven-step drop and the running back was late to the mesh point. So Brooks knows it’s hard to block for that long, but Peters still gave up the pressure.
“It’s a play action play,” Brooks said. “It’s supposed to come off like a run play. But then he opened the gate and turned his shoulders because he didn’t get on him fast enough. He should be stopping and set up at the 20. He’s setting up at the 18. If he set up where he was supposed to set up at the 20, 21, JP probably could have pushed him out. But JP opened up his body too fast.”
The open gate is something that became a recurring theme re-watching Peters’ performance on Sunday. He did this plenty of times against the Bengals.
Play No. 2
This play came later on the same drive in the first quarter. Again, Wentz was lucky to escape from this sack and ended up picking up 12 yards on a scramble.
“Oof. That’s bad. This is all JP here,” Brooks said. “He stopped his feet. He’s opening up and stopping his feet. That’s bad technique. He stopped his feet and lunged. When you lunge like that, you’re hips lock and you can’t move your feet. He stopped on the play.”
Back in Week 1, we looked at a sack Peters gave up to Chase Young where Corey Clement chipped Young into a spin move around the left tackle. On this play, it looked like Peters expected Clement to chip but he didn’t.
Play No. 3
Of all the plays we looked at, this one stood out for all the wrong reasons. It was the first of two sacks Peters surrendered on the day. Again, this was Lawson.
“He’s turning his hips,” Brooks said. “I don’t understand why he’s turning his hips like that. His hips are turning and he just uses his momentum. That’s a one-hand stab, that’s a hard move to stop.
“He’s swinging the gate open again. He is swinging the gate open bad. He’s not squaring up. Look at his hips and the guy isn’t even past him. Now he’s turned and trying to push him up the field, well that one-hand stab kept his momentum going. He couldn’t recover. Look how long he’s in the air.”
Again, Peters is opening up too early, which creates a leverage problem. Peters is normally aggressive but he isn’t here. He waits too long for his initial punch, ends up turning his hips and allows Lawson to move him with a one-arm stab. Lawson, by the way, has 31 1/2-inch arms, which is short among defensive ends. That’s in the third percentile.
Play No. 4
This fourth play was the second sack Peters surrendered at it happened with just 30 seconds left in the first half. The Eagles were lucky to recover the fumble because Wentz threw a touchdown pass on the next play.
Again, Peters opens his hips early again and ends up totally sideways. He was late with his punch again.
“Look, he hasn’t even touched him yet and his body is already turned to the sideline,” Brooks said. “You can’t open your hips like that. You gotta play more parallel to him. He’s turned and he has no power base.”
Brooks thinks that now that this is on film, more defensive ends will definitely try to attack Peters similarly.
Play No. 5
This is the only play we took from the second half, which is actually a good sign. It means Peters settled in as the game went on. And even this one deserves as asterisks.
This was a screen pass, so it’s Peters job to get the end up the field to set up the screen. The problem here was that Peters wasn’t aggressive enough and let the DE blow up the entire play.
Brooks explained that the timing for Peters was off on this play. He didn’t want to crush him for this play in particular but admitted Peters wasn’t aggressive enough.