Eagles

Eagles film review: How the Birds picked up all 10 sacks vs. Jets

Eagles film review: How the Birds picked up all 10 sacks vs. Jets

The Eagles’ 10 sacks against the Jets were the second-most in franchise history and Sunday’s outburst came after they had an NFL-low three sacks through the first four weeks. 

Those 10 sacks came in a variety of ways against the Jets. 

Here’s a closer look at all of them: 

Sack No. 1 

The first sack of the game came on the first series of the game. It’s 3rd-and-9 and the Eagles are going to get to Luke Falk with a four-man rush, from left to right: Josh Sweat, Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Derek Barnett. The Jets have four wide. 

As is normally the case, Cox gets double-teamed inside, so the defensive tackle next to him gets a 1-on-1. During the planning for this season, that was supposed to be Malik Jackson, but he’s out for the year. In recent years, Graham has gotten a bunch of snaps (and done some of his best work) from an inside pass rush position on third downs. That’s exactly what happens here. He uses his hands to get around guard Brian Winters, keeps his balance and delivers a textbook hit on Falk. 

Sack No. 2

Still in the first quarter, this play happens on 2nd-and-9. This time, Jim Schwartz uses a corner blitz with Orlando Scandrick, who has actually been pretty good at these in his career. Even though Scandrick shows blitz pre-snap, rookie RT Chuma Edoga couldn’t get a block on him. If Edoga was a half-step faster, Falk has a nice pocket, but he wasn’t. 

This was the first of two strip sacks for Scandrick on the night. And it took Scandrick just 2.27 seconds to get to Falk here. That’s the third-fastest sack in the NFL this season, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. 

Sack No. 3 

Here’s another third down rush with Graham inside. This time he’s at RDT with the line loaded to that side. Pre-snap, the Eagles show blitz but back off and go with a four-man rush on 3rd-and-6. But this time, they’re going to use a stunt that gets Graham free. Winters (67) is ready for Graham but pressure from the other side from Sweat forces Falk to move up in the pocket and right into Graham’s path. He can’t escape. 

At the point when Falk decides to abandon the pocket, there wasn’t anything open down field and nothing to the side of field where he was forced to escape to. 

Sack No. 4

Now we’re in the third quarter and the Jets are facing 3rd-and-8. Surprise, surprise, Graham is lined up as a DT again. This time he beat the guard and the center as the Jets slide the protection. Graham sticks with the play and gets the sack. Give some credit to the secondary on this one too; there wasn’t anything open. 

Sack No. 5 

This is a 1st-and-10 from late in the third quarter. It’s going to be another four-man rush. Watch Vinny Curry at RDE. He actually loses his balance and ends up flat on his belly under the left tackle, but sticks with the play. Thanks to coverage downfield  from Rasul Douglas and Kamu Grugier-Hill on the receiver and Rodney McLeod on the back, Falk tries to step up and take off. The young QB had seen enough pressure all day to make him jumpy by late in the third quarter. 

Eventually, Curry is off the grass and sticks with the play to get a 1-yard sack. 

Sack No. 6 

The Eagles’ last five sacks of the game came in a window just over 6 1/2 minutes long. They had been battering the Jets’ offensive line all day and with a big lead, could really pin their ears back against an awful unit. 

This is a 1st-and-10 at the 8:38 mark in the fourth quarter. The Eagles don’t have any starters out there on their DL: Sweat, Akeem Spence, Hassan Ridgeway, Curry. The Jets slid protection to Spence for some reason, so Ridgeway and Curry both have 1-on-1s.

This is going to be another tackle-end stunt. Ridgeway penetrates and Curry loops inside. The guard and center don’t pass off this stunt well and Ridgeway is basically able to get sideways and split them to pick up a sack. 

Sack No. 7 

The very next play after the Ridgeway sack. This is another blitz coming from Scandrick. 

Jim Schwartz pointed out the coverage made this play happen. Rasul Douglas covered his man deep and Vinny Curry, who dropped back in a zone blitz, covered the underneath man to give Scandrick time. 

Initially, tight end Ryan Griffin does a nice job blocking, but there’s just nothing downfield for Falk. Scandrick, who thought he did a good job of disguising the blitz, admitted he could have had a better pass rush move. Eventually, though, Scandrick gets around the tight end and gets his second strip sack of the day. A few of these sacks showed that if coverage is there, pass rushers can’t ever give up. 

And after Scandrick gets to the QB, he stole the football like candy from a baby and took it to the house. Impressive play and Eagles debut for Scandrick. 

Sack No. 8 

On a 2nd-and-6, the Jets are using max protect, so the Eagles send a heavy blitz. Daeshon Hall ends up in a 1-on-1 situation against TE Trevon Wesco and beats him to get the Falk for the sack. 

On the outside, Rasul Douglas had press man coverage on Robby Anderson, who actually ends up beating him. If Falk has a pocket, he’d have a chance at a deep throw down the left sideline before the single-high safety can get there. But as Anderson gets open, Hall is already taking him to the ground. 

Sack No. 9 

The next sack comes on the very next play. It’s 3rd-and-13. 

The Eagles use another four-man rush and it gets home again. You’ll notice this time that Graham is doubled inside, leaving Cox with a 1-on-1. Cox great great pressure but Sweat gets the sack. Sweat sets up the right tackle by making his first step to the outside. He gets the RT leaning, uses a club to get past him and then bursts through the QB. This is textbook. 

Sack No. 10 

The last sack of the game comes from Barnett, again on a four-man rush. The left tackle Kelvin Beachum tries to block Barnett to the outside but Ty Montgomery’s chip block actually sends Barnett into a makeshift spin move. Barnett is able to keep his balance and takes down the QB. 

•••

Of the Eagles’ 10 sacks on Sunday, seven of them came on four-man rushes, with a couple stunts mixed in. The other three were well-timed blitzes. 

Sure, you can take this performance with a grain of salt; the Jets are pretty bad. And maybe none of this carries over. But it was still a dominant performance from the Eagles’ defense. 



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Personnel disasters and more in Roob's random Eagles points

Personnel disasters and more in Roob's random Eagles points

Taking stock of Derek Barnett, the Eagles’ MVP, a long-range prediction and lots more in this weekend’s edition of Roob’s random Eagles points! 

1. When the Eagles needed defensive end depth, they didn’t hesitate to sign Vinny Curry, who had 11½ sacks in his previous four seasons. When they needed a running back, they signed Jay Ajayi off a one-year layoff. When they needed a wide receiver, it was 32-year-old DeSean Jackson and then when they needed another one, it was Jordan Matthews, who had been released three times in the past year.

Maybe this isn’t entirely true, but the impression these moves give is that the Eagles’ scouting department is bringing back guys it’s familiar with — guys the team has already cut ties with at least once — instead of really doing its due diligence to find the most talented and most promising players available at those positions. Need an Eagle? Find an old Eagle!

Jackson got hurt. Curry’s done nothing. Ajayi’s been here only a couple weeks but looks slow. Matthews lasted two weeks. There’ve been several other lesser guys they’ve recycled. I can’t help but wonder if the Eagles’ scouting department is basing way too much on familiarity and not enough on ability.

2. Barnett hasn’t been awful this year. He’s shown some flashes. Plays hard. But 4½ sacks is 4½ sacks. And 12 sacks in 33 NFL games is mediocre production. Barnett’s only 23 so there’s still time for him to figure it out, but he’s in Year 3 now, and I don’t see signs of him becoming a special player. He’s still trailing Mike Mamula’s pace (13½ sacks in his first 33 games). Not good enough.

3. Incredible that Miles Sanders already has the fourth-most scrimmage yards ever by a Penn State player in his rookie year: Saquon Barkley (2,028), Curt Warner (1,774), Franco Harris (1,235), Miles Sanders (879). Pretty good company. 

4. With Jordan Howard out (as well as Corey Clement and Darren Sproles), Doug Pederson can’t be afraid to give Sanders 22 or 23 carries in a game. He’s by far the most productive running back available right now, and the Eagles can’t simply go 69-31 pass-run ratio like they have the last three weeks just to protect Sanders. If the other backs on the roster aren’t good enough to produce, go find better running backs.

5. I’m not sure how this is possible, but Sanders has only six third-down carries all year. He’s averaging 5.8 yards on third down.

6. This is fascinating: The average third down Eagles opponents are facing is a 3rd-and-8, which is the fifth-longest third-down average by any defense this year. That’s really good. But opposing teams are converting 37 percent on third down, which is 13th best. The second figure should be much lower based on the first figure. Why the discrepency? Because the Eagles are allowing opposing teams to convert an incredible 25.5 percent on 3rd-and-10 or longer. That’s fourth worst in the league. 

7. My colleague Dave Zangaro and I were trying to figure out who the Eagles’ 2019 MVP is, and we were kind of stumped. Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks and Lane Johnson have been really good for the most part. Fletcher Cox has been his usual self after a slow start. Zach Ertz has big numbers again. Jake Elliott and Cameron Johnston have been terrific. Rodney McLeod has been the most consistent guy on defense. Sanders keeps getting better. But do any of them deserve the title of MVP? Nope. The reality is with four games to go? This team doesn’t doesn’t have one.

8. Ertz has 507 career catches. He needs 17 in the last four games for the most ever by a tight end in his first seven seasons. Jason Witten caught 523 from 2003 through 2009.

9. Ajayi is only 26, but he looks like he’s 36. That’s understandable to an extent. He didn’t have OTAs, didn’t have a training camp. Didn’t practice in over a year before Seattle week. He’s going to look rusty. But that raises the question … if you knew Ajayi had missed a year and wasn’t immediately going to be the same guy he used to be and you needed a running back to contribute now, why did you sign him?

10. Crazy prediction: If the Eagles find a way to beat the Cowboys and if they win the NFC East and if they host a wild-card weekend game, they’re not losing that game.

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Eagles-Giants NFL Week 14 predictions 2019

Eagles-Giants NFL Week 14 predictions 2019

The Eagles (5-7) host the Giants (2-10) at Lincoln Financial Field on Monday night. 

To the predictions: 

Reuben Frank (5-7) 
I’m really reluctant to pick the Eagles to beat anybody right now. I have no reason to have faith in this coach, these players, this staff. But then I look at the Giants and they’re way worse than the Dolphins. I don’t think it helps the Eagles that Eli Manning is back, even though he’s been brutal for years against the Eagles. But he's got a better chance to come into the Linc and win a game than a 22-year-old kid who has two career wins.

What Monday night will show all of us is whether the Eagles have mailed it in or if they still have a shred of fight in them. We know the Cowboys have mailed it in. Somebody has to win the NFC East, unless commisioner Roger Goodell just decides to vacate it and add another wild-card team. Probably won’t happen, although if I were the commish I would.

So against my better judgment I’ll pick the Eagles. But at this point, nothing would surprise me.

Eagles 27, Giants 26

Dave Zangaro (6-6) 
Let’s start by making this clear: The Eagles could lose any remaining game on their schedule. I just don’t think they’re gonna lose this one. The Giants are a mess and even with Manning, I’m not expecting that to change. And then there’s the fact that the Eagles have owned Manning and the Giants over the last few years. In fact, the Eagles are 9-1 against the Giants in the last five years. They’ve even won the last five games between the two teams. But four of those five wins have been close games, so I’m not about to predict a blowout. Still, I expect the Eagles to be tied with the Cowboys atop the NFC East on Tuesday morning. 

Eagles 24, Giants 20 

Derrick Gunn (5-7) 
Shocked is the best way to describe what happened to the Eagles down in Miami. The offense came to life, moved the ball effectively and put up 31 points. Then there’s the defense that we had applauded for holding four previous opponents to 17 points or fewer having a complete meltdown and giving up 37 points to one of the worst offenses in the league. If losing wasn’t bad enough, players and the head coach Doug Pederson said in unison “they wanted it more than we did.” So here they stand two games below sea level and fighting for their playoff lives.

The Giants are just as bad as the Dolphins on both sides of the ball. The Eagles’ defense was planning on getting an up-close-and-personal look at Daniel Jones, but he’s injured which means Manning has been dusted off and called into active duty. But wait there’s more: both TE Evan Engram and WR Golden Tate are expected to be healthy enough to return as well. If that happens, Tate, Engram, Sterling Shepard and Saquon Barkley would all be on the field together for the first time this season.

The Birds have owned Manning in recent years (Manning 1-9 in last 10 meetings with Eagles). This matchup makes me nervous. Manning could want to make a strong showing for a future employer. Will the Giants rally around their former leader? Which Eagles defense will show up? Despite the records, it’s a division battle, but at least the Birds have this one at home. 

Eagles 28, Giants 21

Ray Didinger (4-8) 
It was interesting that the point spread went up when it was announced that Manning would be starting for the Giants on Monday. Has it reached the point where bettors think a rookie, Jones, gives the Giants a better chance to win than a two-time Super Bowl MVP? Wow. 

Anyway, the Eagles were favored by eight but it went up to nine when the Giants announced Manning would start. I think the Giants saw Jones throw three picks Sunday against Green Bay (that's 21 turnovers for him this season) and decided the kid needed to sit for a week or so just to clear his head. Eight straight losses can wreck a young quarterback's confidence. They probably wanted to give Manning a chance at a curtain call anyway.

With Manning at quarterback, there will be a lot of dump offs to Barkley. He caught 91 of them last season when Manning was checking it down all the time. This year with Jones taking over Barkley has just 38 receptions. It is a dramatic difference. So Barkley will get a big work load, rushing and receiving, but it won't spell the difference. Big day for Carson Wentz against a woeful Giants defense.

Eagles 28, Giants 14

Andrew Kulp (6-6) 
I said it last week (while wrongly picking the Eagles), but it's not a given they will win this or any other game for the remainder of the season. That's just the reality of the situation.

That being said, while I might've been tempted to pick the Giants with Jones under center, picking the Giants led by Manning is a different story. Don't get me wrong, I can totally imagine a scenario in which Manning torches the dynamic duo of Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby — I just don't find it incredibly likely.

Manning stinks against the Eagles, stinks at Lincoln Financial Field, and really stinks against the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in primetime. I'll take my chances on the Birds here.

Eagles 34, Giants 15

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