Eagles

How Eagles are using screen game to pick up big chunks

How Eagles are using screen game to pick up big chunks

Over the last few weeks, we have seen a reinvented Eagles offense. 

Without DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery and even Nelson Agholor, the Eagles are somewhat limited with their options offensively and big plays have kind of dried up because of it. 

But they’re finding ways to manufacture offense and one way they’re manufacturing chunk plays is with the screen game. 

I have always thought the Eagles’ offense works best when they get these screens going and that was true against the Cowboys in the 17-9 win. With the speed and YAC ability of some of their players and with the athletic ability of the entire offensive line, it’s not hard to figure out why the Eagles are good at this. 

It paid off on Sunday. Let’s take a look: 

This play comes early in the fourth quarter. On 1st-and-10, Doug Pederson dials up this screen play to Miles Sanders and the Eagles execute it perfectly. This was absolutely textbook. The play goes for 24 yards and Sanders comes pretty close to breaking it. 

Before the snap, Zach Ertz goes in motion. Even though Ertz is playing with a fractured rib at this point, the Cowboys have to account for him, which is going to buy another fraction of a second for this play to work. 

The play action look gets Sean Lee turned around and you can see the play start to develop. Sanders is going to sneak into the flat and will have horses in front of him. Solid job by the receivers to just take their men out of the frame.

Take a second to appreciate Brandon Brooks’ playing Michael Bennett and tossing him to the ground before getting out in front of this play. 

As Sanders catches the ball, he has three big offensive linemen about to get in front of him to lead block. All three have a responsibility. Jason Kelce was uncovered on the line, so he’s the first guy. He’s going to take out the ‘mugger,’ who had the running back. That’s Sean Lee. The next guy is Isaac Seumalo. He’s responsible for sealing off the inside man. 

Then there’s Brooks. He already tossed a Pro Bowl player and now he’s responsible for the outside man, but Greg Ward is already doing a great job blocking outside. So Brooks can head up field, giving Sanders a 340-pound lead blocker once he gets on the track. 

This is the perfect situation for Sanders. He has a mobile Brooks out in front. Brooks completely erases Jaylon Smith from the play and it allows Sanders to pick up another dozen yards. Perfect execution. 

 

This play actually came earlier in the game. It was a huge 18-yard gain that was negated by a Jason Peters penalty, but it doesn’t mean the play call didn’t work. Because it absolutely did and it was a big gainer. Dallas Goedert is really good with the ball in his hands and the Eagles have been happy to get it to him. 

It’s 1st-and-10 late in the second quarter. The Eagles are in 12 personnel with both tight ends off the left side of the line. At the snap, Ertz is going to run a route and Goedert is going to stay inline and block Robert Quinn. First, it’s a credit to Goedert that he probably could’ve blocked Quinn, but he just has to get a chip on him and make it appear like he’s blocking. Instead, Goedert is going to slip out and become the target. 

You can already see how this play is developing. Goedert is about to come free and there’s a lot of space on that side of the field. You can also see Peters’ man charging. Eventually, Peters is going to get called for a penalty. 

Kind of just unfortunate for Peters here. I know everyone wants to kill him and maybe he could have gotten to his spot earlier … but the linebacker over pursues the play and then instead of turning his body and going after Goedert he tries to cut back and Peters can’t help but to hit him in his back. Weird play. 

Anyway, you can see all the space Goedert has in front of him with the calvary of Kelce and Seumalo out in front. Again, Kelce has the first guy and Seumalo’s job is to seal off the inside. 

 

This last play we’ll take a look at came in the third quarter on a 2nd-and-5. It goes to Boston Scott, who picks up seven yards and the first down. 

 

On this play, Scott is going to catch the pass in the left flat. Jason Peters and Jason Kelce sell it well and since Seumalo is uncovered on the line, it’s his job to get to the next level and get the key block on Lee. 

 

At the catch, Seumualo does his job and gets a hat on Lee. Meanwhile, Kelce seals off the inside and this should give Scott a hole. 

 

Decision time for Scott. The play is likely designed for Scott to cut back up through that hole, but he’s a little wide for that and he sees 54 charging in. And there’s a lot of space outside, so Scott just uses his speed and bounces it outside to pick up the first down. 

•••

A few years ago, the Eagles were great in the screen game with Darren Sproles. Well, he is retiring but they have plenty of other weapons to use on screen with Sanders, Scott and Goedert. Sure, the Cowboys are susceptible to these plays but regardless of opponent, the Eagles have to keep using them. 

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NFL Draft Betting: Will LSU's Justin Jefferson go before No. 24?

NFL Draft Betting: Will LSU's Justin Jefferson go before No. 24?

With the 2020 NFL Draft just weeks away, now is the time to start scouting your first round bets - if you haven't already.

LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson had a breakout 2019 season, teaming up with Joe Burrow for monster numbers - 111 catches, 1,540 yards, 18 TD - and a national championship.

But where will he fall in the 2020 NFL Draft?

With Jefferson's over/under set at 23.5, NBC Sports Philadelphia betting expert Brad Feinberg thinks you should take the under on Jefferson going before the 24th overall pick.

It's a combination of talent and circumstance, according to Feinberg. He expects this draft class's top three wideouts - Jerry Jeudy, Ceedee Lamb, and Henry Ruggs III - to be gone in the first 15 picks. 

After the big three are off the board, Jefferson is almost unanimously the top choice for teams in need of young, talented pass-catchers like the Raiders (No. 19), the Eagles (No. 21), and the Vikings (No. 22).

"I think 23.5 is a great bet for the under," Feinberg said, "because I fully expect one of those three teams to snag [Jefferson] up in those picks."

Earlier this week, NBC Sports Philadelphia's Michael Gatti looked at the betting lines surrounding the Eagles' No. 21 pick, and found Jefferson as the odds-on favorite at +170.

In what's expected to be one of the most loaded WR drafts in recent memory, four wideouts going in the top 23 isn't a reach. In fact, it's starting to feel like a safe bet.

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Why Adam Schefter won't guarantee Eagles draft WR in first round

Why Adam Schefter won't guarantee Eagles draft WR in first round

The Eagles need better wide receivers in 2020 if they want to return to the Super Bowl. 

With the 2020 NFL Draft loaded at that position, and the Eagles' inactivity at wide receiver in free agency, all signs point towards GM Howie Roseman targeting a star pass-catcher in the first round.

But what if... they don't?

During a Twitter AMA on Thursday, ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter didn't exactly sound convinced the Eagles are going to take a wide receiver in the first round, and floated a few other possibilities for their No. 21 pick: 

And here's the answer, transcribed:

Jack, that is the most logical thing, is to see Philadelphia go wide receiver in round one. But what if there's a good linebacker there? What if there's a good defensive player there? What if they decide to trade the pick for a defensive player? There's a lot of different things they can do.

I would never say the Eagles are guaranteed to get a wide receiver in round one. What I would say is, that they're guaranteed to get some wide receivers in this draft, one way or another. They just might not be in round one.

It's a quick hit from Schefty, but there's plenty to unpack.

"What if there's a good linebacker there?"

The Eagles need to start valuing the linebacker position, especially considering their current roster of LBs, and if a name like Patrick Queen is high on their draft board, maybe he's a surprise pick. Eagles fans might not like it.

"What if there's a good defensive player there?"

There are some very interesting defensive prospects who could last until No. 21. Edge rusher K'Lavon Chaisson and DT Javon Kinlaw are two notable talents who would probably pique Roseman's love for first-round defensive linemen.

"What if they decide to trade the pick for a defensive player?"

This feels like a pretty obvious allusion to the Eagles' rumored interest in trading for Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. The price for Ngakoue begins with a first-rounder, and the No. 21 pick might start an interesting conversation.

Schefter ending by saying the Eagles will leave the draft with at least one wide receiver is certainly intriguing, and might spell a second-round pick going towards a wideout if Roseman is otherwise tempted at No. 21. Could Clemson's Tee Higgins fall into the second round? Will K.J. Hamler still be available at pick No. 53?

So many question marks - but in three weeks, we'll have answers. 

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