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Eagles film review: A closer look at what Eagles are getting in new DE Genard Avery

Eagles film review: A closer look at what Eagles are getting in new DE Genard Avery

It wasn’t the blockbuster trade Eagles fans were eagerly awaiting, but the Eagles did make one move on Monday afternoon, trading a 2021 draft pick to the Browns for second-year player Genard Avery. 

According to NFL reporter Chris Mortensen, the Eagles traded away a fourth-round pick in 2021, which sounds like a steep price for a player who has played just five defensive snaps this season. 

So what exactly are the Eagles getting in Avery? And why were they willing to part with a fourth-round pick to get him? 

Well, it is definitely worth noting that the Eagles announced the trade for Avery by calling him a defensive end. At 6-0, 250 pounds, Avery is the shortest and lightest defensive end on the Eagles roster. While he was an outside linebacker in Cleveland, Avery is likely going to be a sub rusher in Philly. 

Avery actually had a really promising rookie season in Cleveland. After they drafted him in the fifth round out of Memphis, Avery played in 16 games with five starts. He had 4 1/2 sacks as a rookie, but a scheme change took away his role and made him tradeable. He still has two more years under contract after this season, so it isn’t like they’re renting him. 

It’ll definitely be interesting to see how the Eagles use Avery and to see how quickly he earns playing time. The Eagles start Derek Barnett and Brandon Graham and then have Vinny Curry and Josh Sweat as their next two DEs off the bench, while rookie Shareef Miller hasn’t played. 

Here’s a closer look at every sack from Avery’s rookie season and a few hustle plays that the Eagles probably loved. 

This was Avery’s first NFL game and his first NFL sack came late in overtime. This play gave the ball back to the Browns, who should have beaten the Steelers in the OT with a field goal, but they did Browns things and had the kick blocked. 

But with 48 seconds left in OT, Avery got a great jump and used a speed rush with impressive bend to get around veteran Marcus Gilbert. He forced Ben Roethlisberger up into the pocket and then delivered the hit to force the ball free. An impressive start to his career. 

This next play comes in his fourth game. Avery lines up on the left side of the line and gets chipped by the TE. Not a great play from the Oakland left tackle, but give Avery credit for stopping on a dime, using his hands and coming back to the ball and Derek Carr. Avery shared this sack with Myles Garrett. 

The next sack came in Week 9 against the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes. This time, Avery is working against longtime veteran and former All-Pro tackle Mitchell Schwartz. This is a little Brandon-Graham-like bowling ball action from Avery. He uses his natural leverage (a fancy term Jim Schwartz uses for short) and shows off some impressive power for someone his size. 

Now, go ahead and give a tip of the cap to Garrett, who ran through the left tackle while getting held to force Mahomes into Avery. But give Avery credit, too; he cleaned up. 

This sack against the Texans in Week 12 was an impressive combination of power and speed from the rookie. It was pressure from Avery’s side that forced Deshaun Watson to slide in the pocket. But watch when Watson tries to take off … Avery is able to get him to the ground. Even though Watson was off-balance, it looked like he was about to recover until Avery got to him. 

 

Avery’s final sack of his rookie season came on a speed chop move, but the impressive thing here is just how quickly he turned that corner. He took a somewhat circuitous route to the QB, but still arrived in 3.54 seconds, according to NFL NextGen Stats. There was pressure from a teammate here, but again, Avery cleaned up. 

The pass rush was solid as a rookie, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement. 

But here are a few plays the Eagles surely loved. The Eagles are big on effort and high-motor players. These types of plays show up quite a bit for Avery: 

He’s on the left side of the line here for this receiver screen. The Steelers were probably OK leaving him unblocked and getting blockers set up over there for the screen, but Avery gets there in a hurry to thwart the play. 

On this screen play, Avery is actually the closest player to the quarterback. When the running back catches the ball, Avery is 5 yards behind him and turned the wrong way. But he sticks with the play and eventually makes the tackle 15 yards down the field. 

But that’s nothing compared to this next play. 

This time, he’s on the right side of the line. The RB is just out of his reach, but Avery sticks with the play and ends up making the tackle over 50 yards (!) downfield. 

The Eagles’ top two defensive ends — Barnett and Graham — are known for their motors and it looks like Avery will fit right in. 

Was it too much to give up a fourth-round pick for Avery? Time will tell. But it’s not hard to figure out why the Eagles liked him. 



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NFL Week 6 schedule: Derrick Gunn's 5 games to watch

NFL Week 6 schedule: Derrick Gunn's 5 games to watch

Here are Derrick Gunn's five matchups to watch for Week 6 of the NFL season.

Panthers at Buccaneers (9:30 a.m., NFL Network)

These two division rivals head to London for an early-morning tilt. The Panthers have played much better in Cam Newton's absence. His understudy, young Kyle Allen, has led them to three straight wins. It helps that he has the league's leading rusher in Christian McCaffrey backing him up. The Bucs have been on a roller coaster all season, losing games in Weeks 1, 3 and 5. If you go by that, Tampa Bay should win this one, but the Panthers are hot and the Bucs are not. Carolina makes it four straight.

Seahawks at Browns (Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX)

Russell Wilson has been playing out of his mind. The Seattle signal caller has 12 TDs and no interceptions, has completed 73  percent of his passes and has a 126.3 passer rating. Thanks to a late missed field goal by the Rams, Seattle is riding the high tide of a 4-1 start. Meanwhile, the Browns got humiliated in front of a national audience by the Niners. Some Dawg Pound fans are already souring on QB Baker Mayfield. The Dawgs will have a lot of barking support in their stadium, but not enough bite to stop Wilson and the 'Hawks.

Texans at Chiefs (Sunday 1 p.m., CBS)

The Colts shocked the league with their dominating performance at Arrowhead Stadium. They neutralized the Chiefs' speed, outmuscled KC on both sides of the ball and sacked Patrick Mahomes four times and got numerous hits on him. The Chiefs are still awaiting the return of Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins is dealing with a hamstring injury. His availability this week is uncertain. Texans QB DeShaun Watson is coming off a five-TD performance against the Falcons. Houston's wide receiver duo of Will Fuller V and DeAndre Hopkins is as good as it gets in the league. This one is a close call, but I can't see Andy Reid's guys losing two straight at home.

49ers at Rams (Sunday 4:05 p.m., FOX)

There’s some new muscle in the NFC West — the 49ers. The Niners' organization has done an outstanding job of building a team that’s a perfect blend of power and fitness. They are rugged on defense and unpredictable on offense. And oh, by the way, they’re one of only two unbeaten squads left. As for the Rams, they have some soul searching to do. After starting 3-0, they’ve lost their last two, giving up 85 points in the process. This matchup will say a lot about just how far the Niners have come. Call it a hunch, but I believe San Fran will send a message to the rest of the NFC after this one.

Lions at Packers (Monday 8:15 p.m., ESPN)

The Packers' defense is an either or unit. They either stop the pass or the run. But not both at the same time. The Eagles ran all through them, but they stoned walled the Cowboys ground game. Aaron Rodgers and his offensive mates are getting more comfortable each week in head coach Matt LaFleur's offense. RB Aaron Jones is making a name for himself — he is the NFC Offensive Player of the week after his four-TD outing in Dallas. The Lions are well rested and coming off a bye. So far, Detroit is 1-0-1 on the road. It should be a great duel between Rodgers and Matt Stafford at Lambeau in a showdown for first place in the NFC North. The Packers will Lambeau leap to their fifth win.

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NFL Week 5 schedule: Derrick Gunn's 5 games to watch

NFL Week 5 schedule: Derrick Gunn's 5 games to watch

Here are Derrick Gunn's five matchups to watch for Week 5 of the NFL season.

Ravens at Steelers (Sunday 1 p.m., CBS)

Week 4 was kind to the Steelers but very unkind to the Ravens. Pittsburgh, 0-for-2019, was elated to run into a hapless Cincinnati squad while the Ravens got embarrassed at home by Cleveland. The Steelers' defense had not been playing up to expectations but was able to sack Andy Dalton eight times. The Ravens' usually stingy D gave up 193 rushing yards to the Browns. QB Mason Rudolph has played well since taking over for Ben Roethlisberger (67.6 completion percentage, 6 TDs, 2 INTs, 103.2 QB rating in three games). The Steelers have won four of the last five meetings, but look for Baltimore to get back on the winning track this time around.

Vikings at Giants (Sunday 1 p.m., FOX)

Giants fans are elated with the progress of their new young signal caller, Daniel Jones. In the two games Jones has started, the G-Men are 2-0, but those wins came against Tampa Bay and Washington. Now Jones steps up in competition to face a Vikings defense that has 11 sacks and has given up 15.8 points per game. The Giants won’t have RB Saquon Barkley in their backfield. He’s out with a high ankle sprain, and the QB of their defense, ILB Ryan Connelly, is out for the year with an ACL tear. Jones will fare well, but not enough to beat Minnesota.

Bills at Titans (Sunday 1 p.m., CBS)

The Bills' defense gave the Patriots all they could handle and even held Tom Brady to his lowest passer rating (45.9) since 2006, but they couldn’t seal the deal. Also, QB Josh Allen is in the concussion protocol, which means Matt Barkley could get a rare start. The Bills' run game (147.3 YPG) will be a good test for the Titans' run defense (103.8 YPG against). The Bills have won the last two meetings, but not this time. Tennessee successfully defends its home turf.

Packers at Cowboys (Sunday 4:25 p.m., FOX)

It could be a long season for the Packers if they don’t find a way to fix their porous run defense. The Eagles' ground attack ran through them for 176 yards, and for the season the Pack has allowed 142.3 yards per game. The Cowboys' run game got stonewalled by the Saints' defensive front, rushing for just 45 yards). The last thing Green Bay's defense needs to see right now is Ezekiel Elliott and that Dallas offensive line — a line that is expected to be without Pro Bowl LT Tyron Smith, who’s dealing with an ankle sprain. Aaron Rodgers has been a thorn in the Cowboys' side in recent years, but his big-time receiver Davonte Adams has a toe injury. The 'Boys at home this time will be too much for the Pack’s limited attack.

Browns at 49ers (Monday 8:15 p.m., ESPN)

Still don’t know what to make of the Browns. Are they the real deal or pretenders? They looked legit after going into Baltimore and putting up 40 on the Ravens. Cleveland is in first place in the AFC North after four games for the first time since 2013. The 'Niners coming off a bye are one of only three unbeaten teams left. Turnovers could be huge in deciding the outcome of this one. San Francisco QB Jimmy Garoppolo has served up four INTs in three games while Baker Mayfield has tossed six picks in four outings. The 'Niners' defense ranks third overall, sixth against the pass, fifth versus the run, and eighth in points allowed. I’ll pick the 'Niners in a close call.

(On a bye: Detroit, Miami)

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