Eagles Film Study

A look at why Eagles had to bench Andre Dillard on Sunday

A look at why Eagles had to bench Andre Dillard on Sunday

Last week, Andre Dillard compared switching from the left side of the line to the right to writing an essay with your non-dominant hand. 

After actually playing right tackle on Sunday, Dillard was asked if he still thought that was an apt comparison. 

“It’s probably harder than that, honestly,” he said. 

It certainly looked like it. Dillard lasted just one half against the Seahawks in the Eagles’ 17-9 loss and spent a lot of that time in Carson Wentz’s lap. 

On one hand, I can’t blame the Eagles for trying Dillard at right tackle. When Lane Johnson went down the previous week, Halapoulivaati Vaitai really struggled, so they tried to change it up and go with the more talented player. But I wonder if there were signs during practice the week leading up to the game that this would happen. It probably didn’t help that Brandon Brooks lasted just a handful of plays next to Dillard. 

"I learned that it’s difficult to play other spots on there," Dillard said. "It’s hard to kind of understand how that is if you’ve never played offensive line. I learned a lot. This whole year has been a great learning experience for me. I’m grateful to be in a spot where I can get out there and play and get my feet wet." 

I asked Dillard on Tuesday if, after watching the tape, he understood why he was benched. 

“Sure,“ he said. “Whatever is best for the team, gonna do that. I’m not going to trip over that.” 

When asked about a tweet from former left tackle and 97.5 The Fanatic host Tra Thomas that said Dillard was tipping run or pass, Dillard said he’ll probably talk to Thomas about it. 

Even aside from that, I definitely saw pretty easily why the Eagles made the switch at halftime. Here are a few plays that stood out: 

This was the second-to-last play of the half and if there was any question in Doug Pederson’s mind about making a halftime switch, this likely locked it up. Rasheem Green just put Dillard on roller skates. 

Dillard was in Wentz’s lap far too often on Sunday. His overall strength is something I questioned earlier in the year in his first real game action. It showed up even more on the other side, where he had to think about his footwork and technique. 

Green gave Dillard fits for the entire first half. There were these plays too: 

Wentz delivered a strike for a complete pass on this throw but he did it while making contact with his right tackle. 

At least this time, Dillard recovered a little bit. There was some other pressure, obviously, on this play too. 

Dillard was really lucky this play didn’t count because of a defensive hold in the secondary. Because he was absolutely worked by Ziggy Ansah. It looks like an end-tackle stunt that is supposed to spring the defensive tackle, but the Seahawks didn’t even need it. Ansah just goes right through Dillard. 

Most of what beat Dillard on Sunday was power, but he was beaten by speed on the opening drive. Shaquem Griffin just blows by him here and Dillard barely touches him. 

I did want to point out this play because it looked awful live, but it wasn’t what it appeared. While Dillard’s man gets the sack/forced fumble, Dillard gets tripped by JJ Arcega-Whiteside in motion. This is just horrible football. 

Even though it was a rough performance, it wasn’t all bad for Dillard on Sunday and I still think he’s the left tackle of the future. He was actually OK in the run game, but spent a lot of the first half in Wentz’s lap. It wasn’t hard to figure out why he got benched against the Seahawks. 

“It’s a new day,” Dillard said on Tuesday. “It’s easy to move on from it, learn from it and keep going.” 

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Film shows just how much Fletcher Cox dominated Redskins

Film shows just how much Fletcher Cox dominated Redskins

I actually feel bad for the Redskins’ backup offensive guards who had to try to stop Fletcher Cox on Sunday afternoon with a playoff berth on the line for the Eagles. 

If you don’t want to see the evidence of how well Cox played, just know that he dominated. 

If you want to see how much he dominated, stick around. 

Cox had the second three-sack game in his career, with all three sacks coming in the fourth quarter, but he was an absolute game-wrecker for 60 minutes in the 24-0 win. He enters the playoffs as a Pro Bowler at the top of his game.

It started early against Washington. 

 

This is the second Washington drive. They doubled Cox for a lot of the afternoon as most teams do, but when he was in 1-on-1 situations, these poor guards had no chance. 

Here he is against Luke Bowanko, who is about to learn just how long of a day this is going to be for him. 

 

Josh Johnson got the ball out of his hand quickly for a seven-yard pickup on 1st-and-20, but Cox just moved a 305-pound man like it was nothing. 

On the very next play, (2nd-and-13), the guard is going to get help from the center and it still doesn’t really matter. 

 

Johnson moves out of the pocket thanks to the pressure from Cox and Bennett and throws an incompletion. The Redskins punt two plays later. 

This is the last play of the first quarter. The Redskins had three offensive yards until this point, but Cox is about to make sure they have just two going into the second quarter. 

The whole play is heading toward the offense’s left. We think of Cox as being this super powerful guy, but he makes a play like this and you remember how savvy he is too. 

 

At this point, the left side of the field is stacked against Adrian Peterson, so he’s going to try and bounce it back to his right, but Cox is seeing this the whole way and stops to wait for AD and makes a TFL. 

 

Smart, heads-up play from Cox here. 

The Eagles’ best defensive player is about to go through this poor No. 69 again. Bowanko wasn’t signed by the Redskins until November and the former sixth-rounder had no answer for Cox on this play. 

I like this from Cox because Bowanko didn’t get good leverage and space between he and Cox, so the wily vet let his right shoulder do the work as he pushed the guard back. Then he nearly sacked Johnson over top of the 6-6 O-lineman. This would have been his first sack of the day. He could have ended up with four if he got this one. 

OK, let’s get to the sacks. 

 

This time, Cox is going to be 1-on-1 against Kyle Fuller, who didn’t sign with Washington until Dec. 11. Guess how this went. 

 

Not sure about their assignments, but maybe Washington should have had Chase Rolllier helping to block the best player on the field instead of looking toward the side with two defensive ends. Just double Fletcher Cox. Just double him. 

The Eagles didn’t fall on the ball, but it was fourth down anyway, so it was a turnover on downs. It was also one of two forced fumbles on the day for Cox. 

 

This time, Cox is going to get a 1-on-1 vs. the center, but the part that amazed me about this play wasn’t his strength or his smarts as we’ve seen before … it was his speed. 

Johnson is going to get out on the run and Cox is going to run him down. 

This looks like a hold, but Roullier didn’t hold for long. The amazing thing is that as big as Cox is, he was able to run down a fast QB. 

The great part about this play is that Johnson first thinks he can simply outrun Cox, but when he realizes he can’t, he tries to cut back inside. That doesn’t work either. This is sack No. 2. 

The last sack comes off the third different offensive lineman. The Eagles show blitz with Nigel Bradham, so there’s 5-on-5 up front, which means a 1-on-1 for Cox. 

This time, he’s back on No. 69 and this is just a great player winning a 1-on-1 easily against a guy who is simply outclassed. 

Almost too easy. 

As the Eagles head into the playoffs, they won’t face guards who joined their team a month or two ago, but Cox is a handful for anyone. He has a unique ability to ruin a game for any offense. And he just happens to be playing his best football right now. 

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2017 film shows Mike Wallace is still a burner

2017 film shows Mike Wallace is still a burner

Remember the offseason before the 2016 season?

Howie Roseman was making major moves, among them moving up to pick Carson Wentz, but he was also trying to find some cheap speed at the receiver position. The Eagles drafted Nelson Agholor the year before, but Agholor had a disappointing rookie season and the Eagles simply needed to get faster at the position. They really missed DeSean Jackson after Chip Kelly released him. 

So Roseman went out that offseason and signed T.J. Graham and Chris Givens. Two cheap and fast veterans. But neither had anything to give. Neither made the team. Then Roseman traded for Dorial Green-Beckham and claimed Bryce Treggs. Both spent the 2016 season on the roster but never really gave the Eagles that deep threat. It appeared the Eagles would have to pay a little more for their speed. 

Last offseason, Roseman did that, when he signed Torrey Smith to a little heftier contract (the Eagles also signed Alshon Jeffery, who offered more than speed). Smith was just alright and certainly wasn’t worth a $5 million cap hit in 2018, so he’s gone. The good news for the Eagles is that Agholor has grown into an important player who offers speed from the slot, but they still wanted some more outside, which explains the signing of Mike Wallace. Wallace is 31 but might still have something left in the tank. 

Since he entered the NFL, Wallace has 26 catches of 50-plus yards, second during that span to the 36 put up by Jackson, whose absence sent the Eagles looking for speed this whole time (see 10 random Wallace stats).

And if you’re worried that Wallace will be 32 by the start of the season, it’s a valid fear. But in 2017 with the Ravens, he still had the burners working. Wallace had three catches of 50-plus yards; the Eagles as a team had seven. 

Here’s a look at Wallace’s speed with Baltimore last year. We’ll look at all three 50-yard catches: 

There really isn’t much to this. This is the first play of the game from the Ravens-Raiders game in Oakland on Oct. 8. This is the first play from scrimmage; Doug Pederson isn’t the only coach who likes to take his shots. 

Just after the snap, Wallace uses a little stutter step. All he needs is for the corner to hesitate for a split second or get off balance and then he has him where he wants him. Now it’s off to the races. 

After 12 yards, Wallace has more than a step on the DB and Joe Flacco is letting it rip. The safety notices this, but he’s going to be too late getting over. This one goes for a gain of 52 yards down the sideline. 

-- -- --  

This next play actually happens later in the Raiders game. Wallace is circled. He’s not going to do anything fancy on this; just gonna turn on the burners. 

At this point, the Raiders’ DB picks up Wallace after he bursts off the line. But the corner gets turned sideways and Wallace goes right past him. The defender thought he had help, but the safety gets caught looking upfield, ready to drive on a short play. Not much help. 

By the time the safety realizes he needs to help, he's caught flat-footed and looking upfield. Wallace burns both defensive backs on this play for a 54-yarder. 

If Flacco hits Wallace in stride, this is an easy touchdown. But the ball is a tad underthrown and Wallace has to wait for it. 

This next play came in early December against the Lions. It’s a little different from the other two because Wallace is lined up in the slot. The Eagles probably won’t ask him to go in the slot a ton because that’s Nelson Agholor’s spot, but Pederson isn’t averse to moving his receivers around. So if Wallace ever finds himself in the slot, we know what he can do. 

 

The Ravens use a play action, which freezes the linebacker nearest Wallace. The safety doesn't seem to bite, but it doesn’t matter. Wallace simply splits the center of the field, which leaves the deep safety as the only man to beat. He doesn’t have much trouble. 

This play doesn’t finish in the end zone, but it is a 66-yard gain that gets the Ravens down to the 1-yard line. They punch it in on the next play. 

Wallace might have been 31 last year, but he still had his speed. He averaged 14.4 yards per catch and still was a threat to catch the deep ball. This signing works if he can still do that in 2018.