The team made a lot of progress from the opener. That’s important to see.
That said, there is still too much sloppy play. The Eagles are turning the ball over. The Eagles aren’t coming away with takeaways. There are blown chances on offense, defense and STs. The team is playing hard and I like the energy and enthusiasm, but I’ll feel a lot better when some of the mistakes go away.
I’m not going to get too much into offensive strategy. Sheil Kapadia and Derek Sarley do a fantastic job with that and offer excellent visual aids. It is fun to watch the Chip Kelly offense. He puts tremendous pressure on the defense by giving them so many things to defend on every play. One thing I did love was seeing the Eagles run on 3rd downs. This wasn’t always 3rd/2 or a draw on 3rd/15. Kelly isn’t afraid to run up the middle on 3rd/4. That is going to be fun to get used to.
There wasn’t much of a vertical element to this game. CAR seemed to be keeping Safeties deep. When that happens, you can’t force the ball downfield.
* Foles ran a play on the opening drive that was pretty wild. He faked to the RB, who was heading right. Foles then went left. He took a couple of steps upfield and then as a DB came up to get him, Foles threw out wide to Avant, who was behind the LOS. Cooper blocked for Avant and Jason got 6 yds on the play. This is tricky. NFL.com referred to the play as a pass. But Jason Kelce was 5 yds upfield when the ball was thrown. I think the play is designed to be a lateral. Would that be a run for Avant then? It did look like the ball went forward by half a yard, but there was an optical illusion since Foles was going upfield as he threw. Looked like backward pass. This is a college play that just made its NFL debut.
* One of the odd moments in the game came in the mid-3rd Qtr. Felix Jones was confused about where to line up. Matt Barkley was trying to get him to the right spot and it looked like he then wanted to make an adjustment. The clock was winding down so he called a timeout. Chip Kelly came on the field and was not really happy with Jones. Barkley put his hand on Jones to show support for his RB. Nothing like the rookie consoling the veteran RB as he gets chewed out by the coach.
VICK - Took over in the 2nd Qtr. First play was a play-action pass. CAR sent blitzer, but he was easily picked up and Vick sat calmly in the pocket. Looked at his reads and then got the ball to Shady in the flat. Next play was another short pass to Shady in the flat. That was a quicker decision. Had a bit of pressure. No panic, just simple checkdown pass. Hit Avant with a strike on 3rd/12. Looked like Jason was his 3rd read on the play. Vick sat in the pocket and found the open guy to his left. Didn’t just get him the ball. Threw it into a semi-tight window and put the ball low so Avant wouldn’t get run over by a DB. That was an NFL throw. Moved the chains. On the next pass, he hit Emil Igwenagu over the middle with a strike for 15 yds. Hit DeSean with an easy pass for 11 yds to start a drive late in the half. Quick read, quick throw. Next play, same thing. CAR blitzed on the 2nd pass, but Vick was calm as a cucumber. Got some pressure on the next play. Initially stepped back, then broke to his left. Kept his eyes downfield and found Cooper for a gain of 22 yds. Couple of plays later finally decided to run for the first time in the preseason. Moved to his left and saw a lot of green grass. Took off and got 14 yds. My only complaint, he should have slid. I know…that’s a broken record. Vick dove, meaning he could legally be hit. Just hate that wear and tear when he’s playing well. Ran again on the next play. Read-option where he kept the ball and went hard to the right to try and score. A couple of guys took him down hard at the 1. Vick got up slowly. Not sure if he was hurting or just winded. On Shady’s TD run, Vick gave a hand signal to Cooper, who was out left. Riley then came in on a ghost reverse and that brought his CB with him. Shady ran to the vacated area for the score. I don’t know if that was an audible by Vick or the play was designed that way. Interesting. Got sacked late in the half. Didn’t do anything dumb. Just took the sack. Hit Polk on the next play with a safe pass. Polk got a 1st down and that set up a Hail Mary type play. Vick wanted to get out wide to the right, where he had 3 WRs, but there was pressure there. He rolled to his left and forced the ball into coverage. INT. The half was over so I don’t think this is a big deal. Kelly might tell him to just throw the ball away. Or maybe you hope for PI. Vick did get hit just after the ball was out and that may factor into what the coaches tell him about the future. If nothing good is likely to happen, might be best to play it safe and just run out of bounds.
Very good game. 9-10-105. The thing I loved most was his pocket presence. Stayed calm, even vs the blitz. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen this Michael Vick before.
FOLES - Started. Game began on a bit of a wild note. Team was backed up to the 5-yd line. First play was a pass. Nick was in the endzone looking for someone to throw to. Had time to look, but couldn’t find anyone. Should have just gotten rid of the ball quicker, but held it before eventually throwing it out of bounds near Avant. Was in and out of the endzone and made me very nervous. Got lucky. He was “hit” late and drew a penalty. Light hit moved the offense out to the 20. Hit Cooper for a short gain on the next play. DE was unblocked and coming right at him so the throw was low. Hit Ertz on a crossing route for a gain of 15. The ball was low, but catchable. Did a good job on a little play-action pass. Faked the hand-off, moved left and then had DE come free at him. Foles threw around the DE to Celek for short gain, but moved the chains. Made an excellent throw to Avant on WR screen. Got the ball out quickly and put it in front, where Jason could make the catch and already be starting upfield. Dropped snap on 3rd/4. Admitted later he was taking his eyes off the ball to watch the D. Picked the ball up. Stayed calm. Moved to his right and hit Avant for a 1st down. Almost had a disaster on a screen pass. Mathis let his rusher go and the guy got to Foles as he was just getting ready to throw. Nick wasn’t overly slow there, but probably needs to focus on making quick movements on the screen passes so he can deal with any pressure. Foles did get the ball away, but it barely went a yard since he was being hit as he threw. Ran to the left side for 6 yds. It was a read-option and he kept the ball. Faked throwing it out wide as well. After a couple of Shady runs got the ball deep, Foles ran for short TD. Had good blocking and just saw wide open lane to the pylon. Nick Kaepernick at his best.
Good game, but had some mistakes. There were the 2 dropped snaps. Nick admitted he was peeking at the defense. Can’t do that. Had to call timeout on opening drive. Killed momentum. I don’t know if that was his fault. Still has to be noted. The next play was the bad INT. Foles tried to throw the ball out of bounds, but didn’t get enough on it. In the Red Zone, it is critical that you make sure the ball is safe. He didn’t do that. Bad, bad mistake. As Kelly pointed out, the good news is that he responded with a TD on the next drive. Don’t let mistakes stick with you. Move on from them.
BARKLEY - Took over in the 3rd Qtr. First pass went to Polk in the flat. Didn’t get the ball there fast enough. DB hit Polk as the ball arrived and pass was incomplete. Hit Damaris with a quick swing pass. That was a short, but nice throw. Allowed him to get RAC yds. On the next play, hit Salas on the left side for 15 yds. Accurate spiral, but no zip. Hit Ertz on a corner route. That was a good throw. Ball was on time, on target. Gain of 21. Hit Johnson with another screen pass to the right, but this time a DB flew up and leveled Johnson for a loss. Hit Johnson in the left slot for a gain of 7. Good throw. Johnson was tightly covered. Pass had some zip. Quick read as well. Missed Salas on a crossing route when there was some mis-communication. Made back-to-back poor throws to Derek Carrier. Put a corner route just a bit behind him, but Carrier made a great catch. The next play was a short crossing route, but that also was behind him. Lack of chemistry or just crappy passes? Read a blitz and quickly got the ball out to Jones in the flat. Put too much air under the ball and the DB got to Jones quickly. Only a short gain. Hit Salas again on the left side, for a gain of 13. That was the mid-3rd Qtr. Threw behind Carrier on a crossing route in the late 3rd. For some reason, Matt struggled with crossing routes. Almost made a perfect throw to Harbor on the right sideline in the early 4th. Clay couldn’t secure the ball. About 6 inches too far. Pass was in the middle of 4 defenders.
Finished 8-14-72. Not as erratic as last week. Still has a long way to go. Looks like a rookie that is still adjusting to the speed of pro football.
DIXON - 3-3-20 as passer. 2-16 as a runner.
KINNE - No passes. Ran for a 1st down.
SHADY - I’m not going to cover every play for Shady. Words don’t do his running justice. Looked sensational. Made dynamic cuts and looked as good as I’ve ever seen him. 8-47-1. Highlight was his 21-yd run. Amazing play. The TD came on a 1-yd sprint to the pylon. Good vision, speed and the normal Shady stuff. Had a good pass block on the opening play. Offense was backed up in the endzone and Shady saw a blitzing S and then took him on and stoned the guy. Good vision to see the blitz and then a strong, physical block to stop the guy. Caught a swing pass to open the 2nd Qtr and got 10 yds on that play. Caught the ball well in the game. Blocking was good. Great game.
B BROWN - DNP due to quad strain.
POLK - Backup RB, but played early. First run came at 10:30 of the 1st Qtr. Outside zone run where he got wide and turned upfield for gain of 4. Showed better speed and quickness than last week. Chipped the LDE on play-action pass after the fake and as he was releasing into his route. Subtle, but important. Had a 7-yd run up the middle after that. Made a simple cut and went upfield. Patient at first, then good burst. Didn’t go down easily. Had a good run up the middle on 3rd/2 wiped out by penalty. Got loose up the middle in the early 2nd Qtr. Had a nice gain, but then Thomas Davis poked the ball out. All fumbles are bad, but that was really bad. Wasn’t a big hit. Just running in traffic. Caught pass late in the half and hustled to get out of bounds. Was a bit careless in making sure he got the 1st down. Barely did. Should have gone upfield another yard to be safe, then out of bounds. Would be a very good game, but the fumble really hurt.
F JONES - Bad game, but did have one great moment. Unleashed a wicked stiff arm in the late 3rd Qtr on a draw play. Threw a LB to the ground. Nice. 4-14 as a runner. Looked slow. Also confused as to where to line up on the one play. Not good.
TUCKER - Had a good run up the middle on 3rd/4. Got 7 yds. Good burst, pushed the pile. Ran to the right side for 12 yds on the final drive. Showed some burst. Showed good burst on a run up the middle. Tucker is a big guy. He ran like a big guy. Went downhill. Ran hard. That’s what you want to see. 5-26 on the ground. If he doesn’t win a roster spot, could be PS material. Has NFL potential.
D JACKSON - Quiet 1st Qtr. Partly due to CAR keeping both Safeties back a lot. There was an early play where DJax got by the CB and the deep S came flying up as he watched Nick’s eyes. If Foles had looked back to DeSean, had him for a big play. Instead, went to the TE. Caught a pair of passes late in the half. CAR was playing off and trying to keep him from getting deep. DeSean used that to his advantage and ran shorter routes. Still got 1st downs on both grabs. On the 2nd one, he used a good enough move in coming back for the ball that the CB fell to the ground. Got out of bounds on both plays. Had a good block of CB on Vick run near the GL. DJax isn’t big, but occupied the DB and kept him from hitting Vick. DJax and Vick weren’t on the same page on a scramble drill late in the half and that led to an incompletion. DeSean made a good tackle on the final play when Vick was picked off.
AVANT - Called for OPI on screen to Cooper. Has to time his block with the pass just right. Jason was blocking early and drew the flag. Next play was a screen to Jason. Timing/blocking was good and he got 10 yds on the play. Made a terrific catch on the next play. Was moving to his right and Foles got the ball a bit wide. Jason fully extended and was able to snag the ball. 1st down. Leading receiver in the game. 4-42. Gets open. Catches everything that comes his way.
COOPER - Made diving grab on 5-yd pass on opening drive. Good to see him go down and make a tough catch. Some big guys struggle with low throws. Good block on Foles TD run. Riley was hand-fighting with the DB. Saw Foles run. Riley then blocked him. Also got in the way enough that Kuechly couldn’t take a good angle to the ball and Nick got into the endzone. Caught 22-yd pass late in the half. Vick scrambled to his left and Riley was coming back to the ball. Went low and made a safe catch. Good job as a blocker.
D JOHNSON - Caught short swing pass in the early 3rd. Used hard cut and quick burst to get upfield for 15 yds. Few plays later, caught another screen. DB read it and flew up to slam Johnson down for a loss. Impressive to see the little guy take that hit and pop right up. Just because you’re short doesn’t mean you can’t be tough. Caught pass in the left slot on 3rd down. Only got 7 yds. Tightly covered. Took another hit and held on. Unable to catch short pass over the middle from Barkley. Not sure if Damaris was expecting the ball that quickly, but he was open. I wish he was getting more of a chance to show his RAC skills, but did prove he can work the middle and take some hits.
SALAS - Caught pass in early 3rd for 15. Got open on the left side and made a smooth catch. Was able to get a couple of RAC yds. Had a throw come his way on crossing route, but he and Barkley were not on the same page. Incomplete. Caught pass on the left side in the mid-3rd for gain of 13. Got no separation from the CB, but made the catch while tightly covered. This is what scares me. Is Salas fast enough to consistently get open vs good DBs? Finished 2-27.
SHEPARD - No passes went his way.
MOMAH - Up and down as a blocker. Good effort, but needs to have a better idea of what to do. Being in the right position is key. Do I want the DB sealed to the outside or the inside? Depends on the play, but there is a goal. No passes went his way.
N MILLER - Caught short pass and showed some speed as he got up the field. Extended up high to catch a short pass over the middle. Has some potential as a Damaris Johnson type. Small slot guy with some quickness/speed.
MURPHY - No passes went his way.
CELEK - Good block of DE on edge run. Enabled Polk to get wide and turn upfield. Got help from Barbre on the play, but Celek had to control the DE. Had good solo block of DE to his side, although ball stayed inside on that. Had a simple play where he blocked the DE, then released him and was a target. Foles got him the short pass and Celek gained 5 yds on the play. Had an excellent stalk block on screen to Avant. Brent lined up in the slot. He went upfield, but didn’t engage the DB. Made the DB come to him. Then blocked him. This gave Avant room to run.
ERTZ - Got a lot better from last week. Lined up in left slot on outside run and had a terrific block. Engaged the DB 5 yds up the field and drove him off the TV screen. Ran a crossing route on the next play and made a good catch for a gain of 15. Had to go low for the ball. You like seeing a big TE that can get down and catch the ball. Had another good block on run play. Lined up as a wing. Came off the ball, engaged the DB and moved him back another 5 yds. Very good effort. Effective block in space on Johnson’s screen pass in the early 3rd. Caught 21-yd pass from Barkley in the early 3rd. Corner route. Caught the ball up high and then got both feet in. Good progress as a receiver and blocker.
CASEY - Very good block on Shady’s long run. Casey was on the left side, beside Celek. Casey sealed the LB and pinned him inside, letting Shady get free to the edge. Did a good job of in-line blocking on several plays. Most notably, he got enough of the edge defender on Shady’s TD run to let Shady get by him. Not all blocks have to be pancakes to be effective.
HARBOR -Seemed to spend most of the game lined up way out wide. Made an excellent attempt on early 4th Qtr throw his way. Fully extended, but could not hang on.
IGWENAGU - Got to play in the 1st half. Caught a pass from Vick. Lined up in the right slot and went over the middle. Smooth hands catch. Took a big hit and went hard to the ground. Got 15 yards.
SHAW - Good effort as in-line blocker. Pretty good job, too. Caught short pass over the middle. Penalty for false start.
CARRIER - First noticed him on the field in the mid-3rd. Needs to get stronger as an in-line blocker. Needs to work on his release on pass routes. Looked slow coming off the ball, which an athletic guy like him shouldn’t be. Had a terrific catch/run wiped out by penalty in the mid-3rd. Ran a corner route. Ball was behind him so he had to turn back for it. While also leaping to make the catch. Did this and finished a spin move as he hit the ground. Was then facing upfield and added 20 RAC yds. Gain of 36 wiped out due to penalty. That’s the first we’ve seen of his true athletic ability. Barkley came back to him on the next play. Threw a short pass over the middle, but it was behind Carrier and he couldn’t make the grab. Blocks more like a WR than a TE. Must work on that.
PETERS - DNP.
BARBRE - LT. Another good game. Good block on opening pass. Stuck with his guy the whole play. Strange on 2nd play. Didn’t block DE. Started upfield, but it was a pass. Normally I’d say he was wrong, but with Chip Kelly…who knows. Helped Mathis double a DT and that opened a lane for Polk where he got 5 yds. Just looks comfortable in pass pro. Keeps a wide base. Moves his feet, but they aren’t “busy”. Simply mirrors the rusher. Made a terrific block on 3rd/4 run. DE for some reason went inside and Allen sealed him and gave Shady a big lane to work with. Had a terrific block of DE on Foles TD run. Rode him completely out of the picture and gave Nick a huge area to run through if he wanted. DE got off his block on run play and tackled Shady for no gain on inside run. Good play by the DE to go hard to the inside.
MATHIS - Love watching him pass block. Has quiet feet. Anchors really well for a guy who isn’t huge. Locks in and just hunkers down. Uses his hands well and always seems to be balanced. Amazing how much stronger you are when you’re balanced.
KELCE - Good to see him get upfield and block Kuechly, the MLB, on a Shady run for a 1st down. Kelce’s strength is blocking on the move. Sealed NT on backside on inside run. Got driven back 4 yds on run play, but never lost control of the NT and it didn’t hurt the play. Good seal block of NT on Shady’s long run. It looked like Shady could have actually taken that run right off Kelce’s backside instead of going out wide if he wanted. Showed the ability to get to LBs on a consistent basis and block them. Great sign. Did have some erratic snaps.
HERREMANS - Good game. None of last week’s sloppiness. Good block on Shady’s long run. Pulled left and got a shot on a LB that gave Shady space to work with. Called for holding on run play up the middle where Polk got loose for a good gain. Todd’s mistake was taking the guy to the ground. I think he’d have been okay with the initial block, which is all he needed.
JOHNSON - RT. Had a good initial block on the opening play, but after Foles held the ball for 3 seconds, the rusher got loose to the inside. Johnson stuck with and rode the guy by Foles. Lane didn’t panic and stayed with the play. Good block on Shady run to his side. Lane went up and sealed the LB at the 2nd level and gave Shady lots of room. You can see just how well he moves on that play. Picked off a backside blitzer on a pass play. Rode the DB wide to keep him from getting a free run at Foles. Must get better with his hands. Tried to block DE on 3rd down and the guy swatted Lane’s hand away before he could make contact. Lane has such good feet that he recovered easily and made the block, but won’t always be able to do that. Lane showed great hustle and speed in flying downfield on Shady’s long run. Lane didn’t really block anyone downfield on the play, but that hustle will pay off on other long runs. Good habit to get into. Opened the 2nd Qtr by picking off a blitzer. Nothing great about the block, but love the fact he saw it and there was no panic or hesitation. Just made the block. Looked good in pass pro. Showed the ability to handle speed off the edge and was also able to anchor well. Wasn’t over-setting to handle speed. Got beaten late in the half when the DE used a hard inside move. Flushed Vick, but didn’t hit him since Lane tried to stick with the block and somehow got the guy on the ground. The DE wanted holding, but there was no flag. On the next play, the DE again tried to go inside. Johnson was ready this time and blocked him well. Gave up a sack late in the half. Didn’t get his hands cleanly on the rusher. Bad technique. Let the DE get too close to his body. Needs to engage him more aggressively and use his long arms to control the rusher.
Good player, but like all rookies, he will have some ups and downs.
TOBIN - Backup LT. Mostly did a solid job, but had a couple of key mistakes. Called for lining up too far back and that wiped out a big play. Gave up strip-sack when he was cleanly beaten to the inside in the mid-4th. Hustled and recovered the fumble. Still, has shocked me with how effective he’s been as a pass blocker. Might be PS material. Could be OG and emergency OT in the future. Lacks the athleticism to be a starting OT.
TENNANT - Backup RG. Unable to get to LB on outside zone run. That guy made the tackle. Got knocked back on his heels by DE on pass play. Called for false start in the mid-3rd. Very uneven player for someone who’s been in the league for a few years. Isn’t all that athletic and isn’t a strong, physical blocker.
VANDERVELDE - Backup C. Better than last week. Good reach block to his right on outside zone. Stayed with the DT and kept him out of the play. Gave up pressure on mid-3rd Qtr pass when the DT beat him with a simple move. Anchored much better in pass pro this week. Used his hands well. Can get to the 2nd level, but isn’t at his best in space.
WATKINS - DNP due to concussion.
KELLY - DNP due to back.
KOPA - Backup RT. Uneventful showing. No major mistakes, but also no noteworthy blocks. Terrific size, but limited athlete.
PURCELL - LT late in the game. Whiffed on a run block and that led to a TFL.
REYNOLDS - Played LG with the #2 offense. Beaten cleanly by DE Wes Horton, who lined up at DT in the Nickel. Horton hit Barkley on 3rd down play. Moved a DT out of the way and gave Jones room on a draw play. Looked awkward pulling to his right on power play. Not smooth. Hit LB, but not flush. Didn’t get any snaps at C. More up and down this week after strong opener.
BAMIRO - Much, much better. Took over at RT in the mid-3rd. Tried to block the LDE on pass play, but didn’t get his hands on him and the guy pressured Barkley. Was beaten on the next play and the DE again hit Barkley. Best moment of his short NFL career came on draw play in the late 3rd. DE started upfield. Bamiro literally just tossed him to the ground. OTs push DEs on draws, using their momentum against them. Was great to see the big fella show his power like that. Big guys can beat up little guys. Got to the 2nd level and made good block of LB on inside run. Had a nice combo block on inside run. Threw a DE to the ground in pass pro. Clean and legal. Crazy block on the final play of the game. Tried to take on a DE on run play. Somehow got behind the guy. Then kinda got on his back and drove him to the ground. Poor DE had a 340-pound man on him and was totally helpless.
Bamiro is a big guy that plays…big. Love it. Still has miles and miles to go. Effective pass blocker now only because of size, strength and length. Needs a lot of technique work. But you can’t coach size…and he’s got plenty of that. Good to see him show potential. Still has little to no chance for the roster. Does have an NFL future if he can continue to get better.
The defense made great strides in a week. There were a variety of reasons, but the biggest one is that the players had a game under their belt and the coaches had game tape to use to teach them. Trent Cole can learn better by watching Trent Cole than he can Kevin Greene or some other former Bill Davis OLB.
The coaches did a lot of teaching this week at practice. The players responded by playing smarter and more aggressively. There were fewer mental mistakes, missed tackles and “what the heck was that” moments. This isn’t quite Gang Green Pt 2, but the defense is at least headed in the right direction. There were no Keystone Cops moments (like the LeGarrette Blount run from last week).
It was good to see the starters play a full half. We got to see them in different situations. It also gave them time to get loose. Trent Cole was better in the 2nd Qtr than he was in the 1st. Every snap is a learning experience for some of these guys as they adjust to the new scheme. The more they play, the better they should look.
* On 3rd/20 we ran 3-3-5. Cox-Thornton-Cole up front. Barwin, Ryans, Kendricks at LB. They all covered on the play. Just rushed 3. Need All-22 before any idea of what coverage really wast.
* #2 DL came in the game on the 3rd drive (late 1st Qtr). Geather – Logan – Square.
* CAR ran a play-action pass to open the 2nd Qtr. The TE and WR criss-crossed downfield. Nate Allen and Bradley Fletcher communicated well and made a clean switch. Nate pointed to Brad about who to take and each guy then went with the correct receiver. Huge step forward to see the players on the same page and communicating in the middle of a play like that.
* CAR had a sustained drive in the 2nd Qtr. At one point Davis replaced the DL and OLBs. Interesting move.
* There was a lot of Cover 3. This is one deep Safety and 2 deep CBs. The goal is to keep receivers from getting behind the DBs. This means giving up underneath catches and is one reason Cary Williams gave up a few. The strategy worked as CAR could drive into the Red Zone, but not score TDs. The Panthers longest pass play was 23 yards and they mostly moved the ball in small chunks.
COX - Better than last week. Chased Cam on the 2nd play of the game, after Ced had flushed him. Fletch showed his great speed on the play. Got good pressure on early 3rd down. Kendricks flushed Cam and Cox chased him out wide, almost getting a sack. Rare speed for a 300-pound DE. Got good pressure on 1st/10 pass by driving the LG right back into Cam’s face. More active, more disruptive.
SOPOAGA - NT. Did a solid job on screen. Stuck with his blocker and moved toward the ball. Took away the cutback lane. Got no pressure on pass to open the 2nd drive, but battled 3 different OL so there is no question of effort. Isn’t getting much push at all in the pass game. Hasn’t done anything bad, but he’s off to an underwhelming start.
THORNTON - Good game. Broke through on first play to get late pressure on Cam. On the next play, Ced drove the RT back to Cam and Ced lunged for him, then fell to the ground. That flushed Cam and led to an incompletion. Got pressure on early screen pass. Wasn’t gift pressure either. Screen was going away from him. Ced used his hands to get by the RT and into Cam’s face. Was unblocked on early run. Slammed the RB down for easy TFL. Impressive job on 3rd/20. Was NT in Dime. Drove the C backward. RB tried to chip Ced, but did nothing. Then hit the RG. Then went back to the C. Cam started to run and Ced took off chasing him. Power, speed and hustle.
GEATHERS - Played LDE at first. Shed block and tackled runner on his first play. Did give up 4 yds. Missed tackle of RB on inside run. Just threw the TE down on that play and was there for the stop, but couldn’t do it. Got a pretty good bull rush on the RG on 2nd Qtr pass play. Was able to generate initial movement, but couldn’t keep the guy going. Shed a block, chase the RB and made the tackle on a run play late in the half. Looked sorta athletic. Isn’t as physically dominant as I hoped. Plays smaller than he is. I’m pretty sure his hero is Dwight Freeney.
LOGAN - Got driven off the ball 5 yds on his first play, which was at NT. Not good. LG tried to block him on next play, a pass. Logan got by him and hit Cam. Attacked upfield on next inside run. Fell down and ball went away from him. Shed the block of the LG and stuffed an inside run for minimal gain late in the 1st half. Batted down pass late in the half. Quick hands. Got some push on pass play in the early 3rd when Boykin almost picked off the QB in the RZ.
SQUARE - RDE at first. Got off block and helped with tackle of RB on first play. Got blown 5 yds off the ball by double team on run play. There is nothing the least bit flashy about him, but Square gets off blocks and finds the football. Still slow off the ball at times and isn’t athletic, but smart, skilled and he uses his hands well. Doesn’t make mental mistakes.
CURRY - Came into the game late in the 1st half as part of Nickel. #3 RDE. Shed block in early 3rd and stuffed RB for a TFL. Fired upfield to go for another TFL, this time in the mid-3rd. Didn’t make the play. Not sure how coaches will feel about him shooting upfield like that instead of playing his gaps. Just destroyed the RG from RDT in the Nickel and forced an incomplete pass on 3rd down. Quick and used his hands well. Fired upfield to disrupt a late 3rd Qtr run. Vinny wasn’t over the OT so him shooting the gap may have been part of the play design.
KING - Played LDE in the early 3rd. Got sealed inside on first play and RB had open lane to attack. Used his hands to get off block of LG in Nickel D vs pass. Played RDE late. Did okay, but failed to stand out at all. Project.
DIXON - Came in at NT in the early 3rd. Got little to no push on pass plays. Looked slow. Didn’t stand out vs the run. Played late in the game as well. Bad sign when a former starter like Dixon is on vs 4th stringers and fails to stand out. I’m hoping he was just rusty after missing a couple of weeks of practice. Next week is critical for him.
KRUGER - Played LDE starting in the late 3rd. Got put on the ground on first play. Doesn’t have the strength to battle double teams very well. Got some pressure on the next play, which was a screen pass. Showed good speed. Athletic project, but isn’t physical enough and is still a bit raw in terms of skills.
WALKER - 4th string NT. Used his hands well to engage OL. Big guy. Also played some DE. Showed good hustle.
REMINGTON - 4th string RDE. Played some DT in the Nickel. Good effort, but limited push on pass plays. Played some NT as well.
COLE - Getting better. Dropped into coverage on first play. Buzzed to his area. Focused on player in front of him. Saw ball go over his head so Trent jumped and tried to get a hand on it. Solid job. Looked a bit spastic, but did his job on that play. Got some pressure on an early screen pass, but they wanted him coming upfield since pass went right to where Trent was. Eagles must have had a “game” on vs a run play. Cox went wide and Cole headed to the inside. Trent didn’t see the RB running his way until too late and missed the tackle. Still isn’t seeing the field the way he should. Best early pass rush came from DE in Dime set. Good burst, but LT still rode him wide. Best moment in the game was 3rd/4 in early 2nd Qtr. Was stand up rusher in the Nickel. Ran into the LT and drove him straight back to Cam, forcing quick throw. That stopped a drive. Lined up in the slot on a 2nd Qtr drive. Then rushed at the snap. Destroyed the TE that tried to block him. Cam got rid of the ball before Trent could hit him. CAR ran at him on the next play. Trent stood up the TE and shed the block, but couldn’t contain Deangelo Williams. Trent did tackle him 5 yds upfield. Called for neutral zone infraction in the 2nd Qtr. On the next play Trent stuffed a FB and tackled the RB for minimal gain on a play coming right at him. CAR tried to run outside of him in mid-2nd Qtr. Cole engage the blocker and moved laterally, forcing the RB to stay to the inside.
BARWIN - Good in coverage. Many early plays went away from his side. Lined up as LDE in Nickel and got good rush off the edge, but then used spin move to the inside and let Cam get wide of him. Can’t give up the edge to a mobile QB. Shed a block and tackled RB on cutback run to his side. Hasn’t stood out as a pass rusher, but is very good vs run and in coverage.
GRAHAM - Came into the game in the late 2nd Qtr. First play was a run to his side. Graham engaged the blocker and moved him back a step, but then flowed wide to keep contain. RB cut back inside where pursuit got him. Played DE/OLB in the Nickel late in the half. Tackled RB on a draw play. Showed good awareness on that. Drew a holding call late in the half when he rushed from LDE and cleanly beat the RT. Made nice play vs run in the early 3rd. Engaged the TE, shed him and crashed to the inside to get RB on inside run. Used a great dip move to get by the RT and pressure QB on pass play in the early 3rd. Almost led to pick. Hustles in pursuit. Looked okay covering TE over the middle on short route, but the ball went elsewhere. Had an excellent TFL in the late 3rd Qtr. Fired into the TE and then shed him and shot into the backfield for the stuff. Beautiful play. Opened the 4th Qtr by flying off the edge and flushing the QB. Led to bad throw & TFL. We know he can rush the passer. Played pretty good run defense. Still adjusting to being a OLB.
MCCOY - ROLB. Crashed to the inside and helped stop a run for minimal gain late in the 1st half. Continued to show speed and quickness as a pass rusher. Pursued well on a pass play where Cam rolled away from him. Drove the LT right back to the QB on 3rd down pass play in the mid-3rd. Good power. Flew into the backfield on screen pass where he was unblocked. Don’t think they anticipated him getting there so quickly. Love his size and athleticism. Looks like NFL OLB.
LONG - Played LOLB in the 4th Qtr. Stuffed FB on run play that came at him. Looped inside on passing play and flushed QB to Brown for a sack. You can tell Long has played LB in a 3-4. Smart player, even though he’s a rookie. Just not dynamic off the edge. Project.
BROWN - Played some RDE/OLB late. Had a gift sack. QB was flushed right to him.
KENDRICKS - Good game. Side-stepped a blocker on a screen pass and was able to get in on the tackle. Blitzed on early 3rd down. Got by the RB and dove for Cam. Didn’t get him, but affected the play and kept Cam from being able to get off a good throw. Over-pursued on inside run and didn’t cover his gap. Made a good tackle of Cam in space on a play where he had started to run upfield. Cam got about 5 yds. Kendricks kept outside leverage, which is exactly what you want. If you miss, send the runner back to the middle where there is more help. Kendricks also stayed low and was in good tackling position. Good when covering RBs and TEs. Got a TFL in the early 2nd Qtr when he read an inside run and just fired into the backfield to make the stop. Good burst, vision. Strong tackle. Came free up the middle on a delayed blitz and got the best shot of the night on Cam. Clean, but hard.
RYANS - Sorta quiet game. Good in coverage. Ryans is in the right spot. He’ll take away WR on shallow cross or drop 20 yds downfield and take away the seam. Doesn’t stand out until you watch the tape. Helped stuff a cutback run on the opening drive. Helped tackle RB on inside run to open the 3rd series. Stuffed the FB on an iso play and forced the RB to cutback.
CHANEY - So disappointing. Played ILB in 3rd Qtr. First play was a run to his side. Got blocked and RB went for 15 yds right through that area. Made a nice play vs screen pass in the late 3rd. Got in RB’s hip pocket and made the tackle right after catch. TFL. Good tackle. Played late in the game against fringe guys and failed to stand out. Struggled to get off blocks. Wasn’t instinctive. Needs to play WLB on a 4-3 team.
MATTHEWS - DNP.
ACHO - The Eagles 3rd best ILB and I’m not sure it is close. Came into the game in the mid-3rd. Made tackle on run play away from him on first snap. Moved laterally. Stayed back. Then made a good tackle. There was a run play in the late 3rd Qtr where Acho made the read and stepped up to make the tackle. As he was taking the RB down, Chaney was 2 yds behind him…I assume still trying to read the play. Yikes. Bit on run fake on 3rd/shot and left the FB open in the flat. FB caught pass and got the 1st down. Acho chased him down and made the tackle. Used spin move to get off block and make tackle on inside run. Had good coverage of TE on short route, but couldn’t make tackle. Gave up extra 5 yds. Does a solid job in coverage. Nothing special in terms of athleticism, but looks like a polished LB.
KNOTT - Came into the game late in the 1st half as part of the Nickel. Played in base in 3rd Qtr. On first play, tried to run around blocker and took himself out of the play. Must engage and shed. Had another 3rd Qtr run where he moved around the OL instead of taking him on. This will get him sent to the practice squad. Can’t do that. Got thrown to the ground by OL on inside run. On plays where he is kept clean, Knott gets to the ball and makes things happen. Really struggles with OL right now. Lots of potential if he can become more physical with blockers.
ALLEN - Started. Came down into the box on the 2nd play and stuck right with the TE, which helped to force Cam to throw the ball away. There was a blown coverage on the 3rd play. Was either Nate or Bradley Fletcher. I think Fletcher, but that’s just a guess. Nate hustled to the sideline to force the WR out of bounds. Had excellent man coverage of the TE on early 3rd down. Took him out of the play. Steve Smith was unable to grab a high pass to open the 2nd series. Nate was there to deliver a big hit if he did. Would have been good to see if Nate was able to do that or if he pulled up or missed. Nate did have the hardest hit by a DB last week, but he hasn’t had many in his career. Need to know if that’s changed or not. Tackled RB on inside run where he got to the 2nd level. Nate wrapped and got him down, but it wasn’t a forceful tackle. Was in the backfield and ready to get a TFL, but Kendricks beat him to the RB. Nate timed the play perfectly. Would have been good to know if he could have made that stop. Got a hit on RB on inside run, but didn’t wrap up. I think the coaches will grade Nate pretty high since he didn’t make mistakes, but we still didn’t get questions answered about his ability to hit/tackle.
CHUNG - Good game. Came up into the box and made the tackle on a screen pass that came his way. Helped Ryans stuff a run right by the LOS on the opening drive. Had downfield coverage of Ginn on early 3rd down. You could see Chung’s athletic limitations. Didn’t have the speed to stick close, but did his best. Pressure on the play kept Cam from having time to get the ball downfield. Came up quickly to tackle WR on catch over the middle. Tackled the RB right at the LOS on inside run at end of 1st Qtr. We used 8-man front and Chung was unblocked. Did a good job of playing in traffic and then making a strong tackle. Had tight coverage of a WR on a play where Cam was forced to scramble. Was used to cover the TE man-to-man at times. Did a good job. Was ready to light up Steve Smith after a catch, but Smith short-armed the ball and Chung pulled up as he saw it fall away.
WOLFF - Played in the 3rd. Helped Boykin tackle WR after catch to his side. Not afraid to come up and play the run. Took on FB aggressively in mid-3rd to help bottle up a run play. Showed okay range as he tried to help a CB with a WR on a deep ball. Came down in the box on a run play in the early 4th. Hit the FB and spun off him. Couldn’t tackle the RB, but slowed him so others got the TFL. Very impressive. I trust Earl as a run defender. Still trying to figure out how well he covers. Definitely behind Nate for starting job.
COLEMAN - Played in the 3rd. Played some in the slot. Made a good hustle tackle in the late 3rd after WR caught pass downfield. With new emphasis on size, Kurt needs to stand out more than he has. Needs to do something to make the coaches keep him.
SIMS - Played late.
ANDERSON - Had his best hit of the game came when he popped DL Daryell Walker late in the game.
PHILLIPS - DNP.
FLETCHER - So far, the Eagles best CB. Good coverage on 2nd play of the game. Stayed close to the WR and forced Cam to throw the ball away. There was a blown coverage on the next play. I think Fletcher was at fault, but could have been Nate. Hard to say without knowing the scheme better. Fletcher was all over Greg Olsen on 2nd Qtr pass play, but Cam still got the ball in there. Tackled him immediately. Beaten by Smith on slant pass on 3rd/5 play. Fletcher got there 1/2 second after the ball. Not shy about supporting the run. Will get in traffic and try to get a shot on RBs. Had tight coverage of Smith on RZ pass play and the ball was thrown away.
WILLIAMS - Gave up completion to Smith on first play, but we were in Cover 3 zone and Cary did his job. Got body-slammed by Steve Smith on a run play. Wow. Smith made him look like a rag doll. Shocked me that Cary didn’t get up and go nuts. Kelly’s comments about playing with discipline must be working. Williams stuck with WR LaFell on 3rd down crossing route. Cam couldn’t get the ball in there. Gave up short completion to Smith and then Smith fought upfield to the the 1st down. Made a great play on 3rd/4. CAR ran short route over the middle. Cary knew they were throwing short due to down/distance and the route being run. Broke on the ball and knocked it away, without hitting the WR. That stopped a drive and forced CAR to kick a FG. Great anticipation, body control and ball skills on the play. Made an awkward, but effective tackle of Williams on run play that came to his side. Gave up a 15-yd pass to Smith on 3rd/6. Played off and was beaten easily. Made a shoulder-tackle of Williams on run to his side. Doesn’t seem to prefer wrapping up.
HUGHES - Played RCB in the 3rd. Called for strange penalty. Hughes moved early and that led the WR to move early. Very odd. WR got behind him on the next snap, but the ball was off-target and fell incomplete. Played press-bail coverage in late 3rd and gave up easy completion. Seemed slow to get there and touch the WR down. Gave up catch/run in the late 3rd. Played off and WR ran deep cross. Brandon didn’t close quickly and never even got in on the tackle. Not fluid in his backpedal. Poor COD. No closing speed. Good press coverage in early 4th, but WR got some separation and caught pass to move the chains. Not a good game.
BOYKIN - Had a chance to pick off a throw on 3rd/20 play downfield. Ball was too high for WR. Boykin went up and got his hands on it, but couldn’t make the grab. Not an easy pick, but you’d like to see him make plays like that. Had a good night in the slot, especially when pressing receivers. Able to stick right with them. Made a good tackle of Smith after short catch where Fletcher was the cover guy. Moved outside in the 3rd Qtr. Gave up completion for about 10, but then forced the WR out immediately. Got beaten again on the next play, but had tight coverage. QB just got the ball by him to the WR. Had excellent coverage on RZ pass play in the early 3rd. Was in excellent position to make the pick, but couldn’t hold onto the ball. That is a critical play. Must make those. The next pass play came right back his way. Boykin pressed and was all over the WR. Ball was incomplete.
MARSH - Injured on STs. Never played D.
POYER - Played the slot late in the 1st half. And in the 2nd half. Beaten to the flat by a WR on short route. The ball was off-target, but Poyer was a step late in getting out there. A good throw would have moved the chains. Poyer isn’t fast so he has to anticipate well and be one step ahead mentally. Got TFL in early 4th Q. WR made diving catch on errant throw and Poyer dove on him. Made good tackle of TE after he got away from Acho on short pass play. Played slot and outside in the 4th. Looked more comfortable. Maybe he’s starting to adjust to NFL speed.
WHITLEY - Good game. Played LCB in the early 4th. Had outstanding coverage on WR on deep ball. Played it inside out and used the sideline to pin the WR to a small area. Ball was incomplete. Came up quickly in run support and made a good tackle of RB near the LOS. Had very tight coverage of WR on play where QB was sacked. Had nowhere to go with the ball. Had good coverage of WR on 3rd/3 pass late in the game. Pass was overthrown. Has good feet and looks like instinctive cover guy. Good size. Hope to see him vs better players next week.
JONES - DNP
WING - Good game. 4-167. 41.8 per punt. Had 2 downed inside the 20. Also had to deal with pressure on several punts. Didn’t bother him.
HENERY - Good depth on KOs. Had 2 touchbacks. Missed 44-yd FG in the 3rd Qtr. Snap looked slow, but hold was okay and the laces were out.
- MISC -
KOR – Johnson had a 30-yd KOR in the 1st half. Boykin took over in the 3rd Qtr. Started right, then made a hard cut to his left. Made a tackler miss and used his speed to get out over the 40-yd line. Got 41 yds on the play.
PR – Damaris Johnson had a great PR. Only got 18 yards, but he made a dynamic move to get that much. Started to his right. Stopped on a dime and then cut upfield. #43 fell to the ground as he tried to stop and change directions. Johnson used his burst to get up the field. Didn’t go down on first contact. He’s short, but a tough runner. Really like him as a receiver/returner. That set up a TD drive. Johnson fair caught a punt late in the half. He had a blocker and defender near him. Made the catch like he’s done it 10,000 times. Calm, confident…totally focused. So different than last year.
Poyer took over as PR in the mid-3rd. Caught the ball well. No room to run on his first return. Nick Miller took over in the 4th. FC his first punt, but did have room. Sure he regrets that. Miller did have one good PR, for 11 yds. Late in the game he did a good job of letting his teammates know that a punt was short and they needed to get away. Ball ended up out of bounds, but it is crucial for PR to communicate and let guys know if the ball is short.
* Ertz got away with a block in the back on Johnson’s PR. Ertz barely made contact, but stayed with the guy. Dave Fipp will give him a lecture on that. If you hit the guy from behind, stop and get the heck away from him. Don’t stay there.
* Shepard made a terrific tackle on a KOR to pin the Panthers deep. He flew right through the wedge, untouched. Great hustle by Russell. Terrible effort by the Panthers on that.
* Salas was right by Barner on the punt that he muffed. Love to see WRs hustling downfield to cover punts.
* Shepard flies downfield whether covering punts or KOs.
* Eddie Whitley downed a punt inside the 10.