I’m half done with the Detailed Game Review. Here is the defense. I’ll post the offense late tonight or early tomorrow.
A lot of people came away very worried about the defense. I had some concerns, but think some people are being a bit over the top. The Jaguars scored 3 TDs in the game. Only one of them came against the full starting defense. That TD came on the opening drive. The long TD run happened when there were 5 backups mixed in with the starters. 3 of those backups were rookies and 2 of them played significant roles in the score. The final TD came when the Jags starters scored on the backup defense.
The Jags gained 346 yards and scored 24 points. That’s not good, but let’s hold off on talk of this defense being completely dreadful. The starting 11 actually played a solid game. They had 3 sacks, deflected a couple of passes and came up with a takeaway (INT). Gang Green? No. But that is a step in the right direction. This defense isn’t going to shut people down. They did at least start making some things happen.
Right now the Eagles are 28th in yards allowed and 18th in scoring defense. I doubt they finish that high in scoring defense during the year. They could finish 28th in yards, though. That would be bad, but all this talk of them being historically bad just seems overblown. The Saints last year allowed 440 yards per game. That is one of the worst defenses in history. The #31 team in the league allowed 56 fewer yards per game. And that was the Giants.
It will be interesting to see how things go. I just don’t see this defense finishing last in the league, let along being historically awful. I think the Patriots game really messed with people and skewed their perception of how bad things will be.
1st TD – The Jags had a RB, TE, Denard Robinson and 2 WRs on the field. They split the TE far left. That put Robinson and the WRs on the right side. The Eagles went with a base defense and no one was on Justin Blackmon in the slot. He came upfield and Pat Chung then broke over to cover him. Blackmon was wide open for the easy TD. This should be a simple schematic fix. The OLB to Blackmon’s side maybe should have gone out over him. In a real game, the D would hopefully call a timeout if faced with this situation. Part of the confusion is Robinson. Is he a WR or RB? He was lined up between Blackmon and the other WR, which meant he got a DB on him.
* 3rd/5 in RZ – Barwin sacked Henne. Coverage sack. All 3 CBs locked down WRs. Kendricks went with one guy. Ryans/Allen doubled other receiver. No one open at all.
Long TD run – Backup DL was in the game. Damion Square was at NT and got moved off the ball. He started between the numbers and ended up outside the numbers. Part of that was him trying to flow to the ball, but the NT needs to stay more to the middle of the field. Both Chung and Wolff took poor angles to the ball. Ryans overran the play by a couple of yards. The backside was wide open. TD.
COX - Best game of the summer. Lined up over the LG and drove him back into Henne’s face on early pass play. Fought off attempted cut block and got into backfield on run play. Grabbed RB from behind and held the play to minimal gain. Fought off another cut block and got RB as he started up the middle. Drove the LG back on a run play that came to his side. Limited the RB’s choices. No gain on the play. Showed his speed by chasing down Henne late in the half. Henne started to scramble on 3rd/5. He got out wide. Fletch took a good angle and flew out there. He got Henne up high and made a violent, twisting tackle that kept Henne a yard short. Wasn’t dirty. You just had 2 guys going full speed and Henne is no small QB. Wasn’t dominant in the game, but started to look more like the guy from last year.
SOPOAGA - Got off single block to open 2nd drive and helped tackle RB up the middle. Sopes has just had an odd summer. Wasn’t getting moved off the ball consistently, but also wasn’t pushing the OL backward. Doesn’t get free when single-blocked as much as I’d like. Gets little push on pass plays. Doesn’t hurt the defense, but isn’t the anchor you’d like at NT.
THORNTON - Good game. Solid job on run defense. Didn’t make plays, but ate up blockers. Got the best of the C while rushing as the NT in the Nickel. Forced Henne to throw the ball off-balance and to a checkdown target. Beat the RG with a good inside move and sacked Henne on the 3rd drive. Got some inside pressure on pass play late in the half. Lined up at NT in a 3-3-5 look late in the half.
CURRY - Came into the game in the early 2nd Qtr as part of the Nickel D. Excellent pursuit on plays where the ball goes outside. Hustles to the ball. Came free to the inside in the 3rd and got RB for a loss. Used hard inside move to get by OG and pressure Henne in the early 3rd. Lined up at LDT and split the G/C to hit Henne as he threw in the 3rd Qtr. Got a sack on the next play. Henne tried to run up the middle and Curry was able to get off a block and sack him. Disruptive when he’s allowed to attack upfield.
GEATHERS - Picked it up a bit. Came in on the opening drive. Drove the RG back on run play and forced the RB to go wide. Drove Joeckel right back to Henne in early 2nd and flushed the QB. Made impressive tackle in the 3rd Qtr. Avoided cut block and moved down the LOS and got RB as he cut back to the middle.
LOGAN - Came in at NT on the opening drive. Has terrific lateral movement ability. Engages the blocker and is able to move right or left in pursuit of the ball. Good feet. Terrific hustle to fly out wide and get RB after short catch and run in the flat. Gets the most push of any Eagles NT on pass plays. Did a better job of holding his ground vs the run.
SQUARE - Played some RDE on the opening drive. Got off block and tackled RB as he started upfield. Good awareness. Struggled at NT. Played DE in the 3rd Qtr. Got moved off the ball several yards by a double team. Struggles to anchor. I don’t like him at NT. The coaches love Square, but he’s got some holes in his game. He’s in the no-man’s land. Not big enough to be power player. Not athletic enough to be movement player. Gets by on skills and smarts, even as a rookie.
DIXON - Came in at NT in the 3rd Qtr. Flashed. Fired off the ball on one play and looked quick. Got cut so didn’t affect the play. On another run the grabbed the C and threw him aside and helped stuff a run. Other times he looked lost. On the ground more than you’d want. Needs to show better awareness vs cut blocks. Needs to use his hands better. Someone tell him he’s not the Venus de Milo. Needs to play to his size. Remained up and down all game. One good play, one bad. The guy from 2010 appears to be long gone.
KRUGER - Came in a LDE in the late 3rd. Also played DT and RDE. More physical this time out. Still doesn’t have the strength to be a good NFL player right now. Needs to develop.
KING - Played RDE for much of the 3rd Qtr. Uses his hands and arms well. Able to get into blockers and keep them off his body. Not a very athletic guy, though. More effort than talent.
WALKER - Took over at NT in the late 3rd. Love his size, but doesn’t use it consistently well.
COLE - More progress, but still up and down. Dropped into coverage on the first snap. Saw the ball headed kinda his way so Trent leapt to get a hand on it. Pass was too high, but that was good awareness. Had dropped back 8 yards at that point. Looked to be okay depth. Trent isn’t totally stiff in space, but is very herky-jerky. One thing he definitely struggles with is getting a jam on receivers in the slot. The Eagles have OLBs line up over them and try to jam them at the snap, then release the player. Trent has a habit of lunging and getting off balance. Run defense is up and down. Went too far inside on the opening drive and let the RB bounce the run outside. Trent recovered and got on MJD, but couldn’t bring Pocket Hercules to the ground. Lined up as DE in the Nickel and used good burst, move to get by the LG and get right in Henne’s face. Hit him with his hands, but didn’t draw a flag. Just slung Brett Brackett aside and got RB on 2nd Qtr run. Did a great job on another 2nd Qtr run to his side. Shed the block of the TE and stopped the RB for no gain. Drew double teams a couple of times as a pass rusher.
BARWIN - Good game. Used a hard inside move to get some pressure on Henne on the early TD pass. Got some pressure by bull-rushing the RT and driving back to Henne on early 3rd down. Came up with an INT early in the 2nd Qtr. Lined up over slot guy. Dropped back, saw the ball at the last minute, reached up and knocked the ball to himself. Caught it as he fell to the ground. Impressive. On 4th/1 run to his side, Barwin for some reason looped inside. If that was the design of the defense, it was a bad guess by the coaches. If Barwin did that on his own, that was an incredibly dumb decision. The RB was able to get to the edge. Shed the block of the FB and stopped RB on edge run for a short gain. Had a really nice play on 3rd/5. Lined up as Joker in Nickel. The NT took on the C and then Barwin hit the C from the side, knocking him completely to the ground. Barwin then moved around him and sacked Henne.
GRAHAM - Came in at LOLB on opening drive. Set the edge on early run. Kept the RB to the inside, but couldn’t cleanly shed the block of the TE. Dropped into coverage on pass play late in the half. Actually looked the most nimble that I’ve seen from him. Took over at LOLB in the 3rd Qtr. Hustled out wide and made tackle on WR screen. Best pressure in the game came on a play where the TV angle was terrible. Flew off the left side and forced Henne up the middle, where Curry sacked him. Graham needs to do a better job on runs plays that come at him. Just engaging the TE and setting the edge isn’t enough. Needs to be able to shed the block and have a chance for the tackle. Wasn’t doing that vs JAX.
MCCOY - Bad game. Got sealed too easily by LT on early run and ball went to that side. Full time ROLB in 3rd Qtr. Brackett knocked him back with a block and sealed him for run to that side. Next play was a run at him. FB blocked McCoy to the inside, partly because McCoy tried to side-step the block. Cannot do that at the point of attack. Must engage the blocker and hold the point. Did a better job on the next run by taking on the FB and the runner went to the inside. Got blocked by WR and didn’t get off the block. Actually moved backward trying to shed the block. Ugh. Took on the FB on the next run and the ball then had to stay inside. Took on the LT on run play to his side on 3rd/4. Looked like he might have gotten held, but couldn’t shake the block and the RB got out wide for a good gain. Covered Denard Robinson in the flat in the RZ and did a pretty good job of sticking with him. Pass was off target and dropped. Got some pressure off the edge on 3rd down pass in the 3rd Qtr. Got sealed inside by FB on outside run to his side. Did a good job of covering RB 1 on 1 in flat on 3rd down. Had him pinned by sideline. RB cut back inside and got a couple of yds, but pursuit made the stop. McCoy had some good moments, but he was blocked way too easily on some run plays. Can’t choose when to be tough. Gotta do that every play. Still talented and a player worth developing.
LONG - Took over at LOLB in the late 3rd. Good job of taking on FBs and TEs on runs to his side. Destroyed the LT and got a strip sack late in the game. Wow play. Not explosive or overly athletic, but he is tough and physical.
BROWN - Took over at ROLB in the late 3rd. Used good inside move to get by the LT and hit the RB as he threw. Chased down a 4th Qtr run by hustling down the LOS and getting the RB as he started upfield. Lined up at DT in the Nickel late in the game and got to the QB. Quick off the ball and used his hands well to beat the LG. Couldn’t make a clean tackle, though. Got a sack late in the game when he used his hands well to cleanly get by the LT. Looked his best as an Eagle, but that raises the question of why it took so long? Playing like this the last 2 weeks would have him pushing for a roster spot. Now…who knows?
KENDRICKS - Good game. Took on the FB on 3rd/1 run play. Stuffed him, but no one was there to get the RB. Flew out wide to tackle MJD after a short 3rd down pass, but MoJo dropped the ball. Really good speed for MK to get out there so quickly. Blitzed up the middle and got a bit of pressure on the play where Henne was picked off. Got Henne down on play where he was flushed and started to run. Only got a yard on that. On next play, got Henne down for a loss. Busted pass play where WRs didn’t run the right routes. Dropped way deep on 3rd/12 and was basically like a FS. Blitzed up the middle in the early 2nd Qtr. Timed it well and got right in on Henne. Wisely pulled up since the ball was out. Next play was 3rd/1 pass. Kendricks batted the ball down. Both plays showed athleticism and excellent awareness.
RYANS - Made solid pursuit tackle on early run. Good game in coverage. Always seems to be in the right spot. Run D can still be erratic at times. Overruns some plays as he tried to get to the RB.
CHANEY - Just cut the other day so I’ll keep it simple. Not impressive. No instincts. Doesn’t play to his athletic ability. Not physical enough. Still has good potential, but must play in the right 4-3 system.
MATTHEWS - Played in the 3rd Qtr. Came over to the right and had chance to tackle Robinson, but then he cutback and Casey wasn’t quick enough to get him. Tackled RB on inside run. Wasn’t his primary gap, but Casey found the ball in traffic. Hustled outside on WR screen and got in on the tackle. Cleaned up tackle that Whitley started and put RB down with authority. Fired upfield into the LG on run play and forced the RB to cutback. Used his hands to take on the blocker. Aggressive, physical. Blitzed in the early 4th and was credited with sack. Several guys got their hands on the QB. Great effort by Matthews. Good showing, but his lack of top speed will always limit what he’s able to do. I do love the fact he’s more physical now than in the past. That at least gives him a chance. Does look okay in coverage.
ACHO - Came into the game in the mid-3rd. First play was run outside. Acho flowed outside and made the tackle. Tackled RB on inside run. Moved laterally and then stuffed run play that came right at him. Does a really good job of finding the ball in traffic and then getting to the right spot. Tackled TE after short catch over the middle. Should be the #3 ILB in my opinion.
KNOTT - Came into the game in the mid-3rd. Better in coverage than vs the run. Took on blocker on inside run play that came his way. That’s a step in the right direction, but still had other plays where he ran around blockers. Didn’t make any big plays, but had a solid showing.
ALLEN - Tackled the RB on 4th/1 play where he got loose. Was lined up deep and hustled over in pursuit. Didn’t make a clean tackle, but did get the runner down. Gave a shot to WR Justin Blackmon when he tried to come inside and block Nate on a run. Kinda surprised me to see that. Odd game. Was generally in the right spot. Was around the ball a lot. Just never had a chance to really make plays. The action seems to stop before he’s got his chance to hit or tackle. He’s not missing tackles, but also isn’t making them. There isn’t a lack of effort. Just the way the ball bounces some times. I don’t feel confident in him, but also can’t say that he’s made key mistakes in the last 2 weeks. Hope he plays on Thursday. Need to see some tackles. I do trust him in coverage and that may be enough for him to remain the starter.
CHUNG -Came up quickly in run support to help tackle MJD. Had chance to make a play early on. JAX ran play-action pass and dumped the ball to the TE in the flat. Chung was on the move and had a good angle. A big hit would have kept the TE from getting the 2 yds they needed. Chung got a solid shot, but not enough and the TE got 2.1 yds. No mistake on Chung’s part. You just wish he made that play. Came up quickly to get MJD on 3rd/1 run where he got loose for 5 yds. Helped Cole get RB down on run play that tried to go outside. Did a good job of working to the ball through some traffic. Took a poor angle to the ball on the long TD run. Was too aggressive. Needed to keep the runner boxed in, but ran in out of control and let the RB get out wide.
SIMS - Played in the 3rd Qtr. Was slow to recognize the FB had split out wide. Got out there late and the FB made him miss with a quick move and got about 10 yds on the play. Made diving attempt for the ball on play where it bounced off him and was caught, then challenged. Gave up TD while in man coverage and ran into a pick play. Was covering TE. Just not seeing it this summer.
WOLFF - Came in on the 2nd drive. On the field for the long TD run. Started back initially, read run and came upfield. Ran to where the RB was instead of anticipating where he’d be. Took to direct a route and once the RB was wide, Earl had no chance. Aside from that play, had a quiet game. Like Nate, just didn’t have many chances.
COLEMAN - Played some late in the game. I think the coaches know Kurt (good and bad) and wanted to focus on other players that are more erratic.
ANDERSON - Very active game. Played in the 3rd Qtr. Tried to take on the FB on outside run to his side. Got jacked back a couple of yards. Got RB on inside run in the 3rd Qtr. Looked like it was Colt diving for the ball on the play when Whitley’s leg got hit and hurt. Had a shot to pick off deflected pass in the late 3rd, but Colt doesn’t have good hands. Flew around the field and was in the action a lot, but the results were mixed. Lack of size and athleticism shows his limitations. Great effort.
FLETCHER - So-so game. Made mistake on early WR screen. Came up quickly, but didn’t have outside leverage. Let Blackmon get up the sideline instead of forcing him back to the inside where pursuit was. Only cost 5 extra yards, but shouldn’t make simple mistakes like that. Still did make the tackle. Blackmon beat him for good gain on fade. Slight push-off, but great throw/catch. Brad had no chance. Limited WR screen to Blackmon to just 5 yds late in the half.
WILLIAMS - Good game. Was consistently good in press coverage. Didn’t face speedy WRs though so that helped him. Gave up early completion. Was in off-coverage. Closed to ball quickly. Active run defender. Played press coverage a lot in this game and showed good ability. Able to jam receivers at the line. Does a good job of mirroring them as they run the route and then look for the ball. Helped break up early pass with tight man coverage. Had tight coverage of Blackmon on 3rd/long & forced errant throw.
HUGHES - I didn’t see him in action.
BOYKIN - Played the slot in the 1st half. Very good in coverage. Moved to LCB in the 2nd half. Had a real impressive play in off coverage. WR caught pass in the flat. Boykin read it and flew up to make the tackle after only a gain of 2. Good awareness, burst and tackle. Gave up 14-yd catch on 3rd/14. Had a chance to tackle the WR short, but slipped. Ball was marked an inch short, which JAX got on 4th down. Broke up a pass in the late 3rd. Needs to stay in the slot for now. Better there than outside.
LINDLEY - Took over for Whitley after his injury. Broke up pass in the late 3rd. Had tight press coverage on the play. Showed good feet at times. Good tackler on several plays. Should play a lot Thursday. Could he challenge for spot with good game?
POYER - Played the slot in the 2nd half. Did a good job. Can be sloppy with his jams at times. At his best when pressing and being aggressive, physical. Tried to pick off short pass to his right. Dove, but missed the ball. Hustled up and chased the ball. Undercut another WR and went for the ball. Pass was too high and neither guy had a good shot at it. Very happy that we saw him going for the ball. That’s the Poyer from OSU. The light has come on for him.
WHITLEY - Played CB in the 3rd Qtr, working with #2 defense. Gave up short completion to his side when playing off. Got a shot on RB coming his way. Wasn’t able to make a wrap tackle, but good effort to get the hit. Came to the inside and got RB on a run up the middle. Will aggressively come up to take on blockers on outside runs to his side. Would have given up good gain to Blackmon while in off coverage, but Justin dropped the ball. Got hurt in the 3rd Qtr and is done for the year. Bad break.