Coach’s Film: The Eagles Wentz for 2
21 December 2016 Film Review
What an exciting game! Obviously it sucks that the Birds losing streak was extended to 5, but there were some encouraging steps taken by Carson Wentz in the regards to 4th quarter heroics and the defense fought hard when all hope seemed lost. Wentz lead a drive that brought the Eagles to within a point of a tie, but a decision to go for two failed as the Eagles lost another road game. While doing this film study I was impressed with a lot of the in game adjustments the coaching staff made. They didn’t consistently let the same type of plays beat them and stuck to a balanced offensive game plan that saw them move the ball up and down the field on a windy day, rainy day against one of the best defenses in the league. Without further aideu here are a few of the plays that really stood out to me and what I saw from them.
Here we see Wentz’s first quarter struggles on the road continue. The Ravens go Cover 1 robber where the high safety plays a deep zone and the inside line backer plays a robber zone with everyone else playing man. The Ravens get pressure early as Suggs twists to the inside and comes up the gut. Wentz has nowhere to go with the ball and instead of taking the sack he forces a terrible throw. Zach Orr the inside linebacker reads both of the crossing routes and drops deeper to take away Trey Burton and make the play.
Here on third and long the Ravens show blitz and Doug Pederson calls the perfect screen play to Kenjon Barner. Barner’s man gets sucked up to the line of scrimmage and Jason Kelce does a good job getting across the formation, springing the block for Barner that allows him to pick up the first.
The pressure that Baltimore was able to apply early must have been in Wentz’s head, as if he had waited just a second longer he may have seen that Brent Celek was open at the bottom of the screen and the HB was open at the top of the screen. Wentz was able to net some positive yards on the play but ideally you’d like to get the ball into the hands of a skill position player and see what they can do. It looks like the protection would’ve held up long enough for him to complete the pass, but early pressure may have been in his head.
Ryan Matthews had his best game as an Eagle and it wasn’t necessarily scheme, but more so Matthews running hard. He found tight holes and was able to power his way though Baltimore defenders with basic run blocking schemes from the offensive line. This play was a little different though, as the offensive line scheme had the Center, RT, and LT blocking downfield. Here Suggs over pursues Matthews and Brandon Brooks blocks down on Brandon Williams, one of the more underrated and better DTs in the league. This gets Kelce and Peters down the field into space where each player is superb. The play eventually ends with a fumble, but Ertz shows good awareness to knock it out of bounds.
Here it looks like Wentz kills the play at the line of scrimmage. He did this multiple times earlier in the game in favor of a run play, but this was the first time that I noticed him do it in favor of a pass play. Sometimes QBs have a run/pass play and they can kill one or the other based on the look, and sometimes they’ll make the kill motion throw off the defense. You’ll see Wentz hesitate as Jordan Matthews finds the seam on the sideline against Cover 2, but once Matthews gets deep Wentz unloads the ball on a pass that travels 60 yards, but on the broadcast it looked like the ball hung in the air. I can’t tell for sure, but there were extremely windy conditions. If Wentz is able to get a little more under this its a touchdown (provided Matthews catches it), as Matthews has Eric Weddle beat on the play at the 30 yard line.
We had our first taste of Byron Marshall on Sunday and there were a lot of good things I saw from him along with negatives. He tends to dance a little bit, but I see shades of Lesean McCoy in him. Do I think he’ll be as good as Shady? No, thats a hard milestone to achieve and his vision needs a lot of work, but he displayed jump cuts and elusiveness that gave me flashbacks. Here you’ll see Wentz start the play with the kill motion, and Marshall does a good job at finding the hole here. These plays are back-to-back Once again he displayed the ability to make defenders miss along with elusiveness juking future hall of fame Terrell Suggs out of his cleats, but he’s definitely more polished as a receiver. I’d like to see him featured a little more over the next two games. If he can continue to show flashes I’d like to see him improve upon basic running back traits and learn the assignments within the offense.
I have to commend Doug again this week for his schemes in the run game. One issue with Jason Kelce is his size, as he often struggles to move bigger defensive linemen, but Doug puts him in positions that utilize his strengths and those are pulling and blocking down the field in the second level. Here its no different as Kelce initially chips Brandon Williams before Wiz comes in behind him to clean the block up as Kelce move downfield to block CJ Moseley out of the play. You’ll also see Peters block down on Orr again. Anytime Jason Peters blocks down on a linebacker its usually a successful play and Orr was often the vicim of these types of plays on Sunday. In the second play you’ll see Kelce explode across the field again to make a block on Suggs and help trap Orr behind Suggs as Peters moves down the field to pick on a defensive back.
This is a designed pass play to HB West as he slips out of the backfield into the flat. Jordan Hicks who has played at a Pro-Bowl level this year gets sucked up on the play-action fake and as a result West gets a step on him. The Eagles blitzing here leaves Hicks in a one-on-one situation. Baltimore just did an excellent job of holding protection and selling the play fake.
Here the Ravens try to run a play fake again but despite an attempted double team on Fletcher Cox, Cox is able to overpower the right guard and force Joe Flacco up into the pocket. Beau Allen does a good job pushing up the middle to close any opportunity for Flacco to roll to his right. With the pocket collapsing Brandon Graham is able to shed his block and drop Flacco deep in Ravens territory, ultimately ending the drive just as it started.
We’ve been waiting all year to see what Vinny Curry can do as a full time player, but due to the Connor Barwin experiment the opportunities have been limited again. Curry has flashed potential in each of his four years, but I’d like to see him as a full time player alongside Cox, Graham, and Logan depending on how the offseason goes. Curry absolutely blows past the RG and almost drops the HB behind the LOS for another loss, but is unable to to make the play. Leodis McKelvin is able to come up behind him though and stop the play for no gain.
Unfortunate lapse here from the entire defense but mainly Malcolm Jenkins. Campanaro comes across the formation and Jenkins follows him but stops when he gets to the QB. The Ravens line blocks down to the right, fooling the Eagles defense and Campanaro has a free run for 39 yards. Jenkins has to follow Campanaro across the formation and not get fooled by the fake, or at least cheat to that side.
Fletcher Cox caused all sorts of problems for Flacco on Sunday and this is just one example. He’s able to rush up the middle and take away the opportunity for Flacco to step into the throw. Because he’s unable to step into the throw the pass falls incomplete and defense is able to force a long field goal.
I’ve given Jalen Mills a lot of grief this year, but Sunday may have been his best game of the season. He had good coverage on a deep ball intended for Steve Smith earlier in the game and did a good job coming back to close out on this ball after Wallace was able to shake him at the top of the route.
The Eagles blitz here and get home to Flacco. What makes this blitz so successful though is the ability to cover. Flacco has absolutely nowhere to go with this ball, giving Nigel Bradham the chance to get to Flacco and force the fumble to set the Eagles up deep in Ravens territory. Since Doug Peterson mentioned that he was going to address the lack of pressure/blitzes with Jim Schwartz it seems as though the Eagles have been able to get to QBs more often. It may just seem that way, but I’d like to do a tally on blitzes by week when the season ends.
Jaylen Watkins is bad. Really bad. I understand the Eagles like to play Jenkins in the slot because the depth at the position is nonexistent with the Ron Brooks injury, but the team has been significantly worse with Watkins playing deep. Examples are against the Giants on the Roger Lewis touchdown and against Seattle on the Jimmy Graham touchdown. Here in a Cover 2 man look, Watkins is the deep help for Mills who is expecting the help. Watkins bites on the Flacco pump fake, pulling him away from the sideline and it opens a crease as Smith flies into the endzone for a touchdown. If Watkins gets over a split second sooner he has a chance to make a play on the ball, but once again he gives up a touchdown.
Once again Fletcher Cox just overpowers his man. Rarely can offensive linemen block him one on one which is why he sees so many double teams week in and week out. The whole defensive line does a good job of collapsing the pocket to the sides of Flacco but by the time he tries to step up Cox sheds his block and drops him.
I talked about Vinny Curry flashing in this game, and here is another play where he does it. The explosiveness and speed on this guy is incredible. He gets off of the snap right away and blows up the play, forcing West to the opposite side of the field where there is nowhere to go. When West tries to come back to the right side there is Curry again. The guy has a high motor and doesn’t give up on the play. Once again I can’t wait to watch him take majority of the snaps alongside Graham and Cox next season.