Coach’s Film: The Curious Case of Jason Kelce
23 January 2017 Film Review
As I’m sure many of you have heard lately, Eagle’s center Jason Kelce is a candidtate to be a cap casualty for the team in the next month or so despite being named to his second Pro-Bowl. It seems like just yesterday that Kelce was going to be apart of the team for ten years as he was beloved by the fanbase, but sometimes a players shortcomings will negate that opportunity. Kelce is a unique player as he has a few areas of weakness that you wouldn’t expect from a center such as strength and size but he makes up for it with his quickness, speed, and athleticism.
This is an excellent example of the type of plays Kelce can make that not very many other players can make. Kelce is able to get the snap off and fly across the formation to slow up Zach Orr and help seal the block on Terrell Suggs. The result of the play is a first down and a clean edge after Peters and Kelce clear out the LOS.
Here is another excellent example of what Kelce can do in space. He gets off of the snap and jets into the second level once again taking the linebacker out of the play allowing for another double digit yard gain. There is a lot of scheming such as guards taking on bigger defensive tackles thats aids Kelce, but being able to get up into the next level and paving a way for the runner is often an under appreciated trait.
Similar to the play before Kelce allows the guard to take on the block as he pulls to the left and leads the convoy along with Jason Peters. When reviewing this game I noted that the Falcons run defense wasn’t good and the Eagles did a good job of exploiting it. Doug Pederson once again deserves a lot of credit for how he schemed this team to the success that they did enjoy. Again, its much easier to hit somebody and push them back when they have to hesitate to see where the runner may be going and your momentum is carrying you, but largely he struggled to hold his own in one-on-one situations.
This is Kelce doing a better job in pass protection, he’s not engaged immediately off the LOS, but does a nice job of dropping back and helping the LG who was beaten on the play. Because of this he allows Carson an open pocket to step up into where he’s able to deliver a 20 yards pass.
Kelce is able to power through here on the DT, but this requires a lot of help from Brooks who able to block down on the DT as well and get him off balance.
Kelce engages his man off of the line better here and avoids getting bulled over, but if you look closely you’ll notice that he’s going up against a linebacker as opposed to a D-lineman.
One final positive before moving into the negatives is that the screen game is a very prominent one in the Eagles playbook and they run the reverse screen with a high level of success. A huge part of that relies on Kelce’s ability to get up into the open field along with guys like Jason Peters who act as a convoy with their quickness and ability to close out on defenders. Here, one of the Eagles longest plays of the season, Kelce is 20 yards downfield past the line of scrimmage and that is a testament to his athleticism.
I left out plays from the Browns and Bears games because they were really bad and much of the fanbase has seen them along with the explanations that have already been provided, but here are some of the reasons with examples of why the Eagles would be fine moving on from him.
For all of the athleticism Kelce possess, this is an example of where his lack of size is apparent. Even with a Matthews chipping, he still gets work and lets the DT get in front of Wentz, not allowing him to step up or set his feet. Just watching the RG Brandon Brooks beside Kelce provides even more context. Brooks is able to stonewall his man the entire way and even with help Kelce still gives up the pressure.
Here it is again. Kelce struggles to drive his man downfield and almost gets beat inside. For the comparison again you can see Brandon Brooks once again driving his man five yards down the field while Kelce can’t even get his past the line of scrimmage.
Here Kelce struggles and gets bullied by a LB. Again I understand that the LB has a step or two of momentum, but this pushback eliminates the opportunity for the QB to set his feet and mechanics or even step up with the center in his lap. Consistently these are the type of negative plays I saw from Kelce while going through his 2016 tape. He just not as big or strong as the guys he’s going up against and that puts him at a disadvantage in pass protection.
Overall I think that if the coaching staff believes Seumalo is ready then it may be best to move on from Kelce. Aside from the flaws in his game, the Eagles can add some much needed cap relief but trading or cutting him. Kelce has traits that he excels at, but his lack of strength and size coupled with his lack of ability to take on defensive linemen 1-on-1 and win not only hurts the team, but Carson Wentz’s development.