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Week 3: Sunday Preview

20 September 2019 Eagles News


The Eagles are sitting at 1-1 as they head into a matchup with the Detroit Lions this Sunday. As we all look to move on from last Sunday’s frustrating and disappointing loss, it is important to learn from our mistakes and make the proper adjustments. Like any struggle that we encounter in life, we can choose to sulk and continue to be average, or we can learn, put in the work, and prepare for next time. There are several plays that stand out; however, it was a perfect storm from start to finish that made us to fall short. So, here is my quick breakdown of last Sunday before we jump into the preview for this Sunday.

The Good:

Defense:

Overall, Jim Schwartz and the defense made a lot of great adjustments in the second half. Yes, they gave up two scores in the second half; however, they were put in a bad position after Clement fumble the second half kickoff. For the next 26 minutes of play, the Eagles defense did not allow another point. Schwartz dialed up some well-designed blitzes and a few of them resulted in the 3 interceptions by Matt Ryan.

  • Sidney Jones flashed in coverage and came up to make several big tackles (6 total)
  • Nate Gerry was active all night and picked up Matt Ryan in the endzone
  • Rodney McLeod was flying from sideline to sideline and had a team high 7 total tackles (which tied with Zach Brown)
  • Josh Sweat looked explosive all night and was inches away from several huge plays (that we need him to finish)
  • Our run defense continues to shutdown the opponents running backs

Offense:

Not much good happened in the first half as the Eagles only scored 6 total first half points off two Jake Elliott field goals. In the second half, things started off rough after a Clement fumble which led to a Julio Jones touchdown to make the game 17-6. The Birds were down several key offensive weapons, but Carson rallied the troops and shook off a slow start.

  • Zach Ertz, aka Old Reliable, absorbed 8 catches for 72 yards
  • Mack Hollins caught 5 passes for 50 yards
  • The running back trio of Sanders, Howard, and Sproles caught 7 of 8 targets
  • Nelson Agholor went 8 for 107 and a touchdown after being thrusted into a larger role
  • Carson led the offense to a go-ahead touchdown drive with 3:13 left

The Ugly:

Defense:

Believe me, I am just as frustrated as you all are, but we must accept that any and all things that could go wrong, went wrong. Between injuries, poor execution, and lack of communication, the Eagles dug their own grave Sunday.

  • Only 1 sack and that was off a safety blitz from Sandejo
  • Ronald Darby was picked on all night and let up two big scores from Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones
  • Timmy Jernigan suffered a foot injury that he will be nursing for 4-6 weeks

Offense:

Just like week 1 and much of the 2018 season, the Eagles got off to a slow start. To make things worse, the offense was without star wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson for most of the game. Additionally, Dallas Goedert was sidelined.

  • Injuries; you could tell that Carson and the back up WRs were not in sync as the WRs were regularly not picking up audibles or going the right distance on their routes
  • No run game… again. In 2017, we had a similar start and then had a huge resurgence that started in week 3. And this year, we have 3 very talented running backs who are very underutilized now
  • Isaac Seumalo, who was coming off an awesome week 1 performance, had one of the worst rated games in Eagles history. In week 1, he only allowed 1 QB hit on 41 Wentz drop backs. In week 2, he let up 2 sacks and 6 hurries in 52 drops, and committed 3 penalties
  • Wide receiver drops and miscommunication
  • And what I believe the most overlooked issue is that none of our tight ends can block. Look at the 2017 team and how we utilized Celek as a blocker, but someone who could also break out into a route. We were down Goedert Sunday and the lack of a blocking tight end like Richard Rodgers is not helping

Stats to be Aware of:

  • Time of possession favored the Eagles 30:31 to 30:09
  • Eagles had more first down via rushing than the Falcons (6 v 5)

Turning Point:

Although this is one major play everyone views as the one that led us to a loss, there is one play that I believe changed the game at one of the most crucial points of the night. The Corey Clement fumble. The Eagles headed into the half only down 4 and were finally catching their stride as the second quarter concluded. Halftime adjustments were in place and the offense was in position to make it a one-point game or even steal the momentum and lead with a touchdown. Unfortunately, during the return Corey Clement was injured, fumbled the ball that Atlanta recovered. This change of possession led to a Julio Jones TD, that now made the game 17-6.

Week 3 Sunday Preview:

Ok, now that we have reviewed and wrapped up that mess, we can look ahead to this week’s matchup against the Detroit Lions. The Eagles roster is injury ridden at the moment. We expect them to be without Alshon Jeffrey, Dallas Goedert, DeSean Jackson, Timmy Jernigan, and Corey Clement this week. Look for rookie wide out JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Mack Hollins to be involved heavily. However, what we all want to see is Doug utilize Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders and hope the run game can take pressure off Carson and spark the offense as a whole. Detroit has a middle of the pack defense, but they have an elite run stopper in DT Damon Harrison and an elite corner in Darius Slay. Look for the Eagles to attack the outside zone or trap Harrison on run plays. Expect a ton of Ertz and for Carson to stay away from Darius Slay.

On the defensive side of the ball, I’ll tell you now that you might want to bubble wrap your TV, because Sunday will be frustrating. The Lions run a Patriots-like offense where they will dink and dunk our defense to death if we are playing off coverage (which do play about 150% of the time). Stafford will also test Darby early and often with deep throws to speedster Marvin Jones and emerging WR Kenny Golladay. We need our LBs and safeties to be on their A-game with rookie TE TJ Hockenson on the other side of the ball. I am not worried about their top RB Kerryon Johnson. He is extremely talented, but we have shut down RBs all year and have the speed at LB to watch him out of the flat.

Keys to a week 3 victory:

  • Establish the run game and pound the rock all day long
  • Go after left tackle Taylor Decker who is nursing an injury
  • QB pressures that lead to QB sacks
  • Attack the seams on offense; allow Ertz and Agholor to run free
  • Crossing and rub routes for the outside guys
  • Contain Kerryon and watch him out of the back field
  • NO offensive turnovers
  • Effective audibles on both sides of the ball
  • Stay hydrated; it’ll be a hot one Sunday

Overall, the Eagles can beat this Detroit Lions team. Even missing several players, the Eagles still have the weapons and defenders to take this home victory and head into next Thursday 2-1. So Doug, please run the ball and please add some misdirection into the mix. Duce, let the horses out of the stable and pound the rock. Mike Groh… make sure Doug has a cold beverage at all times. Jim Schwartz, get these lineman motivated and tell Darby to just start back pedaling before the play starts. Let’s get back on track Eagles nation and take the momentum back for the 2019 season. As Always, Fly Eagles Fly!


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