Eagles OL Game Review: Vick Takes 14 Hits

Philadelphia Eagles offensive line coach Howard MuddMichael Vick dropped back to pass 59 times Sunday against the Browns, and on 14 of those occasions, or about 24 percent of the time, he took a hit.

Who was to blame on those plays?

Below is a breakdown of the 14 hits, followed by a player-by-player review of the offensive line after having re-watched the game.

Hit 1: Todd Herremans got beat by Juqua Parker around the edge. Parker reached around and dragged Vick to the ground. A flag could have been thrown since he made contact with Vick’s helmet. The Browns only rushed four on the play.

Hit 2: The Browns blitzed, sending six defenders at Vick. Herremans was initially blocking defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin, but left to help running back Bryce Brown, who was in protection. Rubin and linebacker Craig Robertson shoved Vick to the ground.

Hit 3: This was a designed bootleg. Vick rolled to his left and couldn’t find a receiver. Linebacker L.J. Fort wasn’t fooled and tackled him out of bounds behind the line of scrimmage for a sack.

Hit 4: Former Eagle Dimitri Patterson came unblocked from the slot and hit Vick on his blind side as he let go of the football. The Browns sent five defenders on the play, but no one accounted for Patterson.

Hit 5: It looked like Jason Kelce was handing Rubin off to Danny Watkins, but Watkins left to help Brent Celek, who was blocking Jabaal Sheard. Rubin ran free up the middle and hit Vick as he completed a pass to DeSean Jackson. The Browns sent five defenders at Vick, but the Eagles had seven players (both tight ends) in to block. A clear breakdown in protection.

Hit 6: Evan Mathis got beat by defensive tackle Billy Winn, who grabbed a hold of Vick’s leg in the pocket. Instead of going down, Vick launched a dangerous throw that got just out of bounds near the 3-yard-line in Jeremy Maclin’s vicinity. By the time he got rid of the ball, two more defenders arrived to crush him. It was a four-man rush.

Hit 7: Vick took off and ran, which was a fine decision. He picked up 11 yards, but dove head-first, so Robertson was able to land on his lower back. Vick actually dove head-first twice on runs.

Hit 8: The Browns sent a linebacker and a safety off the left side, dropping the right defensive end into coverage. They only rushed five, and the Eagles had six blockers, but one defensive back came untouched. Vick spun away at first and looked for Celek on a tight end screen, but rushed his throw incomplete and was shoved to the ground. Tough to tell whether this one was on the quarterback or the line.

Hit 9: Initially, the Browns only rushed four. Emmanuel Stephens got past Celek and Herremans. King Dunlap had some trouble with Frostee Rucker on the other side. Safety T.J. Ward hung around the line of scrimmage, presumably waiting for Celek to release. When he saw Vick was trying to spin out of trouble, he attacked and sacked him.

Hit 10: The Eagles were trying to set up a screen, but safety Eric Hagg came unblocked on Vick’s front side and threw off the timing, hitting him as he threw incomplete.

Hit 11: Another zone blitz. The Browns sent a linebacker and the slot corner from Vick’s front side and dropped the left defensive end into coverage. Five rushers in all, but an overload to the offense’s left side. Ward came unblocked and drilled Vick as he let go of the football, incomplete to Celek.

Hit 12: The Browns rushed four. Rubin beat Watkins, who may have thought he was getting help from Kelce. Rubin flung Vick to the ground after he released the ball and earned a personal foul penalty.

Hit 13: Dunlap and Herremans both got beat off the edge. Vick decided to run, and since it was 3rd-and-10 with just over three minutes left and the Eagles down six, he wasn’t going to slide. He got hit by three Browns defenders, fumbled and nearly turned it over for a fifth time, before recovering the football.

Hit 14: On the final drive, Rubin started out at left defensive tackle, but looped outside. Herremans was probably supposed to pick him up, although LeSean McCoy could have helped too. Rubin came free and took Vick down as he threw incomplete to Maclin. It was just a four-man rush.

The player-by-player breakdown of the offensive line:

King Dunlap – He got the start at left tackle and had issues, although anyone pinning the protection problems all on Dunlap are off-base. He is no more at fault than the other four. Dunlap had trouble with Rucker off the edge on the first play from scrimmage and was called for holding in the quarter. He got beat by Stephens in the first, forcing Vick out of the pocket on the first interception. Later, it looked like he thought the play was over and he let up against Stephens, who got a hit on Vick. Both he and Herremans got beat on the same play on the final drive, forcing Vick to run. Dunlap did a poor job on a third-quarter McCoy run that lost 5 yards. It wasn’t all bad though. He was good in protection on Vick’s 28-yard completion to Celek in the third. He made a nice block on McCoy’s 7-yard run in the fourth. Dunlap did a good job in protection on Vick’s 11-yard completion to Celek. And again on the 46-yard completion to Maclin. Not a great game, but don’t know what the team’s other options are right now.

Evan Mathis – He was called for two penalties – holding and a false start – and also had a couple issues in protection. As I mentioned above, Mathis got beat by Winn on third down in the first. It would have been a sack, but Vick managed to get rid of the ball even though Winn had a hold of his leg. In the second half, Stephens looped in from right defensive end, and Mathis and Kelce were slow to pick him up as he got pressure up the middle. Excellent job by Mathis in protection on the 46-yard completion to Maclin. He also made some nice blocks at the second level in the run game. One on D’Qwell Jackson, allowing McCoy to pick up 7 yards on the final drive. And an earlier one on Jackson during a 9-yard McCoy run.

Jason Kelce – It was a mixed bag for Kelce. Hopefully, I can get his thoughts on the pre-snap phase when the Eagles return to practice Wednesday. Kelce had a bad snap in the second, but the fumble was recovered by McCoy. It looked like there was confusion between him and Watkins in the first. Kelce let Rubin go, but Watkins kicked outside to help Celek. Vick completed a 35-yard pass to DeSean Jackson, but took a big hit. Kelce was called for holding on McCoy’s 17-yard run in the second. Rubin looped inside and shoved him back into Vick, deflecting a pass in the third. And Kelce got pushed back on a McCoy run that lost 5 yards in the third. But overall, he was excellent as a run blocker. Kelce got to the second level and blocked D’Qwell Jackson on McCoy’s 22-yard run in the second. He did a good job on McCoy’s 6-yard run in the third. He got to the linebacker and helped spring McCoy for a 15-yard run in the fourth. He took care of D’Qwell Jackson on McCoy’s 7-yard run in the fourth. He blocked Jabaal Sheard on McCoy’s 13-yard run. And he held off Winn, creating a running lane for McCoy on his 7-yard run during the final drive. Kelce was a major part of the Eagles’ success in the run game.

Danny Watkins – Like everyone else, Watkins had issues in protection (mostly against Rubin), but made some nice blocks in the run game. He had trouble with Rubin in the first, as Vick was forced to leave the pocket and throw the ball away. He got beat by Rubin, who pressured Vick and helped force an incompletion on third down in the third quarter. Rubin went right around him in the third on another third down. Watkins got beat and was called for holding on a Vick third-quarter interception. He got beat on the final drive, but Rubin was called for roughing the passer. The results in the run game were better. Good block by Watkins on McCoy’s 9-yard run in the first. He got just enough of D’Qwell Jackson on the screen to McCoy that picked up 7 in the second. And he did an outstanding job on Rubin on McCoy’s 22-yard run in the second.

Todd Herremans – Not up to the standards we’ve come to expect from Herremans in protection, although he looked good on runs to the right side. Herremans had some trouble with Rubin, who looped outside and forced Vick to step up and throw incomplete on a third down in the second. He got beat around the edge by Parker, who dragged Vick down in the first. On the final drive, Herremans had some trouble with Parker, who pressured Vick as he completed an 8-yard pass. Parker got past him and hit Vick on the final drive as he completed a pass to Maclin. Rubin looped outside and got between Herremans and McCoy to hit Vick on the final drive. In the run game, Herremans made a good block on McCoy’s 9-yard gain in the first. He made a nice block on McCoy’s 22-yard run in the second. And again on McCoy’s 15-yard run in the fourth. My guess is you’re going to see a lot of runs to the right this season with no Jason Peters on the other side.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.