Eagles Wake-Up Call: How Film Study Helped Kendricks Seal It

One of the things you’ll hear when analysts discuss Mychal Kendricks is how the game “isn’t too big for him,” that he seems to be comfortable at the professional level even though he is just a baby at this stage.

His read on the 4th-and-2 pass intended for Ray Rice that fell incomplete and sealed the win for the Eagles is a good example of what they’re talking about.

The play unfolds in a snap. With 54 seconds on the clock, Joe Flacco drops back, scans quickly to his left and is immediately greeted by pressure from both Trent Cole and Jason Babin on either side. Meanwhile, you see Kendricks correctly dissect the play and sprint to his left to cover Rice in the flat. A bit offbalanced, Flacco quick turns to his right and sails one over Rice and out of bounds. Game. Set Match.

That all took four seconds. Yet here’s what Kendricks analyzed and reacted to in that time.

“I saw in my peripheral vision that the quarterback took a couple of hitches, which meant that the deep routes were locked down,” said Kendricks. “Based off film, he hitches about three times max. Four would probably be hitching too much with our D-Line. I knew that the ball was coming .”

Based off that conclusion, he was able to undercut the route and make Flacco throw it higher than he wanted. If he was wrong and jumped the route too early, Rice could have ended up with a big play. But it was the right call, and Kendricks got in position and leapt in the air to make a play, blocking Rice’s vision.

A veteran play in a big moment for a guy with just two NFL games under his belt.

“They’re probably looking to exploit the rookies,” said Kendricks. “I’m just going to do my job.”

WHAT YOU MISSED

Sheil gives his instant observations from a quality victory over the Ravens.

The win came at a cost, as Jason Kelce suffered a knee injury that sounds serious.

Michael Vick engineered his second game-winning drive in as many weeks.

And the defense shut the door, again, thanks in large part to DeMeco Ryans.

Perhaps most encouraging, the Eagles are showing fight, separating themselves from the image of the 2011 team in the process.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Flacco had some words for the replacement refs afterwards, saying that they are affecting the integrity of the game. From PFT:

 Flacco said he hates complaining because he doesn’t want to “sound like a baby,” but he felt it needed to be said. Ravens coach John Harbaugh added that he thought it was a “chaotic game.”

Harbaugh is feeling the same kind of heat Andy Reid dealt with last week because of play selection.

Eagles-Ravens wasn’t the only chippy game Sunday. Things got heated at the end of the Giants and Bucs, when Tampa head coach Greg Schiano told his players to knock Eli Manning to the ground as he took a knee on the final play of the game. From ESPN New York:

“That was a first,” Manning said. “Obviously I think it is a little bit of a cheap shot. Going down, we are taking a knee, in a friendly way. They are firing off, and it’s a way to get someone hurt.”

Schiano said it was a play he’d run before at Rutgers, and he would do it again. He said that he and Coughlin had “some stuff we needed to hash out” after the game. But it did not seem as if the coaches found any common ground before a terse handshake.

“I don’t know if that’s not something that’s not done in the National Football League, but what I do with our football team is we fight until they tell us game over,” Schiano said. “There’s nothing dirty about it and there’s nothing illegal about it.

COMING UP

Reid will address the media at noon. We should be updated on the Kelce injury then.