Eagles-Jaguars Game Review: The Offense

If you missed the defense, click here.

Below is the position-by-position game review of the offense.

QUARTERBACKS

* It was an uneven performance for Michael Vick. He went 15-for-23 for 184 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He also ran seven times for 53 yards. Vick did a nice job escaping pressure and finding Jason Avant down the sideline for 20 yards on the first play. He threw an absolute laser to Riley Cooper for the 9-yard TD. But he did leave plays on the field, like when he overthrew Brent Celek on the wheel route. And as Derek Sarley pointed out, he was too hesitant when he had receivers open. Vick can make up for breakdowns in protection, and he can hurt teams with his legs. But the number one factor that will determine his success in this offense is decision-making. We’ll find out where he’s at with that aspect when the Eagles take on the Redskins at FedEx Field two weeks from tonight.

* Hard to argue with the numbers for Nick Foles: 10-for-11 for 112 yards. Foles misfired on his first pass, a screen to Damaris Johnson, and then connected on his next 10. Most of them were underneath throws; only one traveled more than 10 yards from the line of scrimmage, per Pro Football Focus. But he averaged 10.2 yards per attempt as guys picked up yards after the catch. Foles moved the team and looked comfortable running the offense against Jacksonville’s backups.

RUNNING BACKS

* LeSean McCoy only played 18 snaps and carried five times for 9 yards. But he had a nice 15-yard run in the first, breaking Jason Babin’s tackle behind the line of scrimmage. He’ll rest now until Week 1.

* Bryce Brown continues to dazzle and frustrate at the same time. Eleven carries for 92 yards and a touchdown, including impressive gains of 7, 11 and 23. But he had the big fumble trying to get into the end zone in the second half.

This will come down to coaching. It’s up to Chip KellyDuce Staley and company to find a way to get Brown to secure the ball better. The talent is there. He’s got a unique blend of size and speed. But opposing defenses will be looking to punch the ball out every time he’s in the game. I still think Brown will get it down at some point. But it’s something to watch every time he’s on the field. As a blocker, Brown did a poor job with his blitz pickup on 3rd-and-8 in the first. Needs to get better in that area.

* The numbers for Chris Polk – six carries for 23 yards – weren’t great, but thought he ran well. He dragged defenders with him on a 4-yard pickup in the third and then gained 12 around the right end. Polk ran over a defensive back at the goal line on his touchdown. Normally reliable in blitz pickup, he whiffed on a play where Vick escaped and picked up 10 yards with his legs.

WIDE RECEIVERS

* DeSean Jackson continues to look comfortable in this offense. He finished with three catches for 48 yards on four targets. Jackson has six catches on nine targets this preseason and is averaging 20.5 yards per catch without a drop. A career year for No. 10 is in play.

* Avant was his usual self, keeping his feet in bounds for a 20-yard completion. He had the amazing one-handed grab on the ball that was tipped at the line of scrimmage. Overall, three catches for 36 yards on four targets. He also showed up as a blocker, doing a nice job on Polk’s runs of 12 and 11 yards, respectively.

* Cooper came down with the touchdown and made nice blocks on a screen to Avant and an 11-yard pickup by Brown. He also did a good job on Brown’s 23-yard run. Cooper figures to play a lot of snaps even if he’s not a big factor in the passing game.

* Johnson fumbled the one return but bounced back with a 61-yarder. As a receiver, he had two catches for 24 yards on three targets. On one play, he went up in traffic between defenders and snagged a 10-yarder from Foles.

* Russell Shepard got more involved, catching two balls for 38 yards. He showed good YAC ability, taking a screen 29 yards. Shepard’s firmly on the roster bubble.

TIGHT ENDS

* Brent Celek had four catches for 54 yards on seven targets, but he could have had an even bigger game. Vick overthrew him on the wheel route and also on another player early on. Celek made a nice grab for 26 yards on third down, ran hard for yards after the catch and blocked well on a bubble screen to Avant in the second.

* Zach Ertz lined up in the slot, found a soft spot in the zone and made a 13-yard grab in the first. He couldn’t hang on for what would have been a tough catch off play-action in the first as a defender delivered a forearm to his head. Up and down as a blocker. Poor job on McCoy’s 4-yard loss in the second. But excellent job on the screen to Shepard.

* James Casey was quiet again with one catch for 3 yards. He set up as a lead blocker, but whiffed on McCoy’s 15-yard run. Good block on the Shepard bubble screen in the fourth.

OFFENSIVE LINE

* Jason Peters looked great in pass protection. For the entire game, with one exception, he did not let his defender get close enough to even breathe on Vick. Even on the one play where he allowed a pressure, Vick held on to the ball for awhile before throwing it away. He was OK in the run game, but not his usual dominant self. Peters was slow to get to the linebacker on a second-quarter run that lost 4 yards. He couldn’t quite get to the linebacker on a Polk 4-yard run. Overall, though, encouraging performance from No. 71.

* Evan Mathis’ performance was shakier than usual. He had trouble with Tyson Alualu on third down during the first series and was later called for holding on 3rd-and-8, negating an 18-yard completion to Celek. Mathis got beat by Jeremy Mincey in the first and then again by Sen’Derrick Marks, who put a big hit on Vick. As we showed earlier in the week, he and Jason Kelce had an issue with a stunt and gave up a sack. Mathis was better in the run game. He threw a defender to the ground on Brown’s 5-yard run in the second. Nothing to panic about, but he did not play particularly well.

* The same goes for Jason Kelce. On the first play play, he had trouble with defensive tackle Roy Miller. On another play, Jason Babin looped inside from the left edge, and Kelce was slow to pick him up. He also had two errant snaps. One was high and ruined the timing of a zone read/bubble packaged play the Eagles had on. Vick had to throw the ball away. The other was low and fumbled by Vick. Kelce was mostly good in the run game, getting to the linebacker on McCoy’s 15-yard run and again on Brown’s 23-yard run. Still think he’ll have a good year, but not a clean performance.

* Todd Herremans has been shaky in two of three preseason games. On the second play, he had trouble with Miller and Vick ended up getting sacked. Herremans did a poor job picking up a blitzing linebacker on 3rd-and-8 in the first. Marks beat him badly on the Vick interception. Herremans, too, was better in the run game. Nice blocks on McCoy’s 15-yard run, Brown’s 7-yard run and Brown’s 23-yarder. We pointed out earlier that he and Johnson had a miscue that resulted in a 5-yard loss for McCoy. Worth keeping an eye on him early in the season, and also worth noting that Herremans was dealing with knee inflammation.

* Lane Johnson had some issues early on with Babin, getting beat on a spin move and then around the edge in the first quarter. But I thought he settled down and eventually played fine. In fact, Babin tried the same spin move in the second, and Johnson stoned him as Vick found Celek for 26 yards. Will get better as the season goes on, but Johnson should be pretty good from the start.

* A couple notes on the backups. Julian Vandervelde continues to take second-team reps at center. If he and Allen Barbre make the team, Danny Watkins could be on the outside looking in. Also, Michael Bamiro has a good chance of sticking.

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  • Robert McNeill

    Regarding Bryce Brown: This is the best demonstration of the fundamentals of ball security I have ever seen. It uses Tiki Barber as an example– a lot of good footage. Worth a look–it’s state of the art.

    http://vimeo.com/60563853

  • Scott J610

    It’s a shame Bryce Brown is a fumbler because it would be nice to have him pound the ball at the end of the game. Can’t trust him yet.

    • ohitsdom

      Pounding isn’t Bryce’s style, but it definitely is Polk’s. The three backs have great, complimenting skill sets.

    • http://theadulttoysstore.com/ The Toy Goddess

      Brown has only fumbled once so far this preseason. He’s coming along nicely. He’ll be alright.

  • nicksaenz1

    The line will come together, I’m not concerned about them yet. That forearm to Ertz’s head should have been a penalty, but if I recall correctly, it was not…. Either way, another PS game down, and now we’re only two weeks away from what we’ve all been waiting for and 2 more weeks to really iron out these kinks. Come on 9/9, get here already!

  • Bdawk20

    As I said before, the offense runs better with Nick Foles. Everyone who has argued me on this point has said that Foles’ success is due to the RB’s, WR’s, TE’s, and O-Line, not Foles actual ability. That actually proves my point because the offense runs as it should for Chip Kelly when Foles plays. The team works together and you get consistent results. Vick, on the other hand, reverts back to bad habits and does not follow or trust the scheme. As DJax said, you are always going to get Vick trying to be the hero on every play, which ultimately hurts this team (I added that last part, not DJax). Feast or famine with Vick – that is why he is the coach killer. Foles takes what the defense gives him, Vick doesn’t. Is Foles the long-term answer? No, but he runs the offense the way it should. Foles is also a 2nd year player and the fact that he is even close to Vick in this QB competition should give Foles the nod over Vick, who can’t get out of his own way. The notes above about Vick hesitating scream vintage Vick – he should have never been named the starter because he plays his best when he is looking over his shoulder.

    • #7

      Pipe down man. It was against the Jags 3rd stringers. It was an open competition. Kelly picked the best QB and it was obvious. Period.

      • Adam

        Hey, #7, he’s entitled to his opinion just like anyone else is. So lay off with the pipe down.

        • #7

          I don’t have to “lay off” anything bro. And “pipe down” is not offensive. Was not talking to you

    • Dutch

      I think you’re over exaggerating Foles showing against future used car and sports equipment salesmen. Most of the guys Foles lead those drives on will be lucky to be flipping hamburgers in another week. He should have gotten a big boost to his confidence after those drives.

      Foles would have done no better against the Jags first team defense as they were game planned to take away the run and short routes leaving Foles with no options. It was not difficult to see the Jags were flooding the short zone and leaving one safety over the top. Foles can’t exploit a single safety defense, and no less one with extra rushers coming from stunts and twist on the interior of the offensive line.

      Still in his showing the other night he only threw one pass that traveled more than 8 yds…..

      • Bdawk20

        None of the above changes what we know about Mike Vick. Vick missed many opportunities even with the Jaguars change in zone because he couldn’t figure out to follow the scheme. He had open receivers, he missed them because they were not wide open when he decided to throw to him. He cannot pass with anticipation and that is going to kill us.

        • Dutch

          Nor does it change what we know about Foles after watching him last season and through a open competition in this preSeason, and that is he’s a greater risk handling the ball than Vick and doesn’t have the heart to throw a pass through a defense greater than 8 yards.

          There’s noway you can describe foles as accurate with anticipation and placement being he’s never thrown a accurate pass against an actual defender. Check downs are usually passes to receivers and backs that have no coverage underneath the defense and zones.

          • #7

            Hence the Mr Checkdown nickname I bestowed upon him

          • Bdawk20

            Right, because Foles made none of those throws last year. Of course he made mistakes, but he makes them at a similar rate to a 10 yr veteran that everyone is making out to be the best QB.

          • Dutch

            there are mistakes, like forcing the ball when you don’t have the arm to squeeze a ball into a tight window…….. then there are simply things certain QBs can not do, and hitting the long ball is simply something at this point in his career and development Foles simply can not do. You seem to confuse the two.

            The world knows, Foles simply can’t make the throws Mike Vick can, nor is he as accurate in any situation. That’s not to say he will not built the confidence and strength, it’s just he’s not yet able to see the opening and exploit those opening with his lack of velocity.

            Foles is going to be ok if he’s not served up before his time. The kid is not now a long or short term solution but I believe he will be in another year of learning and drills. He was not ready last year it just a good thing he was not destroyed in the process of messing with Andy Reid.

        • #7

          Vick shall never miss an open man ever.

          Is that the criteria Bdawk20? Not being a smart a.. I’m just interested in what your expectations are for Vick. The bar sure seems super high since it appears that you expect him to have a perfect game every week

          • Bdawk20

            How much money did we pay Vick over the past few seasons? He was one of the, if not the highest, paid QB’s in the league. What expectations do YOU have of him? Mine are equal to the money we pay him.

          • #7

            For one it’s not your cal to make as far as the money. Talk to Howie bro. I bet if you were in the NFL, you would not be asking for less money.

            So your logic is;

            80 million bucks means he better be perfect or he sucks, correct?
            No matter the disfunction around him, getting drilled in 2 seconds time.

            If you’re using amount paid to a player as your bar, the you’re misguided. Many guys that are getting 80 mil that are worse than Vick and are praised and SUPPORTED BY THEIR OWN FANS instead of wishing injury on their starting QB

          • RIP illa

            All they do is just keep pushing the bar for Vick further and further back while moving it shorter or closer for Foles. You’re absolutely right…in their minds, in order to justify Vick starting over Foles, Vick cannot have a bad game. Vick can not make mistakes of any variety. Vick must be perfect. They change it and move it back constantly for Vick. It’s f’n ridiculous

  • LostInChiTown

    Does anyone else wonder how much better Avant’s career could have been with a different offense or in a different time? Reid never had the patience for short passes or a possession offense, instead choosing to go for either big chunk plays or screens, so he way underused Avant. And today’s players are much faster than players were even a decade or two ago when Avant would have been much closer to average in speed.

    Let’s play who am I describing:
    Just over 6′
    Just over 200 lbs
    Ran the 40 in just over 4.7 seconds
    Runs impeccable routes
    Has some of the best hands in the league.

    The main thing missing from Avant has always been his run after the catch ability and his ability with the ball in his hands. But in terms of his ability to get open and catch the ball, I don’t think there’s any reason he couldn’t have had multiple 1,000 yard seasons in his career.

    By the way, what all time great was I describing above? It should be obvious. And no, I’m not saying Avant is his equal. Just making a point that Avant could have had a significantly better career if things played out differently for him.

    • nicksaenz1

      Rice

    • #7

      YAC is what hurts him, but I would still want him on my team any day

    • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

      I always underestimated Avant – but after watching him make some pretty awesome grabs I retract any bad thoughts I’ve ever had about him. lol

      • #7

        The man can play

    • Richard Colton

      come on. Rice may be the greatest player in the history of football. He was showing flashes of dominance with Rich Gannon and Matt Hassleback at QB – and I’ll take McNabb and Vick over either of those guys. Avant’s a nice 3rd receiver. I like him a lot. but come on.

      • Maggie

        Greatest receiver no doubt. Mind you, he played with 2 of the greatest QB’s throwing to him most of the time, a great RB or two and a good O line. And leave us not forget the coaching. So many, not necessarily you Richard, forget that football is a team game.

    • B-West

      I’m curious to see Reid’s offense in KC. I always thought he adjusted his offense to fit his QB. Both McNabb and Vick were much better deep ball throwers. McNabb did not have the accuracy to consistently hit guys in stride for YAC. Vick lacks the ability to anticipate throws needed for short passes.

      Reid has those West Coast offense roots, I’ll be curious to see if he brings back some of his quick pass/YAC concepts.

      • Maggie

        “I always thought he adjusted his offense to fit his QB”? Are you mad? The only time the play-calling was “adjusted to fit the QB” was when FOLES was breaking in. And Marty M was QUOTED as saying that they would revert to throwing downfield 50-60 times again after a few games. Andy Reid adjusted to nothing since @2005.

        • B-West

          I’m just gonna assume sarcasm to save time.

          • Jp

            @Bwest – really? Reid adjusted to his talent? There’s little evidence of that in all my years of watching. Reid was and likely is a system guy. Systems can work with the right pieces, but I will take a coach who designs around his talent first every time.

          • B-West

            Yes, he did. He was a pass first guy, but within his scheme, he adjusted his passing concepts to fit his QB. To overcome McNabb’s inconsistency, he adjusted his offense to go after big chunks. Long developing routes that opened big windows. He was able to do that because of McNabb’s elusiveness in the pocket. It all worked together for many years.

            I don’t want to get into defending Reid, because as I said before, it would probably be a waste of time. But for evidence I would point to his overall record and his record after the bye. For in game adjustments, he was simply not good. Give him time to gameplan and assess what his guys could do? He got the best out of them.

            I look forward to that point in time when fans begin to realize how good of a coach Andy Reid was for Philly.

          • knighn

            Andy Reid was a very good coach. He was and remains a very flawed coach. For all of his flaws, he brought the longest extended streak of success to the Eagles since 1960. He made the Eagles a consistent contender.

            I hope, in time that fans realize that Andy Reid was a good coach for Philly. I hope, ultimately, that Chip Kelly ends up as a better coach for Philly, because that will mean that the Eagles will finally have their Super Bowl win…

    • Septhinox

      Indeed, you have a point.

      However, Rice’s speed isn’t applicable in today’s NFL. There weren’t offensive linemen faster then him at the time. Today, Lane Johnson’s number would be more impressive. Lol

    • RIP illa

      Ugh…I really hate the Jerry 40 time narrative. Rice was obviously faster than what he ran in the 40. Players do run bad 40s, doesn’t mean they play at that speed. In fact there are some players, in today’s game, that train for running the 40 the whole time after their season and leading up to the combine or their proday; and these players run a great 40 time, but when game time comes or if you review their game tape, they don’t actually play at that speed. They play slower. So I guess you believe Burfict is as slow as his 5 sec 40 time?!

  • Dutch

    Bamiro is BIG. I’m fascinated with how well he moves for a guy his size. It’s exciting to imagine his developing into a stud tackle in 18 to 24 months. If the Eagles can be successful in developing his conditioning, footwork and technique over time, he’s only 22 years old.

    This could be the steal of 2013. It’s probably worth putting him in early on the punt team to get familiar with picking up rushers.

    • LostInChiTown

      To all those who were down on Roseman – or even downright abusive of him – pay attention to this kind of thing. Our last two drafts have the potential to be graded as downright fantastic:

      Cox, Kendricks, Boykin, Lane Johnson, Bennie Logan, Curry, Kelce, Bryce Brown, Polk, Ertz… We could have several pro-bowlers from those drafts.

      Bamiro was a rookie free agent. He’s in the hands of the coaches now, but there’s no denying that he has the physical tools to excel. If he does pan out (heck, if he’s a career back-up!), Howie has shown the ability to hit on 1st round talent (Cox and Johnson), mid round talent (Kelce and Logan) and late round talent (RB’s).

      • #7

        Seems like Kelce gets too much credit. Maybe I’m wrong…

        • Matty Boy

          We got an intelligent starting caliber center in the 6th round. He’s not All-Pro but he was a quality late pick.

          • Dutch

            Kelce’s intelligence can’t be duplicated. It’s good he is fast and able to get out onto the second level. I’m concerned about his knee. Watkins is better built to be a center but he definitely doesn’t have the football IQ, but he has a anchoring base that would work.

      • Adam

        Bamiro has a legitimate shot at being a starting NFL RT down the road. Wouldn’t be surprised if the Eagles start grooming him to take Lane’s spot when he moves over to LT. Maybe 2015 after JP’s contract is up.

    • EaglePete

      ya and about time Casey showed you what kind of player he is……I mean, wait.

  • #7

    Todd Herremans is either hurt or he got old really fast

    • Anon

      I’m surprised Bdawk doesn’t want to bench him for Watkins. After all Herrermans is old, clearly not the future of the franchise. Watkins is young lets see what he can do.

      • #7

        Look yeah you got a point there. He probably thinks Watkins is the next coming like check down Foles

    • RIP illa

      I dont know the answer to that, but all I can say is that Todd played this bad all last year. Got his big contract and he’s been downhill ever since.

  • TC

    Moeaki is out for the Chiefs with fractured shoulder. I wonder if chiefs will make a trade for Harbor now.

  • Joeknowsnada

    Foles executes the offense better, in a sense, since he is not trying so hard on each play to hit the home run. And, just because he executed against third stringers doesn’t overly diminish his body of work. Vick is the starter, and the better QB right now, for a number of reasons, but, Foles is 6′ 6″ tall and can see the whole field, which the barely 6′ tall Mike Vick cannot do. It’s so much easier for Foles to find a passing lane, it’s ridiculous. That’s probably why Mike holds the ball too long and gets happy feet. He is so worried about the passing lane and throwing the INT, he holds it. Foles, at least, does a better job of getting the ball to the receiver on time, in the right spot, etc. Witness the throw to DeSean Jax the other night. Jax was open 1 second or more, stationary, before Vick threw it. Vick, like McNabb, needs to see you open, vs., like Brady, or Manning, throwing to a spot before you are open. That lack of confidence or anticipation will ultimately cost us, big-time. Still, Vick is the better option right now, if you want to win as many games as you can. I, for one, don’t. Let ALL the kids play.