Game Review: Eagles Offense Vs. Redskins Defense

Lane JohnsonBelow is a position-by-position breakdown of how the Eagles performed on offense, after having re-watched the game.

QUARTERBACK

* Michael Vick completed 60 percent of his passes (15-for-25) for 203 yards (8.1 YPA), two touchdowns and no interceptions. He added 54 yards on the ground and turned it over once on the controversial fumble in the first quarter.

* As is usually the case with Vick, there were ups and downs, but overall he played well and let his weapons make plays after the catch. He hit Brent Celek down the seam for 28 yards on the first play and showed good patience on the 25-yard touchdown to DeSean Jackson. As a runner, Vick made rookie safety Bacarri Rambo look silly on his 36-yard gain in the fourth quarter. On his touchdown run, Vick read the defensive tackle and dove into the end zone.

* There were times where he left some plays on the field. Vick was off-target on a few throws early. On the first drive, Vick had Celek open on the corner route, but couldn’t connect. He missed Jason Avant near the left sideline on the Eagles’ second drive and then misfired looking for Zach Ertz on the post. He settled down though, finishing the first half by completing nine of 11 attempts.

* Decision-making was up and down. At times, he was outstanding, like when Vick hit Jackson on a bubble screen for 16 yards, or on the 3-yard touchdown run. But at other times, he was suspect. Vick scrambled to his right on the first drive, and instead of running out of bounds or throwing the ball away, he tried to squeeze a throw in to Riley Cooper and was nearly picked off. On the lateral play that resulted in a Redskins defensive touchdown, it looked like Vick had room to run up the middle. He turned into a blocker for LeSean McCoy on multiple occasions. While fans and teammates can appreciate the effort, that can’t continue going forward. And Vick continues to dive head-first on runs, meaning it’s perfectly legal for defenders to get hits on him when he’s vulnerable on the ground.

* According to Pro Football Focus, Vick was 6-for-12 for 50 yards against the blitz. And he only attempted five passes in the second half. Overall, the offense moved the ball well, and that’s a credit to Vick. But there are obviously areas that still need improvement.

RUNNING BACKS

* LeSean McCoy was the best player on the field, running 31 times for 184 yards and a score. Everyone recognizes the highlight plays, but McCoy got tough yards as well. He picked up 4 on 4th-and-1 in the first and fought for 2 yards in the second, picking up a first on 3rd-and-2 in the red zone. Run blocking was very good, but McCoy broke nine tackles, according to PFF, the most of any running back in Week 1. McCoy’s 91 yards after contact tied Adrian Peterson for a league high. And he is currently the NFL’s leading rusher by 72 yards.

* Bryce Brown was up and down. He broke a tackle near the line of scrimmage and picked up 7 on 3rd-and-2 in the first and later did a nice job of making himself skinny, running up the middle for a 5-yard gain. Overall, better than the numbers (9 carries for 25 yards) indicate. Brown missed a blitz pickup in the first and gave up a hit on Vick. I’d expect him to see him spell McCoy a little bit more going forward.

* According to ESPN Stats and Information, the Eagles gained 245 yards on the ground on zone-read plays, the most of any team in the past five years.

WIDE RECEIVERS

* It was the DeSean Jackson show early. He caught seven balls on nine targets for 104 yards. Jackson took a bubble screen 16 yards on the first drive and had a nice 26-yard catch and run on the second drive. He had 70 yards after the catch, tied for third-most by a wide receiver in Week 1, per PFF. All seven of Jackson’s catches went for first downs, and he had the 25-yard score in the first half. According to PFF, he lined up in the slot on eight of 30 pass plays and was outside for the other 22. No. 10 looks dialed in and is primed for a big year.

* Riley Cooper played every snap and really did a nice job as a blocker. Noticed him specifically on the 16-yard bubble screen to Jackson, the 6-yard screen to Jackson and Vick’s 36-yard run in the fourth. As a receiver, just two catches for 14 yards. I expect his role going forward to be exactly what it was on Monday night.

* Jason Avant had just two catches on three targets for 13 yards. But he too was effective as a blocker. Noticed him specifically on the 16-yard bubble screen to Jackson in the first, McCoy’s 16-yard run in the second and McCoy’s 34-yard TD run. Avant had a fumble in the fourth and couldn’t hang on to the onside kick at the end.

* The Eagles were in 11 personnel (1-RB, 1-TE, 3-WR) 67 of 75 snaps (not counting the two kneel-downs), or 89.3 percent of the time.

TIGHT ENDS

* Brent Celek only had two catches, but he made them count, finishing with 56 yards and a score. He had a 28-yard pickup on the first drive and did a nice job making the catch and breaking a tackle for the TD. Celek was up and down as a blocker. He did a poor job on Brian Orakpo on McCoy’s 7-yard run in the second, was beat again by Orakpo on a McCoy red-zone run and was called for holding (plus a personal foul) while trying to block Orakpo one-on-one in pass protection in the third.

* Zach Ertz had one catch for 11 yards. And James Casey didn’t play until it was kneel-down time.

* The Eagles were in 12 personnel (1-RB, 2-TE) on just eight of 75 snaps, or 10.7 percent of the time. For all the preseason talk about how Kelly loved tight ends, he did not use a lot of multiple TE looks in Week 1. Also worth noting: The Eagles were in the same two personnel groupings (’11′ and ’12′) for the entire game.

OFFENSIVE LINE

* Overall, thought they played well, but as always in Week 1, there’s room for improvement. Let’s start with the rookie. Really liked what I saw from Lane Johnson in the run game. He looks like a seasoned vet in that aspect with a Pro Bowl ceiling. Johnson came off his double team and got to the linebacker on McCoy’s 6-yard run in the first. He moved over to the left side in between Evan Mathis and Jason Peters on several occasions, including once where he made a nice block on a McCoy 13-yard run. Johnson did a great job on McCoy’s 34-yard TD run and also on his 16-yard scamper.

* In pass protection, Johnson had a few issues. He had trouble with Ryan Kerrigan on the first drive as Vick was forced to scramble. Johnson has been blamed for a sack in the first, but I’m not sure it was completely his fault. The way the Eagles’ protection was set up, Johnson was responsible for two defenders on the play. He should have either gotten some help, or Vick should have known there would be a free rusher and gotten rid of the ball. Later, Johnson gave up a pressure that led to Vick getting hit. And on another play, he either failed to pick up a blitzer or expected Celek/McCoy to take the defender. Johnson was also called for a false start in the third. Overall, a strong debut. The mistakes Johnson made appeared to be ones that should be expected from a rookie. The physical tools are all there and he does not look as raw as anticipated.

* Didn’t think Evan Mathis was as consistent as he usually is. He probably could have been called for holding on McCoy’s 4th-and-1 carry in the first and also on the lateral play that resulted in a Redskins touchdown. It looked like Mathis was late picking up a blitzer on Vick’s third-down throw in the second, and he let a defender slip through to drop Brown for a 1-yard loss in the second. Mathis was also called for holding in the second. There were good moments too. Outstanding double-team with Jason Kelce on Brown’s 7-yard run in the first. And Mathis got to the linebacker nicely on McCoy’s 34-yard touchdown run.

* Kelce didn’t show any lingering effects from the ACL injury that ended his season in Week 2 last year. In the first quarter, he pulled and led the way for McCoy on a 16-yard run. Later, he did the same, crushing London Fletcher and putting him on the ground on a 12-yard gain. There were a few issues. He gave up a hit on Vick in the second and was beaten by Barry Cofield, who dropped McCoy for a 3-yard loss in the fourth. Kelce was also called for holding in the fourth. But overall, thought he played really well.

* Jason Peters didn’t quite look like 2011 Jason Peters, but still played well. Again, lots of unbalanced line looks where he set up next to Johnson on the same side (will show more clearly once the All-22 comes out). Peters made several good blocks in the run game, including one where he created a lane for McCoy to pick up 16 yards. I counted two times where he had some trouble with Orakpo in pass protection, but neither led to a QB hit. Orakpo got the better of him on a third-quarter play where Brown was stopped for no gain. It looked like Peters tripped on a McCoy 1-yard run, and he was called for a false start in the first. Overall, though, a solid 2013 debut. He should only get better.

* The Eagles had some protection issues on the right side. Todd Herremans had trouble with Cofield in the red zone on the first drive. In the second, Herremans started a double-team with Kelce and let Ryan Kerrigan burst through untouched for a sack. He was slow to pick up a blitzing linebacker on third down in the second and had some trouble on the Celek touchdown. Herremans was very good in the run game. He executed his blocks on several big runs, including McCoy’s 7-yard scamper in the first and his 16-yarder. I’d expect him and Johnson to work out what seemed like communication issues. Overall, Herremans was OK.

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