All-22: How the Offense Operates With Foles

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All last week, Chip Kelly and his staff made one thing clear: The offense would not undergo a complete makeover with Nick Foles at quarterback instead of Michael Vick.

His argument didn’t seem all that convincing. After all, the two quarterbacks have different skill sets. Why not mold the offense to whichever guy was going to be on the field?

On Sunday, against the Bucs, we got a better idea of what Kelly meant. And for the most part, he was speaking the truth.

“We’d have played the game exactly the same way,” said offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. “We would have had all the same plays in the gameplan, and we would have called it exactly the same way with Mike.”

Several players backed up Shurmur’s words. The Eagles piled up 425 yards and scored 31 points in their victory over the Bucs. Foles completed 71 percent of his passes and averaged 9.5 yards per attempt, accounting for four touchdowns.

Without a quarterback who poses a true running threat and facing a defense that liked to employ a lot of zone, the Eagles still found ways to play option football and had success with packaged plays all day long at Raymond James Stadium. Read more »

Game Review: Eagles Offense Vs. Bucs ‘D’

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) spikes the football after scoring on a four-yard touchdown run during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Here’s a position-by-position look at what we saw from the Eagles’ offense after having re-watched Sunday’s game.

QUARTERBACK

* Nick Foles’ numbers speak for themselves: 22-for-31 (71 percent) for 296 yards (9.5 YPA), three touchdowns and no interceptions. Foles also ran in for a score. This was different than last week’s game. He was going up against a Bucs defense that has some talent, specifically in the secondary. We spent much of the offseason discussing how the offense fits Michael Vick’s skill set. But so far (small sample size, granted), it looks like it fits Foles as well. As a rookie, he completed 60.8 percent of his passes and averaged 6.4 YPA. On 61 passes the past two weeks, those numbers are 67.2 percent and 8.9 YPA. Read more »

All-22: Examining Michael Vick’s Issues

When Chip Kelly was asked to evaluate Michael Vick’s performance against the Kansas City Chiefs, the word he used was okay.

Okay is generally coach-speak for: He didn’t play well, but it’s unfair to place all the blame on one guy.

And that’s true. The offensive line had too many issues. Wide receivers struggled to get open consistently. The defense couldn’t get off the field during an 8-minute, 15-second stretch in the fourth quarter. And special teams suffered a variety of miscues.

But one week after throwing for 423 yards and completing nearly 64 percent of his passes against the Chargers, Vick was just 13-for-30 with three turnovers against the Chiefs.

What were some of his issues? Let’s take a look, starting with his first-quarter interception.

Read more »

Game Review: Eagles Offense Vs. Chargers Defense

0V3J0546Here’s a position-by-position review of the Eagles’ offense after having reviewed the game:

QUARTERBACKS

* Michael Vick played an outstanding game. He looked comfortable in the pocket, knew where to go with the football and delivered darts all day long. Was he perfect? No. The one deep ball led DeSean Jackson out of bounds (although he still had a chance to make a play). And Vick’s throw to James Casey in the end zone was a little low, even though he should have made the catch. But overall, 23-for-36 for 428 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

* The 61-yard touchdown to Jackson was a beauty, and Vick did a masterful job of taking the Eagles 75 yards in 80 seconds in the first half. His one deep ball hit Jackson in the fingertips, but the wide receiver admitted he should have had it. When the Chargers blitzed (sent five or more), he was 6-for-10 for 133 yards and scrambled once. Vick got rid of the ball quickly on the 27-yard completion to Zach Ertz in the fourth, beating the blitz. And he even threw the ball away wisely on a couple occasions.

* Overall, Vick did a good job of avoiding hits until the final scoring drive when he took a couple crushing blows.

* On the season, Vick has 13 completions of 20+ yards, tops in the NFL. He’s averaging 10.3 YPA, tied for first. Only Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning have higher passer ratings. There’s still plenty of time to go, but I thought Vick looked significantly better in Week 2 than he did in Week 1. Chip Kelly and the coaching staff deserve credit too for putting him in positions to succeed.

* Nick Foles came in for a play and threw a fade incomplete to Jackson. Kelly admitted today that he should have called timeout and put Vick back in the game. I’m in the camp with those who believe the Eagles probably should have run the ball with Foles in the game, rather than have him come in cold and try to connect on that TD. But that’s why they call it second-guessing.

RUNNING BACKS

* The Chargers played a safety up and tried to stifle the Eagles’ running game, but it’s not like they shut down LeSean McCoy. He still had 11 carries for 53 yards and added five catches for 114. McCoy leads the NFL with 237 rushing yards and is averaging a healthy 5.6 yards per carry.

* McCoy got matched up with safety Eric Weddle on a route in the first, made the catch and took for a 70-yard gain. By the way, give Chargers linebacker Reggie Walker credit for hustling downfield and bringing McCoy down on that play. The Eagles settled for a field goal, so he essentially saved four points.

* McCoy had several other nice runs. He made Walker look silly on a 4-yard gain in the first, bounced a run outside for 9 yards later and got the job done in short yardage. McCoy had a 17-yard scamper and a 21-yard catch in the second. He did a good job of turning into a blocker on Vick’s touchdown run in the fourth.

* Bryce Brown played nine snaps and had three carries for 13 yards.

* I charted zone-read plays. The Eagles ran it nine times for 54 yards (6.0 YPC). Vick kept the ball on two of those nine, running for 17 yards. In Week 1, the Eagles used the zone read 49 times, per ESPN Stats & Information.

WIDE RECEIVERS

* The Eagles also have the league’s leading receiver. DeSean Jackson has piled up 297 yards in two games and had a nine-catch, 193-yard performance on Sunday. The truth is, it could have been even bigger. The Chargers tried to shadow him man-to-man all game long with Shareece Wright. That didn’t work out so well. There were four missed opportunities. One was the ball that was thrown too close to the sideline. Then there was the deep ball that hit Jackson’s fingertips and would have been a 79-yard TD. Vick overthrew him once on what would have been a 69-yard bomb. And Lane Johnson’s penalty negated a 37-yarder.

* Jackson still had a 61-yard grab and a 41-yard grab. But as crazy as it sounds, a 350+ receiving yard day was in play.

* Kelly is doing a masterful job of getting the ball in Jackson’s hands and creating mismatches. This is just the second time in his career he’s had back-to-back games with seven receptions or more. And he was targeted 15 times vs. San Diego. Jackson is catching the ball in a variety of spots and doing an excellent job of getting down and avoiding big hits when he’s in the middle of the field.

* Riley Cooper did an excellent job of using his size on the 13-yard touchdown. He also made a nice leaping grab for 12 yards.

* Jason Avant had four catches for 39 yards on seven targets, including a nice 21-yarder over the middle in the fourth.

TIGHT ENDS

* After a big first week, Brent Celek was only targeted once and ended up with zero catches.

* Zach Ertz only played 12 snaps, but had two catches for 58 yards. He show good YAC ability on a 31-yarder in the third and came back with a 27-yard catch and run in the fourth. As a blocker, Ertz did a poor job on Weddle on Brown’s 8-yard run in the first.

* The Casey grab in the end zone was close. My feeling is if they would have ruled it a TD on the field, it would have stood. But they ruled it incomplete, and it was too close to be reversed. Casey only played five snaps.

* I charted personnel groupings. The Eagles were in 11 personnel (1-RB, 1-TE, 3-WR) on 46 of 58 offensive snaps. They were in 12 personnel (1-RB, 2-TE) on nine snaps; went 3-TE twice; and showed one 4-WR look. For all the offseason talk about using multiple tight ends, the Eagles really haven’t gone that route much in their first two games.

OFFENSIVE LINE

* Overall, I thought the offensive line played really well, especially in the second half when the Eagles scored points on four straight drives. There were hiccups here and there, but overall, a strong showing.

* Let’s start with Jason Peters. The big man looked more dominant in the run game this week. Nice kick-out block on Brown’s 8-yard run. Good down block on McCoy’s 17-yarder. And Peters drove the linebacker to the ground on Vick’s 9-yard zone read carry in the fourth. In the first, he was matched up against Dwight Freeney, who hit Vick as he threw, but it really looked more like Vick stepping into pressure than Peters getting beat. The Eagles used some more unbalanced lines. Peters set up at right tackle in the first, but missed his block on the safety on a red-zone run. Other than the one play I mentioned, he was flawless in pass protection. If you see a replay of the 61-yard Jackson TD run, check out Peters on Freeney. He shoved him about 10 yards upfield and completely out of the play.

* Up-and-down day for Lane Johnson. It’s not like he was getting beat all game long, but just too many costly mistakes. The rookie got schooled by Freeney on a spin move in the second. Vick got hit on the play and overthrew Jackson. Later, Johnson was called for a penalty on the 37-yard touchdown to Jackson (details here). The Eagles had to settle for a field goal on that drive.

* Johnson had some other issues too. He got pushed back into Vick on a third-down incompletion in the second. He got beaten to the inside by the DT, who disrupted a third-down play in the third and stopped the Eagles for no gain, forcing them to kick a field goal. Again, overall, I thought Johnson did many things well, but there were issues.

* Todd Herremans was up-and-down as well. He got beaten badly by Jarius Wynn for a sack on the first drive. Herremans did a poor job on nose tackle Cam Thomas, who stopped McCoy on a 1-yard run. He pulled, but completely whiffed on the linebacker on McCoy’s third-down run that was stopped for no gain in the third. And he was slow to pick up a stunt on third down late in the fourth as the Chargers crushed Vick. Too inconsistent in this one.

* Evan Mathis was up and down in Week 1, but played well vs. the Chargers. Great seal block on Brown’s 8-yard run in the first and nice job pulling on McCoy’s 17-yarder in the second. Mathis delivered a good block on McCoy’s 21-yard screen. The only issues? He was slow to get to the safety on McCoy’s 3-yard run with the Eagles backed up near their own goal line. And he got pushed back into Vick in pass protection in the third.

* Jason Kelce looked like their best offensive lineman on Sunday. He did a nice job in the run game throughout and once again showed off his athleticism in the run game, pulling on McCoy’s 17-yard run in the second. Kelce made a nice block on McCoy’s 21-yard screen, and I didn’t really notice any issues in pass protection. He has played really well in the first two games.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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Week 2: Eagles Snap Count Analysis

Here’s a look at Eagles snap counts Sunday against the Chargers.

 
Overall Snaps
Snap %
LeSean McCoy5085%
Bryce Brown915%

LeSean McCoy played 85 percent of the snaps, but the total was just 50 since the Eagles ran far fewer plays than in Week 1. He had 16 total touches for 167 yards.

Bryce Brown played nine snaps and had three carries for 13 yards. Chris Polk played special-teams only. He has not played an offensive snap  yet.

 
Overall Snaps
Snap %
Riley Cooper5695%
Brent Celek5492%
DeSean Jackson5492%
Jason Avant4881%
Zach Ertz1220%
James Casey58%
Damaris Johnson47%
Jeff Maehl35%

Riley Cooper played the most snaps among this group for the second week in a row. He had two catches for 25 yards and a touchdown.

DeSean Jackson played all but five snaps, finishing with nine catches for 193 yards on 15 targets. As we mentioned, to say he could have easily had 300 yards receiving is no stretch.

The Eagles were in ’11′ personnel with one RB, one TE and three WRs quite a bit for the second straight week. Jason Avant played 81 percent of the snaps and had four catches for 39 yards. It doesn’t appear that Damaris Johnson will have much of a role in this offense when everyone else is healthy. He played just four snaps. And Jeff Maehl got on the field for three snaps.

At tight end, Brent Celek played all but five snaps and was shut out (one target). Rookie Zach Ertz played 12 snaps, but made the most of them, catching two balls for 58 yards. James Casey only played five snaps and dropped a potential touchdown pass early from Michael Vick.

 
Overall Snaps
Snap %
Fletcher Cox6477%
Cedric Thornton5769%
Isaac Sopoaga2834%
Bennie Logan2733%
Clifton Geathers1417%
Damion Square1214%

Not too much to note here. Fletcher Cox played the most snaps (64), followed by Cedric Thornton (57). Isaac Sopoaga played 34 percent of the snaps. And the second team was Bennie Logan (33 percent), Clifton Geathers (17 percent) and Damion Square (14 percent). For the second straight week, Vinny Curry was inactive.

 
Overall Snaps
Snap %
DeMeco Ryans83100%
Mychal Kendricks83100%
Connor Barwin7995%
Trent Cole6781%
Brandon Graham1619%
Casey Matthews45%

DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks played every single snap. Still have to re-watch, but Kendricks seemed to struggle throughout.

Connor Barwin was the only defensive player to notch a sack, and Trent Cole seemed to be active.

Casey Matthews backed up Barwin at left outside linebacker and played four snaps. And Brandon Graham played 16 snaps behind Cole at right outside linebacker.

 
Overall Snaps
Snap %
Cary Williams83100%
Patrick Chung8299%
Brandon Boykin8096%
Nate Allen6376%
Earl Wolff4959%
Brandon Hughes2227%

The secondary was a mess. Cary Williams played every snap and was called for three pass interference penalties. Brandon Boykin played all but three snaps. He started off on the outside, but moved inside at times.

Brandon Hughes played 22 snaps on the outside, but suffered a hamstring injury.

Patrick Chung played all but one snap – both at safety and at nickel.

Nate Allen (76 percent) and Earl Wolff (59 percent) both saw significant action, but neither played well.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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Cheat Sheet: Eagles Offense Vs. Chargers Defense

Here are 10 things to know about how the Eagles’ offense matches up with the Chargers’ defense.

1. In front of a national audience, Chip Kelly’s squad put up 33 points against the Redskins, using a devastating rushing attack and a blistering tempo in the first half. The Eagles ran 77 plays and piled up 26 first downs. Their 49 rushing attempts and 263 yards on the ground were both league-highs. Now the question is: What will Kelly do for an encore? San Diego gave up 449 yards (fifth-most) to the Texans in last week’s 31-28 loss. The Chargers played late Monday night, blew a 28-7 lead, had the defense on the field for 75 snaps and now will travel across the country for a 1 p.m. EST kickoff. The Eagles are 7.5-point favorites, according to Bovada.

2. One takeaway from watching the coaches tape this week (all our breakdowns are right here) was that the Eagles left plenty of points on the field. The Eagles are an option offense, and it’s going to take some time for Michael Vick to perfect his reads and decision-making. He did a good job for the most part, but this will be a process. Vick also missed on some throws early that he usually makes, and while the offensive line played well, there were still some breakdowns throughout. If the coaches thought the players were feeling a little too good about themselves this week, they had plenty of errors to point out and correct in the film room.

3. The word of the week has been sustainability. As Tim and I discussed on our radio show Thursday night (podcast here), there are two aspects to the discussion. One is the scheme/tempo, and the other is injuries. I think the scheme is sound, and I think Kelly will adjust it throughout the course of the year. I think the tempo is achievable too. The Eagles aren’t the only team that wants to play fast. And this isn’t something Kelly decided on haphazardly a couple weeks ago. He’s been preparing to be an up-tempo team since the day he was named the head coach.

As for injuries, I understand the basic premise that increasing the total number of plays in what is a brutal, violent, physically taxing sport should also increase the opportunities for injuries. But certainly Kelly has taken precautions with all the sports science initiatives, and Redskins linebacker London Fletcher had an interesting point this week during an NFL Network interview.

“One of the great things about Chip Kelly’s offense is because they spread you out so much, often times it’s not that physical type of football that you get play in and play out in the National Football League where the running backs are getting hit by multiple defenders or the quarterback’s being hit by multiple defenders, and receivers as well,” Fletcher said. “Most of the time it’s one-on-one tackles. It’s guys tackling guys in space, the sideline, things like that to protect them from being hit so much by multiple defenders.”

Kelly has made similar arguments and said this week his teams at Oregon were always the freshest at the end of the season. We’ll see if that rings true with the Eagles come December.

4. This week, the Eagles will face another 3-4 team in the Chargers. San Diego has some talented players in its front seven. Left defensive end Kendall Reyes was a second-round pick in 2012. Cam Thomas is a 330-pound nose tackle whose Twitter handle is @Baby_Zilla76. Corey Liuget was a first-round pick in 2011 and was second on the team with seven sacks last year. Rookie Kwame Geathers is the brother of Eagles defensive lineman Clifton. How is that brother vs. brother matchup not getting the same hype as Eli vs. Peyton?

While the Chargers are a base 3-4 team, they are multiple. And they even get a little Jim Washburn-y in certain passing situations.

sd_wide9

Of course, even on 3rd-and-25, I’d expect Kelly to run the ball against the Wide-9. Just don’t think he’d be able to help himself.

5. Based on Week 1, the Chargers’ best pass-rusher is 33-year-old Dwight Freeney, who is in his first season away from Indianapolis. Freeney is technically listed as an outside linebacker, but he’s there to rush the passer. Per Pro Football Focus, Freeney dropped in coverage just three times on 41 passing downs last week. And he was effective too as a pass-rusher, piling up three QB hits to go along with half-a-sack. Freeney will get matched up quite a bit against Jason Peters. Peters had a couple minor stumbles here and there last week, playing for the first time since the end of the 2011 season, but overall, he looked good.

6. The Eagles’ issues in protection last week came on the right side. On one sack in the second quarter, they let Ryan Kerrigan rush freely.

johnson1_091313

johnson2_091313

“It was communication,” Lane Johnson said. “The line slid left. I was thinking that we were basing to the right so it’s just communication-based.”

Johnson was supposed to block Kerrigan. That still would have left unblocked rushers off the edge, but Vick had Bryce Brown in the flat. The truth is, he had him anyway, but a Redskins lineman got a hand up, so Vick wisely held on to the ball.

The good news for the Eagles is that overall, Johnson played really well. He was consistent throughout in the run game and flat-out dominating at times. There could be some communication hiccups in the early part of the season, but he’s showing all the tools to be a really good starting tackle.

7. The Chargers’ other outside linebacker is Jarret Johnson. He’s a solid run defender and more of a drop ‘backer, but is not a prolific pass-rusher. Johnson made an athletic play last week, batting a Matt Schaub pass that resulted in an interception. In 2012, Johnson rushed 57.5 percent of the time and dropped 42.5 percent of the time on passing downs, per PFF. The Chargers’ inside linebackers are Donald Butler and Bront Bird. Butler is in his third year as a starter. And Bird made his first career start last week. They’ll have to deal with an athletic Eagles offensive line that consistently got to the second level against Washington. Jason Kelce, specifically, was pulling and pancaking defenders, showing no ill effects from last year’s knee injury.

8. San Diego will have its hands full with LeSean McCoy after his 31-carry, 184-yard performance last week. McCoy played 67 snaps, per PFF, tied for second-most among all NFL running backs in Week 1. He had six more carries than any other back in the league. McCoy will still carry a heavy load, but don’t be surprised if Bryce Brown and even Chris Polk mix in more. Brown played 16 snaps last week. That number should increase in Week 2. The Chargers held Arian Foster to 3.2 YPC in Week 1.

9. Schaub shredded the Chargers’ secondary, completing 34 of 45 passes (75.6 percent) for 346 yards (7.7 YPA). When healthy, cornerback Derek Cox had some good moments with the Jaguars in his first four seasons in the league. He signed with the Chargers in the offseason and had a rough debut against Andre Johnson, who caught 12 balls for 146 yards. Shareece Wright, a third-round pick in 2011, mans the other spot. He made his first career start last week. At safety, the Chargers have Eric Weddle and Marcus Gilchrist. Weddle is easily the best defensive back on the roster and has started all but three games for the Chargers since 2008. He’ll set all over the place, including up near the line of scrimmage, helping against the run and blitzing as well.

For the Eagles, DeSean Jackson got off to a great start, catching seven balls for 104 yards and a touchdown against Washington. All of his receptions netted first downs. Given how well the Eagles ran the ball last week, don’t be surprised if opponents cheat their safeties up and try to force Vick to find receivers downfield. That could mean a big day for Jackson.

Riley Cooper played every snap last week, but is more of a blocker than a receiving threat in this offense. Brent Celek should have his opportunities, and the Eagles could feature more 2-TE sets. They were in ’12′ personnel for just eight plays last week.

10. The Chargers rushed five 32.6 percent of the time last year, third-most in the NFL, per Football Outsiders. …They blitzed Schaub 23 times, notching a pair of sacks and an interception. But Schaub completed 67 percent of his passes against the blitz, throwing two TDs and compiling a passer rating of 100.7, per Stats, Inc. …Don’t be surprised if some of the packaged plays and wrinkles we saw from Kelly last week disappear in Week 2. He knows the Chargers will be watching last week’s tape and will likely look to capitalize on that.

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