TAMPA, Fla. — Here’s a look at how the Eagles divvied up playing time Sunday afternoon against the Bucs. Read more »
Here’s a position-by-position review of the Eagles’ offensive performance against the Broncos. Read more »
Here’s a look at how Chip Kelly divvied up playing time Sunday afternoon against the Broncos. Read more »
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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.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
Here’s a look at Eagles snap counts Sunday against the Chargers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
For the past four seasons under Andy Reid, the popular argument was that McCoy did not get the ball enough. Now one game into the Chip Kelly era, and the concern is that his workload will be too large.
“Which one is it?” he asked.
You tell us. Were the 31 carries and 32 overall touches too much? Not enough? Just right?
“I didn’t mind it Monday night,” he said. “I think we can do a better job rotating because it’s a long season. I don’t think I need to have the ball 31, 32 times in a game for us to be a successful offense. We have too many different weapons. I think the running backs we have here can definitely play. Bryce Brown showed you last year he’s definitely a talented back. So I think we have to do a better job of monitoring the reps.”
On Monday, Brown had nine carries while Chris Polk had none.
McCoy said that while there are some packages that don’t include him, the majority of the time the coaches give him the option of whether he stays in the game or not. So some of the snap management falls on his shoulders.
“You try to give 100 percent on every play, and there’s times when you get gassed or you get nicked up a time or two and that 100 percent drops a little bit, and I think that’s the time you come out and get the other guy in that’s fresh and get his 100 percent,” he said.
“They just talk about, if you’re tired, come off, because the coach understands that it’s a fast tempo. We train hard and are in good enough shape to run the offense but we’re only human so we’re going to be tired.”
McCoy’s high-water mark for carries came in 2011 when he ran it 273 times (in 15 games). If he keeps up Monday’s pace for a full 16 games, he will have run the ball 496 times. In other words, that average is coming down. Has to.
Safe to say, though, McCoy is going to get his opportunities. There will be no talk of play-calling holding him back this year. Does has he set any new personal goals?
“I don’t really get into yardage and the different type of records,” he said, “that stuff will come. We’ve got to worry about winning. My focus is winning. The last couple years we haven’t been winning. When I got to the Eagles we were a winning team and teams kind of feared to play us. I want to get back to that level before I can start talking about yards and all that other stuff.”
WHAT YOU MISSED
Zach Ertz hopes that his drop “spell” is now behind him.
Sheil uses the All-22 tape to break down the Eagles’ touchdowns against Washington. Good stuff, as always.
Is Kelly’s offense sustainable? We give our take in the latest Twitter Mailbag.
DeSean Jackson says the Eagles have to keep their foot on the gas.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
New opponent, new defensive approach, writes Phil Sheridan.
“It’s a completely different challenge this week,” [Connor] Barwin said. “It’s that West Coast offense. Their run game is inside the tackles. Last week, their run game was outside the tackles. The quarterback sits in the pocket and gets the ball out on time, which is the opposite. Last week, the quarterback ran. They ran bootlegs and play-action. San Diego is completely different.”
So the Eagles’ defense will look completely different. Or it will look the same and then behave differently. Much of what coordinator Bill Davis has his players do is reliant on their reading the offense and reacting to it.
“The scheme is built to where any member of the defense can be blitzing at any given time,” Davis said. “We have blitzes for every position — corners, safeties, nickels, dimes, Mike ‘backers. Anybody can be a blitzer, either through an active call or a check.”
Fletcher Cox says that a published report alleging that he received improper benefits from a booster while in college will not become a distraction. From Reuben Frank.
Because Cox is not currently in college, the NCAA does not hold subpoena power over him. Of the five players identified by Yahoo!, only Tennessee defensive end Maurice Couch, who is currently on the team, would be bound to speak with NCAA officials.
Cox’s Twitter timeline is full of messages from people asking him about the allegations.
“I don’t worry about those things,” Cox said. “I barely check all of that, and I’ll just go forward when I hear from my agent.”
Preparation for the Chargers continues. We have plenty to get to.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.