All-22: What We Saw From the Eagles’ Offense

Here’s the weekly look at what we saw from the Eagles’ offense after having looked at the All-22 tape from the Steelers game.

Play 1: As we’ve discussed, the Eagles’ offense the past two games has looked different than the version we saw in the first three. Part of that is giving Michael Vick options to get rid of the football quicker. But the big plays downfield are still important, given Vick’s skill set and the weapons he has to work with on the outside. Since the Eagles are attempting fewer of those big plays, it’s crucial that they hit on them when they have a chance. And I think they missed one early on against Pittsburgh. The key to the play was a fake that got Troy Polamalu taking a couple steps towards the line of scrimmage. The other safety, meanwhile, turned to help on Maclin.


As you can see, DeSean Jackson’s behind Polamalu and headed for open field, but Vick goes to Maclin, who has two defenders on him by the time the ball gets there, and the play results in an incompletion.

Play 2: Way too many breakdowns on the offensive line. Here’s one example. Take a look at the pre-snap shot. Brett Keisel (No. 99) is going to drop back into coverage. Lawrence Timmons (No. 94), who gave the Eagles fits all game, is going to blitz between Todd Herremans and Danny Watkins.


The Eagles even keep an extra blocker in here. They’ve got six blockers to handle four Steelers defenders, yet Timmons rushes untouched, and Vick ends up getting sacked.


The Eagles have three guys blocking one rusher on the left, although Evan Mathis is ready to help Dallas Reynolds. The culprit here (and of course, there’s always a bit of guesswork involved) appears to be Watkins. He’s blocking, well, no one. He’s ready to help Reynolds, but has no idea Timmons blitzed. Herremans is handling the pass-rusher off the edge. Vick gets away from Timmons, but takes a sack.

The talent level on the offensive line is certainly an issue, but it’s mishaps like this one that the Eagles need to avoid to shore up protection going forward.

Play 3: More offensive line confusion. Here, pre-snap, Watkins is expecting to block Timmons. The Steelers show six at the line of scrimmage, but Timmons drops back into coverage.


When the ball is snapped, Watkins looks to his right and clearly expects Reynolds to block Steve McLendon (No. 90). Reynolds, meanwhile, is double-teaming another defender with Mathis.

Watkins ends up blocking nobody. McLendon sacks Vick and forces a fumble. The Eagles have six blockers against five pass-rushers, but Vick has no chance on the play.

Play 4: So as not to just pick on Watkins, here’s another breakdown – this time on the left side. James Harrison twists behind the defensive tackle, but nobody picks him up.


Mathis sticks with his man, and Dion Lewis releases into his route. Harrison gets a shot on Vick and forces an incompletion.


Play 5: The very next play was ugly too. The Steelers show a heavy blitz look with seven defenders at the line of scrimmage.


But they only end up rushing four. The Eagles have six to block four, yet somehow three players – Mathis, Bell and Lewis – end up blocking nobody. Keisel rushes unblocked, chases Vick out of the pocket and forces a third-down incompletion.


Play 6: Alright, let’s turn to some positives. Not sure if we saw a lot of this earlier in the season. If we did, I missed it. But take a look at the unbalanced line with two tight ends to the left of Bell.


We often talk about blocking and attribute successes and failures to the offensive line. But tight ends and running backs play a role too. Here, Brent Celek takes care of the defensive back, and Clay Harbor does an outstanding job on Harrison.


LeSean McCoy has a nice lane to run through and picks up 10 yards.

Play 7: One more to this point. Look at Celek on Harrison in the first.


Not an easy assignment, but he delivers a really good block and opens up room for McCoy to get to the edge and pick up 6 yards. I thought Celek was really good blocking in the run game against Pittsburgh.

Play 8: Much of the talk this week has been about Vick’s fumble down near the goal line. But the other one was costly too. It looked like Vick’s first read on the play was to Jason Avant, who was open.


Not sure why Vick didn’t pull the trigger. He hitched a couple times and then took off, losing the ball when Timmons hit him. Protection was pretty good on the play, as the Steelers only rushed four. Had Vick gotten to his next read, the Eagles might have had a big play.


Harbor is matched up with a Steelers linebacker and appears to have a step. There’s no safety in sight, but Vick doesn’t get him the ball. A missed opportunity for the offense.

Play 9: Two good-looking back-to-back plays on the Eagles’ scoring drive in the third. On the first one, the Steelers blitz six, but rather than picking up the blitzer off the edge, McCoy runs right past him (on purpose).


Jason Worllds gets a free shot at the quarterback, but Vick has two options to get rid of the ball quickly. One is to McCoy in the flat (keep that one stored away), and the other is Avant over the middle. He goes to Avant and picks up 10, standing in the pocket, absorbing a hit and getting rid of the ball on time. Well-done.

The very next play on the drive will look familiar. Once again, McCoy releases into the flat and lets Worllds go right past him. Vick gets rid of the ball quickly, and Steelers linebacker Larry Foote has to hustle over to account for McCoy.


That’s a matchup the Eagles will take every time. McCoy jukes him and races for the end zone for the 15-yard touchdown.

Play 10: On their fourth-quarter touchdown drive, the Eagles converted a big 3rd-and-10 for 24 yards to Jackson. The play looked similar to one we saw the previous week against the Giants. This time, there was no help to that side, although a safety was dropping in the middle of the field. Jackson gave Ike Taylor a little inside move at the 25, looking back at the quarterback as if he was getting ready for the football, and then made his way to the sideline.

The Steelers rushed six on the play, but the Eagles kept eight in to block. Bell and McCoy did a good job on the safety who was blitzing from Vick’s front side. Once again, the Eagles hit on a big play even though they had two wide receivers going up against five defenders in coverage.

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

RB, WR, TE Review: How the Eagles Used Celek

Philadelphia Eagles tight end Brent Celek.Here’s a player-by-player review of how the Eagles running backs, wide receivers and tight ends performed Sunday against the Steelers.

LeSean McCoy – Numbers don’t come close to telling the whole story. McCoy had 16 carries for 53 yards (3.3 YPC) and four catches for 27 yards. Those stats don’t jump off the page, but he was outstanding. McCoy picked up 8 on a 2nd-and-1 run in the first and had a nice carry around the left edge for 6 yards. He came up huge on the fourth-quarter scoring drive. On the Eagles’ first fourth-and-one, it looked like he had nowhere to go, but McCoy picked up a first down with a great second effort. If he doesn’t make that play, the Steelers’ offense takes over at the Eagles’ 30 with 13:05, up 13-7. McCoy later converted a second fourth-and-one on the drive. He also had made safety Ryan Mundy look silly with a 6-yard run in the fourth. Great design and execution on the touchdown catch in the third. McCoy let Jason Worllds rush Michael Vick unblocked, but turned around quickly, caught the ball in the flat, put a great move on Larry Foote and got in the end zone. As a blocker, McCoy had ups and downs. He was asked to pick up Lawrence Timmons (a tough assignment) and got blown up in the first as Michael Vick threw the ball away.  McCoy whiffed on his block on the QB draw to Vick that lost 1 yard in the second. LaMarr Woodley squeezed past him and Danny Watkins in the first, hitting Vick as he completed a 12-yard strike to Jason Avant. He did a great job taking James Harrison out on the Vick pass to DeSean Jackson that picked up 25 yards in the second. Overall, a really strong performance.

Bryce Brown – He only played four snaps and battled a shoulder injury. Brown had a nice 4-yard run on 2nd-and-1 in the second. He did a poor job in blitz pickup against Timmons on a deep attempt to Jeremy Maclin in the second.

Dion Lewis – He was active for the first time all season and played three snaps (no touches). Tough to say for sure, but it looked like Lewis was late picking up Brett Kiesel as he forced Vick out of the pocket on a third-down incompletion in the third. Later, Lewis blocked no one as Timmons came untouched through the A-Gap and hit Vick on a fourth-quarter throw.

Stanley Havili – He once again was on the field more, playing 37 percent of the snaps. And Havili performed well. Just one touch – a nice 5-yard run in the first. But Havili delivered a good lead block on McCoy’s 8-yard run. And he had the linebacker pushed back in the end zone on Vick’s QB draw down near the goal line.

DeSean Jackson – Official stats have him down for eight targets, but if you remove the balls that should be considered throw-aways, that number is really six. Jackson finished with four catches for 58 yards. He picked up yards after the catch on a shallow crossing route that gained 25. And Jackson got open for a 24-yard completion on 3rd-and-10 during the final drive. I have to see the All-22, but it looked like he might have had a step deep on the early bomb that went Maclin’s way. Pass interference definitely could have been called on the bomb to Jackson in the second that fell incomplete. I really thought he had the first down on the Eagles’ 17-play drive. Reid challenged it, but the original call was upheld, costing the team a timeout it could have used later. Overall, solid game. He still does not have a drop this season.

Jeremy Maclin – He was the Eagles’ most-targeted receiver with nine balls thrown his way. Maclin finished with five catches for 39 yards, but keep in mind he also drew a 31-yard pass interference penalty in the first. He had a 10-yard grab in the red zone in the first, but couldn’t stay in bounds or he would have had a touchdown. Vick fumbled on the very next play.

Jason Avant – Finished with three catches for 34 yards. Nice 12-yard grab on 3rd-and-10 on the first drive. Nice job blocking on the McCoy 15-yard touchdown in the third. Good, tough catch over the middle for 12 yards on the 17-play drive. Interesting blocking assignment in the fourth: He and Celek double-teamed Worllds on the 24-yard completion to Jackson.

Damaris Johnson - He played four snaps but was not targeted.

Brent Celek – I was surprised he wasn’t a bigger factor in the passing game. Celek finished with three catches for 9 yards on four targets, including the 2-yard touchdown in the fourth. Part of the problem was that he stayed in to block about 34.3 percent of the time on pass plays, according to Pro Football Focus. Previously, that number was 28.1 percent (in the first four games). As a blocker, I thought Celek was outstanding. Good job on McCoy’s 8-yard run in the first. Great job in protection one-on-one vs. James Harrison on the 10-yard completion to Maclin in the red zone in the first. Great job on Harrison on McCoy’s 6-yard run in the first. And good block on McCoy’s 6-yard run in the fourth.

Clay Harbor – He played 22 snaps (39 percent) and caught the only ball thrown his way – an inside screen that picked up 8 yards, setting up the Eagles’ second touchdown. As a blocker, nice job one-on-one in pass protection against Harrison on an early bomb attempt to Maclin. And good block on McCoy’s 10-yard run in the first. Harbor was called for a false start in the first.

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

RB, WR, TE Review: Examining McCoy’s Role

Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy.Here is a player-by-player look at how the Eagles running backs, wide receivers and tight ends performed against the Cardinals, after having re-watched the game. Click here for other game reviews.

LeSean McCoy – Let’s start with the gameplan. Consider the following:

* In Week 2, the Cardinals’ defense allowed one touchdown drive against Tom Brady and the Patriots. And that came late in the fourth quarter.

* The Eagles were starting a left tackle in Demetress Bell, whom they didn’t think was good enough to dress two weeks ago.

* They had a center in Dallas Reynolds who was making his first NFL start after spending three seasons on the practice squad.

* They were without Jeremy Maclin at wide receiver.

Throw in that Michael Vick had six interceptions and three fumbles in the first three games, along with the fact that the Cardinals had a shut-down corner in Patrick Peterson, and it’s virtually impossible to figure out why Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg decided the gameplan would focus on big plays downfield.

McCoy had just four first-half carries for 15 yards. Overall, he finished with 13 for 70, averaging 5.4 yards per carry. Those are encouraging numbers, considering the Eagles have lost Jason Peters and Jason Kelce, two of their key cogs in the run game. The Eagles tried to get the ball downfield off play-action passes, something the Patriots had success with the week before. But in this one, Cardinals defenders weren’t fooled at all, and Vick would often have guys in his face as soon as he turned around on those slow-developing plays.

McCoy also had three catches for 8 yards. The Eagles have gotten nothing from their screen game.

And he had ups and downs as a blocker. On pass plays, McCoy was asked to stay in and block 56.8 percent of the time, per Pro Football Focus. In the first two games, that number was just 25.6 percent. Vick clearly expected him to block Kerry Rhodes on the fumble at the end of the first half.

Bryce Brown – With Dion Lewis once again inactive, it’s clear that Brown is this team’s backup running back. And he had his best showing Sunday, carrying four times for 28 yards, including a nice 17-yard pickup, his longest of the season. Brown was targeted twice, dropping one and making an 8-yard grab on the other. I’m not sure why he was on the field at the end of the half on second down near the goal line. Clearly, the Eagles were going to ask their back to block in that situation. McCoy, Chris Polk and Stanley Havili all have a leg up on Brown in that aspect. Overall, he played 10 snaps.

Stanley Havili – He played 12 snaps. No touches for Havili, but he had a solid lead block on McCoy’s 7-yard run in the second.

Brent Celek – He finished with two catches for 36 yards on six targets. Celek picked up yards after the catch on the 34-yard grab in the first. He got laid out by Rhodes on a deep ball over the middle in the second. As I explained in yesterday’s post, Celek had some issues in pass protection that led to Vick getting hit. Overall, he was asked to block more than usual. On pass plays, Celek stayed in 36.8 percent of the time, compared to 25.8 percent the first two weeks. Good block by Celek on Brown’s 17-yard run in the third. Only Calvin Johnson (9) has more catches of 20+ yards than Celek (7).

Clay Harbor – I have a difficult time figuring out why he played fewer snaps Sunday than the first two games. Considering the questions on the Eagles’ offensive line and the likelihood of the Cardinals blitzing, I figured Harbor would be used quite a bit to help keep Vick clean. But I was wrong. He only played 11 snaps. Harbor couldn’t finish his trap block on Sam Acho on Brown’s 3-yard run in the first. He was not targeted. I’ll have to take a look at the All-22 tomorrow, but it sure looked like Harbor was open in the end zone on second down before the game-changing fumble at the end of the first half.

DeSean Jackson – He finished with three catches for 43 yards on 10 targets. The Eagles wanted to get him the ball deep in the first half, but were unsuccessful. Jackson’s longest reception was 16 yards. The offense has had success all season long having him run intermediate routes outside the numbers. If defenses are going to play their safeties deep, I think the Eagles need to take advantage of these more. T-Mac wrote about a couple specific plays yesterday – one where Jackson complained to the ref and another where he got stopped short of a touchdown at the 1. My take? Maybe I’m nuts, but I really feel like he could have caught the deep ball had he finished his route and not complained to the official. If he comes down with that, it has a chance to be a 94-yard touchdown. I have no problem with the other play. Jackson is small, and he’s had two concussions. I don’t think he would have dragged Rhodes into the end zone. I’m fine with him getting down and protecting himself on catches over the middle. Jackson has not had a drop in three games.

Damaris Johnson – Up-and-down game. He obviously had the costly fumble on the punt return, setting up a Cardinals touchdown. He’s been unimpressive on special teams. Johnson had some good moments as a receiver, specifically on the crossing pattern where he spun away from a defender and picked up 26 yards. Overall, Johnson finished with five catches for 84 yards on 11 targets. Also, great hustle on the Vick fumble that was returned for a touchdown. Johnson sprinted downfield and nearly drew a block in the back penalty before James Sanders scored.

Jason Avant – The Eagles used three receivers or more all game long. Avant, Johnson and Jackson all played at least 88 percent of the snaps. Again, I’m surprised they didn’t use more two tight-end sets in this one. Avant had three catches for 38 yards on four targets. He made a nice 13-yard grab with a defender all over him in the second. And another nice 17-yard grab in the third.

Mardy Gilyard - He played six snaps as the fourth receiver. No targets.

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

Eagles Snap Counts: Graham Jumps Ahead Of Hunt

Here’s a look at snap counts for the Eagles during their Week 3 loss against the Cardinals. We’ll go position-by-position.

 
Overall Snaps
Snap %
LeSean McCoy5180%
Bryce Brown1016%
Stanley Havili1219%

Brown spelled McCoy a little bit more than usual. McCoy finished with 16 touches, including 13 carries for 70 yards. Of course, only four of those carries came in the first half as the Eagles called 25 pass plays and five runs in the first two quarters.

Brown had four carries for 28 yards, including a 17-yarder, which was his best run of the season. Chris Polk was once again active but did not play any offensive snaps. It’s tough to figure why Dion Lewis is still on the roster. He appeared to be a healthy scratch. Perhaps the Eagles are holding on to him in the event that McCoy suffers a long-term injury? It seems clear now that they have pegged Brown as McCoy’s backup.

 
Overall Snaps
Snap %
DeSean Jackson6398%
Jason Avant5688%
Damaris Johnson5688%
Mardy Gilyard69%
Brent Celek5484%
Clay Harbor1117%

Considering that the Eagles were without Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper, the guess going in was that perhaps they’d play with more two tight-end sets. Brent Celek and Clay Harbor were off to good starts in the first two weeks. But that was not the case. As you can see, the Eagles played with three wide receivers or more on 88 percent of their snaps. We’ll get a better idea when the All-22 tape comes out, but it sure seemed like there were several occasions where Michael Vick couldn’t find anyone open.

Johnson finished with five catches for 84 yards. He was the team’s most targeted receiver (11). Jackson had three catches for 43 yards, but needed 10 targets to compile those numbers. Avant had three catches for 38 yards, and Gilyard was targeted once.

As for the tight ends, Brent Celek had two catches for 36 yards on six targets, including one 34-yard gain. Harbor saw his least playing time of the season and was not targeted.

 
Overall Snaps
Snap %
Derek Landri3963%
Jason Babin3353%
Trent Cole3252%
Fletcher Cox3150%
Cedric Thornton2845%
Cullen Jenkins2845%
Darryl Tapp2845%
Brandon Graham1727%
Phillip Hunt1219%

We had speculated last week about Graham seeing a bump in playing time, and he did, taking snaps away from Hunt. Graham played 17 snaps to Hunt’s 12. Graham’s snaps have gone up in each of the first three weeks – from four to nine to 17.

Landri saw the most snaps of any defensive lineman. Cox left the game for a period in the first half because of migraines. Jenkins started, but saw fewer snaps than Cox. It looks like that will probably be the case most weeks.

Babin had 1.5 sacks. Tapp, Cole and Graham each had 0.5.

 
Overall Snaps
Snap %
DeMeco Ryans62100%
Mychal Kendricks5589%
Brian Rolle1626%
Akeem Jordan1423%

Ryans was once again an every-down player, staying on the field for all 62 defensive snaps. As far as I could tell, Kendricks only came out in dime situations. Jordan started the game at WILL, but suffered a hamstring injury and was replaced by Rolle.

 
Overall Snaps
Snap %
Nnamdi Asomugha62100%
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie5995%
Brandon Boykin3252%
Brandon Hughes1016%
Nate Allen62100%
Kurt Coleman62100%

Asomugha, Allen and Coleman played all 62 snaps. For some reason, the Eagles seem to have a package where they replace Rodgers-Cromartie with Hughes for a handful of snaps. I’ve noticed that in each of the last two games. Hughes also played in dime, ahead of Curtis Marsh, who was active.

Boykin was on the field for 32 snaps in nickel and dime packages.

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

RB, WR, TE Review: Inside Celek’s Big Day

Philadelphia Eagles tight end Brent Celek.Here’s a review of the Eagles’ running backs, wide receivers and tight ends after having re-watched Sunday’s win against the Ravens. Click here for the offensive line review.

LeSean McCoyMarty Mornhinweg called a great game. The Eagles had 16 passes and 19 runs in the first half. They finished with 38 called passes and 34 called runs. McCoy’s numbers were not eye-popping: 25 carries for 81 yards (3.2 YPC). But it looked like he made the most of his opportunities against a tough Ravens defense. We’ve discussed the loss of Jason Peters. But Jason Kelce is a key to this team’s rushing attack. Losing him definitely hurt. McCoy fumbled for the second time in as many games. That has to stop. He only fumbled once on 273 carries last season. McCoy had a nice 7-yard run in the second and produced a great individual effort, making people miss with a 20-yard gain later in the quarter. He also had a good 11-yard run in the fourth. As a blocker, McCoy had ups and downs. He did just enough in blitz pickup to give Vick time to find Brent Celek for 23 yards on the first play from scrimmage. He completely missed on his chip in the third, allowing Dannell Ellerbee to sack Vick. In the fourth, he had a couple of tremendous blocks. One on the safety and another on Ray Lewis, allowing Vick to take off for 8 yards. McCoy had two catches for 8 yards. He dropped a third-down pass from Vick. McCoy played 86 percent of the offensive snaps, the exact same number as last season.

Bryce Brown – Brown has talent, but looks like a guy who hasn’t played much football the past three seasons. He was on the field for eight snaps and had three carries for 7 yards. From this perspective, the botched exchange that resulted in a fumble was on Brown. As a blocker, he missed a blitz pickup, but Vick stepped up and hit Celek.

Stanley Havili – He played 21 percent of the snaps, more than last week. Havili had two carries for 1 yard. He had a nice lead block on McCoy’s 4th-and-1 carry in the red zone in the first. In protection, Havili was OK in blitz pickup on third down in the fourth. He initially slowed down the linebacker off the edge, but then allowed a hit on Vick.

DeSean Jackson – Don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say he’s playing some of the best football of his career. Consider this: Vick threw to Jackson eight times. Seven of those were completions for 114 yards. Jackson is not just running go-routes. He had a nice 17-yard grab on a Vick sprint-out in the first. He had a 10-yard catch on 3rd-and-4 in the second. He got open on an 8-yard out on 3rd-and-6 in the third. He held on for a 49-yard bomb with Ed Reed closing in the fourth. And he had a 14-yard catch to get the final drive started. If you watch the replay, check out the reaction of the defensive players after Jackson caught the 49-yarder. They were going nuts on the sideline. Jackson only came off the field for eight snaps. I’m guessing he opened things up for Celek too. I’ll take a look at that when the All-22 is released Wednesday.

Jeremy Maclin – He toughed it out and started before suffering a hip contusion while blocking for Celek in the third. Maclin was only targeted once, but it was a big one, as he came up with a 23-yard touchdown catch. In a matter of one or two seconds, Maclin made the decision to get down so that his knees would be in bounds. The Eagles might want to give him next week off so that he can heal up. We’ll see as the week goes on though.

Jason Avant – He had two balls thrown his way and caught both of them. Avant’s great hands were on display as he snatched a 16-yard pass from Vick in the first. He also made a nice 17-yard grab in the fourth.

Damaris Johnson – He played 22 snaps. Johnson lined up in the backfield and looked good, picking up 6 yards and a first down on a run around the left end in the first. He only had one ball thrown his way, but it was a 13-yard gain where he beat 2011 first-round pick Jimmy Smith.

Mardy Gilyard - He was active, but played special teams only.

Brent Celek – Guess which tight end led the NFL in yards after the catch last season. Rob Gronkowski? Nope. Jimmy Graham? Try again. It was Celek. And that ability was on display once again Sunday. Celek had a career game with eight catches for 157 yards. And by my count, 67 of those yards were after the catch. The first defender is rarely able to bring him down, and Celek has been a weapon in the Eagles’ passing game since the sixth game of the 2011 season. Great effort on a 19-yard catch and run on 3rd-and-20 in the first. Later, he almost had his helmet knocked off by Bernard Pollard, but held on to the ball as the crowd went nuts. In general, I’m anti-hurdle, but Celek’s leap over Ed Reed worked perfectly. And his teammates loved it. If you watch the replay, check out their reaction on the sideline. Celek stood up and took the blame for Vick’s second interception. He’s the kind of teammate who would do that regardless, but if you watch the replay, Celek had Lewis on his left, so Vick had to throw it high to the other side. The ball bounced off of Celek’s hand and was picked off by Reed. Celek had a lot of good moments as a blocker, mixed in with a couple miscues. Let’s start with the good. Nice job in protection on Vick’s 10-yard completion to Jackson. Nice block on McCoy’s 7-yard run. Good job on McCoy’s 9-yard run in the third. And again on McCoy’s 5-yard run. Celek did a good job on McCoy’s 6-yard run as well. On the flip side, he missed his block on a Havili run that went for no gain. There was confusion in the third as safety James Ihedigbo went right past him and dropped McCoy for a 2-yard loss. Overall, outstanding game for Celek.

Clay Harbor – He played a lot (36 snaps, 45 percent). Harbor had one catch – a 19-yard grab on the final drive. He held up well as a blocker too. Specifically, Harbor did a good job on McCoy’s 5-yard run in the third.

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

Eagles Snap Counts: Forget About the LB Rotation

Here’s a look at snap counts for the Eagles during their Week 2 win over the Ravens. We’ll go position-by-position.

 
Overall Snaps
Snap %
LeSean McCoy6986%
Bryce Brown810%
Stanley Havili1721%

Why these are so useful: During the game, I would have bet that the Eagles spelled LeSean McCoy quite a bit. It sure seemed that way, especially early. But really, he played the same percentage of snaps as always. Last year, McCoy was on the field for 86.1 percent of the snaps. Against the Ravens? Also 86 percent. When he came out, Bryce Brown replaced him, but Brown only played eight snaps. He had three carries for 7 yards and fumbled one exchange from Michael Vick.

Meanwhile, fullback Stanley Havili played 21 percent of the snaps. That’s slightly more than he played last week (19 percent) and more than Owen Schmitt played last year (15.8 percent).

 
Overall Snaps
Snap %
DeSean Jackson7290%
Jason Avant5670%
Jeremy Maclin4354%
Damaris Johnson2228%
Brent Celek7695%
Clay Harbor3645%

DeSean Jackson rarely came off the field, playing 72 snaps or 90 percent of the game. Jackson had seven catches for 114 yards. Vick only threw incomplete once when throwing in Jackson’s direction. Maclin, meanwhile, battled the hip pointer and played 54 percent of the snaps. He had just one catch, but it was a big one – the 23-yard touchdown in the third. Jason Avant filled in, playing 70 percent of the snaps. And Damaris Johnson played 22 snaps, or 28 percent of the game. That was an increase from last week (14 percent). He had one catch for 13 yards.

Brent Celek took some big hits, but they didn’t faze him, as the tight end played 76 snaps (95 percent). He was Vick’s go-to target, catching eight balls for 157 yards. The Eagles played with two tight ends quite a bit as Clay Harbor was on the field for 36 snaps (45 percent). Taking away Week 17 of the 2010 season when the Eagles sat their starters, this was the second-highest percentage of snaps for Harbor in his career. He had one catch on two targets for 19 yards.

On the offensive line, center Dallas Reynolds played 37 snaps (46 percent) after coming in for Jason Kelce. Demetress Bell played 35 snaps (44 percent) filling in for King Dunlap.

 
Overall Snaps
Snap %
Trent Cole4869%
Jason Babin4463%
Fletcher Cox5173%
Derek Landri3753%
Cullen Jenkins3246%
Cedric Thornton2231%
Darryl Tapp2231%
Phillip Hunt1521%
Brandon Graham913%

Fletcher Cox played more snaps than any other defensive lineman, although I believe Cullen Jenkins got banged-up in the second half, leaving the Eagles a bit thin at DT. Cox finished with five tackles, including one for loss. Cole and Babin (69 percent and 63 percent, respectively) played defensive end with the first group. As I’ll probably point out every week, while Juan Castillo says the team has eight starters, some defensive linemen will play more than others. Brandon Graham played nine snaps after playing just four in Week 1. To his credit, he looked very active when he got a chance. Phillip Hunt saw just six more snaps than Graham.

 
Overall Snaps
Snap %
DeMeco Ryans70100%
Mychal Kendricks70100%
Akeem Jordan3753%

Did someone say three-down linebackers? Forget about the rotation – for now. DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks are playing too well. Neither came off the field Sunday against the Ravens – at all. They both played all 70 snaps. Akeem Jordan, meanwhile, played 37 snaps (53 percent). The Eagles were in their base defense much more than Week 1 when Jordan played 32 percent of the snaps.

 
Overall Snaps
Snap %
Nnamdi Asomugha70100%
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie6491%
Brandon Boykin3347%
Brandon Hughes69%
Nate Allen70100%
Kurt Coleman70100%

Nnamdi Asomugha, Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman all played the entire game. I remember giving McManus a nudge when Rodgers-Cromartie came off the field. I’m not sure what the reason was, but Brandon Hughes replaced him on six snaps. Brandon Boykin came up big on the final drive. He played 33 snaps (47 percent), down from 63 percent in Week 1, as the Ravens used fewer three-receiver sets.

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

Twitter Mailbag: Marty, Vick And A Sunday Pick

Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

Let’s start with 97.5 The Fanatic Phillies beat reporter Pat Gallen, who is demonstrating his multitasking skills by both documenting the Phils’ improbable rise from the ashes and submitting Eagles questions for the mailbag at the same time.

From @PatGallen_975:  Eagles need to leave 1 or 2 TE’s in to block more, especially if Maclin is out. Thoughts?

I think the highest priority has to go to making Vick feel secure in the pocket, particularly against a team like Baltimore that can intimidate on reputation alone. Sheil did an awesome job of breaking down the offense (and defense) on the all-22 tape. One thing he showed us is how much the receiving tandem of DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin can accomplish even when in a 2-on-7 situation. Maclin’s availability is in question (and Jackson sat out Thursday with a sore hammy), but the fact remains that extra route runners can be sacrificed in the name of better protection. They can’t pretend that King Dunlap is Jason Peters.

Brent Celek and Clay Harbor were targeted a total of 14 times against the Browns, and combined for seven catches for 81 yards and a touchdown.

From @AGold_89: What type of adjustments do you foresee Marty and Andy making in the offense to get Vick his confidence back?

As much as you would like to think that there will be more balance to the offensive attack moving forward, Marty Mornhinweg didn’t exactly sound like he was ready to repent and roll with the run because of the struggles against the Browns.

“Just because it didn’t work very well, because of the penalties and turnovers, doesn’t mean it wasn’t the right thing to do,” said Mornhinweg.

Reading between the lines, I think the coaching staff overall was satisfied with the approach philosophically. They feel that the penalties put them in situations where they were forced to call more pass plays, leading to the slanted run-pass ratio. If the offense avoids mistakes there should be more of a running game, the theory goes.

Also, I wrote here about some communication issues Sunday that need to get corrected. If they do, Vick should be all the more comfortable back there.

@Lemur421: Who is the Eagles backup long snapper? Seems relevant after what happened to Raiders last week.

We have it all covered for you here on Birds 24/7. Brent Celek is the backup long snapper. And if you want to know who the backup-backup is, the answer is Jason Kelce. Bobby April said that the reserves get to work on snapping daily at training camp, but for just about a half hour a week in-season.

From @EricHilderbrand: everyone rightly hammered Reid on Jarrett, but he gets no love for taking Coleman in 7th rd? Am I the only Coleman fan?

Fair. And no, I think there are a lot of  Kurt Coleman fans out there, especially after he bounced back from that brutal collision with Trent Richardson. He definitely won Juan Castillo over on that play.

“I went up to Kurt and I told him, ‘Kurt, I respect you so much.’ To get hit like that and the guy doesn’t come out, is unbelievable,” Castillo said. “I just went up to him and said, ‘I respect you so much for the way you handle yourself.’ He says, ‘Juan, I have a daughter to support. I have a family to support.’ You know what, that says a lot.”

From @DiDDy915: eagles or ravens on sunday?

Eagles are favored by about three points in this one, which is counter-intuitive after watching both teams play in Week 1. This is very much an Eagles line, so the smart money is probably on Philadelphia. But I just can’t picture a shaky quarterback with hobbled receivers getting it done against Baltimore’s defense.

Ravens 20, Eagles 16.

RB, WR, TE Game Review: McCoy Shines Once Again

Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy.Earlier, I posted the game review of the Eagles offensive line.

Here’s what I saw from the running backs, wide receivers and tight ends after having re-watched Sunday’s game against the Browns.

I’ll post a lengthier piece on Michael Vick later this week after watching the All-22 tape. And defensive game reviews will come on Tuesday.

LeSean McCoy – Where would the Eagles be without him? McCoy played 81 of 95 snaps and carried 20 times for 110 yards even though he didn’t have Jason Peters blocking for him. He added six catches for 26 yards, although the offense wasn’t very productive in the screen game. McCoy had plenty left in the fourth quarter, rushing eight times for 55  yards (6.9 YPC) in the final 15 minutes. The numbers could have been even better. McCoy had multiple runs and a 24-yard catch called back because of penalties. He was good in short yardage, delivering great effort to pick up a first on 3rd-and-1 in the third. And he came through as a blocker. McCoy picked up the blitz on Vick’s 4-yard completion to Jeremy Maclin in the second. He did so again on Vick’s 28-yard completion to Brent Celek . The only negative for McCoy was the first-quarter fumble. He’s always carried the ball away from his body, but since McCoy only had one fumble on 273 carries last year, no one complained.

 Tremendous overall game.

Stanley Havili – He played 18 snaps and had a couple really good moments. No offensive touches or targets for Havili, but he threw a nice lead block on McCoy’s 4-yard run in the first. And again on 4th-and-1 on the final drive. Remember, that was the biggest question with him this preseason. He looked capable in Week 1.

Bryce Brown – He played just eight snaps and had two carries for 3 yards. I’m not quite sure why the Eagles gave him the ball instead of McCoy with the game on the line before the Clay Harbor touchdown, but Andy Reid defended the call today, saying the team has scored on that play in the past. Brown missed his blitz pickup against the linebacker and gave up a hit on Vick in the first. Still looks very shaky to me in that aspect. Likely the reason he didn’t play more.

Chris Polk -  He was active, but did not get any snaps on offense.
DeSean Jackson – I thought he really played a solid game. Jackson made several tough catches that he would not have made last year. Nice grab for 15 yards on a high throw from Vick in the first. Nice job of going up and getting the football for an 18-yard gain vs. cornerback Joe Haden in the first. Jackson broke a Haden tackle for a 35-yard gain. And on the final drive, he made a nice 9-yard grab on a high throw from Vick, with Haden on his back. He even made sure Haden didn’t intercept Vick in the end zone on the final drive. Overall, four catches for 77 yards on six targets against a tough corner.

Jeremy Maclin – Strange game for Maclin. He led the Eagles with seven catches for 96 yards, but needed 14 targets to rack up those numbers. The two catches – a 46-yarder and an 18-yarder – at the end of the first half were big. On the touchdown, the Eagles actually kept eight guys in to block. Maclin and Jackson were the only two receivers in pass routes, going up against seven Browns defenders. Obviously a breakdown in the Cleveland ‘D’ that allowed Maclin to get open. He drew a couple flags – one on a pick and the other for holding. Maclin also had a ball bounce off his hand on the Haden interception. Not a good throw, but he had a shot at it. We’ll see if the hip injury keeps him out of Sunday’s game against the Ravens. Impressive that he was able to get through the whole game with the injury.



Jason Avant – Relatively quiet game for the veteran, who suffered a wrist contusion at some point. He had four catches on five targets for 27 yards, including a nice one-handed grab in the first. Avant is the Eagles’ best blocking wide receiver and did an outstanding job on McCoy’s 22-yard run in the second.

Damaris Johnson – He played 13 snaps, although that number could jump in Week 2 if Maclin or Avant can’t go on Sunday. Johnson played in 4-WR sets and also spelled Maclin when he left the game. He converted a third down on his only grab for 10 yards and was targeted twice.



Brent Celek – He’s never missed an NFL game and came off the field for just six snaps in this one. Celek finished with four catches for 65 yards on eight targets. His 17-yard catch and run on the final drive set up the game-winning touchdown. Celek earlier had a 28-yard catch. Remember, he had 14 catches of 20+ yards last year, just one fewer than Jackson and Maclin. Celek had one issue as a blocker, letting a defensive lineman get between him and Herremans as Vick was sacked. But he had good blocks on McCoy runs of 7 and 13 yards in the fourth. Overall, a good game. I’ll take a look later this week to see how often he was asked to stay in as a blocker.

Clay Harbor – He was targeted just 19 times all of last season, but had six balls thrown his way on Sunday alone. Harbor finished with three catches for 16 yards, including the game-winning touchdown, which Vick fit into a tight window. As a blocker, Harbor did a good job on the bootleg in the first, keeping the defensive end away from Vick, who found Jackson for 15 yards. He blocked D’Qwell Jackson on McCoy’s 9-yard run in the second. And Harbor gave a nice effort on McCoy’s 4th-and-1 conversion on the final drive. The one miscue I saw was when Harbor lined up as a fullback and was asked to block a defensive end off play-action. He missed, and Vick was forced to leave the pocket and throw the ball away.

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

Eagles Snap Count Notes: Limited Action For Graham

The league is releasing snap count data this year, which is very helpful when reviewing games. Here are some notes from yesterday.

OFFENSE

* Clay Harbor was on the field for 36 percent of the snaps. That’s just slightly more than his number last year (33.6 percent, per PFF). Part of that had to do with the Eagles using two tight-end sets. But Harbor was also needed since the team had just four active wide receivers, and Jeremy Maclin went out on two separate occasions with injuries.

* Speaking of Maclin, he played 83 percent of the snaps. DeSean Jackson only came out on four plays. And Brent Celek only came out on six plays.

* The Eagles used fullback Stanley Havili on 18 plays (19 percent). Last year, they used a fullback 15.8 percent of the time, so just a slight increase. Rookie wide receiver Damaris Johnson played 13 snaps (14 percent). Those included 4-WR sets and also when he filled in for Maclin.

* With Dion Lewis inactive due to a hamstring injury, Bryce Brown was the backup running back, which meant he played eight snaps. The Eagles have talked about spelling LeSean McCoy a bit more this season, but yesterday was not the time to do that. He played 85 percent of the snaps (81 overall). Last year, he played 86.1 percent of the snaps.

DEFENSE

* Juan Castillo likes to point out that the Eagles have eight or nine “starting” defensive linemen since they all rotate in and out. But as I’ve pointed out before, that’s not really the case. Going back to last year, the starters play more. Below is a chart that details the snaps of the defensive linemen.

PLAYER
SNAPS
Cullen Jenkins43
Trent Cole42
Jason Babin41
Derek Landri34
Fletcher Cox29
Cedric Thornton20
Darryl Tapp20
Brandon Graham4

* As you can see, Graham was the odd man out, playing just four snaps. The Eagles had five defensive ends active, and clearly, Graham ranks behind the other four on the depth chart (for Week 1, at least). Phillip Hunt played 15 snaps (24 percent). Cullen Jenkins, Trent Cole and Jason Babin saw the most playing time. That will likely be the case during most weeks.

* Three-down player? DeMeco Ryans played 60 of 62 snaps. Mychal Kendricks 55 of 62. Akeem Jordan 20. Brian Rolle 2. And Jamar Chaney 1.

* In the secondary, Brandon Boykin was on the field for 63 percent of the snaps (39 overall) and played well. Curtis Marsh played one snap and suffered an injury. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had a shoulder issue and missed four snaps. Brandon Hughes was called on to play 12 snaps. Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman and Nnamdi Asomugha all played 100 percent of the snaps.

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

Instant Observations: Eagles Vs. Browns

Here’s what I saw during the Eagles’ 17-16 win over the Browns.

OFFENSE

* Michael Vick had an extremely rough go. He went 29-for-56 for 317 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions. But with 6:25 left in the fourth, he engineered a 16-play, 91-yard drive that ended with a 4-yard touchdown to Clay Harbor. It wasn’t even close to being a good enough outing, but the Birds somehow escaped with a 17-16 win.

* The offensive line had a rough time too. Vick was under constant pressure, especially early. He was sacked twice, but hit 11 times. King Dunlap, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce and Danny Watkins were all called for holding penalties. Mathis added a false start in the fourth quarter.

* Vick threw a bad first-half interception, scrambling to his left and throwing across his body. He started off 6-for-6 and then struggled for much of the first half before connecting with Jeremy Maclin on a pair of passes at the end of the second quarter. One was a beautiful 46-yard toss down the left sideline. The next was an 18-yard bullet in the end zone. Vick’s fourth-quarter interception was returned for a touchdown by Browns linebacker D’Qwell Jackson.

* Maclin had seven catches for 96 yards and a touchdown. DeSean Jackson had four catches for 77 yards. Jackson did a good job of breaking up a possible interception in the fourth. Brent Celek had four catches for 65 yards.

* LeSean McCoy had 20 carries for 110 yards. The Eagles called 60 pass plays and 23 runs, which was dumbfounding when you consider how much Vick and the offensive line struggled.

* McCoy fumbled on his first carry. He had one fumble all of last season (273 carries).

* Vick slid a couple times in the first half. The only problem? He went head-first. On the final drive, on 3rd-and-10, he fought for the first down and took a big hit.

* Vick and Jason Kelce had a fumbled snap, but the Eagles recovered.

* Demetress Bell went from being the starter at left tackle in the preseason opener to not even dressing today He was inactive, and rookie Dennis Kelly was the backup.

* A collision between McCoy and Sheldon Brown knocked the former Eagle out of the game with a shoulder injury.

DEFENSE

* Kurt Coleman came up big with a pair of interceptions. One came in the first half after Nate Allen broke up a pass intended for wide receiver Greg Little. The second ended the game late in the fourth quarter.

* Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie also had a pair of picks. He ran step-for-step with Travis Benjamin and came down with an interception. He had a second interception in the third quarter.

* DeMeco Ryans looked really good, leading the Eagles with five tackles, including one for loss.

* Jason Babin made a couple of nice plays against the run and also had the team’s first sack. On the flip side, Babin lined up offsides, negating a Trent Cole sack in the first. The Eagles finished with 12 penalties for 110 yards.

* Nnamdi Asomugha was beat on a 24-yard slant by Mohamed Massaquoi early, but played well after that. He made a tackle downfield after a 35-yard gain on a reverse by Benjamin. He also broke up a couple slants.

* The first-team defensive line was Babin, Cullen Jenkins, Derek Landri and Cole. The second team was Phillip Hunt, Fletcher Cox, Cedric Thornton and Darryl Tapp. Brandon Graham also mixed in. Cox had his first career sack.

* Ryans and Mychal Kendricks stayed on the field in nickel. It looked like Brian Rolle was used as the lone linebacker in certain dime packages.

* Akeem Jordan had a strong game on special teams.

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

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