All-22: What We Saw From Foles This Week
Here’s the All-22 look at what we saw from Nick Foles and the Eagles’ offense last week (when they weren’t fumbling, that is).
Play 1: I’ve heard Greg Cosell of NFL Films talk about young quarterbacks sometimes deciding where they’re going with the ball pre-snap. That might have been the case on this 3rd-and-3 incompletion to Clay Harbor.
Harbor ran a go-route down the left sideline. But he was matched up one-on-one with cornerback Leon Hall. That’s not a favorable matchup for the Eagles. Situation here is also important. Foles had Bryce Brown at the bottom of your screen. It was 3rd-and-3. He probably should have taken the easy throw and moved the chains. Instead, the Eagles had to punt.
Play 2: One of Foles’ best qualities is sensing pressure and creating space while keeping his eyes downfield. We see it every week. On this first-quarter throw, you can see he’s got nowhere to go when he takes his initial drop.
Foles feels pressure from both sides as the pocket begins to collapse.
But he scrambles to his left, and Jason Avant does a great job of helping him out by scurrying towards the sideline. The result is a 25-yard completion.
Play 3: When evaluating Foles, we must acknowledge that he’s playing with a bunch of backups. There was one point last week where the offense was without 10 of its 11 projected starters from the beginning of the season. On this third-down play in the first, Foles just has nowhere to go with the football.
The receivers are blanketed, and the Bengals send a blitz. Jake Scott fails to switch off to No. 93, who is basically rushing free at Foles. He has to get rid of the ball quickly.
Foles targeted Cooper on a slant, but the pass was broken up. The Eagles wanted a flag, but didn’t get one. I thought the loss of DeSean Jackson, Brent Celek and LeSean McCoy really showed in this game.
Play 4: Andy Reid admitted after the game that Brown probably didn’t need to bounce a few of his runs to the outside. I wonder if this was one he was referring to.
It was a delayed handoff in the first. You can see King Dunlap, Evan Mathis and Harbor have it blocked pretty well if Brown cuts upfield, but instead, he tries to get to the edge and is pushed out after a 1-yard run.
Keep in mind, I’m showing this image with the benefit of several replays. And even then, I’m guessing. It’s a split-second decision for Brown. Looked like he had room though.
Play 5: Love the play-call by Marty Mornhinweg in the second quarter. Love the initial execution. Didn’t love the finish.
The Eagles took a play out of their opponents’ playbook. We’ve seen the defense get burned by this on multiple occasions. They ran a fake screen to Damaris Johnson and got the cornerback responsible for Jeremy Maclin to bite.
Johnson and Foles did a good job selling it, and Maclin got free down the right sideline. But two things could have been done better. One is Foles’ throw. He made Maclin slow down and come back for the ball.
And the other, which I mentioned earlier in the week, is Maclin’s inability to make the defensive backs miss in the open field. Maclin does a lot of things well, but I don’t know if he has that one skill that sets him apart. Remember, he’s a free agent after the 2013 season.
Play 6: The Eagles had to settle for a field goal on a second-quarter drive, but had multiple opportunities to get in the end zone. Tough to blame Dion Lewis here. It looked like he initially had some room to the right, but if he cuts it back, he might score.
Play 7: And as much as we rip the Eagles for over-using the shovel pass, they probably would’ve scored had Brown held on to the football.
There was also Harbor getting stuffed at the 1 by a defensive back, Matt Tennant dropping a ball in the end zone and Dallas Reynolds being called for an illegal snap. In other words, Foles didn’t get much help from his teammates in the red zone.
Play 8: One more example of Foles having nowhere to go with the ball. This is off a play-fake. The Bengals send six at the quarterback and are in man coverage with one safety deep.
Everyone’s covered. Foles forced a short throw to Maclin that got called back anyway because of a holding penalty on Scott.
Play 9: I think Emil Igwenagu delivered the best lead block we’ve seen from an Eagles fullback all year. He starts out by chipping the defensive lineman.
Then Igwenagu gets to the linebacker.
And takes him to the ground as Brown picks up 8.
Play 10: We’ve already been over the interception. Reid explained that it was a matter of mechanics, not arm strength. One thing to note: Maclin was not wide-open on the play. Take a look at the coverage at the time Foles released the ball.
Hall’s got a couple steps on him. On TV, it looked like Maclin ran past him because Hall slowed down and came back for the ball. Had the throw been better, maybe Maclin would have separated as Hall looked back. But obviously, it was a poor throw that got picked off.
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