Zone Read: Eagles-Jaguars, the Day After


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CAN SOMEONE PLEASE EXPLAIN…

1. Who that was playing quarterback for the Eagles in the first half?

Here’s the drive chart for the Eagles’ offense through two quarters:

drivechart

That’s three turnovers, four punts and the final drive of the half. Was that all Foles’ fault? Of course not. It’s never all the quarterback’s fault. But this was as close to “Dallas Foles” as we’ve seen. He had guys wide open and wasn’t pulling the trigger, instead opting to hold onto the ball. When he was identifying the proper receivers, his throws were off-target. There were two fumbles and an interception in the red zone.

Foles settled down and made some plays in the second half. And last year taught us that he’s a master of putting the previous game behind him. It would be no surprise to see him light up the Colts next week. But it’s strange to see a QB who’s played so well just look so bad at times.

2. What took so long to get Cody Parkey here?

The Eagles had special teams coach Dave Fipp work out Parkey before the draft. But when it came time to pick up the phone and dial up undrafted free agent kickers, they called Carey Spear instead.

I know it’s a small sample size, but Parkey has been lights-out. Against Jacksonville, five of his seven kickoffs were touchbacks, and the other two were only returned to the 18.

Parkey also nailed a 51-yard field goal, in addition to a 28-yarder.

The Eagles’ kicking situation was shaping up to be a disaster a couple weeks ago. Could it actually now be resolved? Stay tuned.

Next week is Parkey’s return to Indianapolis, the team that traded him away. I’m fully expecting ESPN to devote a one-hour special to this homecoming in the days ahead. Think “Peyton Manning returns” – only bigger.

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THE NO-22

Early on, Chad Henne was picking apart the Eagles’ secondary. In the first quarter, he found Allen Hurns on a slant from 21 yards out for a touchdown.

How did Hurns get so open? It was a bubble/slant route combination.

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The No. 1 receiver (closest to the sideline) runs a slant, while the No. 2 receiver runs a bubble. The defender in conflict here happened to be Malcolm Jenkins. He abandoned his zone responsibilities and bit on the bubble action. That allowed Hurns to get behind him on the slant.

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You can see in the above image that Henne’s body is turned to the bubble screen. Jenkins is looking at the QB and cheats up.

“They did a little fake bubble,” Jenkins said. “We’ve seen a lot of screens on tape, and they got a little bubble screen, and I had some bad eyes. They were able to throw it in the second window behind me. Those are things that we’ve obviously gotta go back and fix. Small things that we gave up. Just bad technique and bad eyes.”

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The ball was thrown behind him, but Hurns made the grab and delivered great effort, fighting through DeMeco Ryans and Nate Allen for the touchdown.

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THE NUMBER THAT MATTERS

11 –  Consecutive possessions in which the Eagles’ defense kept the Jaguars off the scoreboard to finish the game.

drivechart2

You can see it wasn’t flukey either. Eight of the 11 possessions were five plays or less. Four were three-and-outs. Six in a row were forced punts.

Granted, the Jaguars are almost certainly one of the five worst offenses in the league. But the Eagles’ defense did its job when it needed to, allowing the offense to rack up points and complete the comeback.

Next week against the Colts, we’ll get a better idea of how (if?) they’ve improved from a year ago.

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