Game Review: Eagles Defense Vs. Jaguars
Below is a player-by-player breakdown of what we saw from the Eagles’ defense after having re-watched.
If you missed the first part on the offense, click here.
Fletcher Cox – He was a monster all game long.
“Fletcher played really well, real productive game out of him,” said Chip Kelly. “Obviously was a real big problem for them in the run game. I thought he did a great job, especially when they ran the ball away from [him]. Pursuing, two‑gapping and cutting plays off. Was a very, very active player all day long and finished with the fumble recovery that probably should have hook [slid] and just finished the game out. But really, really productive day out of Fletch and really happy for him.”
Coaches had him down for five solo tackles, the most among Eagles defensive linemen. Cox got off his block and tackled Toby Gerhart after a 2-yard run in the first. A dominant play later, driving the guard back and tackling Gerhart behind the line of scrimmage, but Cox was called for a horse collar. It was an awkward, dangerous play. But I’m not sure it was an actual horse collar. Cox and Brandon Graham stopped Gerhart after a 1-yard run in the second. He tossed the O-Lineman aside and tackled Gerhart after a 3-yard run in the second. Cox made a tackle after a 2-yard run in the third. And he helped disrupt the timing of a screen in the third.
As a pass-rusher, Cox forced Chad Henne to flee the pocket and throw the ball away in the fourth. He beat the interior lineman and crushed Henne on a fourth-quarter completion. Fun moment caught on the broadcast: After the TD, he got a head-butt from Nick Foles, who yelled: “I see you, big boy! I see you!” Cox played 71 percent of the snaps, the most among defensive linemen.
Cedric Thornton – Solid game. Coaches had him down for four tackles (two solo). Thornton hustled to the ball and tackled Marcedes Lewis after a 4-yard completion in the first. He tackled Jordan Todman on a 1-yard run in the second. Thornton got his hand up and affected Henne’s throw on a third-quarter incompletion. Early on, he had a chance to bring Gerhart down on an 11-yard run, but couldn’t grab his ankle. Thornton was also called for offsides in the first. He played 55 percent of the Eagles’ snaps.
Bennie Logan – He had a quiet preseason, but held up well against the Jaguars. Coaches credited Logan with a couple tackles. He moved down the line of scrimmage and tackled Gerhart after a 3-yard run in the first. Logan and Ryans stopped Todman for no gain in the second. He played 59 percent of the snaps.
Beau Allen – Quiet debut for the rookie. He played 26 percent of the snaps. The Jaguars had runs of 9 and 7 between him and Vinny Curry in the fourth. Coaches had him down for one tackle.
Brandon Bair – Bair helped blow up a 3rd-and-1 run, forcing a Jaguars field goal attempt in the second. He also blocked a different FG attempt. Coaches had him down for one tackle. He played 22 percent of the snaps.
Vinny Curry – He’s part of the six-man rotation, which is a good thing. Curry played 36 percent of the snaps and had three tackles. He scooted down the line of scrimmage and tackled Denard Robinson after a 3-yard run in the second. Curry tackled Gerhart after a 2-yard run in the fourth. It looked like he might have gotten Henne’s arm or a piece of the ball on a third-quarter incompletion on third down.
Trent Cole – Solid game with five tackles (two solo), a sack and a forced fumble. Cole was tossing running backs and tight ends to the ground early in the game. He and Curry stopped Robinson after a 3-yard run in the second. Cole set the edge and dropped Gerhart after a 4-yard run in the third. He tackled Gerhart from the back side after a 1-yard run in the fourth. Cole beat the left tackle and hit Henne. Later, he abused the left guard and put the game away with his strip sack. Early on, Cole missed a tackle on Gerhart’s 11-yard run. And he was also whistled for a neutral zone infraction. Cole played 77 percent of the snaps.
Connor Barwin – After the game, Barwin said: “They didn’t actually go to a drop-back pass game until the fourth quarter. The whole first half was all bootlegs and all sprint-outs just because their offensive line, they knew they couldn’t drop back and just protect against us.”
Barwin was great at recognizing the bootlegs and getting in Henne’s face. He got past the right tackle and pressured Henne out of the pocket in the second. Good call by Billy Davis later in the second. The Eagles crowded the line of scrimmage, but only rushed four. That messed with the Jaguars’ protection scheme, and Barwin got matched up on-on-one with the running back. He batted Henne’s pass down and forced a field goal attempt. Barwin blew up a 1-yard run in the second. He did a good job on a screen in the third, stopping Lewis for no gain. Barwin sniffed out a bootleg and drove Henne to the ground in the third, causing an incompletion. He rushed unblocked and batted down a Henne pass in the third. Good coverage on Lewis on an incompletion in the fourth. And his positioning was a big reason Henne floated his fourth-down pass in the fourth.
Excellent game overall. Two tackles, two hurries and two batted passes. Barwin played 89 percent of the snaps.
Brandon Graham – Very active game. Graham lined up at LOLB and slipped past the tight end to tackle Gerhart for a 3-yard loss in the first. He beat the left tackle and pressured Henne into an incompletion in the second. Graham lined up at ROLB, was unblocked and helped bring Gerhart down after a 1-yard run in the second. He rushed from ROLB, beat the tackle inside and hit Henne on a third-quarter incompletion. Graham failed to set the edge in the third, but tackled Gerhart after a 3-yard run. He burst into the backfield unblocked from LOLB and dropped Gerhart for a 3-yard loss on the same drive. Overall, the coaches credited him with three tackles. Graham played 34 percent of the snaps.
DeMeco Ryans – Solid game. Ryans was credited with 10 tackles (six solo). He stuffed Gerhart for a 1-yard loss on 3rd-and-1 on the first possession. Ryans and Logan stopped Todman for no gain in the second. He had a third-down tackle on Todman in the second. Good job in coverage, dropping and nearly coming up with the interception in the fourth. Ryans played 71 of 73 snaps, but part of that might have had to do with Najee Goode’s injury. Ryans only came out on two dime snaps.
Mychal Kendricks – Either he or Cox gets the belt for best defensive player on the field this week. The coaches had Kendricks down for a team-high 13 tackles (eight solo), a sack and a team-high three hurries. Kendricks came on a blitz with a good, disciplined rush early. Henne tried to step up, but Kendricks got the sack. Later, he recognized the play-fake and hit Henne on an incompletion in the second. Kendricks tackled Robinson after a 3-yard completion. Sound tackle on Todman after a 5-yard completion, forcing the Jaguars to punt in the third. On first down of the next series, he batted a pass at the line of scrimmage. Kendricks blitzed the A-Gap and hit Henne on a completion in the third. Per Pro Football Focus, Kendricks rushed on 16 of 48 passing downs, or a third of the time. He played every snap.
Cary Williams – He was not happy with his performance.
“I didn’t play my best football,” Williams said afterwards. “In the first quarter, I let my teammates down, let the fans down, it was out of character. It comes down to the golden rule of me not doing what I am supposed to do. I didn’t handle my responsibility. I was trying to do too much and it came back and bit the team.”
The Eagles were in quarters coverage on the first touchdown – meaning four defensive backs splitting up the deep part of the field. Williams was expecting help from Nate Allen, who cheated up on an underneath route. The result was a 34-yard touchdown. Williams probably should have had help, but defensive backs are taught to plaster when routes express themselves that far downfield.
Later, with the Jaguars backed up at their own 1, he bit on a double move and gave up a 46-yard completion. In the second quarter, Williams recognized and broke up a screen intended for Robinson. He was targeted on another incompletion in the second. And I didn’t see Williams give up any catches in the second half. He was one of three defenders to play every snap.
Bradley Fletcher – He didn’t give up a completion all game. Fletcher made a solo tackle on Lewis on a screen early. Good coverage on a third-down incompletion in the third. Fletcher nearly gave up a deep ball down the sideline in the third, but the WR couldn’t hang on. Fletcher was called for defensive holding in the fourth. He was spelled by Nolan Carroll II on 11 snaps (Fletcher played 85 percent).
Brandon Boykin – He only played 32 percent of the defensive snaps. Boykin tackled Marqise Lee after a 5-yard completion in the second. He got off his block and blew up a screen for no gain in the second. It looked like Boykin got his hand on a Henne third-down pass at the last second for the break-up in the third. He gave up a 13-yard completion on third down in the third. Targeted later in the drive, but had good coverage and forced an incompletion. Gave up a third-down completion in the fourth, but made the tackle short of the sticks. Boykin also did a fantastic job on special teams, downing a punt at the 1 early on.
Nolan Carroll II – He played 13 snaps (18 percent). Carroll spelled Fletcher and also played inside in dime packages. He was beaten by Lewis on an 11-yard completion near the sideline in the second and later gave up a 17-yard completion.
Malcolm Jenkins – He acknowledged that the second touchdown was on him. Jenkins bit on the bubble screen action and left the slant behind him open. Other than that miscue, he played well.
Jenkins played up in the box and dropped Gerhart for no gain in the first. Good one-on-one tackle of Robinson on a run play in the second. Good hit on Allen Hurns over the middle on third down to force an incompletion in the fourth. He played every snap.
Nate Allen – It’s always tough to evaluate safety off TV, but Allen had some ups and downs. On the 34-yard touchdown, it looked like he cheated up on a route, and Hurns ran the post behind him. On the second TD, Allen had a chance to bring Hurns down at the 4, but got dragged into the end zone. Nice call by Davis on a first-quarter blitz. Cole took a step forward, got the left tackle’s attention and then dropped back. That allowed Allen to rush freely off the edge. Great job by Allen of attacking Henne’s arm and forcing the fumble once he got close. Good coverage, breaking up a pass intended for Lewis in the third. He played 88 percent of the snaps.
Earl Wolff – He played nine snaps (12 percent) and had a tackle.