Game Review: Eagles Defense Vs. Washington
Here’s a player-by-player breakdown of what we saw from the Eagles’ defense Sunday after having watched the All-22 copy.
Fletcher Cox – Another good game from Cox. He had four tackles (per stats tracked by coaches) and was disruptive throughout against the run. Cox and Cedric Thornton blew up an Alfred Morris run after a 1-yard gain in the first. He stopped Morris after a 2-yard run in the first. Cox blew up a run, shed his block and tackled Morris for no gain on first down of the last drive. Cox didn’t generate much of a pass-rush, and he was whistled for illegal hands to the face in the first. That turned 3rd-and-22 into 1st-and-10. Overall, he played 83 percent of the snaps.
Bennie Logan – He had a great game and led the Eagles with eight tackles. Logan has 16 tackles in the past two games. He’s playing with great effort and is doing a fantastic job of shedding blocks and getting to the ball-carrier. Logan and DeMeco Ryans stopped Morris for no gain in the first. He dropped Morris for a 1-yard loss in the red zone. Logan had three more stops for no gain. And in the fourth quarter, he made a tackle after a 3-yard run. Really impressive showing from the nose tackle. He was a big reason why Washington averaged 3.0 YPC and totaled just 84 yards on the ground. Logan played 54 percent of the snaps.
Cedric Thornton – Another solid, productive game. Thornton helped blow up a run that picked up 1 in the first. He later helped stop Morris after a 2-yard run. Thornton tackled Morris for no gain in the second. No hurries or sacks, and he was called for encroachment in the first. Thornton had one rush where it looked like he got held, and he nearly got a hand on Kirk Cousin’s arm. Overall, four tackles. He played 68 percent of the snaps.
Vinny Curry – He played 27 percent of the snaps, but did not register a tackle, hurry or sack. I didn’t have any notes down for him.
Brandon Bair – He played 17 percent of the snaps. No sacks, hurries or tackles.
Beau Allen – Thirteen snaps. The box score had him down for one tackle.
The Eagles obviously need more from their backup defensive linemen.
Connor Barwin – OK game from Barwin. He hit Cousins on a bootleg in the second. Barwin is fantastic off play-action bootlegs. He always stays home and gets in the QB’s face. Barwin got pressure through the A-Gap on third down in the third. If Cousins had time, he had a receiver open downfield, so that was a big play that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet. He twisted outside and may have affected Cousins’ throw on a third-down incompletion in the third. Coaches credited him with three tackles and a hurry. Barwin played 86 percent of the snaps.
Trent Cole – Up and down game from Cole. He looked lost in coverage on one play in the first. It could have been a big play by Washington, but Cousins went to DeSean Jackson for a 13-yard gain. Cole was not on the same page as Cary Williams in coverage on a 9-yard completion in the first. Williams looked frustrated afterwards. Good job in coverage in the third, tackling the tight end after a 1-yard completion. Coaches credited him with five tackles and five hurries. As a team, the Eagles only had six hurries, so they felt Cole was generating some pass-rush. I didn’t notice him as much, except for when he hit Cousins on a pass that gained 23 yards in the third. Cole played 79 percent of the snaps.
Brandon Graham – Productive game against the run with four tackles and a forced fumble. Washington recovered it though. Later, Graham should have had a tackle for loss on Morris, but couldn’t bring him down. To his credit, he got up and eventually made the tackle after a 7-yard gain. He got blocked by left tackle Trent Williams on a screen in the fourth. Graham played 35 percent of the snaps.
DeMeco Ryans – Solid game out of Ryans. He brought Morris down after a 3-yard run in the second and helped blow up a Morris run for no gain. I haven’t seen many issues with Ryans in coverage this year. He did a great job on the TE on Malcolm Jenkins’ interception. Ryans got tossed to the ground by Williams on Morris’ 12-yard run in the first. And he got blocked on the big screen in the fourth. He played every snap.
Emmanuel Acho – He was credited with four tackles. Acho got blocked on Morris’ 8-yard run in the first. He later disrupted a Morris run that picked up 4. And Acho was in on a tackle vs. Morris that was stopped for no gain. He played 35 percent of the snaps. None of the inside linebackers did enough to separate themselves. I’d expect them to rotate until Mychal Kendricks returns. Acho played 35 percent of the snaps.
Casey Matthews – He was OK. Matthews finished with three tackles. He and Cox stopped Morris after a 2-yard run in the first. Matthews is not going to be good in coverage. He got beaten by Niles Paul on a 6-yard completion in the third. Matthews played 31 percent of the snaps.
Marcus Smith II – He saw time at inside linebacker. Smith appeared to be playing with hesitancy, which is understandable considering he had only practiced at this position for a few days. His role was to go in when Brandon Boykin went in. According to Pro Football Focus, Smith was in coverage nine times, blitzed six times and played three snaps against the run. He blitzed the A-Gap, got matched up with an RB and pressured Cousins out of the pocket in the fourth. It sounds like he’ll continue to practice at inside LB until Kendricks gets back.
Cary Williams – He made waves with his post-game comments, but it was clear from the film that Williams was unhappy with some of his teammates during the game. He barked at Nate Allen and Cole on separate plays. In coverage, he didn’t have a horrible game. Good job pressing and playing physical on third down in the second, disrupting the timing of a route and helping to force an incompletion. Excellent pass breakup over the middle in the third. On the 81-yard TD to Jackson, he should have had safety help, but it was still a missed tackle on Williams’ part. He gave up a 13-yard completion in the fourth. And Williams was beaten for a 43-yard completion in the fourth, even though his coverage wasn’t bad. It was an excellent throw by Cousins. On fourth down of the final drive, Williams actually slipped, but Cousins missed the throw.
Bradley Fletcher – He was targeted often and really struggled. Fletcher gave up a 19-yard completion to Pierre Garcon in the first. In man coverage, he gave up a 13-yard completion on a comeback route to Jackson in the first. Fletcher gave way too much space to the fullback and was slow to break on the ball on the first TD. He was beaten by Paul for 37 yards on an out-and-up. Fletcher gave up a 10-yard completion to Jackson on third down on the second drive. Fantastic throw by Cousins though. He was beaten for a 4-yard TD against Garcon. Fletcher was called for illegal contact on 3rd-and-2 in the second. And he got beaten on third down in the third, but Cousins missed the throw.
The positives… Fletcher set the edge and stopped a run after a 3-yard gain. He made a good tackle in run support on a 2-yard Morris pickup. He had a pass breakup in the second and good coverage in the end zone on a fourth-quarter incompletion. Washington used a lot of stacked releases, and Fletcher had trouble closing on the ball. Rough outing on Sunday.
Brandon Boykin – The questions about giving him a shot on the outside continue. Great recognition, great tackle on a Garcon screen that was stopped for no gain. On the final drive, Boykin had good coverage on Jackson on second down and broke up a pass on third down. Earlier in the game, he was beaten on third down, but the receiver dropped the ball. We’ll keep asking why he can’t get on the field more. Boykin played just 35 percent of the snaps.
Nolan Carroll II – He played 14 percent of the snaps as the dime corner. Carroll gave up a 9-yard completion to Paul in man coverage in the third. And he gave up a 13-yard completion to Andre Roberts, allowing YAC in the red zone in the fourth.
Nate Allen – He had a lot of issues. Allen was beaten in man coverage for 10 yards on third down on the first drive. Washington used a bunch look. He couldn’t stick with Roberts. On 3rd-and-3 on next drive, another stacked release. Allen was slow to stick with Roberts. He gave up another first down. Williams barked at him after the play. Allen missed a tackle on Garcon, allowing an 11-yard completion. He couldn’t close quickly enough on a 23-yard completion to Garcon near the sideline. Great throw, great catch though. On the Jackson touchdown, he was responsible for the deep middle part of the field. Allen cheated up to an underneath route though and gave up the big play. He took a poor angle on a screen that picked up 55 yards in the fourth. Allen broke up a pass intended for Paul in the second. And he helped stop Morris on a run in the fourth. Tough game overall.
Malcolm Jenkins – He had a fourth-quarter interception for the second week in a row. Jenkins did a great job of breaking on the ball to secure the pick. He broke up a pass to Paul in the third. He bit on a double move on third down in the third, but Cousins was pressured. Against the run, Jenkins dropped Morris on a 2-yard pickup in the second. And he helped bring Morris down after a 3-yard run in the second. Good game overall.