I promised I was going to do part two of the video review, so here it is.
The main focus from the Tampa game was the multitude of breakdowns in the secondary, which we went over on Wednesday.
Today let’s go over the all-22 film again and look at how Doug Pederson used his receivers, running backs, and tight ends while trying to navigate the injuries to Mike Wallace and Jay Ajayi. How did he line them up? Did Nelson Agholor play more on the inside or outside? How can he adjust with Jordan Matthews now available?
Before I get into the film, I do want to re-post what I logged on Monday after the game in terms of how they divided up their runs and passes from under center and shotgun:
- 44 passes out of the shotgun (a lot in the 4th quarter while chasing the game)
- 7 passes from under center
- 13 runs out of the shotgun (including the direct snap to Agholor)
- 8 runs from under center (two quarterback sneaks and the option/toss to Smallwood)
- (two more under center sets were wiped out due to a holding and tripping penalty on the second drive)
And in week one, this is how Doug lined ’em up:
- 35 passes out of the shotgun
- 1 pass from under center (play action)
- 18 runs out of the shotgun
- 5 runs from under center
From week one to week two, Pederson went from six to 15 under center sets and cut back on the amount of running he did out of the shotgun. Part of that, of course, was the fact that the Eagles were playing from behind, which forced them into throwing 44 passes out of the shotgun as a necessity. The Eagles showed more RPO and sweep action looks in week one and got away from that in the Tampa Loss.
Right, so there’s the context for that.
Some other things I saw on film:
- Agholor was used in a variety of ways. I did a loose tally of his deployments and wrote down 44 times that they used him in the slot and 26 times that he was used on the outside. Beyond that, they put him in motion nine different times, twice on screen plays and once on a WR screen where he was the target.
- I only counted two catches that Agholor had while lined up on the outside. I could have mis-counted, but six of his grabs, including the touchdown, came when he was lined up on the inside.
- Agholor played 72 snaps for 91% of the game. Obviously my math doesn’t add up to 72 (I only wrote down 70 plays, so I missed something somewhere). He was absent for a chunk of the final drive for some reason and missed about 3 plays in a row in the 4th quarter.
- Zach Ertz moved around a bit, some trips here and there, some bunch, some outside.
- The majority of the Ertz targets came in the second half and he lead the team with 13.
- Shelton Gibson did some nice things to clear room for other guys and stretch the defense, but I didn’t see a lot of open looks for him on those deep routes. He was carrying defenders deep but not always getting open.
Let’s get to some clips –
This was the very first play after Mike Wallace went down injured. They moved Agholor to the outside, put Zach Ertz on the right hash, placed Josh Perkins between them, and used Kamar Aiken alone on the weak side. Agholor is at the bottom of your screen here:
Not a great throw by Nick Foles, but this a very common NFL shotgun set, with three receivers right, one on the left, and a running back coming out of the backfield.
If they’re willing to run this set sans Mike Wallace moving forward, you could replace Perkins with Matthews and roll out something like this:
That’s really a feasible formation. Ertz essentially becomes a receiver and you let Matthews remain tucked in, which plays to his strengths.
Another theme –
How about getting Dallas Goedert involved?
He didn’t run a route on this play, but I like a double tight end set where you can either send both guys out or use one as a blocker while running the other guy down the field with a pair of receivers:
Play action there with Goedert pulling gives you good protection and time to let the receivers run their routes.
Sure, it’s a narrow and bunchy formation, but Gibson and Agholor are both open on this play, which was wiped out for a tripping penalty on Corey Clement. But look where the receivers are as they come out of their breaks:
It was the closest thing I saw to anything resembling max protect on the afternoon. Ertz throws a block before splitting out into the flat, and he’s not even looking for the ball, so they really only ran two routes here if we’re being honest.
I also really like this play, with both tight ends on either side of the line and a little natural pick here from Goedert to free up Ertz as he runs a shallow drag route:
Again, this is a play with Agholor on the outside and two tight ends on the field together.
Matthews can walk right through the door and take Gibson’s place in the slot, helping to clear out that left side to give the tight end room coming across on the drag.
This was bread and butter Chip Kelly stuff during the first go-round with Nick Foles during the 27 touchdown season:
They really used to kill teams with these kinds of plays, especially in the red zone where they would get Riley Cooper coming across the middle on those really shallow routes with some rubs and picks in traffic. They would do a lot of misdirection and matriculate a slot receiver or tight end through the bodies.
And finally –
I really like this design. This was the play they ran when Foles overthrew Ertz in the end zone and he still almost reeled it in with one hand:
That’s a trips left, but they move it further outside the hash mark and put Agholor and DeAndre Carter in the bunch. It looks like the other tight end is on the weakside lined up as a receiver.
But I really like using Matthews for Carter here, because that’s a natural slot position and it also allows Agholor and Ertz’s versatility to show.
Point being (of the whole article) – they really do have options. They have ways to move guys around and keep defenses off-balance while leaning on the flexibility of their skill players. This was a team that spread the ball out and got a lot of different players involved last year, so I don’t see why that can’t be the case moving forward until Alshon Jeffery is ready to go.