Home > Game Tape, NFL > Tale of the Tape: NFL Week 3 — Eagles at Jaguars

Tale of the Tape: NFL Week 3 — Eagles at Jaguars

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First things first: if you haven’t read Mike Tanier’s article which runs through the quarterback’s game — play by play — do so.  After reading that, it makes sense for me to defer the analysis regarding Michael Vick, and focus on the other parts of this game.

A LiveBall Sports Game Tape Review.

The first section focuses on the Jaguars defense and the Eagles offense.

  • The Jaguars really have put an emphasis on getting after the passer after finishing 31st in the NFL with an adjusted sack rate of 3.8% last season.  This is something they are actually adept at this year, with Aaron Kampman looking every bit the part of a free agent steal and Tyson Alualu playing up to his lofty draft status.
  • Behind that adept defensive line, Kirk Morrison has helped to stabilize the middle of their defense, making numerous big tackles in this game, particularly in short yardage.
  • The Jags are an excellent case study for why having a pass defense is all about the quality of your defensive backs.  This team is a multiple front team that likes to bring blitzes in every down and distance, but they don’t have the personnel to be a blitzing team.  The secondary isn’t talented enough.
  • Jacksonville is playing just an inadequate third down defense, matching up against the Eagles four receiver formations by going with six or seven defensive backs and taking nearly all their valuable defenders off the field.  For a team that hasn’t drafted but one DB in the first three rounds in the last five years, they are about as strong there as you would suspect.
  • The Jaguars safeties are just too slow to play in the NFL.  Courtney Greene and Sean Considine cannot run.  They also don’t seem to understand how to adjust their angles to a speed disadvantage.
  • I can’t think of a reason that the Jags would ever want to have more than five DBs on the field with their lack of depth.   They blitz too much for a team that can’t match-up on the back end.
  • DeSean Jackson is an unbelievably explosive player who may never be as refined as he could be.  Jackson is as physically gifted as any receiver in this league, and should get open a lot more than he actually does.
  • Jeremy Maclin is the opposite kind of player, like a rich man’s Todd Pinkston.  Maclin is a fantastic route runner and can really get open in any field.  He is, however, timid over the middle, and doesn’t attack defenses after the catch like Jackson does.  Jackson and Maclin are excellent complementary players.
  • Speaking of complementary, the Eagles use Jason Avant in so many different ways, including as a pass protector in a lot of formations.  He’s a tight end in the body of a wide receiver, and would be one of the better blocking TEs in the league in that role.  You can throw the Eagles in with the Packers and Texans as potentially having the best receiver corps in the NFL.
  • The Eagles offensive line is a problem area.  One of the reasons that Michael Vick is quarterbacking the Eagles right now has to do with the trade of Stacey Andrews to the Bills, and the fact that Jammal Jackson’s torn biceps has forced the Eagles to revamp their OL.  The Eagles are now a decidedly left-handed offense, which suits Vick well.  The strength of their formations leans to the left, either with Brent Celek or with Jason Avant setting the formation to that side.
  • These changes have made LG Todd Herremans the centerpiece of most protections.  He was just mediocre in this game, and the Eagles require him to be better.  Vick will have decent protection as long as Herremans, Jason Peters, and Winston Justice stay healthy in front of him.  But the protection will be just adequate, and Vick generally needs to play more aware of what defenses are doing.  Washington may tee off on him next week.
  • No player has benefited from Michael Vick at quarterback more than RB LeSean McCoy, and the second year back finds himself in the middle of a breakout season where he can slash and dash inside defensive ends who always have to read Vick first.  McCoy was already a really good prospect — one who had a good game in pass protection against the simplistic blitz packages of the Jaguars — but now is as dangerous as Brian Westbrook at any time in his career, thanks to the threat of Vick as a runner.
  • Vick fits what the Eagles offense requires.  While there are still west coast concepts in play here, the Eagles are much more of a spread-vertical offense than a west coast offense.  This has really been the case for the last half-decade.  The terminology suggests they play one way, but the film on the Eagles suggest that they run a bunch of long drops and throw down the field.

This section focuses on the Eagles defense and the Jaguars offense

  • This is likely a minority opinion, but I think QB David Garrard is an asset for the Jaguars.  He’s not a pre-snap reader, so the offense needs to by Garrard time, and his play fakes don’t do him any favors.  But when you keep pressure off of Garrard, he can really make quality throws for big plays.  The Jags receivers simply didn’t get any separation in this game, and the Eagles were clearly comfortable playing man underneath, but Garrard really stuck some throws on Mike Sims-Walker and Mike Thomas.
  • I think the Jags OL has a lot of things going for it talent-wise, but they looked all mixed up in this game, and it didn’t always take creative stunting from the Eagles to get hits on Garrard.  Center Brad Meester is the weak spot on this unit overall, but the Eagles had the match-up against RT Eben Britton there for the taking all day.
  • I’m shocked that the Eagles soured on Juqua Parker.  Every time I watch him on film (which I’ve been doing for years), he dominates his competition.  We all know about Trent Cole on the other side, but when you consider how far the Eagles went to add pass rushing ends this offseason, you’d think Parker was a complete stiff as a complementary end.  He’s clearly a starter in this league.
  • Jones-Drew is still a very explosive runner, but he doesn’t have very impressive vision.
  • Every time the Jaguars dialed up a screen, the Eagles sniffed it out.  Every time.  This speaks to the dominance of the Eagles defense over the Jaguars offense that they not only could beat the blocks, but could feel when the blocks were….let’s say: not genuine.  The Eagles’ gameplan was to keep Jones-Drew out of open space where he’s one of the most dangerous players in football, and it worked.
  • Jacksonville’s receivers are just overmatched against true NFL-level defense.  I don’t have a problem with either Sims-Walker or Thomas being in an NFL receiver rotation, but the Eagles don’t exactly feature the most fearsome cornerback duo and they won their gamble that they could take them out of the game with man coverage underneath.  Garrard made some good deep throws after the game was already out of reach.
  • Garrard struggles with all sorts of pressure, and the Jags OL, while much improved, has a bad tendency to go the wrong way on both runs and passes.
  • Asante Samuel is really nosy, and I’d be stunned if Kyle Shanahan and the Redskins didn’t design a couple of routes to take advantage of his aggressiveness next week.  The Jags didn’t have time to do much of anything creative in the passing game, but the Redskins should.
  • Marcedes Lewis could be a top five TE in this league.  The Jags don’t seem to have any clue how to make him a valuable part of the passing game, but he’s one of the better run blocking TEs in football.  If he hits free agency next year, some team is getting a serious steal on a franchise TE.
  • The Eagles linebackers just aren’t that impressive under Sean McDermott.  This safety tandem, however, is so far ahead of last year’s tandem, and makes the best use of the talents of a rare rookie (Nate Allen).
  • Trevor Laws, who was a second round pick out of Notre Dame three years ago, really had a breakout game going against Meester and Uche Nwaneri on the interior.  He’s the third tackle right now, but could steal some of Mike Patterson’s reps.  The Eagles defensive line is a double-plus strength of the defense.
  • Ellis Hobbs is very “meh” as a second cornerback.  I think the Eagles could regret the Sheldon Brown trade later this year.
  • The Jaguars have a steal in no. 2 RB Rashad Jennings, a seventh rounder out of Liberty last year.  He plays like a second rounder.
  • The days of Garrard being mobile are gone.  He’s 32.  He’s still an effective runner for a quarterback, but it’s now functional effectiveness, not explosive running.  Garrard is a statuesque pocket passer who will shred a defense if he has a clean pocket for an entire game.  The Eagles were not inclined to let that happen.
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