So yeah, I'm obviously not going to get left out on the single greatest advancement in fan football watching since at least high-definition and quite possibly instant replay.
I'm not saying I'll do this every week, but at the very least I'll probably throw something up on Twitter every now and then, so follow there if you can put up with a 20:1 ratio of snarky comments to x's and o's.
Lots of photos after the jump.
Let's start with offensive line play. We're getting to see things we've never gotten to see before. Like the way this corner blitz:
Is going to get home because pre-snap the protection went left:
Which leaves open this:
Later in the game, the Eagles adjusted, and it was great. Look at Shady's head pre-snap. It's a linebacker this time, not a slot corner, but either way he's ruining that guy's day:
So that's nice, but if teams are going to keep attacking the edges against us, I think we need to be a lot more judicious about how often / when / where we're moving around Vick. I tweeted this one earlier this week. Because there are no routes on the left side of the field (the yellow arrow is a suggested change), this is basically a called QB run:
If you had Peyton Manning in the backfield it might even have worked, because no one expects him to run. With Vick, though, everyone expects him to run, so they stay home and keep their eyes on him. Especially when it's not like we're setting people up by handing the ball to Shady 40 times a game.
So I'd put that one on the coaches. But this one's on Vick:
It's another play action boot, right into the side of the field that has a million Cleveland defenders in it. You have to check out of that play. Just go with a straight lead to the right. You've got two linemen and a fullback for three defenders. It's cash money. Grrrrrrr.
Here's a similar situation. We're going to try to run a screen to Shady left. Meanwhile, on the right side of the formation, the rusher with his hand down is going to stand up and try to cover Brent Celek one-on-one:
Guess how well that's going to work for the defense:
Yeah, not well. Meanwhile on play side there's a free rusher and a linebacker making a beeline for Shady. People criticize Vick for being too sandlot, but here's a case where if he had a bit more sandlot in him we'd have picked up an easy 15 yards.
Back to line play, here's one our friend Sheil Kapadia wrote about at Birds 24/7 earlier this week:
"Hit 5: It looked like Jason Kelce was handing Rubin off to Danny Watkins, but Watkins left to help Brent Celek, who was blocking Jabaal Sheard. Rubin ran free up the middle and hit Vick as he completed a pass to DeSean Jackson. The Browns sent five defenders at Vick, but the Eagles had seven players (both tight ends) in to block. A clear breakdown in protection."
So let's look at the breakdown. Pre-snap, this was the set-up:
The white lines are how things started, the yellow lines show what later happened, as described by Sheil above. Right after the snap as they go through the play action:
All looks good. But the Eagles have what's either a new wrinkle in their scheme this year or it's something I never noticed pre-All-22. Watkins is going to see that Kelce has that man by himself and doesn't need his help, so he's going to peel back outside. Herremans did this at least once too. They literally turn their backs on the line and spin around:
The problem is that linebacker in the middle of the field. He's flashing across because he has man coverage on Shady, who after the play fake runs his route to the left. Kelce sees that sudden movement coming across his face and because he thinks he's free to leave the double team -- because Watkins has him -- suddenly Kelce's blocking an LB who isn't actually blitzing and Watkins is running around to help outside, where no help is needed. That leaves a big oops in the middle:
The thing is, if that's the scheme, it's a defensible play. Watkins did what he was supposed to do and Kelce did what he was supposed to do, it just didn't work for both of those players to do both of those things. Sorry Mike.
Let's show something better for Kelce. The guy still has trouble anchoring inside against the really huge DTs -- the Ravens have one of those? -- but his work in space is impressive. Here's an outside zone play. Look at who's blocking whom:
That's right, we're asking our center to pull around two guys and seal that linebacker inside, as the receivers run everyone else off. One second after the snap, the three key guys are all even with each other and Kelce has to beat everyone to the spot:
Which he does:
And that's how you finish a block:
Women, lamentations of their.
Shifting to defense, I was impressed as hell by their performance. The old guys looked great and the new guys were all way beyond expectations.
I wasn't a huge fan of the Fletcher Cox pick. Not because of him -- the scouting reports were all glowing -- but because I didn't see the need to spend first-round resources on a position where guys off the street can make plays in our scheme, and I was greatly concerned about the offensive line.
Yeah, well, whatever now, because Cox is a friggin' beast. With the all-22 it's not always easy to tell who's on the field, because it's not an HD feed and it's zoomed out so far. With Cox, though, it doesn't matter. You could take the numbers off their backs and I'd be able to tell you who played LDT the last snap with 100% accuracy just based on the result of the play.
Cullen Jenkins is wily, he's quick, and he can squirt by defenders to make plays. Cox prefers a more ... direct route.
Here's one of those damn trap plays that we knew we'd see a lot of last year when we shifted to a penetrating one-gap scheme but we still never really found an answer for. Until now:
Off the snap, Cox is going to get a sorta fake double team. The guard and tackle will both momentarily engage with him, then peel off quickly to the linebackers. Cox, the rookie, is supposed to be all YAYZ I BEAT THE DOUBLE TEAM right before the left guard comes across and blows him up.
So much for that theory:
More Cox. Here the right guard is trying to reach block him:
Good luck with that:
Good thing they didn't run the end around they faked there at the bottom, though.
This play was less a result thing, but shows more how fast they think he is. Here's the initial alignment:
Then the RDE and RDT are going to shift in and at the snap Cox is going to loop around both of them. LT picked it up fine, though:
Contrast that with Jenkins, who is again, a good player, but when the blockers attack him:
They have a lot more success:
And yes I drew up the blocking wrong there. The RG stays with him and the RT gets the LB. Pie, piece of, we all have a.
After one game, I'm a big fan of Boykin too. He wasn't flawless -- doesn't help that we're comparing him to Nnamdi and DRC in that regard -- but this pass breakup was impressive as hell. The receiver is going to drive him hard inside, push off, then break back outside. Here's the route:
The resulting separation:
And the close:
No, it wasn't a great throw, but thankfully they won't all be. Great play. He deserved to be fired up.
Not much to say about this one, but it's an example of the kinds of coverage schemes we couldn't see before. Don't know if it's new or old, but it's an interesting man/zone mix:
We are going to see picks from our OLBs and safeties this year. We show so much press on the outside that when the CBs drop into a deep third and the inside guys undercut the flat, it's a surprise to everyone.
Last one, and this is mostly just for fun. What happens when you try to bring a TE across the formation to block Trent Cole:
It doesn't work:
Exhibit A on not leaving your feet while blocking.