BELIEVE it or not, there were a few positive things to take away from last nights game vs the Packers. QB Carson Wentz looked fully in command of what was happening around him, despite Green Bay being total assholes and blitzing so much (given that it was a preseason game). Our Defensive Line also handled business both as the starting unit and as the “back-up” unit.
There were some good things that happened last night, but this is the preseason. The preseason is for focusing on what we need to tighten up. Judging from what we saw at Lame Beau last night, our Eagles have quite a bit of tightening to do, in some key areas.
The first area to tighten, is coverage. We’re still using 5 yard cushions and allowing wideouts quick releases inside. That inside release puts the receiver between the ball and the defender. It creates a no-brainer, easy completion for even the worst QB. We played this same technique, and gave up these same releases last year, and we ended up 7-9 for our troubles.
On the other hand, if the CB forces the receiver outside, then the defender would be between the ball and the receiver. A QB thinks twice about throwing a ball to that receiver, so he holds the ball longer while looking for a different receiver. That gives the pass rush time to get home. We need to do more of that, and that cannot be done from a 5 yard cushion.
Another thing we need work on, is communication in our run game. Last night, no matter who carried the ball, running in between the Tackles wasn’t something we could do. I get that the assholes were bringing extra men all night long, but even high school Offensive Linemen have checks, calls and counters for that.
What you saw in that game, was a unit not communicating like they should be. Maybe it’s because one Guard is a new starter, and the other was filling in. In either case it’s still inexcusable. Learn the checks. Learn the calls. Be able to communicate. When the communication stops or gets messed up, everything gets messed up. The unit cannot and will not function as a team, if they don’t communicate. Communication is a must.
Blitz hot routes also need a looksee. The Cheesies came with the blitz on what seemed like every down, but the only time I recall them getting spanked for it, was on that 20 yard pass from QB Matt McGloin to RB Corey Clement, in the second half.
While it looked like our QB’s (even Wentz) weren’t great against the blitz, the truth is that the routes we ran, went outside. (In contrast to what the Packers did with inside releases.) It’s nearly impossible to hang the ball accurately when the receiver still has his back to you. This is a problem with the way a route drawn up. Better play design would go a long way to helping out the QB.
I could name a few more things, but today I’m just going to focus on the things which stem into other things. Focus on the fundamentals, first. Not being able to cover, run, or give your QB a quick option all are stem issues. We’ll see what takes place this week in practice.