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Rise Up...or Get Gone! Scouting the Opponent: The Philadelphia Eagles

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@PeytonMannings Forehead

@Knight of God

 

Do you guys think we get Neal more or Campbell more on Ertz? Neal doesn’t seem 100% confident in his knee just yet and Campbell seems to be stuck in buffering like a early 2000 music video on the internet. One of them will definitely need to step up. I think they can be a huge difference maker in this game. 

Edited by NWFALCON
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2 hours ago, NWFALCON said:

@PeytonMannings Forehead

@Knight of God

 

Do you guys think we get Neal more or Campbell more on Ertz? Neal doesn’t seem 100% confident in his knee just yet and Campbell seems to be stuck in buffering like a early 2000 music video on the internet. One of them will definitely need to step up. I think they can be a huge difference maker in this game. 

It’s gonna have to be one of them because the eagles work mostly out of 3 wide. So I expect to see a lot of Nickel this week.

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14 hours ago, ShadyRef said:

Correct Shanahan did have some duds. No denying that. Still I never lost confidence in the offense unlike with previous coordinators that have sputtered through Matts tenure. We had a different flow. I don't know how Shanahan conducted practices but we were seeing Matt make throws we knew he was more than capable of making regularly. Heck Taylor Gabriel, of all people, was going off. 

Even though he hasn't had his starting qb for much in San Fran, not only fo they move the ball but they also score and go deep with less talent and a back up qb. Shanahan called plays not trying to protect Matt. He called plays that made Matt play worry free. I felt every pass Matt was gonna make was going for a touchdown. Didn't matter if gabriel sanu or Julio was covered. That's what I meant. 

Fair enough. I agree Kyle made it easy and I always wonder why OCs get a good QB and expect them to just make difficult throws all game. Brady throws some of the easiest, handheld throws in a game to warm up at least. Matt is a rhythm thrower. Koetter knows that though. Last Sunday didn't show it, but I'm not bailing on it yet. 

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13 hours ago, FentayeJones said:

 

Simple as that. When players aren't executing, doesn't matter what you try to do as a coach. 

I don't fully agree with blaming the corners for the soft edges. Cook and Mattison were very rarely turned inside to the help D. That's EDGE and LB/SS play. By the time they're to the corners, it's too late. 

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10 hours ago, PeytonMannings Forehead said:

It’s gonna have to be one of them because the eagles work mostly out of 3 wide. So I expect to see a lot of Nickel this week.

Whew I don't. I expect to see 12 personnel coming at them again in a heavy dose. They took Washington to work with it. They'll try and slow the game down and take the crowd out of it. 

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17 hours ago, ShadyRef said:

Even though he hasn't had his starting qb for much in San Fran, not only fo they move the ball but they also score and go deep with less talent and a back up qb. Shanahan called plays not trying to protect Matt. He called plays that made Matt play worry free. I felt every pass Matt was gonna make was going for a touchdown. Didn't matter if gabriel sanu or Julio was covered. That's what I meant. 

Not to crap on Shanahan, because I actually thought what he did last year, even when he got down to his 3rd quarterback was impressive.  He put together some impressive gamelans, but they finished 21st in scoring offense and were last in red zone scoring percentage. 

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4 hours ago, vel said:

Simple as that. When players aren't executing, doesn't matter what you try to do as a coach. 

I don't fully agree with blaming the corners for the soft edges. Cook and Mattison were very rarely turned inside to the help D. That's EDGE and LB/SS play. By the time they're to the corners, it's too late. 

Yeah, Kollman is a little off on this one.  Even when we're in zone, we're a 3-deep team.  Corners don't have run fits in 3-deep unless its some sort of clould we're running to one side.  The edges belong to our front seven in this scheme.

4 hours ago, vel said:

Whew I don't. I expect to see 12 personnel coming at them again in a heavy dose. They took Washington to work with it. They'll try and slow the game down and take the crowd out of it. 

I hope you're right, because I think they'll be ready to play it better this week, but however it goes, it'll have to be Campbell or Neal on Ertz.

Edited by PeytonMannings Forehead
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3 hours ago, vel said:

Fair enough. I agree Kyle made it easy and I always wonder why OCs get a good QB and expect them to just make difficult throws all game. Brady throws some of the easiest, handheld throws in a game to warm up at least. Matt is a rhythm thrower. Koetter knows that though. Last Sunday didn't show it, but I'm not bailing on it yet. 

The nature of 4 Verticals is longer route concepts, longer blocking time up front and more difficult throws into often smaller windows.  It has its pluses.  But those are drawbacks.  And the offense looks more DK than Shanny/Falcons so far.  As such it’s absolutely mandatory that we run the ball at least 40% of offensive plays to help the OL and keep the defense honest & guessing

I predicted over 40 passes last week and circumstance made it so.  Hope we don’t see that again this week

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50 minutes ago, PeytonMannings Forehead said:

Yeah, Kollman is a little off on this one.  Even when we're in zone, we're a 3-deep team.  Corners don't have run fits in 3-deep unless its some sort of could we're running to one side.  The edges belong to our front seven in this scheme.

I hope you're right, because I think they'll be ready to play it better this week, but however it goes, it'll have to be Campbell or Neal on Ertz.

It’s usually Campbell who handles the TE’s, right?  So I suspect much the same on Sunday.  Dre was a liability last week.  Needs to play better or this season will be reliant on outscoring teams (I guess that’s always true, though...lol)

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1 hour ago, FalconsIn2020 said:

It’s usually Campbell who handles the TE’s, right?  So I suspect much the same on Sunday.  Dre was a liability last week.  Needs to play better or this season will be reliant on outscoring teams (I guess that’s always true, though...lol)

Correct. When we’re in man it can vary between Neal and Campbell based on the call like if Campbell is the hole player in Cover-1 then it’s Neal on the TE, but it’s generally one of them and Debo plays the back out of the backfield.

In zone it’s all based on the offense’s alignment.

Edited by PeytonMannings Forehead
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2 hours ago, FalconsIn2020 said:

The nature of 4 Verticals is longer route concepts, longer blocking time up front and more difficult throws into often smaller windows.  It has its pluses.  But those are drawbacks.  And the offense looks more DK than Shanny/Falcons so far.  As such it’s absolutely mandatory that we run the ball at least 40% of offensive plays to help the OL and keep the defense honest & guessing

I predicted over 40 passes last week and circumstance made it so.  Hope we don’t see that again this week

Oh I know. You saw them find some rhythm in the third quarter to get down the field to the one yard line. Then it went out the window because of the situation/score/etc. If they don't turn the ball over, we'll see more balance this Sunday. 

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13 minutes ago, vel said:

Oh I know. You saw them find some rhythm in the third quarter to get down the field to the one yard line. Then it went out the window because of the situation/score/etc. If they don't turn the ball over, we'll see more balance this Sunday. 

I agree.  It was such an odd/unfortunate first 10 minutes for the Falcons that their gameplan was flushed

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8 minutes ago, FalconsIn2020 said:

I agree.  It was such an odd/unfortunate first 10 minutes for the Falcons that their gameplan was flushed

Yep. I've never seen anything like that. Six minutes into the game and the Falcons were down 14-0 with two turnovers. That's some 0-16 Browns type of shlt there. 

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4 minutes ago, vel said:

Yep. I've never seen anything like that. Six minutes into the game and the Falcons were down 14-0 with two turnovers. That's some 0-16 Browns type of shlt there. 

I’ll be honest, I expect another ugly performance from the offense this week.  But I think our defense will step up and hold Philly under 24 points.  I think we lose a close one but actually build confidence and win 6 of 8 moving forward 

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The Eagles have been mixing in a lot of Cover-3 the past few years.  We already know what that is, so I thought we'd talk a bit about another one of Schwartz's base calls.  Cover-4... or quarters for short.

 

My personal opinion, this is the best coverage in all of football, because it can morph into anything depending on how the routes are deployed.  Routes are run this way, it turns into man.  Routes are run another way it can turn into zone, and if the QB isn't careful he can completely misread it because the way the safety's move, it can look like a single high for example -- and the last thing you want is a quarterback throwing into what he thinks it cover-3 and it turns out to be 4.

When a lot of people hear Cover-4, or Quarters for some reason they get to thinking of it as more of a prevent style of defense.  That couldn't be further from the truth.  It's very much an aggressive defense and it allows you, unlike any other coverage to play with 9 defenders vs. the run because both safeties... not one like in Cover-3, but BOTH safeties have run fits.   

 

To the picture.  Both corners have deep a quarter of the field, and the safeties have each have a quarter, but this is where it gets neat because they are pattern reading.  

CORNERS: The corners are actually playing man to man on anything vertical.  If the receiver goes inside, he belongs to the underneath defenders.

SAFETIES: read the #2 receiver which is going to be a tight end or a slot receiver.  If that slot receiver goes vertical -- and what's defined as vertical is gameplan specific, but lets call vertical anything past 7 yards.  If that #2 receiver goes up the field past seven yards he belongs to the safety.  If he breaks his route off anywhere underneath that, he belongs to the underneath defender and the safety will now look to help out the cornerback on his side and bracket the outside #1 receiver.  Now we're gone from a Cover-4 to essentially a 2 man under defense with safety help over the top.  If that #2 goes vertical then the safety will come down to take him and it can look like a single high defense.

vs. the run they are also reading the #2 receiver.  Against 21 personnel for example, the tight ends will be their #2.  If those tight ends stay in to block, the safeties scream up to fit the run.  If they release they back into their coverage.  This can make them susceptible to play-action.

UNDERNEATH: The two flat defenders, the outside linebacker and let's say the nickel corner will have quarter/flat responsibility.  They say quarter/flat, but in most cases, any underneath routes are going to be played man to man by the quarter/flat guys.  Remember, it's all working together as one, so anything under 7 yards belongs to them.

MIDDLE HOOK: that middle linebacker is only going to be worried about #3... and the #3 receiver could be the inside most defender in trips -- could be a tight end, in this picture, #3 is the running back in the backfield.  That's the middle hook's man.  He's going to be responsible for those little check downs.  One of the ways I can always tell quarters is the middle linebacker is sort of flat-footed at the snap reading #3 in the backfield.  If #3 stays in to block, he's going to look to get work and help out on those inside breaking routes.  If #3 goes to the flat, then he's no longer #3.  The flat defender will take him and the next receiver that breaks inside will be the new #3.  This is the part that can be difficult to teach because it happens fast and these reads have to be made fast.  I keep thinking back to how Smitty's Falcons struggled with this.

 

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Those are just the basics.  There are variations you can play off of this vs. certain formation like bunch and trips.  There's a cut variation where the safety comes down and jumps crossing routes.  There's Palms where the outside corner reads the #2 receiver instead of the #1 receiver in front of him, that functions as a trap coverage.  Looks exactly like Cover-4 but can lead to a lot of picks, especially to the flat if the QB misreads it.

There was a time when Cover-4 was THE defense in the NFL because of how versatile it was and it won Super Bowls.  Teams of course caught up to it like everything else, but defensive coordinators still lean on it.  Guys like Zimmer, Fangio, Wade Phillips when he goes zone, Del Rio when he was coordinating, Todd Wash in Jacksonville when they're in long yardage will mix in quarters, Seahawks started playing a little more Cover-4 last year because that talent drain didn't allow them to just sit in Cover-3 all game... and Jim Schwartz.

Edited by PeytonMannings Forehead

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7 minutes ago, FalconsIn2020 said:

I’ll be honest, I expect another ugly performance from the offense this week.  But I think our defense will step up and hold Philly under 24 points.  I think we lose a close one but actually build confidence and win 6 of 8 moving forward 

I could see that. I also see the other side, a 30-20 type of victory like when we beat the Packers to open the Benz. 

Cox isn't healthy. Their pass rush isn't the same as what we've seen the last two times. Their secondary is very susceptible and struggled vs a lesser WR group last week. They moved the ball in MIN when they didn't turn it over. Crossed the 50 yard line 70% of the drives they had. With several guys focused on showing last week was a fluke and bouncing back, I'm looking to see the energy of this team buzzing like that Packers game. 

We'll see. We agree this is pivotal early season game. 

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Quote

Why the Eagles will lose to the Falcons, straight from Bleeding Green Nation

You’ve heard a lot about what we think about the upcoming matchup, from our apprehension to reasons for optimism. Now we get reasons for optimism from none other than Brandon Gowton over at Bleeding Green Nation, who was kind enough to answer our questions yesterday about his favorite team.

Today, he gives us his reasons why the Eagles are going to lose this one against the Falcons. All of these are insightful, compelling, and undoubtedly correct, as we’ll see Sunday night. A big thank you to Brandon for taking the time this week, and below is his read on the game ahead.


1) The Eagles start too slow

First quarter scoring was a huge issue for the 2018 Eagles. They only managed to muster a league-low 2.6 points in the first 15 minutes of the game. Pretty pathetic.

Unfortunately for the sanity of Eagles fans, the team similarly struggled to get off to a hot start in Week 1. The Eagles scored ZERO first quarter points against Washington before finally getting a touchdown with just under five minutes remaining in the second quarter.

The Eagles eventually heated up by scoring 25 points in the second half but they can’t regularly count on staging a comeback like that. Especially when they’re going down to a hostile environment to play a desperate team. The Falcons need this win much more than the Eagles as they try to avoid dropping to 0-2.

A big reason why the Vikings were able to comfortably beat the Falcons in Minnesota is because they got off to a fast start. They established a lead and pounded the rock to kill the clock. The Eagles won’t be able to run the ball as much as they should want to against this Falcons defense if they continue to start slow.

The Eagles have the talent to start fast. It doesn’t seem like an impossible ask. And yet, it’s hard to believe they’ll actually play well from the jump until we see it first.

2) The pass defense can be exposed

The Eagles’ pass rush just wasn’t good enough in Week 1. Three of the team’s top four defensive ends combined for ZERO sacks and ZERO quarterback hits.

Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz absolved the defensive line a bit by shifting blame onto the secondary. He said the Eagles need to cover better.

In any case, the bottom line is the Eagles can’t win this game if their pass rush isn’t getting home. A big reason why Matt Ryan has been stymied in his last three games against the Eagles is because they’ve pressured him a ton. In the last three Eagles versus Falcons tilts, Ryan has been sacked nine times and hit a whopping 31 times. That’s an average of three sacks and over 10 hits per game!

Looking at this matchup, there’s some reason to believe the Eagles can have success against the Falcons’ offensive line. But, as with the fast start point in reason No. 1, it’s a “I’ll believe it when I see it” thing right now.

Case Keenum passed for 380 yards, three touchdowns, zero interceptions, and a 117.6 passer rating against Philly. Washington rookie receiver Terry McLaurin logged five receptions for 125 yards and one touchdown in his first NFL game. Those numbers would’ve been even worse for Philly had Keenum not just overthrown McLaurin on a deep attempt in the second half.

I think it’s safe to say Ryan and Julio Jones are much better than Keenum and McLaurin. That duo could put up some big numbers against the Eagles’ secondary on Sunday night.

3) The Falcons have home field advantages trends in their favor

The Eagles are 3-0 in their last three meetings with the Falcons, yes, but all of those games took place in Philly. The Eagles are only 1-3 in their last four trips to Atlanta. The sole win came when the Falcons were starting Chris Redman in 2009.

The Falcons are 60-32 at home since the Matt Ryan era began in 2008, which comes out to the league’s ninth best home winning percentage during that span.

Another record related to Ryan’s reign regards (holy alliteration, Batman!) the status of the Eagles as two-point road favorites this week. The Falcons are 11-5 against the spread in 16 games as home underdogs since Ryan took over as Atlanta’s starting quarterback. That 69% (nice) coverage percentage ranks third best in the NFL since 2008.

On the flip side, the Eagles are only 4-6 against the spread (tied for 26th best cover percentage) as road favorites since the Carson Wentz and Doug Pederson eras began in 2016.

The Eagles were previously home underdogs in their last three wins over the Falcons. Now the roles are reversed and it’s Atlanta who will be motivated to pull off the upset.

 

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18 hours ago, vel said:

1) The Eagles start too slow

I don't think that will be a continuing trend this year.  2018 was an odd year.  Wentz wasn't fully recovered from the ACL and then he goes on and breaks his back.  He looked completely different in 2018 than he did in 2017.   It was obvious to those that watch him every week.  He finally looked healthy in week 1 - and I think the slow start last week can easily be attributed to not playing the starters in the preseason.  With Desean in the lineup, it opens up the entire offense.  The deep speed was a missing element last year.  They tried to replace Smith with Wallace last year but he got hurt in week 2.  Torrey Smith in 2017 was not a world-beater, but at least he was a constant presence, in that speed role, that needed to be accounted for all 16 games.  No I think they will get back to the fast starts they had in 2017.  The only concern I have for the offense this season is health - got to stay healthy.  If they do it will be a top unit - especially on 3rd downs and redzone efficiency.  

I am not as confident with the backside of the defense...

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On 9/13/2019 at 8:42 PM, PeytonMannings Forehead said:

It’s gonna have to be one of them because the eagles work mostly out of 3 wide. So I expect to see a lot of Nickel this week.

You don't think last weeks film will cause philly to pull the okie doke on us by doing the exact opposite? Keeping us in base defense to test our run defense? 

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