My buddy Anders, a regular commenter here, cut up tape of the Eagles’ defensive opportunities to get off the field on 3rd down. He did the first half only, but I have a couple takeaways from the video:
- Committing a dumb personal foul (and I stress “dumb” here, as there’s a difference between “dumb” and accidentally hitting the QB the wrong way), especially on 3rd down, is about the most infuriating thing you can do in football. The result is on the same level as a turnover. Fletcher Cox learned a valuable lesson Monday night. The referee threw the flag on him for a very ticky-tack late hit on Ryan Mallett. He certainly didn’t hit him hard, and there was no intent to hurt Mallett. Cox was just finishing the play the same way he has since he began playing football in Pop Warner. However, in the NFL, if the QB has gotten rid of the ball and you can avoid touching him… Don’t. Touch. The result of that play happened to be far more damaging for Cox than your average run-of-the-mill roughing the passer penalty, as it negated a DRC interception. When you’re looking at NFL team stats and see that the Eagles were the 4th ranked offense and the 8th ranked defense last year, you wonder how in the world they started 4-8. It’s plays like this that don’t show up in those numbers. Can’t have them.
- The Eagles were burned by the screen quite a bit, especially on 3rd down. I’m not sure what to make of that in the 2nd preseason game and I don’t think it’s anything to get all panicky about, but you can bet that opposing offenses are going to watch this tape and at least test the Eagles on screens when the real games begin.