Film cutup: Eagles 3rd down D vs. the Patriots

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.


  1. Juanito says:

    Me encanta la pagina Jimmy! Saludos de Espana.

  2. […] • Jimmy Kempski nous montre toutes les situations de 3rd down de la défense pendant la première mi-t… […]

  3. icdogg says:

    I’ve watched enough preseason games over the years to have long ago come to the conclusion that they don’t mean very much. For most of the players, they are nothing more than another practice. For the rookies, and a few guys on the bubble, and some guys who aren’t going to make the roster, it’s a showcase. And for the coaches, it’s a chance to try some stuff out.

    Now, yeah, when the players aren’t putting forth the appropriate effort, the coach is going to be yelling at them on the sideline, because they’re not taking it seriously enough.

    But no, I’m not worried about anything I wasn’t already worried about, based on this preseason action.

  4. Jim Z. says:

    I think I rather would have had Coples or Ingram with the #13 pick.

    I always thought Cox was one of those sketchy “did nothing his entire college career until his final ~6-7 games and suddenly became touted as a top-10 prospect” that ends up busting in the NFL.

    Coples and Ingram, on the other hand, had proven track records of elite production over the course of multiple years in college.

    1. icdogg says:

      I think JPP was a similarly sketchy prospect coming out… and that worked out pretty good for the Giants

  5. philsgoodman says:

    I wouldn’t make much of the screen passes. It just so happened that the Patriots were using those plays to work on their screen packages while the Eagles were working on their blitz packages. The screen pass is designed to beat the blitz. Classic play-calling mismatch in New England’s favor.

    1. icdogg says:

      Yeah, it’s really hard to say without knowing more about what they were intending to work on.

  6. Dan in Philly says:

    I know, but other than 3rd downs in the 1st half, the Eagles defense played quite well. There’s a bit of selective bias when, knowing the worst kinds of plays are x kinds of plays, you show all of the x kinds of plays.

    Let’s suppose that the Eagles totally shut down the Browns Friday night on 3rd downs, holding them to 0-11. However, they give up 6 plays of 20+ yards on 1st downs, including 3 long TDs. Will you then cut up only the effective 3rd down plays, or will you only show the 1st down plays, or will you show only the passing plays, or whatever?

    I know the folks who read this blog are mature enough to realize they are only seeing a small sample of plays, but even with such knowledge any observer tends to overly rely on what he is seeing and discount what he’s not – it’s human nature.

    1. “Let’s suppose that the Eagles totally shut down the Browns Friday night on 3rd downs, holding them to 0-11. However, they give up 6 plays of 20+ yards on 1st downs, including 3 long TDs. Will you then cut up only the effective 3rd down plays, or will you only show the 1st down plays, or will you show only the passing plays, or whatever?”

      No. In fact, I didn’t cut up this video.

    2. mjoedgaard says:

      It was me who cut up the video. The only reason behind was that there was so much talk about it also Jimmy didnt come to any conclusion about the overall defense, but only 2 things about the 3rd down defense (3rd is the money down and is the most important down in football)

      1. Dan in Philly says:

        I know, having problems with replying to the correct post for some reason.

  7. Dan in Philly says:

    Also FWIW, I counted 2 times when the defense didn’t blitz and failed to stopp the 3rd down – the other failures were due to blitzing and/or penalties. This may support the idea that Juan wanted to see how the blitz would work, given the pretty good success without it. Like I said we can’t really know, but preseason isn’t always to be judged by the results, even of an individual play, but must be considered in context of what the coach was trying to do, which we cannot do.

  8. Dan in Philly says:

    The real problem with such a cut up is it takes the plays where the defense failed (3rd down in the 1st half) and thereby presents a skewed perception of how good it was. If you remove those plays, the defense was awesome all night.
    Also, as Tommy says, it’s hard to tell what Juan was up to during 3rd down. Maybe he was trying test certain blitz packages regardless of what he thought would be called, or maybe he thought the blitz was the best defense against a team which screens as much as the Patriots. Given the fact that he’s alive, I doubt it was the latter, but who knows?

    1. mjoedgaard says:

      This cut up have all the 3rd downs, not just the failed. The reason I did this was because how much talk there have been about this and thought I would send it personally to Jimmy because he always have a good break down if he got the material.

  9. Todd B says:

    Not impressed with Cox at all on any of those plays. Stonewalled repeatedly.

    1. NYG_slater says:

      It can take a bit of time for rookie defensive linemen to find their legs. The strength/speed jump from College –> NFL is pretty significant, I thought Cox looked pretty considering it was his second preseason game. I was much less impressed with Graham, that explosiveness he had in college is either gone from his knee injury, or it just didn’t translate to the NFL. Or possibly, he needs more time to get some confidence back, idk.

      1. Todd B. says:

        Maybe and it is not like I am giving up on the guy. Just making an observation on his performance, not trying to project his performance as the season goes along. So far, he has been pedestrian.

        Disappointed in Graham. He had a much better showing in the first game. We’ll see on Friday if it was just a bad game against the Patriots or just an extraordinarily good game against the Steelers.

        1. icdogg says:

          Cox was up and down and I wasn’t too worried about him. Didn’t really have a problem with the way Graham was playing either. He has some power, not just speed, and you need that sometimes.

  10. mjoedgaard says:

    I can do the 2nd half if you want, but I just thought that the first half was the most important and where the stupid mistake happened

    1. I think the 1st half is really all that matters, since those are the guys that are going to be playing in the regular season… Not that I re-read it, I wrote “He ONLY did the first half,” as if I would have liked to have seen the 2nd half, but that’s not the case. I just worded that weird.

      1. mjoedgaard says:

        Its okay, I thought if you wanted the 2nd half, you would had asked.

        I plan on doing this for both offense and defense in the regular season if I get the time to do it. It shouldnt be to hard if I just watch the game with pen and paper and make a note about every 3rd down.

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