Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Eagles Week 1 Review

I know it's Wednesday, but I wanted to review the game again before I wrote about it. I re-watched every Kevin Kolb snap, and I'll break down each one.

I'm not going to analyze Vick's plays, because Michael Vick isn't the future. The Eagles didn't dump McNabb and pay Kolb $12 million so that Vick could be the starter. There's no QB controversy among the Eagles decision-makers, so I won't contribute to the fabrication of one.

1-10-PHI32: 5yd penalty, illegal formation. This was a designed TE screen. Here's a quote from a TMQ article three weeks ago: Andy Reid's play calling has long been predictable -- the whole league knows, for instance, that on the first snap of a possession, he likes to call a weakside screen. Way to mix things up, Andy.
1-15-PHI27: 5yd completion to Maclin on a short hitch. He appeared to be the first read on the play, and was open. Accurate throw.
2-10-PHI32: Incomplete to Celek. Celek correctly read zone coverage so stopped his crossing route in a soft spot. KK read man coverage, so he led Celek. Looked more like a mental mistake than inaccuracy. Great protection on the play.
3-10-PHI32: Packers only rush four, but Matthews comes on a delayed blitz. The OL and RB do not recognize the delayed blitz so Matthews is unblocked. All the routes were deep, and there was no outlet receiver. I didn't see anything KK could do here except get sacked.

1-10-PHI46: 1yd rush by McCoy. Jamaal Jackson tried to get to Nick Barnett, but he couldn't make the block.
2-9-PHI47: 11yd rush by Maclin. Good blocking all around, but it's a big gain because Packers LB Jones dives inside, anticipating another run by McCoy. He's unblocked on the play, but his false step allows Maclin to get around him.
1-10-GB41: 6yd rush by Vick.
2-4-GB35: 8yd rush by McCoy,
1-10-GB29: -1yd rush by Vick.
2-11-GB30: 10yd penalty, offensive pass interference, Celek. Although the outcome of this play is irrelevant, a couple things worth noting here. First, Jamaal Jackson incorrectly calls out the Mike on the play, which sets the OL to the wrong side, and leaves a rusher unblocked to the left. Kolb rushes a throw, off his back foot, although the decision to throw the seam to Celek, covered by a LB, against what looks like a cover 2 shell, is perfect.
2-21-GB40: Incomplete pass, could have been intercepted. Looks like horrible play design, more than a bad decision. First, it's play action...on second-and-21, does anyone believe the Eagles are going to run? Second, it's man coverage, and somehow Maclin finishes his route close enough to Jackson that Maclin's defender nearly makes the pick. KK threw to Jackson, who had beaten his man. The throw was a little high, but the fact that another defender was close enough to break on the ball means that either Maclin ran the wrong route, or the play was designed badly.
3-21-GB40: More Vick running.

1-10-PHI28: 3yd rush by McCoy. Could have been much more, but Matthews makes a nice open-field tackle.
2-7-PHI31: 6yd completion to Maclin, another short hitch.
3-1-PHI37: 1yd rush by Vick.
1-10-PHI38: 1yd rush by Weaver (this is the play he's hurt.) Jackson again misses a second-level block on Barnett.
2-9-PHI39: Another delayed blitz, another sack. This time it's combined with a twist stunt up front. Jackson, Cole, and Herremans all missed blocks on this play.
3-19-PHI30: Deep incompletion to Jackson on the outside - another near interception. This one's all on Kolb. There was no pressure on him, and he should have thrown to Avant over the middle. Bear in mind that many coaches might protect a young QB here by running a draw or a screen, because 3rd-and-19 is nearly impossible to convert. The Eagles didn't protect Kolb, but put him squarely into a tough situation, and he made a bad decision that nearly cost the team.

1-10-PHI22: 10yd holding penalty against Peters. 9yd rush by Mike Bell is nullified.
1-20-PHI12: Incompletion on a slant to Jackson. Good read, good protection, KK steps into the throw but it's slightly behind the receiver. The defender, who was beaten, is able to dive and knock it down. If KK makes a better throw, this is a big gain.
2-20-PHI12: 6yd completion to McCoy. It's impossible to tell from the camera angle if there were any receivers open downfield, but Kolb didn't see anyone, so he rolled right and bought a little time before dumping it off.
3-14-PHI18: The Packers only rush three, but all three defeat blocks. McGlynn whiffs completely on Raji, Matthews gets around Justice, and Peters forces his man inside so that Kolb cannot step up into the pocket. The big mistake Kolb makes on this play is either failing to recognize Matthews behind him, or thinking he can outrun him. There is time for him to throw a short pass to Celek or simply throw the ball away, but instead he is caught from behind and gets a concussion on the play.

Kolb does play three more snaps, but the Eagles admit after the game that his confusion about packages and plays led them to believe he might have a concussion, so I'm giving him a free pass on those three.

So what I saw from Kolb is this: in his first half of work as the Eagles starting QB, against the #2 defense from last year, with Vick subbing in and out, and his offense consistently getting penalties while failing to block for him...he screwed up three throws. I didn't see a guy who lacked confidence, or failed to set his feet, or wasn't up to the task. He should have completed the slant to Jackson and the crossing route to Celek. He shouldn't have thrown to Jackson on 3rd-and-19.

Is it hard to remember a first half where McNabb screwed up three throws and tried to run away from someone he couldn't?

I'm not saying Kolb did a great job, he clearly didn't. But let's not give up on him either.

Full kudos to Vick for coming in and leading the Eagles back into the game. I have enough faith in him after that performance to believe the Eagles can beat Detroit this week. But I'm not ready to give up on Kolb yet.


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