HomeDa Birds NewsFilm Analysis: Sean Desai's Performance Raises Concerns in Eagles-Cowboys Game

Film Analysis: Sean Desai’s Performance Raises Concerns in Eagles-Cowboys Game

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You may have been surprised by the positivity in the Eagles-Cowboys offense breakdown, but you won’t see as much positivity in this one. It wasn’t great. Let’s get into why.

Defense

Firstly, before we look at some bad stuff, it’s worth noting that it wasn’t all bad. I actually thought the defense played reasonably well on early downs, and it turns out I was right! But what is the point of being good on early downs when you are SO bad on 3rd down?! This Eagles’ defense is just flat-out terrible on 3rd and 4th down. It feels almost impossible to be this bad on late downs. I’ve watched both the offense and defense all22. And I can’t help but feel it wasn’t ‘that’ bad. Then I look at the EPA and remember why it feels so bad. The defense is SO SO bad in late downs. If you ignore 3rd down they were OK!pic.twitter.com/RquBLSKXig— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) December 12, 2023

I just want to reiterate:- #Eagles defense got to 3rd down 10 times in the first half out of 17 total series. (Good!)- They allowed conversions on 9(!) of the 10 (8 on 3rd, 1 on 4th). (Awful!)The official numbers are kinder because they do not include plays with penalties. https://t.co/ngKz6kiom2— Deniz Selman (@denizselman33) December 11, 2023

This play stood out when watching the film. This Eagles’ defense just looks slow. The back 7 in particular are just really slow. Nakobe Dean’s injury is a killer because at least he has some explosiveness. Every team gets beat by a jet sweep every so often, but this team struggles on the edges so much because they are just so slow!pic.twitter.com/ReH3brOkUZ— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) December 12, 2023

I’ve seen some criticism online this week targeted at Darius Slay and James Bradberry. I didn’t think Bradberry was as good as others did last year, and I stated in my player review that I wouldn’t have resigned him. I think criticism towards him is justified. But I think Slay had an excellent game and I find criticism towards him very strange. He had at least 3 good pass breakups and he’s moving extremely well of late. I think he might struggle with the physicality of DK Metcalf this week, but I think in most games the Eagles should match him up to the opposing teams’ wide receiver. I thought he had a really strong game.pic.twitter.com/sp5f0ol44M— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) December 12, 2023

I find this defense so frustrating. How many times does this happen? It’s not always easy to know exactly who is at fault, but I know that someone has to be in the flat! I am almost certain that Slay normally stays with the wide receiver, so I am guessing Kevin Byard is supposed to the in the flat covering the back. I understand that Dak Prescott looks like he is going to throw to the receiver, but at this point, I’m sick of making excuses for players making errors. Just do your job and cover your guy. I don’t care who is at fault, and I’m not entirely sure, but I just see so many miscommunications in the secondary every single week and it’s infuriating.pic.twitter.com/wj5BrR5AFn— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) December 12, 2023

One positive from this game was the play of Nolan Smith. I think the Eagles need to give him a real chance to play some meaningful snaps over the past 4 weeks because the Eagles pass rush is struggling right now and I can’t help but that down to the fact that Haason Reddick and Josh Sweat are just playing way too many snaps. I think Nolan Smith is extremely raw and will have some plays where he looks pretty toothless as a pass rusher, but he also has plays like this where his athleticism jumps off the screen. That explosive burst toward Dak is really something.pic.twitter.com/FGIFOiQJZ7— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) December 12, 2023

I would love to know how often the Eagles rotate from two-high to either cover 3/9 or cover 1 on 3rd and long. I swear they did it all the time in this game. I’m not joking when I say that I would love to be an offensive coordinator and game plan against this Eagles’ defense because I think they are predictable. This particular play isn’t a playcalling issue but it’s an execution issue. Firstly, Bradley Roby is so far off it gives Lamb a great chance to get off the LOS with speed. Secondly, Roby has to know that he has inside help from the hole defender so he must play with outside leverage. Roby jumps inside and Lamb beats him with ease. It’s no surprise the Eagles are terrible on late downs when you watch plays like this. I don’t even know what to say about the Eagles’ pass rush on this play. Compare this to the speed that the Cowboys’ defense would rush Jalen Hurts with. The pass rush is struggling on late downs as well.pic.twitter.com/2JtpmfFlN7— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) December 12, 2023

The Eagles had two 3rd and very longs in one drive in this game, and both coverages were the same. It was a two-high defense pre-snap and then the Eagles rotated to cover-1. On both plays, the Eagles left Eli Ricks one-on-one with Lamb. Why? I don’t mind having Ricks on Lamb, but only if you are going to either double him with a bracket or have two deep safeties behind him. I know 2-man isn’t popular in the age of mobile quarterbacks, but do you think Dak Prescott is going to run for a first down on 3rd and 20? Why does this defense need to be in single-high man coverage on 3rd and 20? I know the Eagles get a stop here, and you can say I’m nitpicking, but I just don’t like this coverage called in this situation.pic.twitter.com/lOw39KzDsZ— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) December 12, 2023

This is terrible. I hate it. I don’t want to exaggerate… but I hate everything about this play. How many times have you seen me say this year that the Eagles are terrible in pass coverage when they drop Nolan Smith because the ball always seems to go over his head? He has to get his hands on the tight end here, and I just don’t think he is very good in pass coverage right now. The Eagles traded for Shaq Leonard because of his coverage ability. So…

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