Eagles O-Line notes: Week 5
The word for this week is effort. The Eagles offensive line allowed 5 sacks to the Pittsburgh Steelers but it wasn’t as bad as it looks on paper. There is a common theme with each breakdown that led to each sack last Sunday.
Unlike the rest of Twitter, I will happily admit that I was completely wrong about Jordan Mailata. Without a doubt, he is the starting left tackle for the Eagles for the remainder of the season. He was a bit shaky at first, but Mailata was ontop of his game against the Steelers. During the 49ers game, Mailata didn’t attack the opposition off of the line. He faded back and away from instant contact. On Sunday, that changed and he looked like a man possessed against Bud Dupree. Bud was stonewalled at the line of scrimmage almost every pass. Mailata didn’t give an inch of ground and even Dupree’s finesse moves were shut down.
Mailata’s performance was impressive. He was without-a-doubt the best player on the offensive line this week. The left tackle position battle between him and a healthy Andre Dillard will be something to watch heading into next year.
Lane Johnson continues to battle injuries and was on and off the field all game. Jack Driscoll stepped in to replace the injured Johnson and to say it didn’t go well would be an understatement. Driscoll struggled the majority of the game but did manage to hold his own against TJ Watt in his limited snaps. Driscoll also lined up on the left side as a tight end to serve as an extra blocker in a few plays. It worked well and showed that Driscoll could potentially play the left side of the line if needed.
Let’s break down each sack allowed by the Eagles’ offensive line.
This was the first of those “lack of effort” sacks. Carson Wentz is escaping the pocket and Matt Pryor’s man breaks free for the sack. It is difficult as a linemen during these scrums but you need to stay in front of your man. Plain and simple. Pryor doesn’t have a sense of where Wentz is and lets go for the sack. It can be difficult because you don’t want to get a holding but if you stay close and engaged inside it is hard to call that holding penalty on you.
Sack #2 was just as lazy. This time it was Jason Kelce. It’s rare that Kelce is the one to make the wrong play. Nearly the same as Pryor’s but not as bad. Kelce looks to still stay in front of his man, there is no reason to disengage. By doing that, the tackle easily targets his shoulder and gets the sack. We’re talking about Jason Kelce. He knows better.
Sack #3 was the worst sack allowed by the offensive line. There is plenty of blame to go around on this sack. Three Eagles players screwed up their blocking on this play. Pryor and Johnson are on a double block and on the Steelers defense, nobody looks to be blitzing. You then see a corner come in on a stunt blitz inside of Pryor. Pryor should have passed off the end and stepped inside to cut off the blitz. However, Pryor doesn’t see the blitz and Johnson doesn’t take full control of the block. The corner screams through and should have been picked up by Corey Clement. Clement sees the corner but never engages him allowing the sack.
Matt Pryor is absolutely destroyed and wheeled back as the Steelers get a much needed sack which pretty much cost the Eagles the game. If Wentz had 2 more seconds, he had Travis Fulgham wide open for a touchdown. Just horrible protection by Pryor on this play.
This was Mailata’s only bad play of the game. Bud Dupree easily killed him on the outside to help seal the game for the Steelers. Mailata needs to be better. Mailata could have easily gotten another step outside on him to cut that move off.
The Eagles now look ahead at Baltimore next week. The Ravens have 16 sacks on the season led by an incredible LB core with Patrick Queen at the helm. Calais Campbell leads the charge up front. The Eagles will need to have better adjustments to stunts and finish their blocks and if they do so, the Eagles offensive line should avoid the slaughter house.
Mandatory Credit: Yong Kim Philadelphia Inquirer