• July 3, 2022

Eagles Defense Crumbles: 2nd Possession 80-Yard TD Drive In Four Plays

The second time the Niners got the football, they started on the twenty-yard line after the Eagles kicked a field goal to take a 23-3 lead. On the first play from scrimmage, Niners quarterback Alex Smith hit tight end Delanie Walker coming across the middle against the zone for a gain of four yards. Jamar Chaney and Brian Rolle made the play.

On the next play, the Birds played a zone with Nmandi Asomugha inside against the slot receiver at the nickel back position. San Francisco lined up running back Kendall Hunter outside with Asante Samuel lined up against him. Niners quarterback Smith was flushed out of the pocket by Phillip Hunt, who went inside from his left defensive end position and Smith got outside of him and rolled to his right.

The Eagles zone defense broke down. There’s a scramble rule when you’re playing zone defense which goes something like this. Don’t go up after the quarterback until he crosses the line of scrimmage. It’s the defensive line’s job to get the quarterback before he crosses the line of scrimmage if a linebacker or defensive back goes up early, he will open up an area for the quarterback to throw the ball. This rule was broken by a number of the Eagles on this play.

As Smith rolled to right, Samuel lost track of Hunter and headed up after Smith leaving the shot outside flat area unguarde. Asomugha left his zone and wound up outside in what should have been Samuel’s area. The 49ers running back Hunter wisely drifted into the curl area where Asomugha had abandoned . With Samuel going up after Smith, Hunter was wide open.

If middle linebacker Jamar Chaney had been doing his job properly he would have slid over and took away Hunter as an option for Smith and the quarterback would have had to throw the football away. Instead, he came over from his middle linebacker spot and went up to get Smith. Of course Chaney was breaking the scramble rule just like Samuel had done. With two defenders abandoning their zone and coming after him, Smith just dumped the ball over the heads of the pursuing defender to Hunter. He caught the football and turned the play into a 44 catch and run.

This mishap exposed the fact that Samuel, Asomugha and Chaney all got sloppy on their zone coverage. That’s a sign of an undisciplined defensive unit. Remember the scramble rule when you’re playing zone defense. If you’re in a zone you don’t come up until the quarterback crosses the line of scrimmage. Of course, once he crosses the line of scrimmage, he can’t pass the ball any more. As long as he’s behind the line of scrimmage, you stay back in your zone and defend any receivers in your area.

You can see that Asomugha isn’t used to playing that nickel position because he drifted over by the sideline which was really Samuel’s area. If Chaney were a veteran he would have come over and seen the problem and clamped on Hunter, but like a young player he made the foolish mistake of going up after the quarterback.

On the next play, the Niners gave Hunter the ball on a quick trap, but the Birds did a good job on it and held him to a two-yard gain.

On the very next play with the ball on the thirty-yard line, Castillo tried a blitz and it was executed just as poorly as the zone defense from a couple of plays before.

Asomugha took off from the nickel spot on the blitz, safety Jarrad Page also blitzed. He got started so late, he might as well not even have gone. It was a poor job on his part of getting in position to blitz. Asomugha gave away his blitz, so it was quite easy for Smith to read it.

I have no idea what Samuel was doing on that play. You would figure with a blitz on he would be playing up in a press technique and taking away the inside routes of the receiver. Instead he dropped off and let Joshua Morgan run unimpeded on his slant route.

Safety Nate Allen was sitting inside and didn’t do anything on the play. He should have been able to do something but he gave no help on the play. Tight end Vernon Davis released and nobody was covering him either.

Eagles linebacker Brian Rolle looked like he was supposed to look up the receiver. It wouldn’t be a sound coverage to have a linebacker covering the wide receiver on that play. Rolle dropped into coverage and he was the closest one to the Morgan when he caught the ball on the wide open slant route, but Samuel made no attempt to cover him.

It doesn’t make sense to be sending Pro Bowl corner Asomugha on the blitz and leaving Rolle to cover the wide receiver.

It looked like everybody on the defense was playing a different coverage or blitz. You can’t do a poorer job as a defensive coordinator if everybody is playing a different defense. The defensive coordinator position involves coordinating the players.

With the score that play it became an 80-yard drive in four plays. Jim Mora Jr., who was the analyst on the Fox telecast, said before the play that the Niners needed to score immediately to have any chance of winning the game.


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Eagles Defense Crumbles: First Niners Drive Of The Second Half

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  • I only saw the TV feed, but definitely noticed Samuel out of position on the two plays we got gashed on. Why would you expect Safety help if there’s a Safety blitz going on?

    Also, why the hell are you running a safety blitz in the first place when you got burned on one of those the week before? The D looked fine the first half, then looked like a bad joke at the fan’s expense the second half.

    Castillo, you can have all the fire you want, and talk about trials all you want, but you haven’t proven that you can get out of anything yet. I was asked to play LB when I was in high school, maybe that qualifies me to be the DC for the Eagles!

  • Don’t worry guys….Reid press conference today he said he will look at everything..

  • Well the offense hasn’t been doing diddly in the 4th quarter either

    A sustained drive and then a TD in the Red Zone would help

  • Hey G
    Now that undersized Mathews isn’t playing I quess if we watched closely we would see 220 lb Brian Rolle “SHREDDING” the offensive linemen

  • Horrible angles and nobodys breaking down and wrapping. D-cords job.
    Good call on NA blitzing…wtf has he had success in that situation?D-cord and whatever dbag coach told him to send our best cover guy.(WHom had excellent coverage at some crucial 3rd and longs when the o needed the ball back only too fail.AGHHHHHH!).
    They lose too Bills and Castillo must be demoted and Washburn takes over the cord job.

    Tonto….nice…hes assuring us of his attention to detail yet ignoring his ineffectiveness in the r-z,how do they not boot VICK ONE FUGGIN TIME THIS YEAR IN THE END ZONE…MESSAGE TO COACHES…HES FAST /QUICK AS HELL!!

    Go Phills.

    Positive angle..lose 3 in a row early better then late? I dunno.

    Kirk Morrison?He was there.

  • erock – Washburn was quoted as saying he definitely has no interest in being a D-coordinator.

  • Erock

    Just to cover all bases, the Eagles will probably lose 3 early, 3 late and 3 in the middle. We’re thorough that way.

  • Hire former Titans DC Tim Hauck, who could at least assist Castillo and has worked with DL Coach Washburn for years and they know & like each other..
    Tim Hacuk was a kick ass Safety who played with reckless abandon and was not the most talented player on the field, but he would let you know he was in the game,,,He would be a huge help for Castillo and would be a nice fit for the team..

  • Schiller Reid interviewed 20+ defensive coordinators and picked Juan Cheerleader. How f’in dumb is that. How is he going to rectify the mistakes of the defensive players when he doesn’t know what the hell he is doing as the DC.You sound like Reid and Banner more and more each day.

  • 20+ eh? That sounds like an exageration to me. Big everyone agrees Juan hasn’t looked good at all so far. But show me a new DC in the league who has! Youknow how in college most agree a new head coach needs a full recruitmment class to be accurately evaluated? You give this guy your initial jump to conclusion and four games without a rookie camp or OTAs? That is unsensible.

  • SCHILLER- how many new DC’s are there in the league without any experience at all in any professional capacity as DB DL or LB coaching. To me this is unsensible. This is not college Schiller. Get you head out of the sand. It’s downright idiotic.

  • Big – 1 (Juan Castillo). Look I’m not denying that it’s unorthodox, has never been done before, and ‘out of left field’. All those things are true. And you can have your opinion of it (as you, and probably everyone does). I don’t feel strongly that it was a good idea or that it was wise at all. I do however think that just because it’s never been done before, doesn’t make it wrong or idiotic.

    And I do of course agree that up to this point, it clearly hasn’t translated to success.

    BUT I (this will shock you) strongly believe in the time tested reality of life that an accurate and sensible assessment of something requires a porportionate sample size, and a consideration of context and influencing factors. If Juan came in as the DC and then in training camp a horrible disaster struck Lehigh that left the majority of his defense paralyzed, and then they didn’t play well that season – if you concluded that Juan was a bad DC from that, I’d say you were failing to account for signifcant context. Now thankfully that didn’t happen. However, every postiion coach under the new DC is new. I can count 3 new CBs, 2 new Safeties, 2 new LBs, and 3 new DL. There’s also the shortened offseason that critically affected rookies and new players not to mention the instalation of the entire scheme. You can call that excuses if you want, but whatever you call them, they are key aspects of CONTEXT that effect the situation significantly.

    Also, the LBs handed to Juan ARE weak. And yes, you can place blame for that on Reid/Roseman et al

    And 4 games is 25%. How did Chase Utley’s season look 25% into this year? Comapred to now?

    Are you confident that Detroit will get to the superbowl? They’re PERFECT 25% of the way through the season.

    Give Juan a season, see how this defense responds to this adversity. I personally would give him more than a season to fairly evaluate his ability to be a good DC. The only already good player on the defense that may leave (from where I see it right now) is Asante after this season and we know they have depth at CB so I don’t see why we can draft LBs high next year (I sure hope they break from philosphy and actually do it), and continue to build on this defense – it sure is needed.

  • Hey Schill?

    Do you think a guy like Dick Jauron who have had success at the defensive position in the past would have been a better choice for the job in comparison to an offensive line coach?

  • Songs, I think that it’s quite possible. I’m not sure Juron was available and/or interested in the job. I’m also not sure it’s useful to play ‘what if’ or dwell in the past at this point.

  • Ok shill, so what do you think the solution is for a failed offensive line coach that sucks ass at the defensive coordinator’s position?

  • Schill, will you stop comparing Football to Baseball..
    Baseball, you can have 1-2 bad months or be injured and comeback to make a contribution to your team.. Football plays 16 games and is 4 months long
    Play like shit for 25% of the Football Season and your Season is over..

    The No-brainer pick would have been Former Titan’s DC Tim Hauck who has worked with DL Washburn for years and familiar with the Wide Nine Fronts.. I believe Tim Hauck is still unemployed and should be brouht in immediately

  • Paulman don’t feed into it…He makes these crazy comparisons as a”SCHILL” and to switch the focus of the blog.

    How could one compare a defensive coordinator to a baseball player?

    If that’s not grasping at straws…….

    Keep him on the discussion and don’t let him divert….He’s a worm.

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