In the first half last Sunday, the Jaguars sacked Nick Foles five times, forcing three fumbles, recovering two of them. In the second half, they were unable to sack Foles at all. Let's take a look at those five sacks, and what went wrong.

Sack #1

This is a 3rd and 5 situation. The Jags are in great defense for the Eagles' play call. The Eagles are running short routes right to the first down marker, and the Jags are in a 5-across zone look, guarding that first down line. Nothing is open, so it's understandable that Foles held onto the football. You're not just going to throw for the sake of throwing if it's not there.

Jason Peters is beaten to the inside here by the RDE. However, after Foles' first pump, he has to see the Jags' RDE right in his face, and it appears that he tried to reload to throw, whether that be to his receiver, or out of bounds on a throwaway. A throwaway is useless, seeing as it's 3rd down, and you'll be punting anyway, and a throw to covered wide receivers would have been ill-advised. On that second pump, the RDE strips Foles, and it's Jags ball near midfield instead of being buried deep in their own end on a punt. This is a situation where you should probably just take the sack.

This was obviously less than ideal pocket presence.

Sack #2

To begin, on this play, Foles had a wiiiiiiide open Jeremy Maclin. Foles initially has a clean pocket, and Maclin is clearly coming open.

Foles then drifts to his right instead of stepping up in the pocket, and still doesn't see Maclin, who doesn't have a defender in the same zip code.

OK, so Foles missed Maclin. Ignoring that, even if Foles didn't see anything he liked, there's doesn't appear to be any kind of internal clock at work here. From the snap until Foles is sacked, 4.7 seconds elapse. That is far too long to expect your OL to give you a clean pocket.

Additionally, the line of scrimmage is the 25 yard line, and Foles is in the shotgun. Instead of stepping up into a what appears to be a nice pocket that is developing, he drifts back and to his right. His arm is hit as he's trying to throw from a spot 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage. You simply cannot expect your LT to protect a spot 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage, even if he's arguably the best LT in the game.

Jason Peters caught some blame on this play, but this is 100% on Foles.

This play was badness by Foles on so many levels.

Almost sack/fumble

Again, like in the example above, Foles drifts back and to the right. In this example, unlike the one above, Foles does not have a clean pocket to step up into, as the LDE (#90) crossed the face of Allan Barbre and ruined the pocket. Still, file this away as another example of Foles drifting back and to the right, which may be a poor habit he's developing when he doesn't see what he likes.

Sack #3

Evan Mathis beaten cleanly:

Sack #4

Andrew Gardner is beaten:

However, here's what I found interesting on this play, with the disclaimer that I'm guessing on what I see here. It looks a lot to me like Foles initially gave a "body language" fake like he was looking for Maclin deep down the right side. It looked like Foles was trying to move the safety over toward Maclin so he could hit Jordan Matthews clearing across the middle from his right to his left. Unfortunately, the safety didn't bite, and the play was shot. (Bigger version here):

If Foles had just thrown it to Maclin (before he had gotten pressure), he had him open:

While Maclin did get open, I do wonder if the safety would have given DeSean Jackson more respect in this instance. That could change if Foles and Maclin make opposing defenses pay when Maclin is able to beat one-on-one battles down the field, as he did here.

Sack #5

This play is just ugly. It's a screen to LeSean McCoy, and while the design of a screen is to draw the defensive linemen upfield and out of the play, the Eagles' blockers don't get enough of them to give Foles a second to throw, Brent Celek misses on a very difficult block, and Foles is stripped as he tries to throw. The Eagles were perhaps fortunate with the way this play turned out. If Foles had gotten the throw off, he may have been picked by the RDE (#91), who sniffed out the screen and was in position to step in front of McCoy for an INT.


If you'll note in the gifs above, all of the Jaguars' sacks came on four man rushes. With only four rushers, simple math will tell you that there are seven defenders back in coverage.

When the Eagles have an offensive line of Peters-Mathis-Kelce-Herremans-Johnson, teams that try to get to Foles with just four rushers are not likely to have a lot of success. However, as long as the Eagles remain banged up along their OL, Foles will be seeing more seven-man coverages, which he did not handle well in the first half against the Jaguars.

But the Eagles showed they could adjust. On Foles' first 10 throws of the game, Foles averaged 3.21 seconds from snap to throw or sack. On his first 10 throws in the second half, Foles averaged 2.25 seconds from snap to throw. Chip Kelly and Co clearly made halftime adjustments, calling for quicker throws, and the Eagles offense had more success as a result. However, simply making quicker throws every week isn't going to make them the same explosive offense they were a year ago.

Defenses that can get pressure with only four rushers are at a major advantage. Going forward, with the Eagles being undermanned along their OL for at least the next three games, it will be interesting to see how well Foles handles defenses who are getting pressure with only four down linemen, and what adjustments Kelly will make to help his injured OL.

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