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The Day After – at DET


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The Day After – at DET

Posted: September 12th, 2022 | Author: Tommy Lawlor 

The season opener is always a bit of a weird game. Players are still getting into regular season shape so that leads to some missed tackles, dropped passes and things like that. Coaches are unveiling new schemes and/or new plays. The defense has to react to what they’re seeing rather than knowing it from film study. There is also the emotional angle. Some teams are really fired up. Others are still sleepwalking as if this is still the preseason. The point of all this is not too make too much of what happened, good or bad.

The key is to win. You can fix mistakes over time. Making up for a blown opportunity is more difficult. Luckily, the Eagles won. And even that needs some context.


Week 1 is crazy.

Let’s take a look at some big takeaways.


I thought Jalen had a good game. Not great, but good. He ran for 90 yards and a TD. He threw for 243 yards. Hurts didn’t turn the ball over and ran away from multiple sacks. He moved the chains on third down. His QB sneak late in the game helped the Eagles to seal the win.

There were some issues. My biggest complaint came late in the first half. The Eagles were out of timeouts and there were 14 seconds on the clock. I instructed Jalen through the TV to make sure that he threw into the end zone. If you complete the pass inbounds, there probably won’t be enough time to spike the ball and stop the clock.

Jalen didn’t listen to my coaching. He threw the ball to Kenny Gainwell, inbounds. Luckily the pass was off target and incomplete. That could have cost the Eagles three points and significantly changed the game. He’s got to be smarter in future situations. There is nothing wrong with settling for the FG in that situation. You can’t risk running out of time.

I didn’t like the Eagles passing game in the red zone. They went 4 for 5 in the red zone due to the run game, but the passing plays didn’t look good. I’m not sure if the coaches didn’t call good plays, Jalen didn’t do a good job or Detroit’s defense overwhelmed them with good blitzes. Probably some combination of those things.

The Eagles must be able to throw the ball effectively in the red zone. That’s something to watch in the next few weeks.


One game is one game. Last year the Eagles defense looked great in the opener. They held the Falcons to 6 points and 260 yards. Hassan Ridgeway had a sack and 3 QB hits. Derek Barnett had a couple of TFLs. There was a lot of reason for excitement. Just a couple of weeks later Dallas scored 41 points and then the Chiefs scored 42. The promise of the opener was long gone.

The Eagles defense did not play well on Sunday. They gave up 386 yards and 35 points to Jared Goff and the Lions. Detroit was 4 for 4 in the red zone. Just one stop down there would have made a huge difference. Not an ideal start. Plenty of people are ready to fire Jonathan Gannon into the sun. He’s not my favorite Eagles defensive coordinator to be sure, but I’m trying to give him a chance.

To be fair, we really need to see a month of games to have a good feel for things. That gives the coach and players time to get into the rhythm of the season and figure out what works and what doesn’t.

This is a crucial year for Gannon. So far, not good. He was more aggressive, but his use of personnel was flat out weird. I’ll have more on this after fully re-watching the game. Jordan Davis only playing 22 snaps while Marlon Tuipulotu got 29 snaps is…an odd choice.

Gannon better figure things out quickly. The Vikings piled up 395 yards in their opener. They’ll be a big challenge for the Eagles.


Am I the only one who is sick of hearing this word? Dan Campbell had his guys fired up and they did play hard. I thought they played with more of an edge than the Eagles. This game meant more to them.

And they lost.

The Eagles were the better team. The scoreboard could have read

Talent 38
Grit 35

As an Eagles fan, I’ve been on the other side of this plenty of times over the years. Remember the 2007 game against the undefeated Patriots? AJ Feeley vs Tom Brady. The Eagles showed a ton of heart. And lost 31-28. New England was just better.

Grit is good. Talent is better. The Eagles have good talent this year. There are issues to fix, but having talent means there should be solutions for those problems.

If you want a better memory of Talent vs Grit…go back to Week 2 of 1997. The defending Super Bowl champion Packers came to The Vet to take on the Eagles. Could Ty Detmer and Mike Mamula beat Brett Favre and Reggie White?


That was a wild game.


Early season sloppiness hurt both teams. Penalties were an issue for both (PHI 10-61, DET 7-67). This was an issue for the Eagles last September. They eventually cleaned things up, but it hurt them in the opening month. Nick Sirianni will really focus on the pre-snap penalties and getting that fixed.

Missed tackles and dropped passes also hurt both teams. Backup TE Noah Togiai dropped a short pass that ended up killing a drive. When the ball hits you in the hands on a short throw, you have to make that catch.

Big Play Slay dropped an INT. It wasn’t going to be easy, but the ball came right to him. Need to make those plays. The Lions ended up scoring on that drive.

The play clock was an issue a few times on Sunday. The coaches might have been slow in getting calls in. Jalen might have been making too many adjustments at the line. The Lions did show a lot of heavy blitz looks and that does force the offense to adjust. A few Eagles said crowd noise was an issue. No matter what the cause, the Eagles need to get this cleaned up.


One of the things I stressed in the offseason was the need for the Eagles to get playmakers. They did just that and you could see the value in the moves yesterday.

AJ Brown was a homerun move. He comes in as a proven receiver who can get open consistently and can make things happen. Brown showed his value right away, going 10-155 in the opener. He made things look easy. And this wasn’t luck. Detroit didn’t have CBs falling down or blowing coverages. Brown ran great routes and got open based on skill.

Kyzir White is a playmaking LB. We saw that on Sunday. He had 5 tackles and a TFL. He broke up a pass that was then picked off and returned for a TD. You need playmakers in the middle of the field.

James Bradberry was the DB who picked off the pass and returned it for the score. He has terrific ball skills. He’s the corner who can have the ball come his way unexpectedly and still make the catch, as he showed yesterday. Bradberry has already matched Steve Nelson’s INT total from his 16 starts last year.

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson had 5 solo tackles and broke up a pass. He’s replacing Anthony Harris, who broke up 3 passes in 14 starts last year.

You love to get immediate return on your moves.




You really hate to see this. Barnett hasn’t lit things up since being drafted back in 2017, but he did make some key plays in the Super Bowl run. I hope his rehab goes smoothly. The one bright spot is that he should be healthy by next summer.

Tarron Jackson will get some of his reps. Gannon could also change up some things. He could mix in Milton Williams at DE. He could use Kyron Johnson in some situations. We’ll see what happens.

When the Eagles put Barnett on IR, they’ll have two roster spots open. I’m curious to see what they do.


Dallas had a rough Sunday night. They lost to the Bucs, 19-3, and the game wasn’t that close.


Dak Prescott was 14-29-134 and had a bad INT. Yikes.

Things got worse.



Dallas lost a lot of talent in the offseason and was going to really need Dak Prescott to have a big year, as the young players around him developed. So much for that plan. Cooper Rush will take over at QB for the next six weeks or so. Every game could be tough in this stretch.

It sure would be a shame if their lack of depth and good offseason moves came back to hurt them.


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we were destined to lose, but rode the wave until the clock ran out.

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