and the Eagles’ tight ends On Thursday night two teams currently struggling a bit will face off in front of a prime time audience. For the Philadelphia Eagles [url=]Cheap Sterling Shepard Jersey[/url] , their struggles on both sides of the football are well documented. On defense they are having issues in the secondary and Jalen Mills is a frequent target of concern, as is their difficulty to handle the play-action passing game. On offense it starts up front. In his return to action following knee surgery quarterback Carson Wentz has performed well, completing more than 67 percent of his passes with five touchdowns and just one interception. However, he has been under siege in the pocket, having been sacked 12 times in just three games. Despite the pressure, Wentz does seem to be knocking the rust off in the wake of his injury. I spoke with Michael Kist, who covers the Eagles for Bleeding Green Nation and is one-half of the Kist and Solak Show, and here is what he told me about the Eagles’ young QB:Kist’s mention of Ertz is going to transition us to the focal point of this piece. While this is the “Scouting the Signal-Callers” series we are going to take it in more of a scheme direction this week, and look at how the Eagles utilize — and align -- their tight ends. This makes sense when you consider that Ertz is their most targeted receiver on the year, and rookie Dallas Goedert is seeing more and more looks now that Wentz is back in the lineup. Y-IsoGiven the usage that Wentz gets out of his tight ends, it should be no surprise that the Eagles use a few different formations to scheme Ertz and Goedert open in the passing game. One of those is Y-Iso, a 3x1 formation that has a tight end as the single receiver to one side of the field. Philadelphia will use this with multiple personnel groupings, so even if both players are on the field they might still go Y-Iso with one of them isolated on either the left or the right.These formations, particularly when done using 11 offensive personnel, put the defense into a situation where they might have to dictate pre-snap the coverage. Should Wentz see a linebacker walk outside to cover the isolated tight end, he can be pretty sure the defense is in man coverage. Similarly, should he defense keep a cornerback on the outside over Ertz or Goedert, he can be confident some sort of zone scheme is in play. Defenses can disguise that look by then playing man coverage with a CB on a tight end, but that might open up a mismatch elsewhere on the field for Wentz to exploit. Here an example of the Eagles using this formation here in 2018.This play comes from Wentz’s 2018 debut, against the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts are a Cover 2 heavy team, so Philadelphia looked to attack the “turkey hole” behind the cornerbacks and between the safety and the sideline early and often this game. On this play they align using the Y-Iso formation and with 11 offensive personnel. Goedert (No. 88) is the isolated tight end on the right, and he runs the corner route on a Flat-7 Smash concept, a well-known Cover 2 beater. Running back Corey Clement (No. 30) releases to the flat. Backside the Eagles run a Levels concept:Pre-snap Wentz sees the two deep safeties, as well as the cornerback aligned across from Goedert. That gives him a good indication that the Colts are in Cover 2 here, and he looks right to Goedert in the turkey hole:This next example comes from the Eagles’ loss in Week 5 to the Vikings and is an example of Philadelphia using Y-Iso despite having multiple tight ends in the game. They align with Goedert as the single receiver to the right, but Ertz (No. 86) is part of a three-receiver alignment on the left:Goedert and Ertz run matching curl routes, and Wentz does a very good job of sliding and buying time in the pocket before hitting Ertz with a big gain:Against the Tennessee Titans in Week 4 the Eagles used Y-Iso to get Ertz matched up with safety Kevin Byard (No. 31) on the backside of a 3x1 formation. Even though the Eagles were backed up in their own territory [url=]Cheap Saquon Barkley Jersey[/url] , they came out throwing and Wentz looked to Ertz on the out pattern:Y-Iso is, as we will see, just one way the Eagles align their tight ends to get some favorable opportunities in the passing game. They will use it with either Goedert or Ertz, and will use this formation anywhere on the field. Wing alignmentsThe Eagles also align their tight ends on the wing a great deal, and even employ a Double-Y Wing alignment with both Ertz and Goedert that they can use to attack defenses in the passing game with both tight ends on the same side of the formation. For example, they used the Double-Y Wing alignment on this Divide concept against the Indianapolis Colts, coming out in this formation:As you can see, Goedert breaks to the outside on a corner route while Ertz attacks the middle of the field on a post route. Once more the Colts are in a Cover 2 coverage, meaning that the middle of the field is open (MOFO) on this play. A post is a perfect route to use to attack a MOFO coverage, and that’s where Wentz goes with the football:The Eagles also use this alignment to help with pass protection, and for a team that is struggling to keep their quarterback upright, it can provide a boost in creating a stout pocket. On this first-and-10 play against the Colts, Goedert and Ertz align in the Double-Y wing with a receiver outside of them. The Eagles run a flood concept to the left, and Goedert is tasked with blocking the defensive end first before releasing to the flat:Goedert executes his block and then releases to the flat. Despite the play taking a long time to develop, Wentz is operating from a clean pocket, helped in part by Goedert’s block and release. That gives the left tackle time to set up and then engage the defensive end, and the rookie TE is then open in the flat for an easy seven-yard gain.The Eagles also run a number of spacing concepts, and even when they look to stretch a defense horizontally they will use the Double-Y wing formation to condense the defense prior to running the concept. This is an example of this, from Philadelphia’s Week 5 tilt against the Vikings:As you can see the formation condenses the defense, bringing the cornerback down near the dual tight ends. Both of them release vertically, but Ertz runs a deeper curl route while Goedert breaks to the outside. The CB decides to jam Ertz, which creates an opportunity for Goedert to get separation on his quick flat route for an easy pitch and catch for Wentz.Finally, when the Eagles use a single tight end in a wing alignment, that does not mean you can take their eyes off of them. Philadelphia will use this alignment with either Ertz or Goedert to get them chances in the passing game. Wentz and the Eagles narrowed the gap against Minnesota late last week on a corner route to Ertz in the red zone, with the TE coming out of a wing alignment:In addition, they will use wing alignments to help get their tight ends involved in their RPO-based passing game. On this play against the Titans Ertz is aligned in a wing to the left. The Eagles show run inside, even pulling a lineman to set up the run look. But Wentz pulls and looks to throw to his tight end. As the linebacker vacates underneath [url=]Cheap Odell Beckham Jr Jersey[/url] , Ertz is wide open:As we have seen, part of the goal around these formations and packages is to get open looks for Wentz and his tight ends. This is just one more example of the Eagles achieving that goal.Thursday night pairs two teams who are struggling right now. While the defending Super Bowl Champions might be teetering a big given their protection struggles and some mounting injuries, it is clear from studying Wentz -- and his tight ends -- that their offense is just a few steps away from rounding back into form. Whether that happens Thursday night or not remains to be seen.Film room: Jalen Ramsey backs it all up on the field Jalen Ramsey has done a lot of talking off the field and to this point in his career, he’s back all of that talk up on it.Ramsey, the fifth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, has been one the league’s best cornerbacks since he stepped onto the field as a rookie. He was a big part of a defense that ranked first in DVOA last season. Individually he was one of the hardest corners to pass on in the league. Per Football Outsiders, Ramsey ranked eighth among 81 qualified cornerbacks in yards allowed per pass and seventh in success rate. He was one of six corners to finish among the top 10 in both categories. One of the others was Ramsey’s teammate A.J. Bouye, who ranked 10th in both.While this is going to focus on Ramsey, we can’t ignore the impact Bouye has on the defense. But even with two shutdown corners on the roster, Ramsey more often takes over the lead role. Per the Football Outsiders Almanac, Jacksonville kept their cornerbacks on sides of the field 78 percent of the time, the 16th-highest rate in the league. When the Jaguars did move the corners around, it was to keep Ramsey on an opponent’s top receiver. It even moved into the slot, where Ramsey spent nine percent of his coverage snaps, per Pro Football Focus. And with that, Jacksonville ranked first in DVOA against opposing No. 1 receivers along with just 42 yards allowed per game. With a 6-foot-1, 208-pound frame and 4.4 speed, Ramsey has a size/speed/strength combination not many cornerbacks possess and he takes advantage of it on every snap. The multitude of ways Ramsey can attack makes him such a hard draw for any opposing wide receiver.While Ramsey’s 6-1 height is around the 82nd percentile among NFL cornerbacks, his 33 鈪?arm length puts him in the 96th percentile. He uses that arm length in a variety of ways, one of which is what makes him among the best press corners in the league.The below is a third-and-10 against the Los Angeles Rams. Ramsey lined up tight against Sammy Watkins on the left side of the field.Ramsey initiated contact right off the line and Watkins was not able to fight off the cornerback early. When quarterback Jared Goff got to the top of his drop, Watkins was barely three yards past the line of scrimmage.That type of coverage on the outside opens up the rest of the defense to cover elsewhere. As Watkins is locked down, the single-high safety is able to cover the seam route over the top two defenders underneath that route. The other side of the field potentially has two linebackers on the tight end with the underneath defender able to cover the running back out of the backfield. Also in the slot, A.J. Bouye can sit off Robert Woods who was a checkdown option well short of the first down marker.This tight coverage allows the defensive line to collapse the pocket and with nowhere to throw the ball, Goff gets hit by Calais Campbell for a sack.That size also allows Ramsey to divert routes to the sideline. The below is a first-and-10 against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Antonio Brown during the regular season. After the snap, Ramsey made contact with Brown about five yards past the line of scrimmage then positioned himself inside so Brown could only fade his route down the sideline. As the pair got further down the field, the window for a throw to fit got smaller and while Brown was able to bring in the ball over Ramsey in coverage, he didn’t have enough room to get his feet in bounds and the pass was ruled incomplete.Ramsey is so good at using his leverage and keeping receivers close to the sideline [url=][/url] , which decreases the chance of a catch. He does that here on a second-and-7 against DeAndre Hopkins.For a lot of press corners, that’s where it stops. But Ramsey also has the speed and instincts to play off receivers and still make an impact. Take this play against the Seattle Seahawks from Week 14. After motion, Ramsey is about seven yards off the line of scrimmage across from Doug Baldwin.With such long strides and abrupt quickness, Ramsey was able to backpedal nearly 15 yards — around 20 past the line of scrimmage — before he needed to flip his hips and run with his back to the quarterback. This put him in position to stay back to prevent the deep pass and also have the ability to break on the route if cut short.The pass ended up being a deep pass to the end zone, but with Ramsey in superior position the whole way, he was able to push past Baldwin and put himself in the better position to make the catch for an interception.It’s possible for Ramsey to sit back like that because he might be the best corner in the league at breaking on the ball. His ability to read the quarterback and receiver in addition to his quickness makes him a threat to make a play regardless of the receiver or the route.This is something that became an emphasis for the Jaguars last season — allowing Ramsey to do more things that make him special. After some vocal concerns with the defensive scheme in 2016, defensive coordinator Todd Wash loosened up some of the responsibilities for his star corner. “He’s opened up [the defense] a lot,” Ramsey told Mike Kaye of the First Coast News last October. “The base stuff that we run is primarily the same but he’s given us more freedom - I would say - to make plays, go out and take gambles and just kind of be free without techniques. We’ve been able to add to our toolboxes and been able to do different little stuff that helps us be successful on Sunday.”The below play came on a third-and-7 against the Indianapolis Colts. Ramsey was lined up against T.Y. Hilton on the right side of the formation (top of screen). Ramsey started to bail before the snap and sat back a few yards behind the first down marker. When Hilton turned to break off his route at the marker, Ramsey planted and broke on the ball for a near interception.Per Football Outsiders, Ramsey led all cornerbacks in “defeats” last season. They consider a defeat (1) a tackle that results in a loss of yardage, including sacks (2) any play that results in a turnover, including tipped passes which are then intercepted, or (3) any tackle or tipped pass that leads to a stop on third or fourth down. The pass breakup against Hilton would count as a defeat. Last season Ramsey made a habit of showing up in all three categories.Here’s another play against Brown and the Steelers. Ramsey was again one-on-one with Brown (bottom of the screen). Ramsey played off and at about 12 yards into the route, Brown broke inside and created a decent amount of separation from the cornerback.Against almost any other cornerback, that’s going to be enough for an easy Brown catch in the middle of the field. But with Ramsey’s recovery speed and a throw that ended up a little high, Ramsey was able to get a hand on the pass and tip it to safety Barry Church — who had dropped back from the line of scrimmage to a middle of the field robber in the scheme — for a pick-six.Later in the season Ramsey made a similar play against the Chargers. Ramsey lined up against Keenan Allen, who might be the league’s best route runner, on third-and-1. Ramsey played a little tighter here, but again he was able to read the receiver on his break. With a little pressure in Philip Rivers’s face, the quarterback delivered a rushed high pass that Ramsey was able to tip the ball up for a near interception by defensive tackle Arby Jones — the play was first ruled an interception, but reversed on replay.Ramsey isn’t unbeatable, but he can win in so many different ways it takes a special effort to get the better of him. That’s what Odell Beckham will be tasked with on most of his routes come Sunday. What a way to be welcomed back to the field for the Giants’ top receiver.