Missed Opportunities: Week 8

Howdy, team!

I figured I’d start a little film review segment for y’all: I’m going to break down three plays on which Philadelphia coulda, shoulda, woulda seen a positive outcome, but didn’t. We know that many little factors can impact the execution of a concept, block, release, or likewise–we’ll also look into those, and how they may continue to show up moving forward. If you missed Week 7: https://www.lockedoneagles.com/missed-opportunities-week-7/

Our first clip for Week 8, just as it was for Week 7, is a missed Alshon Jeffery touchdown. If you’re a regular listener (you’re my favorite), you know that we’ve been critical of Alshon’s performance and we’re suspicious regarding his role in this offense. That being said, Wentz has missed him on his fair share of throws, and that must frustrate the wideout.

On this route concept, Wentz actually makes 9/10ths of a fantastic play.

The Niners show a 2-high look before the ball is snapped, and Carson opens to the left side of the field, towards TE Zach Ertz and RB Corey Clement’s routes. There’s a chance Jeffery has an option route here: should he read one-high safety, he runs a certain route; should he read two-high, he manipulates the route accordingly.

Carson immediately recognizes post-snap that the safety are actually playing a Cover 1 Robber technique. In Robber, one safety plays the middle of the field deep, and another–the robber–lurks in the middle of the field in the intermediate area. Regardless of whether or not Alshon has an option on his route, Carson makes the correct read in resetting and turning to Jeffery, whose Dino route will open up against this Cover 1 look.

Alshon runs the Dino nicely. “Dino” refers to a post, or 8-route, but with an outside break at the top to generate inside leverage. This is perfect work between the wide receiver and quarterback. Both know where the space is on the field, and both get there on time.

So, what went wrong? Carson got absolutely leveled by a stunting DL on this play. The game SF runs up front is very impressive–as were all of the defensive line games they brought to Philadelphia, a new and surprising wrinkle in their defensive scheme. Should Carson step up cleanly into this throw, it should be an easy six.

Next week, Alshon. Promise.

Up next, we have another poor Carson play–this time, the young QB is more at fault. An interception that was placed squarely on Mack Hollins’ shoulders on the broadcast–and he still bears some blame–actually should have been avoided by the gunslinger.

Lots to unpack here.

Obviously, Mack shouldn’t break of his route–and there’s no reason to believe it was designed for him to stop. But you can’t blame the rookie entirely: based off of the coverage of SF CB Ahkello Witherspoon, the ball never should have came Hollins’ way.

Pre-snap, it’s clear San Fran is playing man coverage across the board and potentially bringing pressure. It’s 3rd and 14, and they’re deploying a high-risk, high-reward strategy here. Reasonable to believe they’ll get to Carson, as they’ve done all game–but Carson needs to know where this ball should go if he gets even a second to release it.

It should go to–you guessed it, sports fans–Alshon Jeffery.

The #2 WR on the strong side of the formation, Alshon runs a seam route against 1-on-1 coverage. TE Zach Ertz runs the clear out post, and Hollins come underneath on the deep dig.

Now, SF ends up dropping defenders into short zones, bringing only a regular pass rush. That eliminates the quick crosser from Nelson Agholor, the lone wideout on the weakside. Maybe Carson wants to read across the field, to Ertz first, but as those linebackers gain depth underneath the post, he’s eliminated from the play.

Because Hollins is lined up on the boundary against pure man coverage, the corner against him–Witherspoon–will play with strong inside leverage, using the sideline to his advantage. Maybe a comeback works against this technique, or the deep fade, but certainly not an in-breaking route. But Carson, likely entrenched in a pre-snap determination of his own, tries to force the ball in to Hollins, who has cut off his route, certain the pass wasn’t coming his way.


Just watch Jeffery on that seam, man. A well-placed ball to the inside, away from the corner, is a 50+ yard gain.

Finally, let’s turn to the defense. The league-leading Philadelphia Eagles came in to the contest allowing less than 70 yards/game on the ground. Without Jordan Hicks for the first time this season, Philadelphia surrendered 94 yards on the ground. Now, plenty of those came courtesy of C.J. Beathard, the saucer-eyed rookie QB escaping the pass rush. But the Niners found regular success with first-down runs, and better squads will see and exploit that.

It’s tough to put all of the blame on the replacement backers/Malcolm Jenkins, who played some linebacker last week. But the reality is: Joe Walker isn’t sniffing Jordan Hicks, and the loss of Hicks also is a detriment to Mychal Kendricks’ and Nigel Bradham’s respective games.

Both of these backers play this poorly. Let’s start with Joe.

Walker does a good job reading the action of the offensive line and flowing. He reacts even quicker than Kendricks, which can be a positive if you look at it from the right angle. But Walker makes a confounding decision in the hole. He has a clear alley to attack Hyde downhill, as RT #62 hesitates, caught between DE Brandon Graham and Walker. (Please, casually, feel free to note Brandon Graham doing holy things as a backside defender once again.)

And how often have we seen Hicks and Graham make this play in unison? But Walker, in a moment of self-doubt, or perhaps too focused on stacking the oncoming block, fails to attack Hyde and lets him worm his way through a tiny crease.

A tiny crease that leads him directly to Mychal Kendricks.

Kendricks had to take on a block on this play, and that is never good news for Eagles fans. An athlete and downhill force, Kendricks does well to remain patient, and not get sucked in by that initial daylight he sees. That’s not his gap; it’s Fletcher Cox’s.

But, instead of flowing hard into that gap and meeting the RG #53 with velocity and power, to traffic jam the bajesus out of this run play, he waits. Kendricks goes straight Bambi-in-BMW-LEDs when he sees a climbing lineman coming his way. As such, Hyde has space with which to work, as Kendricks finally meets him, four yards down the field. Kendricks can’t make the open-field tackle, and Hyde picks up eight.

Bradham and Kendricks have played lights-out this season, and we know the coaching staff is high on Walker–but none of these players have the technically-sound game of Jordan Hicks. His presence in diagnosing plays and doing the dirty work that lets others shine will be sorely missed.


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Poor WWE fan realizes how real pro wrestling can be

Wrestling fan Mike Baltazar wears a mask during a WWE fan appreciation event in Hartford, Conn., Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010. Pro wrestling fanatics in Hartford on Saturday said the former WWE CEO's campaign has no bearing on their enjoyment of the WWE. The company was in Hartford's XL Center for Fan Appreciation Day. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

Pro wrestling is fake, just about every WWE fan over the age of 12 knows this.

But that doesn’t mean the pain isn’t real — just ask this poor soul sitting in the front row of Tuesday’s SmackDown Live in Norfolk, Va.

Baseball fans worry about being hit by foul balls. Basketball fans worry about being trampled on by a player who’s lost his footing. Wrestling fans now need to worry about flying announcer’s tables, apparently.

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Nick Bonino tricks teammates with Halloween prank

Oct 10, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville Predators center Nick Bonino (13) celebrates with left wing Pontus Aberg (46) defenseman Mattias Ekholm (14) and defenseman P.K. Subban (76) after a goal during the second period against the Philadelphia Flyers at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Bonino of the Nashville Predators came up with a pretty cool Halloween costume idea: He and his wife dressed up as hockey fans and attempted to get autographs.

The video is via P.K. Subban, who narrates from a safe distance. Not only is the costume idea genius, Bonino’s teammates seem to have no idea.

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Rich Hill fired up after early hook

Oct 31, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Rich Hill (44) is relieved by manager Dave Roberts (30) in the fifth inning in game six of the 2017 World Series against the Houston Astros at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Having allowed a solo home run to George Springer in the third inning, Los Angeles Dodgers starter Rich Hill found himself in more trouble in the fifth inning against the Houston Astros.

Thanks to two hits and an intentional walk, the Astros had the bases loaded with two out in the frame, and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts made the decision to remove Hill from the game.

It’s safe to say that Hill was not happy with the move, and some cups of water in the dugout ended up on the ground as a result.

While Hill wanted to work his way out of the jam, which Brandon Morrow was able to do as his replacement, the fact that this is an elimination game means that there isn’t any margin for error.

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Staffer spooks Dabo Swinney during team meeting

Oct 13, 2017; Syracuse, NY, USA; Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney looks at the video board against the Syracuse Orange during the first quarter at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Not only is Halloween good for the costumes, it’s also good for the opportunity to scare someone who may not be paying attention. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney found himself on the receiving end of such a scare during a team meeting Tuesday, with a costumed staffer sneaking up on him after the lights were turned off in the meeting room.

While on the receiving end of this scary moment, Swinney also received some good news Tuesday night as the reigning national champions were ranked fourth in the first College Football Playoff Top 25.

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Photo Of The Day By Thomas Piekunka

Today’s Photo Of The Day is “ExoPlanet Lunar Eclipse” by Thomas Piekunka. Location: Mono Lake, California.
Photo By Thomas Piekunka

Today’s Photo Of The Day is “ExoPlanet Lunar Eclipse” by Thomas Piekunka. Location: Mono Lake, California.

“This image captures the entire lunar eclipse cycle taken in roughly 10-minute intervals starting at 1:00 am and ending at 4:00 am, approximately, in October 2014 out the South Tufa area of Mono Lake,” says Piekunka.

Photo of the Day is chosen from various OP galleries, including AssignmentsGalleries and the OP Contests. Assignments have weekly winners that are featured on the OP website homepage, FacebookTwitter and Instagram. To get your photos in the running, all you have to do is submit them.

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12 Favorite East Coast Photography Locations

While many think the west is the best when it comes to landscape photography, there are many locations on the east coast that provide sweeping vistas, plentiful wildlife and spectacular seasons. Here are 12 must-see east coast locations for landscape, nature and wildlife photography.

1. Coastal Areas, Maine

With 57 active lighthouses, 30-plus miles of white sand beaches, and thousands of miles of rocky shoreline and tidal inlets, and you have one of the best places in the world for shooting beautiful seascapes. Read more …

2. Crawford Notch State Park, White Mountains, New Hampshire

Located in the heart of New Hampshire’s White Mountains, Crawford Notch State Park encompasses 5,575 acres and offers towering cliffs, granite outcrops, impressive waterfalls, lakes, ponds and potential wildlife sightings. Read more …

3. Salisbury Beach State Reservation, Massachusetts

On the northern coast of Massachusetts lies a destination that’s well known by birders: Salisbury Beach State Reservation. It’s one of the state’s most popular beaches during the summer, but during the fall and winter the park is much quieter, and you may also spot harbor seals along the rocks and jetty at this time. Read more …

4. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Pennsylvania

Just an hour-and-a-half drive from New York City lies 67,000 acres of mountain ridge, forest and floodplain known as the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. In addition to capturing the beauty of nature, you’ll also find archaeological areas such as remnants of copper mines, cemeteries and farms to photograph. Read more …

5. Letchworth State Park, Genesee Region, New York

About 30 minutes southwest of Rochester and an hour southeast of Buffalo is the 14,350-acre Letchworth State Park. Many scenic overlooks dot the 17-mile road that winds through the park where you can explore hiking trails and waterfalls, and there’s the option to extend your visit by staying in the seasonal cabins or campground. Read more … 

6. Turkey Creek Falls, New River Gorge National River, West Virginia

The 70,000-acre New River Gorge National River is a part of the National Park Service. It’s the deepest and longest river gorge in Appalachia, cutting through southern West Virginia, and draws visitors from around the world who want to check this incredible sight off their bucket list. Turkey Creek Falls is just one of hundreds of waterfalls that can be found here. Read more … 


10 Favorite Western U.S. Photo Locations

The western United States and Hawaiian Islands provide many iconic photo locations. Here are 10 favorites. Read now.

7. Elakala Falls, Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia

Located in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia, Blackwater Falls State Park is home to multiple waterfalls that are easily accessible via hiking trails. Come for the waterfalls, and stay for the incredible mountain views and seasonal scenes—there really isn’t a bad time to visit this popular location. Read more …

8. Grassy Ridge Bald, Roan Highlands, North Carolina

The Grassy Ridge Bald is located within the Roan-Unaka Mountain Range along the borders of western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee. It’s a popular destination during the summer months due to the cooler weather, but because of the high elevation, extreme weather can be expected. However, it’s the perfect place to capture the expansive, open landscapes that can be found atop the grassy balds. Read more … 

9. Cowee Mountain Overlook, Blue Ridge Parkway, Canton, North Carolina

Head a couple hours southwest from the Grassy Ridge Bald area to reach the Cowee Mountain Overlook in Canton, North Carolina. The Blue Ridge Parkway is the longest linear park in America, and Cowee Mountain Overlook can be found at Milepost 430. The parkway has been named the most-visited site in the national park system and for good reason: The panoramic views are breathtaking, especially during the fall color season. Read more …

10. Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina

About 40 miles northwest of the Cowee Mountain Overlook is Great Smoky Mountains National Park, another popular photography destination in North Carolina. It’s word famous for its scenic mountain ranges, diverse plant and animal species, and wide-ranging atmospheric conditions, and is another must-stop location during the fall color season. Read more …

11. Boca Ciega Millennium Park, Florida

Florida has many excellent locations for bird watching, and Boca Ciega Millennium Park is a bird photographer’s dream come true. It’s one of more than 500 stops along the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail, and contains more than 175 documented bird types. Boca Ciega is home to a number of natural ecosystems, with pine flatwoods, mangrove swamps, salt marshes, wetlands and coastal forest, plus an aquatic preserve with miles of canals and seawalls. Read more … 

12. Venice Area Audubon Rookery, Florida

Located along the west central coast of Florida, the Venice Area Audubon Rookery is home to multiple species of birds, such as great blue herons, great egrets and anhingas. It’s close to numerous other bird photography hotspots, making it easy to travel among other locations such as Fort De Soto in St. Petersburg, J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge near Sanibel and the burrowing owls in Cape Coral. Read more …


Acadia National Park By Land And Sea

Insights for planning your visit to the first national park east of the Mississippi. Read now.

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