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June 19, 2023

Assigning blame for each of the Eagles' sacks allowed in 2022

The Eagles' offensive line was great in 2022, but it wasn't perfect.

Eagles NFL
060623LaneJohnson Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

Lane Johnson, still great.

Every year we assign blame for each of the sacks the Eagles allow. In 2022, Eagles quarterbacks were sacked 48 times (44 during the regular season, four in the playoffs). Here is how we would divvy up the blame:

 PlayerSacks allowed 
Jordan Mailata 
Jalen Hurts 
Jack Driscoll 
Isaac Seumalo2.5 
Landon Dickerson 
Jack Stoll 
Kenny Gainwell 1.5 
Lane Johnson 
Miles Sanders 
Grant Calcaterra 


• The headline might lead one to believe that this is a negative article. To be clear, it is not. Of the 48 sacks the Eagles allowed on the season, we determined that only 18.5 of them were the fault of an offensive lineman. Only 13.5 of them were the fault of a starting offensive lineman. This exercise reiterated to me that the Eagles' offensive line rarely fails in pass protection.

If you add up the sacks in the chart above, you'll come up with 24 sacks, which is only half of the Eagles' tally. The other 24 I determined to be a mix of coverage sacks, designed QB runs or RPOs that were mistakenly counted as sacks, and other weird plays in which nobody specific was at fault.

• Jason Kelce gave up zero sacks on the season. He was rightfully named First-Team All-Pro for the fifth time in his career in 2022.

• The other Eagles 2022 First-Team All-Pro was Lane Johnson, laughably for only the second time in his career. If you read me regularly, you already know that I consider Johnson to be the best offensive lineman in the world, and one of the most underappreciated players not only in today's NFL, but perhaps ever. He is a bona fide superstar player at a very important and extremely difficult position. That said, the idea that he has not given up any sacks since 2020 (or whatever the common public sentiment is) simply isn't accurate. He was responsible for a sack against the Texans last season.

I imagine they'll still say during games this season that it's been three years or whatever since Lane gave up a sack, which, I mean, whatever, he deserves every last bit of long overdue positive recognition that comes his way.

• Throughout the first four years of his extremely unique NFL career, Jordan Mailata made drastic improvements in every season, going from a rugby player with no American football experience whatsoever to a well above average starting NFL left tackle. However, 2022 was the first year that his growth as a player perhaps plateaued a bit. He led the team with eight sacks allowed, up from 3.5 a year ago.

Mailata played through some injuries in 2022, so it will be interesting to see if he can continue to take his game to new levels in 2023.

• We dinged Isaac Seumalo for 2.5 sacks, but a couple of those were borderline. He really grew into a good player for the Eagles and may prove to be significantly better than whoever replaces him at RG in 2023.

• Landon Dickerson was a surprise Pro Bowl selection in 2022, in my opinion, but he was markedly better in 2022 than he was as a rookie in 2021.

• Jack Driscoll struggled more than I remembered.

• For the sake of showing one's work, here's a video of each sack, with an explanation of what we saw on each sack thereafter: 

Sack 1: Johnson has his sights set on Austin Bryant (2), but he identifies John Cominsky (79) slanting outside, and Bryant looping inside, so he takes Cominsky and leaves Bryant for the interior guys. Linebacker Chris Board (49) is up in the A gap pre-snap, and he rushes outside. Kelce pushes board off to Seumalo, and picks up Bryant, who is looping in behind Cominsky and Board. Meanwhile, safety Tracy Walker (21) is blitzing from the outside, and the Lions are sending more rushers on that side than the Eagles' offensive linemen can block. 

Walker probably should have been Kenny Gainwell's responsibility, but it's hard to fault Gainwell here when he blocked another guy (Board) who would have gotten free and likely sacked Hurts otherwise. This is a really tough sack to give to Seumalo, but I think he's at fault here for not picking up Board, which led Gainwell to block Board instead of Walker, who ultimately ended up with the sack. 

Man, tough one to figure out right off the bat. I promise they're not all like this.

Sack 2: D.J. Wonnum tries an inside spin on Mailata, but Mailata is able to shove Wonnum inside off of his pass rush track. After Wonnum regroups, he finds himself with a clear path to Hurts, who then moves off his spot and decides to tuck and run, but only gets back to the line of scrimmage. No loss on the play. I'm not dinging Mailata here, as he did not lose this rep, in my opinion. We'll call it a coverage sack.

Sack 3: Wonnum beats Mailata to the outside.

Sack 4: This is an RPO that Danielle Hunter (99) plays very well. There are a few receivers out in routes, so I can understand why the official statisticians are calling this a sack, but to me this could just as easily be called a running play, especially since Dickerson is blocking down the field. We'll categorize this as an ambiguous RPO "sack."

Sack 5: We could maybe call this a coverage sack since nobody is open, but I'm going to ding Hurts here since he could have pretty easily thrown the ball away instead of taking a loss.

Sack 6: This one is trickier than it looks. Efe Obada (97) rushes inside, and Jonathan Allen crosses behind Obada inside. Mailata can't pass off Obada to Opeta (in for an injured Dickerson), because Opeta does not have enough depth. As a result, Mailata is beaten inside, and Opeta is beaten outside, with Obada beating Allen to the quarterback. I think we have to ding Mailata here, but with some wiggle room for debate.

Sack 7: Hurts never really gets any pressure, but nothing is open down the field so he bails and runs out of bounds. This wasn't even a loss of yardage. Opeta did get flagged for holding on the play, but it was declined because it was third down. We'll call this a coverage sack.

Sack 8: Josh Allen's (41) speed-to-power rush puts Driscoll on roller skates. Hurts trips over Driscoll's foot, and Allen jumps on top of him. This is on Driscoll.

Sack 9: Driscoll gets pushed back deep into the pocket once again by Allen, causing Hurts to bail. I think this one is on Driscoll again.

Sack 10: The Cardinals have 8 guys up at the line of scrimmage pre-snap, but they drop 3 of them and rush 5. The Eagles' actually block this up really nicely, but Hurts panics a bit and hijinks ensue.

Sack 11: Once again, the Cardinals have 8 guys up at the line of scrimmage. The Eagles' line is blocking inside out, so nobody blocks Budda Baker (3) or Byron Murphy (7). They get to Hurts quickly, as does J.J. Watt (99), who runs over Seumalo because Seumalo's foot got stepped on. I think this is equally on Gainwell, who did not pick up Baker, and Driscoll, who probably should have had Murphy.

Sack 12: Dorance Armstrong (92) flexes like he did something special here, but this was blocked up fine, as it took more than four seconds for the Cowboys to get a hand on Hurts after the snap. I can't see what is happening down the field here, so it's hard to pinpoint if Hurts didn't see an open receiver or if it's a coverage sack. We'll give him the benefit of the doubt and call it the latter.

Sack 13: This is designed run all the way. Not sure what the statisticians are looking at here.

Sack 14: Again, this is blocked up just fine, so it's either on Hurts or it's a coverage sack. We'll stay consistent and call it the latter. No loss on the play.

Sack 15: This is a tough one. Mailata has his sights on Armstrong (92), and does not block Dante Fowler (56). I think Mailata is in the clear here. Dickerson and Gainwell both have their eyes on Jayron Kearse (27), and they leave Fowler unblocked. On the one hand, the Eagles' lineman typically block inside-out, so it's reasonable for Dickerson to have blocked Kearse instead of Fowler. However, Fowler is a DE, and Kearse is a safety, so there's also a good argument that Dickerson should have had Fowler and Gainwell taken Kearse. This is guesswork, but I think this is on Dickerson.

On the right side, it looks like Driscoll did a bad job on Micah Parsons (11) here, but Parsons only gets to Hurts because Hurts had to retreat backwards out of the pocket away from Fowler, so I don't think this sack is on Driscoll in any way.

Sack 16: This is either on Hurts, or it's a coverage sack. It looks a lot like Goedert is open, and Hurts is looking to that side of the field.

Sack 17: Again, it's either on Hurts, or it's a coverage sack. We'll go with the latter.

Sack 18: Protection is fine, and it looks like Hurts has open receivers on the crossers.

Sack 19: I don't know what is happening here. Several players don't think this play is actually happening, most notably Hurts and Mailata. It's almost as if they heard a whistle or something. Let's call this one a 🤷‍♂️.

Sack 20: Jerry Hughes (55) beats Mailata around the edge.

Sack 21: Hughes beats Mailata around the edge again. (I remember Mailata being bummed out in the locker room after this game.)

Sack 22: Hughes beats Johnson with an inside move, but doesn't finish, at which point Hurts just tries to get as many yards as he can back toward the line of scrimmage before a gaggle of Texans clean up. But Johnson is pretty clearly at fault for this sack.

Sack 23: Montez Sweat (90) barrels into Seumalo from the edge, and then corrals Hurts, who is trying to flee the pocket. This could maybe go down as a coverage sack, but Seumalo also lost this rep and is at least partly responsible.

Sack 24: Four-plus seconds until a defender gets a hand on Hurts. Coverage sack.

Sack 25: Asking Sanders to block Yannick Ngakoue (91) was perhaps was ill-advised.

Sack 26: Bobby Okereke (58) runs through Gainwell, and Hurts is able to escape initially, but once Gainwell lost this rep this play was shot.

Sack 27: Hurts has some time to throw, but this also isn't much of a block by Mailata on Justin Hollins (47). Have to ding Mailata here.

Sack 28: Dickerson is beaten by Jarran Reed (90).

Sack 29: Dickerson gets hurt mid-play, and Jeffery Simmons (98) breaks free into the backfield as a result. Hurts either sees Simmons breaking free or Bud Dupree (48) coming from the edge and tries to flee the pocket, but he is wrangled up by other Titans. You could go a number of different directions here. You could ding Dickerson for allowing Simmons to get free, Calcaterra for failing to block Dupree, Hurts for not hanging in the pocket a little longer when he still had some time, or you could call it a coverage sack. I think Calcaterra is most at fault here.

Sack 30: It would be easy to just give this sack to Mailata, but I don't think he loses this rep. He shuttles Dupree up the field and away from where Hurts would be setting up in the pocket, but when Dupree sees Hurts run left, he slams on the breaks and runs back the other way. Mailata can't reasonably be expected to stick with Dupree in this scenario, given that he can't see what Hurts is doing. Hard to ding anyone here. I'm calling it a coverage sack.

Sack 31: Mailata is beaten by Kayvon Thibodeaux (5) and Seumalo is beaten by Azeez Ojulari (51). They can share this one.

Sack 32: Thibodeaux beats Mailata, other Giants clean up.

Sack 33: This isn't awful by Stoll, but he is still beaten by Ojulari.

Sack 34: Because Sanders doesn't take a moment to assess what is happening on this play and immediately runs over to double Thibodeaux with Stoll, it doesn't appear that he has blitz pickup responsibility. It looks like his assignment is to double all the way. That leaves Zyon Gilbert (38) with a free run at Hurts. Hurts sees it and looks for a hot, but nothing is there so he eats it. Coverage sack or scheme sack, take your pick.

Sack 35: Watch Dickerson on this play. He's a one-man wrecking crew. He shoves Armon Watts (96) to the ground and takes out Kelce in the process, then he heads back to the left and flattens Trevis Gipson (99). He then runs into Hurts, grabs his hips, turns him, and points him in the direction of where he should run, lol. Anyway, when Gipson seemed to have a free run at Hurts, that's when Hurts' eyes dropped and the play was over, but I do also think he had time to throw, and it's hard to ding any linemen here. So... coverage sack? Sure, let's go with that. 🤷‍♂️

Sack 36: Come on, Miles.

Sack 37: Protection isn't bad here, and I don't blame Minshew for not trying to throw it away with Carl Granderson (96) in pursuit, as Granderson could've maybe forced a fumble. We'll go coverage sack again.

Sack 38: The Eagles should have just thrown all RPOs out the window in any Minshew game.

Sack 39: It's not a clean, quick win, but Granderson beats Mailata.

Sack 40: Cameron Jordan (96) puts Driscoll on roller skates.

Sack 41: Tough play to communicate, but Driscoll is oblivious to Seumalo passing off Kaden Elliss (55) to him. 

Sack 42: The Eagles went no-huddle tempo here. Some guys (Seumalo, Kelce) were ready for this ball to be snapped, the rest weren't. Neither Driscoll nor Mailata block their guys. They can share this one.

Sack 43: It appears at first that Stoll and Driscoll are both beaten here, but they're not pass blocking, so I won't ding either of them. I don't know what this play is supposed to be, if I'm being honest.

Sack 44: Zero blitz. 6 rushers, 5 blockers. Hurts has no time, but he also has open receivers. He tries to buy time by running right, but runs right into Nick McCloud. I think this one is on Hurts, though eating a sack on 3rd and Goal from the 10 isn't as bad as turning it over.

Sack 45: Stoll whiffs on Xavier McKinney (29).

Sack 46: This was a rare good rep by Nick Bosa (97) against Johnson. Hurts steps up, rolls right, and gets back to the line of scrimmage, the same outcome if he had thrown it away. This isn't really even a sack.

Sack 47: Hurts didn't need to bail from the pocket here, and he had DeVonta Smith on a linebacker. Hell of a hustle play from Khalen Saunders (99).

Sack 48: Nothing there, Hurts extends the play, eventually runs out of bounds for a 1-yard loss. Coverage sack.

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