The Tape: Eagles @ Seahawks: Chris Spencer

I like it when I sing a player's praises and he shortly thereafter does something special. It's gratifying. Conversely, when I rip a player and they continue to suck, I just grow bored with them. I see Brian Russell as little more than an occasional lark, because he's certainly not a free safety.

I recently analyzed, defended and praised Chris Spencer.

Chris Spencer, still not a value for a first round center, has played well. He's an athletic pull blocker who no longer slips over his shoelaces. He's not Bisquick and you don't see bodies in his wake, but he gets a block on his man and sustains reasonably well, even clobbers occasionally.

Do I quote myself? Oh hell yes. I'm so self-involved I'm Ryan Adams.

Spencer was a big part of Maurice Morris' 28 yard rush. Not the biggest part, but the second.

Philadelphia 17 - Seattle 7

2-10-SEA 38 (9:33)

What a marvel. The game almost in reach! Seattle breaks 3 WR, TE, Rb. Philadelphia in a 4-2 nickel. Here comes the most important part of the play. At the snap, the Eagles overload offensive left, pulling their line right and blitzing strongside* linebacker Omar Gaither and nickelback Joselio Hanson. Seneca Wallace drops back, hands off right, Seattle's line stretches right, man by man: assignment correct, Morris receives, Spencer combo blocks Mike Patterson before pulling into middle rush lane. In a bit of expert strategy, adjustment or luck, Philly's blitzers are lost for the play. Spencer engages and truly seals off weakside* linebacker Stewart Bradley and continues the block until Morris is sprung into the third level. Morris puts on that zany shit that worked pretty damn well in the preseason but is too many moving parts/too few effective open field moves. Not to bash Morris, I enjoy and appreciate Maurice, but a better open field rusher could have scored.

That ability to hold a run block against a good middle linebacker is a great step forward for Spencer. Spencer's growth this season is a huge testament to Mike Solari. Each game I feel more confident in my belief that Spencer is an important part of this team's future. Coaching has helped take a talent on the verge of bust and turned him into player.

Can Dwaine Board do the same for Lawrence Jackson?

*Gaither and Bradley are typically denoted as weakside and middle linebackers respectively. The above described their roles on this play.

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