The analysis of the energy transfer mechanisms in a filtered wall-turbulent flow is traditionally accomplished via the turbulent kinetic energy balance, as in Härtel et al. (Phys. Fluids, vol. 6, 1994, p. 3130) or via the analysis of the energy spectra, as in Domaradzki et al. (Phys. Fluids, vol. 6, 1994, p. 1583). However, a generalized Kolmogorov equation for channel flow has recently been proven successful in accounting for both spatial fluxes and energy transfer across the scales in a single framework by Marati, Casciola & Piva (J. Fluid Mech., vol. 521, 2004, p. 191). In this context, the same machinery is applied for the first time to a filtered velocity field. The results will show what effects the subgrid scales have on the resolved motion in both physical and scale space, singling out the prominent role of the filter scale compared to the cross-over scale between production-dominated scales and inertial range, lc, and the reverse energy cascade region ΩB. Finally, we will briefly discuss how the filtered Kolmogorov equation can be used as a new tool for the assessment of large eddy simulation (LES) models. Classical purely dissipative eddy viscosity models will be analysed via an a priori procedure.