How Will Bowles Change the Eagles’ Scheme?

Philadelphia Eagles secondary coach Todd Bowles.Given that it’ll be Week 8 when Todd Bowles coaches his first game as the Eagles’ defensive coordinator, how much of an imprint can he really put on the team’s scheme?

“The scheme is not going to change,”Andy Reid said. “The terminology isn’t going to change. But how we work within that is how you do that.”

We’ll hear from Bowles later today, but it sounds like the Eagles will tweak the system that’s currently in place. And that makes sense, given that we’re six games in, and the defense has played really well in stretches. Considering Bowles has coached the secondary all season, I wouldn’t expect many changes there. The Eagles are limiting opposing quarterbacks to the lowest completion percentage (52.7) and second-lowest yards per attempt (6.2) in the NFL.

The front four, however, could be a different story. Jim Washburn’s group has gone without a sack in three straight games. One key to the last 10 games is finding a way to get that group going.

“When you develop the wide-nine, you’re giving up a couple of things to get a whole lot, in theory,” Reid said. “That puts your guys in a pass rush situation the whole time because you’re moving off of people’s bodies to give them the opportunity to rush the passer. With that, if you add in the blitz – also, with Jim [Johnson] you would think by the way people talk is that he blitzed every down, and that’s not what he did. He blitzed a very low percentage of the time, but he blitzed at opportune times. It’s how you utilize the blitz within that scheme. We can do a better job in that area. That’s what we’ll try to do.”

Reading between the lines, Reid might agree with some of the things Nnamdi Asomugha said after the Lions game. It wasn’t that the Eagles blitzed a lot more near the end of the game, but when they did send extra pressure, they weren’t especially effective. On two plays late in the game, the Eagles blitzed and got burned for 17-yard receptions by Calvin Johnson.

As for the wide-nine, Reid said he still believes it can work for this defense.

“I still think it’s a viable defensive line scheme,” he said. “I think that there are certain things that you can do in it and you have to utilize certain things in it to make it better. That’s what we’ll attempt to do.”

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.