Bowles: ‘It’s a Messed-Up Situation’

Philadelphia Eagles secondary coach Todd Bowles.When answering a barrage of questions about what exactly is going on with the Eagles’ defense right now, Todd Bowles made it clear that his players are failing to properly execute the simplest of assignments.

“The first one was high school cover-3,” Bowles said after the team’s 30-22 loss to the Panthers. “The ball was thrown down the middle of the field. We gave up a touchdown. Inexcusable. The second one was inexcusable too.”

The first one he’s referring to was Cam Newton’s 24-yard touchdown to tight end Gary Barnidge. It looked like safety Kurt Coleman was caught out of position. Barnidge had three catches all season entering Monday night’s game. The score was his first career touchdown.

The second one was a 43-yarder to Brandon LaFell. The Eagles probably should have been aware of LaFell’s ability to make plays downfield. He led the Panthers with 12 catches of 20+ yards entering Monday night’s game. Yet there he was, streaking down the middle of the field, wide-open for the score.

“The second long one was a bust,” Bowles said. “It was inexcusable. Shouldn’t have happened. Everybody knew where they were supposed to be. They weren’t there.”

Why is that still happening at this point in the season?

“I wish I could tell you,” Bowles said.

“They can’t happen. Not at this level, not at this stage of the game, not after what we’ve been through. And everybody has to own up to their responsibility.

It’s tough to pinpoint exactly what’s led to a complete implosion by the Eagles’ defense. Through the first six games, with Bowles coaching the secondary and Juan Castillo serving as defensive coordinator, the Eagles led the league in opponents’ completion percentage (52.3). Here are the results since then:

 
Completions
Attempts
Completion %
Yards
YPA
TDs
INTs
Matt Ryan222975.9%2629.030
Drew Brees212777.8%2398.920
Tony Romo192673.1%2098.020
Robert Griffin III141593.3%20013.340
Cam Newton182864.3%30610.920
TOTALS9412575.2%1,2169.7130

Opponents are completing 75.2 percent of their passes against the Eagles in the five games since Bowles took over. They are averaging 9.7 yards per attempt with 13 touchdowns and no interceptions.

“Not much,” said safety Nate Allen when asked what’s changed under Bowles. “We haven’t changed much. Just put in a few things here and there.  Nothing we can’t handle though.”

Evidence would suggest otherwise.

Bowles’ comments indicate he thinks the players might not be good enough. But he held off from going that far when asked if he had the right personnel to work with.

“I believe we do,” he said. “Everybody’s got to do their own job. Everybody’s got to look at themselves in the mirror and try to get something done. I mean, if you can’t look at yourself in the mirror and take onus on what you did, then you’re not the guy you thought you were.”

Bowles said he might make changes in terms of personnel. But really, that’s not going to accomplish much at this point in the season. Maybe you try to see what you have with unknowns like cornerback Curtis Marsh and safety David Sims. But at 3-8, with the entire coaching staff likely to be gone in a matter of weeks, the Eagles’ season is past the point of no return.

Nnamdi Asomugha was asked if he thought Bowles had any other options besides changing personnel.

“You stick with those people or those groups and you coach them harder,” Asomugha said. “And those players obviously have to take it more – I don’t want to say seriously because they’re taking it seriously – but obviously have to be mentally focused a little bit more than they have been.

“Obviously what Todd has done, I’ve supported, we support. There’s some things that mentally we need to be sharper on.”

As for Bowles, this season has turned into a complete disaster. Thrust into the spotlight midseason as defensive coordinator, he had an opportunity to continue to build on an already strong reputation. Instead, he’s directed a defense that has completely collapsed in the last five games.

“It’s depressing,” he said. “It’s not about me. It’s about the team. We’re just trying to win ballgames. And for that not to happen and [for] us to lose as many games as we did in a row, that’s inexcusable. It’s unacceptable. It’s disheartening. And I feel like everybody else feels. It’s a messed-up situation.”

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

    Turn off the lights, the party’s over…….

  • whiskeybill

    In 5 games Bowles has gone from a prospective head coach to a guy who would be lucky to have a position coaches job next year. Of course he is putting the blame on the players, his reputation took a major hit this year.

    • bsn

      I’d put the blame on the players too. They ran a cover three last night yet there was no safety back covering the middle of the field. Who’s fault is that?

      • whiskeybill

        First time it happened was on the players. Second time it happened it was on Bowles for not making adjustments.

        • bsn

          Adjust to what? If they can’t play the play calls, it doesn’t matter how much he adjusts, they can’t play!

  • LostInChiTown

    Never thought I’d say this, but… can we have Juan back? Because if you can’t get your players to execute simple cover defenses, your communication and teaching skills are seriously lacking. Multiple times yesterday players were running around presnap looking just lost. I wonder if his meetings sound like the teachers from Charile Brown.

  • Myke Lowery

    can they rehire Juan Castillo yet?

  • bentheimmigrant

    I miss Juan.

  • Joe D

    The fake Bunny Colvin failed with this promotion. Hamsterdam > the current Eagles D

    • atlvickfan

      Bunny Colvin got a bad rap. Hamsterdam was actually a good idea. It’s too bad political BS got in the way.

  • Hogans Hero

    Coleman is horrible. They might be better with no one out there.

  • RMC

    I’m with Bowles on this one. On-field execution is terrible. DBs and safeties should be able to run a cover-3 with their eyes closed. it’s instinctual at the pro level. you know where you are supposed to be. I certainly can’t explain the falloff since Juan left. And Nnamdi is crazy. yeah, ‘coach them harder’. If we don’t see some personnel changes next week against Dallas, THEN I’ll put it on Todd.

  • Run Eagles Run

    I hope the people who are asking for juan back are kidding. even if you are its not funny. we are the most despicable fan base in the NFL, I swear.

  • Bob A

    Poor TB went from being an up and comer in this league to a guy that will be lucky to get a job as a position coach next year. Real low IQ players on that D