Similar Approach, Different Results For Defense

0V3J8893Defensive coordinator Billy Davis said that his game plan for the Panthers was “pretty much the same” one that he put together for the Patriots the week before. Same techniques, same principles, same basic calls. It was just the results that were different.

A unit that surrendered 248 rushing yards (8.0 average) to the Patriots in the preseason opener limited Carolina to just 74 rushing yards on 25 attempts (3.0 average) Thursday night. The first unit yielded just a pair of field goals in the Eagles’ 14-9 win.

“It was so new, the scheme was so new,” said Davis of the first preseason game. “Everybody wanted to do well so bad. I think we pressed a little bit. Tonight felt a lot more relaxed, guys just taking care of their job more than anything.”

The difference was evident from the start. On the first play from scrimmage last Friday, Fletcher Cox was pancaked, DeMeco Ryans abandoned his gap and Nate Allen missed a tackle, leading to Stevan Ridley‘s 62-yard burst. All three levels of the defense broke down. On Carolina’s first running play the unit stayed true, and DeAngelo Williams was greeted in the holes by both Ryans and Patrick Chung, who wrapped him up for a three-yard gain.

The tackling overall was much better. The Eagles were charged with 13 missed tackles against New England, according to Pro Football Focus. They cleaned up their act on Thursday.

“In the run fits, we were in the right places today. We weren’t last week,” said Davis. “A lot of the same formations showed themselves and just by simply aligning better and settling down and playing within the scheme and relaxing and just playing like they practiced, it came together a lot better.”

Chung made a couple big sticks. He finished with four tackles.

“I never thought our defense was bad,” said Chung. “First game jitters are out the way, so we just plan on getting better game by game, day by day.”

“I think just kind of looking at the guys’ eyes out there, everyone calmed down a little bit and that felt good out there,” added Connor Barwin. “I think we tackled a lot better. There is a lot of gang tackling. I think guys filled the gaps.”

There were several players that flashed including Mychal Kendricks, who spent a good part of the night in the backfield and registered a tackle for a loss and a QB hit. Vinny Curry, Bennie Logan and Cedric Thornton appeared to have good nights along the defensive front as well.

Davis was quick to point out that there is still a ton of work ahead of this unit as it continues its transition to a 3-4. But at least they showed progress.

Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

 

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.

  • Adam

    We’ve been so tainted by the last few DC’s that we forget coaches can actually make adjustments week to week to fix mistakes. Davis might not have a great resume but at least he’s an actual defensive coordinator.

    • Weapon Y

      You mean putting a guy who didn’t coach defense since he was the linebackers coach for a high school team 22 years ago in charge of an entire NFL defense was a bad idea?

      • Adam

        Just another fine example of Andy Reid being so smart it’s retarded

    • RIP illa

      I’m in no way disagreeing, as you are 100% correct. I would however like to measure our D vs a good offense and good OC and HC, like the Pats rather than the Panthers, who are in no way shape or form close close to being a good O. Yes they have a decent stable of backs, and Cam is a freak athlete, and Steve Smith, but still their O leaves a lot to be desired. And next week vs the Jags, who are horrible, shouldn’t be a measuring stick either.

      Basically I was/am looking for sound discipline defense, no blown assignments, and players playing w/ heart and pulling us further away from the soft label, which we have aquired over the years. Anything more than that, and I’m thinking, bonus. Oh yeah, a couple more TOs would be really freaking nice!

      I wish I could say that I’m looking for us to dominate weaker O’s but we are a transitioning D who needs more “talent” on that side of the ball.

  • JBShakes

    Should we be at all concerned that the ostensible first-team front seven have yet to record a sack? Granted, both New England and Carolina have very good to great offensive lines, but still…

    • Steag209

      No, simply because last year how may sacks did we have in the preseason?

      • JBShakes

        Why would I care about that? I care about how this team is performing RIGHT NOW. With the deficiencies this team has in the secondary, getting consistent pressure is going to be a key.

    • RIP illa

      Yes. We should be concerned but none of us should jump off the ledge and for those of us that understand our Defensive personnel, new and old, shouldn’t be out on the ledge at all.
      The line does get pressure but seem to be a step away from sealing the deal.

      Cox and Thorton will get penetration and be disruptive on passing downs, as they usually are, and will be in the backfield. No one should expect anything from Soap in this department, and when he does get his 1-2 hustle or being in the right place sacks, then take it as bonus.

      If we extend it to the outside pass rushers, then Graham needs to stop playing SOLB and start to start at ROLB, sending Cole to the bench. Yes Graham does have to show and prove, as I’m not convinced that he is more than an adequate pass rusher off his limited snaps last year. However I do believe he is the better option than Cole. Plus McCoy has better cover skills he should be our backup SAM, as it is my understanding that the SOLB drops back a little more. And Barwin will be alright out there at SAM and get his sacks. We won’t know what that approximate number will be, cause we are still trying to figure exactly which player is the real Barwin. The 11.5 sack guy or the 3 sack guy. My guess is somewhere in between. Either way non of our OLBs are of the ELITE pass rushing variety…for now.

      So don’t expect 2011 sack numbers, which would be nice if combined w/ a better run D. But yeah be concerned cause are DBs really need the help of a great pass rush to avoid from getting dismantled by good QBs and sadly we aren’t there yet. I do expect improvement tho.

      • UKEagle99

        I wasn’t on the ledge, the London skyline is so pretty at night.

        • RIP illa

          What about during he day? Heard not so much. London’s still on my list of places to visit tho.

          • UKEagle99

            Hey I grew up in London so I think it is an amazing place day or night. If you ever come over and want a tour guide give me a shout, I’m happy to share the stories and knowledge others treated me too .-)

          • RIP illa

            Cool thnx

  • Shark

    I’m really expecting this defense to be historically bad. If we can give up less than 30 points a game then at least the Oregon Eagles will be able to sneak out some a high scoring games.

    • All In Eagles

      You think the Chargers, Raiders, Cards and Vikes will put up 30 on us? I don’t see it happening. I do agree the D will be our weakness but your statement may be a bit of an exaggeration………I hope.

      • Shark

        Yeah it was meant as an axaggeration. But also, I don’t think many people expected the “dream team” to go 4-12 last season so I wouldn’t be surprised if any of those teams put 30 on us. I have very small, if any, expectations for this defense.

      • RIP illa

        Vikes and Cards definitely could. Would rule them out. Chargers could have too but they’ve been suffering through a lot of injuries.

      • Richard Colton

        yes. the Chargers alone could score 17 points on our D.

        • G_WallyHunter

          And then Fitzgerald can probably put up 13 points by himself, judging by the last couple times Eagles played them.

      • Dutch

        Don’t discount the damage Palmer and Fitzgerald could do to a defense. Chargers are dead because they can not protect Rivers, Raiders are playing toss across with bean bags this year and the Vikings have to find chemistry when they aren’t handing the ball to AD, who is capable of ringing a defense by himself for 250 rushing yds and 3 or 4 Touchdowns. The Eagles can’t overlook anyone on their schedule just yet.

        • theycallmerob

          who is this AD you keep speaking of?

          • RIP illa

            Adrian “All Day” Peterson…AD

    • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

      voted up for “Oregon Eagles”

      lol

    • Emmanuel Garcia

      I’m expecting the same , this defense it’s gonna suck soo bad :

    • Maggie

      Actually, there are Oregon eagles, Washington eagles, B.C. eagles and Alaska eagles, lol. About 1/3 of all North American bald eagles are Canadian! Lol.

  • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

    Look not expecting big things out of this defense. All I want from them is to play disciplined football. You may give up the catch, but you don’t miss the tackle. You may not get the turnovers (someone owes 100 pushups for last night) but you hold teams to 3 instead of 6. That will go a LONG way to being a better D than the last couple of years.

    And don’t get me wrong I WANT the turnovers – but if they’re making plays and holding teams to field goals and not touch downs and not blowing assignments. I’ll take it.

    • theycallmerob

      Truth. Chip has said before he doesn’t care about yards, on offense or defense- just points. It’s near impossible to have a worse turnover differential than last year.

  • ICDogg

    I think it will be a bumpy ride, the defense will not be good, but I don’t expect “historically bad”.

    • Dutch

      Panther receivers caught some ball with Eagles defenders draped over them in a lot of cases. I was mildly impress with the Eagles positioning on some of those throws. Baby Steps!!!!! Just that was encouraging last night along with not so many missed tackles.

      • hokieduck

        Patience, not daisies, grasshopper. :)

  • Septhinox

    “The tackling overall was much better. The Eagles were charged with 13 missed tackles against New England, according to Pro Football Focus. They cleaned up their act on Thursday.”

    So how may where they charged with last night? You can’t use a stat as a comparison then not provide the comparison stat. lol

    • G_WallyHunter

      I noticed that as well, was like wtf?

    • theycallmerob

      not available on the website yet….dude, it hasn’t even been 24 hours!

      I tried to use my amateur eye, but lost count after 3. 3 drinks, that is

      • therealpistolp

        Thanks for filling that guy in.. Can PFF compile the stats before we start treating Tim like a hack??

        • theycallmerob

          “Tim is no hack,
          you take that back,
          or else your nutsack
          I’ll attack”

          • Andy124

            with his asscrack.

  • Anon

    We need to hit harder, i want to see sacks and turnovers. Did you see our TE get knocked out? Chris Polk fumbling on a tough hit? We need to bring that pain. That said, we aren’t counting on our D to win games. If we are putting up 20-30 pts and not turning the ball over, we can win games.

    • bsn

      Polk didn’t fumble on a tough hit. Someone smacked his hand/arm when he was on the way down and the ball popped out. That’s not tough. Tough is what Suh did to Richardson last night along the sideline.

      • Dutch

        What Suh did was the same as sucker punching somebody. Richardson display what he was made of, he jumped right up unassisted and went back for more. That saying something about Richardson because that was definitely a Knock Out blow.

        Those are the hits opponents fear, Bostic of Chicago has a monster rock also.

    • therealpistolp

      So u would rather have a couple big hits and lose the game?? Give up 14 instead of 9?? Solid.,

  • Wilbert M.

    Just wondering if giving a 10 yard cushion is Cary Williams’ idea of bringing toughness and attitude to the defense?

    • Dutch

      He was playing Steve Smith, there’s no sense in being foolish about that assignment. Steve Smith isn’t someone you can lunch on he’s still with 13 years a very credible threat to turn your defense out. He’s the Mini Me version of Hines Ward.

      • Wilbert M.

        I agree with yours, Rob’s and Cliff’s points. Cary Williams is still a douche.

        • theycallmerob

          HA! most definitely.

        • Dr Rick

          Negative points for mentioning the man ensconced in history, somewhere. 8^)

    • cliff henny

      seems like the eagles plan to bring numbers, sent 6 many times and a lot more inside too which i like, while playing off on corners to prevent big plays. see if teams can and will go length of field in 8 or 10 plays. tighten up in red zone, when field shrinks. i’m happy seeing more than the same 4 guys come and qbs just stepping up in pocket to avoid outside pressure (eli was king of this). hopefully as corners get better and more comfortable the covrage will tighten. give davis props, that was a hell of an improvement for 1 week.

      • UKEagle99

        Lets get ONE thing straight right now. Eli is king of nothing. I’m not even going to argue the “but he has a SB ring” line, just understand Eli is king of nothing…

        • UKEagle99

          I take that back! He is THE king of luckiest QBs to win a SB… My bad *sad face*

        • cliff henny

          meant against us. drove me nuts how many times we’d go flying by his back shoulder, he’d take a step or 2 up in pocket and find a wr. he is lucky, but also a tough sob.

          • UKEagle99

            I’m sorry it’s genetically encoded in me to say anything positive about NFC East opponents! Lawrence Taylor was lucky, you get me?

    • theycallmerob

      Davis talked about this; supposed to help protect CW’s strained hammy from further injury. Easier to come back to a receiver than cut and run with him

  • UKEagle99

    One thing that stood out to my untrained eye against the Panthers was the number of times the DL shifted to the side of the run play, it just seemed uncanny.

    I also thought both Foles and Vick ran the O well, I’m excited to see the full O unleashed, does that mean I’m drinking the Kool aid?

    • Richard Colton

      but what did you think of Clay Harbour? sorry…couldn’t help myself.

      • UKEagle99

        Tbh I didn’t until your comment.. Did he play :-P

        • Richard Colton

          just messing with you. Clay Harbor is the TE. Clay Harbour is his English cousin.

          Don’t worry about getting me back, I just found out I’m going to be in Europe for 2 weeks – going to miss Monday night vs/ Redskins.

          • UKEagle99

            See I saw Harbour and thought nothing of it. Where in Europe will you be? We do have access to live NFL over here you know! We aren’t all walking corgies and poodles and solving crimes whilst hosting dodgy mustaches :-P

          • Richard Colton

            dude…its bad. Think they’ll have the NFL redzone in Albania?

          • cliff henny

            from greatest show ever

          • UKEagle99

            Albania is in Europe? :-P On the plus side you will see more Albanian ladies on Monday night than us… Unless RGIII has lots of Albanian family…

          • theycallmerob

            you poor soul. don’t go to any hostels. and drink american whiskey only, don’t trust that albanian root drink in the skull-shaped bottle. trust me.

          • Richard Colton

            damn, your knowledge of booze is impressive

          • theycallmerob

            Once upon a time, I saw too many countries in my “young, dumb, and full of c_m” phase of life

  • theycallmerob

    Of course there will be growing pains, but last year’s defense was
    HISTORICALLY bad.
    *Talent conversation aside, there’s simply more
    cohesion, leadership, buy-in, and toughness to this team.

    *Pass coverage be damned, these CBs and Chung can actually tackle. They may
    not win any games, but they sure as hell can’t lose any more than last
    year. Barnwell has written many times how a simple regression to the
    mean will count for 2-3 games. Speaking of stats….

    *For those of you that haven’t seen this, great post on BGN by Brent Cohen (of http://www.eaglesrewind.com). The tables show some key stats which were well outside two (!!) standard deviations from the mean.
    http://www.bleedinggreennation.com/2013/8/15/4624780/2012-eagles-team-performance-dashboard

    • EaglePete

      They really were swarming and around the ball, even on some of the longer pass plays. That alone is a great sign and they sured up the run D a bit. May end up better than we thought, great stats in that link thanks. Add in less offensive penalties per the scheme once they get the formations and everything down better and that helps as well. All these things help narrow that small margin between wins/losses. ST has looked way better.

    • cliff henny

      certainly wasnt expecting a defensive improvement like we saw. cant wait for next week. hopefully see a turnover or two

      • theycallmerob

        Secondary will show nothing beyond simple off-man and zones until the regular season. I’m guessing Davis will be blitzing DBs, but not in PS. Additionally, front 7 havoc will result in worse QB throws—>INTs.

        Heck, one or two of these guys may yet tackle hard enough to force a fumble. Reckon some of our big boys on the DL get a few strip sacks as well.

        • cliff henny

          i will lose my shit first time a corner causes a fumble! FU nnamdi, hope you are eating dinner in you car, in the garage, door shut, car running

          • Richard Colton

            you’re mixing up last year’s DBs. something ous safetys did on almost every play.

  • therealpistolp

    So we hold a team to 3 FG’s and routinely get off the field on 3rd down,, but y’all still crying about how bad the D is and will be… Forecasting a historically bad D?? Based on what??? This ain’t last yr.. I mean damn!! And it’s not like the panthers don’t have good skill position players… Welcome to Philadelphia,, where good ain’t good enough… Being a fan means cheering for your team to do good… Not when they do good… Stay mad my friends… ASSume the worst.. I’ll be over here cheering for the best… And rubbing it in when y’all come back commenting on how good the D is after a few games.,.

    • EaglePete

      Did you ASSume the best the prior two seasons before it started? I did and howd that turn out. Also, if you saw that disaster they called a defense last year and what we upgraded in the offseason, not sure you can get that enthusiastic. Its just tempered at least or rather setting up for the worst and hoping for the best. That way the expectations dont come down so hard if it doesnt work well. Will you be saying you were wrong if they arent very good come regular season? Didnt think so.

      • therealpistolp

        That’s a yes to both your questions.. No point in pointing out the bad after a good performance.. Or last yr for that matter.. Different scheme and regime., u should manage your expectations better.. Stay mad my friend..

      • Maggie

        Yes expectations were high last year after AR and MM and Mudd, Washburns’ etc. last fling in 2011. How many times does it have to be said? This is THIS year. This about 80% new!!. No, that is not a stat from PFF. I don’t expect a total miraculous recovery either, but get over yourself. NOBODY can base ANYTHING on last year.

        • therealpistolp
  • Maggie

    Just watched replay on NFL Network this afternoon. (On West Coast). I was not impressed with the officiating when the Panthers receiver grabbed Boykin from behind and pulled him back into his upraised knee. Boykin got up definitely feeling his back. @8:55-9:00 minutes left in 3rd quarter, I believe. The pulling backward is not a problem, he was trying to prevent an Int. The knee was a deliberate attempt to injure. Not the first sloppy miss by the officials this preseason, not just in Eagles games either.

  • Token

    Off Topic……

    When are the Eagles going to just put in field turf? The Linc field already looks bad and its August.

  • soundofmyvoice

    Oh baloney, he switched it up. No 2 gapping, more 5-2 looks.

    Whitley should be given a shot at FS.

    Curry can play 3tech, but not better than Cox. Impressed by Thornton, but he’s a better one gap guy, too. Logan might be best choice at LE.

    • theycallmerob

      I like a line of Curry-Soap/Logan-Cox, and a four-man front of Graham-Curry-Cox-Cole. Thornton and Square are first off the bench. No disrespect to Big Ced at all, but Curry is playing too well to not start.

  • hillbillybirdsfan

    Better this week, but they have to stop dropping interceptions. I have a feeling that they’re going to give up a lot of yards, but if they can get that ball a couple of times then they can paper over a lot of flaws.

  • jon h

    can we please hire Brian Dawkins as the safeties coach?

    • BreakinAnklez

      I still want Rex as a DC. Great coordinator, and he can churn out stud safeties

      • jon h

        No we don’t – I’ve seen him with the Jets – we don’t need that distraction – let’s see what he does with Jacquan Jarrett.

        • BreakinAnklez

          You’ve seen him with the Jets? Since he’s been in control of a Defense (Balt and NYJ), 5 of the last 8 years he’s had a Top 10 D in pts and yards. And with the Jets he’s done it without any sort of pass rush. When’s the last time that the Eagles sniffed that?

          He can be a distraction as a HC, but he wouldn’t be the HC here. Wouldn’t get nearly the face time, meaning not nearly the headlines. He’s one of the best defensive minds in the history of the NFL.

          I don’t care about Jarrett. Ed Reed, Jim Leonard, Dawan Landry, Zbikowski, Eric Smith, Nakamura, Ihedigbo. He made LaRon Landry play the most consistent season of his career. He has a record of producing Safeties.