All-22: Dissecting the Eagles’ Defensive Breakdowns

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Knowing that he was about to field several questions about the defense’s near-meltdown against the St. Louis Rams, Billy Davis went for the humor route as he walked up to the podium Tuesday afternoon.

“You guys rather have [special teams coach Dave] Fipp?” he joked. “I can bring Fipp up. He deserves it.”

The first nine possessions against the Rams resulted in one touchdown, five punts and three turnovers. However, the Eagles allowed three touchdown drives of 60+ yards in the final 18 minutes and needed a late stop to hang on to a 34-28 lead.

Davis fields questions about his starting cornerbacks on a weekly basis. On Tuesday, he offered a passionate defense of Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher. He also provided context for some of the team’s late-game breakdowns. Read more »

Game Review: Eagles Defense Vs. Rams

NFL: St. Louis Rams at Philadelphia Eagles

Here’s a player-by-player breakdown of what we saw from the Eagles’ defense after having watched the All-22 tape.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Fletcher Cox – He was outstanding as a pass-rusher. Cox beat his man cleanly and forced Austin Davis into the Connor Barwin sack in the first. His pass-rush forced Davis out of the pocket on third down later in the quarter. Cox got pressure on third down in the second, but Davis completed a pass to Jared Cook. Cox hit Davis on third down in the fourth, but he completed the pass anyway. For the most part, he was solid against the run also. Cox got blocked on Zac Stacy’s 14-yard run in the first. He and Bennie Logan tackled Trey Watts after a 4-yard run in the first. And Cox blew up a run that gained 1 in the second. Overall, two tackles and two hurries, but he played better than those numbers indicate. Read more »

Billy Davis Backs His Corners

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Starting cornerbacks Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher have taken some heat for their play down the stretch against the Rams. While Billy Davis did not absolve them, he made the point that there is plenty of blame to go around for the late-game breakdowns on defense Sunday, and maintains that the Williams-Fletcher pairing is the one that gives the defense the best chance to be successful. Read more »

Injury Report: Boykin Questionable Vs. Rams

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Brandon Boykin is questionable with a hamstring injury for Sunday’s game against the Rams.

Boykin played through the injury last week and was a full practice participant Thursday and Friday. He sounded yesterday like he was expecting to play, barring a setback. Read more »

Johnson Back With Ones; Maclin Sits

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

His first day back at practice, and Lane Johnson is already running with the ones.

Johnson returned from his four-game suspension on Monday and joined his teammates on the practice field early Tuesday afternoon. During the portion open to the media, Johnson was at right tackle with the first team. The unit looked like this (from left to right): Jason Peters, Matt Tobin, David Molk, Todd Herremans, Johnson. That’s an improvement from Sunday assuming Johnson, who is said to have come back in very good shape, can re-acclimate quickly.
Read more »

Boykin Leaves With Hamstring Injury

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

SANTA CLARA, CA. — Brandon Boykin left late in the first quarter with a right hamstring injury. His return is questionable.

Boykin, the gunner in punt situations, was sprinting down the right side of the field and was given a light shove by Dontae Johnson of the 49ers. Something clearly pulled on Boykin, who took a couple awkward strides before going to the ground.

After a quick trip to the trainers table, he left for the locker room.

The Eagles used a three-safety look in Boykin’s absence, with Malcolm Jenkins rotating into the slot.

All-22: Issues Plaguing the Eagles’ Defense

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Billy Davis has had to strike a balance quite a bit since taking over as the Eagles defensive coordinator last year.

He is honest in admitting when his unit doesn’t play well, but he’s also a positive person by nature and tries to look ahead. After all, it’s not like the defense is loaded with talent, and the team is 3-0 heading into Sunday’s game against the 49ers.

“We weren’t playing well at all in that game, and we gave up a lot of yards and all those things,” Davis said Tuesday. “And most teams I’ve been with would let those bad plays ‑ we had five X plays. Most of the time you get in such a tank that at the end of the game when you have to defend 6 yards to win it, you don’t have the mental toughness to do it because you’re still frustrated from the bad game you’re playing. And our group didn’t show any signs of that. They showed such mental toughness and strength that we had to defend 6 yards for four downs, and they stepped up and got that done.”

On seven of 12 possessions, Washington’s offense either scored a touchdown or set up for a field goal. Kirk Cousins went 30-for-48 for 427 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. While Malcolm Jenkins and Brandon Boykin made some nice plays down the stretch, this was the definition of a defense getting picked apart.

Cousins played at a high level for most of the game, getting rid of the ball quickly and making some impressive throws into tight window. But this is the NFL, and there are a lot of good quarterbacks. At some point, just giving the other guys credit is no longer valid.

Keeping that in mind, below is a look at some of the key issues that hurt the Eagles Sunday. And in case you missed it, yesterday we provided a player-by-player breakdown. Read more »

Zone Read: Eagles-Washington, the Day After

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Nick Foles walked slowly and gingerly from his locker to the podium in the media room at Lincoln Financial Field.

He had removed his jersey and shoulder pads and cleats. But he hadn’t showered yet and still was in his game-worn pants, pads protecting his thighs and quadriceps.

If Foles hadn’t realized it before, he found out with about 9:56 left in the fourth quarter that as a quarterback in the NFL, it’s always wise to keep your guard up because you never know when the next hit is coming.

Foles had let up after it looked like Washington defensive back Bashaud Breeland was down on an interception return. But behind him to his right came 325-pound defensive lineman Chris Baker with a leveling blow that lifted Foles off the ground and put him in a daze, sparking a melee on the Washington sideline.

“No I didn’t,” Foles said, when asked if he saw the hit coming. “He got me pretty good. I did not see him. …I thought the guy was down so that’s why I wasn’t looking for anyone. The next thing I know I’m just obliterated, so I don’t know.” Read more »

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