We went through the offense yesterday. Here’s a position-by-position look at where the Eagles’ defense stands going into the final five games.
The guys up front have been the key to the defensive improvement. Cedric Thornton leads all the team’s linemen with 58 tackles and has looked like a natural in the two-gap scheme since Week 1. He’s versatile, powerful and has been perhaps the Eagles’ most consistent defensive player all season long.
Fletcher Cox has really come on and has 13 tackles the past two weeks. He has three sacks and leads the team with 19 hurries; no other player has more than eight. Bennie Logan has been a huge upgrade over Isaac Sopoaga at nose tackle. He’s got 15 tackles in the last three games. That’s just three fewer than Sopoaga had in the first eight games.
Vinny Curry, Clifton Geathers and Damion Square round out the rotation. Curry has been the team’s most productive pass-rusher and is tied for the team lead with four sacks. Read more »
Ask Howie Roseman about some of his young guys, and he’ll offer you this stat: The Eagles have 36 players on the active roster under the age of 26.
“That’s a lot,” the Eagles general manager said.
The Eagles, according to our friend Jimmy Kempski’s tabulations, began the season as the 10th youngest team in the NFL with an average age of 25.74. To break it down further, 15 of the 53 players on the roster (28 percent) right now are 23 or younger. It’s no secret what the Eagles plan is: go young, build through the draft and supplement the roster with veterans that can provide some guidance.
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If you missed the game review of the offense, click here. Now, onto 10 observations of the Eagles’ defense after having re-watched the game.
1. The Eagles’ defense shut out the Redskins for three-plus quarters, but let’s start in the fourth where things got a little dicey. Trent Cole was trailing Darrel Young in coverage, and Patrick Chung was closing in from his deep safety spot down the left sideline. Robert Griffin III escaped pressure and lofted one to Young. Cole went flying at him, and Chung did the same from the opposite direction. They both whiffed and collided into one another as Young got free for the 62-yard score. Then on the 2-point conversion, the Redskins set up with a bunch formation to the right, and Chung completely lost track of Nick Williams.
2. Roc Carmichael had a rough fourth quarter. But his coverage wasn’t bad on the 41-yard TD to Aldrick Robinson. Griffin underthrew the ball, and Robinson made a great adjustment. I asked Carmichael last week when he’s taught to turn and find the football. He said he watches the receiver’s eyes and hands. Obviously he could have done a better job on that play. Carmichael also gave up completions of 19, 9, 28 and 7 in the fourth quarter. The most concerning of those was the 28-yarder. The Eagles had the Redskins with a 3rd-and-25, but they were able to extend their drive with a completion to Santana Moss. Carmichael might have been expecting more safety help, but the safeties are going to play particularly deep in that spot, focused on keeping everything in front of them. Read more »
There is a portion of Chip Kelly‘s practice called “Clutch Period.”
The music gets turned up as loud as it can go, x-amount of time is put up on the clock, and the first team offense is pitted against the first-team defense. Kelly’s group is trying to score before time expires. Billy Davis‘ unit is trying to get off the field.
It was a familiar feeling, then, when the defense was called on with 3:26 remaining and given the task of keeping RGIII and the Redskins out of the end zone.
“Honestly, Coach Kelly puts us in situations like that every day,” said Vinny Curry. “We’ve been prepared for situations like that, and that’s why you never see anyone on the defense panicking.” Read more »
On their first drive of the game, the Packers set up with a 1st-and-10 from the Eagles’ 31-yard-line.
They were in ’12′ personnel with two tight ends and Eddie Lacy in the backfield. The rookie running back had picked up 21 yards on his first four carries as Green Bay entered field goal range.
DeMeco Ryans lined up at his usual spot at middle linebacker about 4 yards behind nose tackle Damion Square. Seneca Wallace took the snap from under center, turned to his left and handed the ball off. As Lacy looked for a hole, Ryans flowed to his right.
Left tackle David Bakhtiari tried to get to him, but was unsuccessful. Ryans diagnosed the play, got downhill and planted his helmet into Lacy’s mid-section, knocking the 231-pound rookie backwards and onto the ground at Lambeau Field.
Lacy would manage just 54 yards on 19 carries (2.8 YPC) the rest of the day. And Ryans, with a game-high 13 tackles, was a big reason why. Read more »
GREEN BAY, Wisc. – The following Eagles are inactive for today’s game against the Packers: QB Michael Vick, CB Bradley Fletcher, RB Matthew Tucker, LB Jake Knott, OT Matt Tobin, OT Dennis Kelly and WR B.J. Cunningham.
The big one there is Fletcher, who suffered a pectoral injury last week. With him sidelined, Brandon Boykin is likely to start on the outside. But the key will be what the Eagles do in nickel. Read more »
Here is the Eagles’ injury report for Sunday’s game in Green Bay:
Doubtful: QB Michael Vick (hamstring), LB Jake Knott (hamstring)
Questionable: CB Bradley Fletcher (pec)
Probable: CB Rashad Carmichael (groin), S Patrick Chung (shoulder), WR Damaris Johnson (ankle), T Jason Peters (pectoral, shoulder), RB Chris Polk (shoulder, knee), DE Cedric Thornton (knee), G Julian Vandervelde (knee).
Vick is not playing in this one. Chip Kelly on Thursday indicated that Vick is not all that close to a return.
The player to keep an eye on is Fletcher. He has been a steady presence in the Eagles’ secondary and leads the team with 12 passes defensed. The Eagles could put Brandon Boykin on the outside if Fletcher can’t go, though that would weaken them in the slot. Carmichael and the recently-signed Marsh are the other corners on the roster. Fletcher is confident that he’ll be able to play.
Thornton practiced in full the past two days after sitting out Tuesday and Wednesday. Expect Earl Wolff to start even though Chung is listed as probable. Read more »
Editor’s Note: This new feature will post every Friday and replace the old Cheat Sheets. We’ll bring you nuggets from the locker room, scouting reports on the upcoming game, reader e-mail and more.
It was after midnight by the time Jason Kelce had fired up his iPad and loaded the coaches tape to see what had gone wrong.
Hours earlier, he had been on the field at MetLife Stadium during one of the more frustrating games of his young NFL career. The Giants came up with a gameplan to stop the Eagles’ most popular run play: the inside zone read. The biggest factor in their success? Stunts by the defensive tackles that kept Kelce off-balance all game long.
“I was kind of checking, hitting refresh every single minute to see when it would come up,” Kelce said. “Very frustrating game for me. I knew I played bad even during the game. I knew the stuff wasn’t going well for me and that we tried some things to fix it, but I felt like they had a good take on when to do it and when not to do it. So we didn’t really handle it well throughout the game, me in particular.” Read more »
If you missed the first cheat sheet, click here. Now, onto 10 things to know about how the Eagles’ defense matches up with the Cowboys’ offense. Read more »
If you missed the first game review on the Eagles’ offense, click here.
Now onto the defense. Read more »