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 At some point, just giving the other guys credit is no longer valid.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 »

Williams Apologizes To Allen, Teammates

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Cary Williams has spent the early part of this week cleaning up the mess he made in the locker room Sunday following the Eagles’ win over Washington.

He came in to meet with Chip Kelly on Monday and said that he and the head coach had a “great conversation”and better understand one another’s viewpoints when it comes to in-week training.

On Tuesday, Williams stood up in front of his teammates and told them he regretted  bringing negativity into the room. He apologized to Nate Allen specifically for pointing his frustrations in the safety’s direction.
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 »

All-22: Strong Start For Eagles Defense

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Billy Davis is expecting improvement on the defense to come from two separate areas.

One is that players from last year are more comfortable in the Eagles’ 3-4. And two is that he’s now able to add more layers to the scheme.

“Looking at last year, a lot of things we did, we were growing into this,” Davis said. “And it’s nothing more than a progression of growth from the end of last year to again a couple pieces we added and a couple schematic things we added to it and just threw it all at them. We will continue to grow that and hopefully continue to grow that way with both the understanding they have in our scheme and the scheme itself.”

Sunday’s Week 1 win against the Jaguars was a good start. It must be noted that Jacksonville could end up being one of the five worst offenses in the league. But after a couple lapses early, the Eagles’ defense dominated in the second half. Jacksonville was held scoreless on eight second-half possessions: five punts, a turnover on downs, a fumble and the end of the game.

The pass-rush, a question mark going into the season, looked like a strength against the Jaguars’ below-average offensive line. And players like Fletcher Cox and Mychal Kendricks turned in outstanding individual performances. Below is a look at what we saw in Week 1. Read more »

Season Predictions: Is the Secondary Good Enough?

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

As we count down to the start of the regular season, Tim and Sheil try to answer some of the big questions facing the Eagles. On Sunday, they discussed life without DeSean Jackson. On Monday, they predicted what’s next for Nick Foles. Yesterday was a look at the offensive line, which faces an early challenge as Lane Johnson serves his four-game suspension. And today, they check in on the secondary. Read more »

All-22: The Eagles And Four Verticals

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At the start of training camp in July, Chip Kelly was asked about how Mark Sanchez was adapting to a new offensive scheme.

“A lot of things that all of us do, no matter where you’re coaching… it’s still four verticals,” he said. “We call it differently than the way Marty [Mornhinweg] called it, but they ran four verticals here at the Eagles. Marty runs four verticals when you watch the Jets tape. We run four verticals.”

Eagles offensive coaches mention four verticals often – usually when they’re trying to get the point across that they’re not doing anything all that innovative.

The passing concept is used around the league and really at every level of football. Quarterback G.J. Kinne says he remembers first learning it as a freshman in high school. Wide receiver Jeff Maehl says Oregon ran four verticals when he played for Kelly in college.

Once again, to help explain the concept, we called on our old friend Coach Flinn, along with some of the current Eagles players and coaches. Read more »

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