Wake-Up Call: This Time, Turnovers Costly

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals

GLENDALE, AZ —  The Eagles were coming off a 27-0 stomping of the Giants, his team was 5-1 heading into the bye and everything seemed right in their world. Chip Kelly, though, stepped outside the glow for just a moment to address one area of concern during his postgame press conference.

“We’ve got to do a better job [when it comes to team turnovers] because you can’t do it at that rate and end up on the right side of the ledger. The turnover differential is really big in this league in terms of being an indicator of wins and losses,” he said.

The Eagles entered Sunday’s game against Arizona minus-5 in the giveaway/takeaway department. Through six weeks, they were the only team out of 12 in the red that had a winning record.

This week, their failure to protect the ball finally caught up with them. Read more »

Eagles Burned By the ‘X’ Plays

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals

GLENDALE, AZ — One of the biggest things that Billy Davis has stressed to his defense since taking over is the importance of avoiding “X” plays, or plays of 20 yards or more. And through the first six game the Eagles were pretty good in that department, yielding 21 X-plays through the air, good for the eighth lowest mark in the league.

On Sunday in the desert, however, it was the big plays that did them in. Davis’ group surrendered seven plays of 20-plus yards to the Cardinals, including a pair long touchdowns that proved to be the difference in the game. Read more »

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 »

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 »

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