A sad and maybe symbolic scene unfolded in the Eagles locker room just before reporters were ushered out late Sunday night. A pained Kurt Coleman, who needed assistance getting his shirt off moments before, walked up to Nate Allen and asked if he would be able to put his deodorant on for him, as he was unable to lift his arms and do it himself. Allen sustained a shoulder injury in the game and was also limited. But using his good arm, he dutifully performed the task for his fellow safety.
Officially, Coleman was listed with a chest contusion. But he was hurting bad, and it wasn’t all physical.
“It’s a little bit of everything right now,” said Coleman, his voice unable to get above a whisper.
“This sucks. It just sucks. I can’t piece one thing — it just sucks right now…We knew what we were doing, we knew what they were doing. It’s inexcusable really. We’re trying as hard as we can but that’s not enough, we have to be able to execute all the time.”
When answering a barrage of questions about what exactly is going on with the Eagles’ defense right now, Todd Bowles made it clear that his players are failing to properly execute the simplest of assignments.
“The first one was high school cover-3,” Bowles said after the team’s 30-22 loss to the Panthers. “The ball was thrown down the middle of the field. We gave up a touchdown. Inexcusable. The second one was inexcusable too.”
He’s played 610 snaps on the season, the most of any running back in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. McCoy led the league in playing time last year as well.
But on Monday night, the Eagles will see what life’s like without McCoy, as the running back continues to recover from a concussion he sustained during the final two minutes of last week’s loss to the Redskins. McCoy just turned 24 in July. He’ll continue to carry the load for years to come. But it’s still important for the Eagles to find the right back to complement his talents.
Enter Bryce Brown.
Here are 10 things to know about how the Eagles’ defense matches up with the Redskins’ offense:
Minutes earlier, defensive coordinator Todd Bowles was asked what the Eagles’ second-round pick needs to show in practice to get on the field.
That’s why when Andy Reid decided to fire Juan Castillo and promote Todd Bowles, it made sense on some levels. Bowles, after all, was the man in charge of the secondary. At the time, the Eagles led the league in opponents’ completion percentage (52.7) and were tied for the second-best mark in yards per attempt (6.2).
Results have not been so good in the last two games, as the Eagles have allowed five touchdowns and come up with no interceptions. Matt Ryan and Drew Brees did whatever they wanted, completing a staggering 76.8 of their passes while averaging 8.9 yards per attempt. So what’s been the problem?
The defense allowed 21 points per game under Juan Castillo through the first six weeks of the season. Over the past two weeks under Todd Bowles, the edge has dulled and the unit has yielded 26 points per game. They gave up 763 yards of offense in that span and have not generated an interception.
Most Eagles players insist that the approach has not changed much at all since Andy Reid decided to make the switch at defensive coordinator. But their instant regression — particularly in the secondary — cannot be pure coincidence.
Turns out, the defense is working through some things as a result of the move to Bowles.
Any drops of good will gathered by Nnamdi Asomugha for his performance against Calvin Johnson and the Lions spilled onto Lincoln Financial Field Sunday. The critics are back in full throat and more fed up than ever at their $60 million cornerback. Asomugha, like the rest of his defensive teammates, was largely ineffective in a 30-17 loss to the Falcons.
The tape confirms what many have contended: that the 31-year-old does not possess the kind of recovery speed necessary to be a shutdown corner. Not anymore. But there is more to the story. The blame does not rest solely on Asomugha’s shoulders.
Plenty of Eagles players went on the record after Sunday’s game, voicing their frustration and displeasure with the team’s performance against the Falcons.
But one defensive player chose to speak anonymously to Jason Cole of Yahoo Sports.
Through three quarters, the Atlanta Falcons’ offense possessed the ball six times. And on all six occasions, they ended up with points – three touchdowns and three field goals.
“We ran the same things,” Bowles said, an answer that many players backed up. “The guys have to play… the coaches have to coach. We didn’t coach it good. We didn’t play it good, and they beat us. They deserve all the credit in the world.”
“Just his presence on the field I think is important so he’ll be down on the field,” said Andy Reid.
New vantage point, new responsibilities for the veteran assistant coach who will be calling a game for the first time on the professional level. He has not had such duties since he was the defensive coordinator at Grambling State in the late 90’s.