All-22: The Good And Bad Of the Eagles’ Defense

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Eagles defensive players – well, most of them anyway – know by now not to make excuses.

The offense wants to play fast every week, regardless of opponent, situation or anything else. The defense’s job is always to get off the field and give the offense another chance to score. Since Chip Kelly took over, that formula has worked pretty well. But there are games, like Sunday’s, when the offense is stagnant. And that puts the defensive players in a bind.

For example, to start the game, the defense gave up a 10-play, 43-yard drive that took 6:35 off the clock. The offense went three-and-out in 25 seconds. And Billy Davis’ guys were right back out there.

That is just how it is. It’s why the Eagles train the way they do. And it’s why in a perfect world, they’d like to rotate players on defense even more.

“I think they are fine,” Kelly said Monday. “I don’t think it had anything to do with the fourth quarter. I just think that they are built for it. They are in great condition. They train at a really high level. They practice against us. They understand what it takes. We didn’t come out of it with any injuries or anything like that. I would imagine they will all be ready to go.” Read more »

Zone Read: Eagles-Seahawks, the Day After

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY

There was a lot of talk about measuring sticks in the Eagles’ locker room Sunday evening. Questions regarding what the players learned about themselves during a windy afternoon at the Linc. Discussions on whether the team is capable of competing with the best of the best in the conference.

After a 24-14 loss to the Seahawks in which the offense looked completely outmatched, the Eagles are now 0-3 against NFC teams that would make the playoffs if the season ended today.

The overall mood, though, was more upbeat than one might expect. As Russell Wilson knelt down to kill the clock in the fourth quarter, Connor Barwin walked around to his teammates and delivered fist-pounds and hugs. When Mark Sanchez returned to his locker after his press conference, Jordan Matthews greeted him a handshake.

Everyone seemed to share the same feeling.

“I don’t think that anybody in here feels that we can’t beat the Seattle Seahawks,” said center Jason Kelce. “I just think they were much better than we were today. And I think we feel the same way about Green Bay and about any team in the NFL. On any given day, you can win in this league. And it really comes down to us just continuing to improve each and every day.” Read more »

The Matchup: Eagles Vs. Cowboys

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline - USA Today

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline – USA Today

Here’s a look at how the Eagles match up with the Cowboys.

WHEN THE EAGLES RUN…

LeSean McCoy had one of his most productive games of the year last week, rushing for 130 yards on 21 carries (6.2 YPC) against the Titans. While it’s worth noting that Tennessee had the worst run defense in the NFL, McCoy looked shifty and certainly had more space than he’d had previously. He’s fourth in the league with 859 rushing yards and is averaging 4.0 YPC. The Eagles are 21st overall in rushing offense, per Football Outsiders. Read more »

Game Review: Eagles Defense Vs. Titans

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Philadelphia Eagles

Here’s a player-by-player review of the Eagles’ defense after having re-watched Sunday’s game against the Titans.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Fletcher Cox – Another solid game out of Cox. The coaches credited him with one tackle, one sack and one hurry. Cox stopped Shonn Greene after a 4-yard run in the first. He disrupted a run play that gained 3. Good rush late in the first half, but Zach Mettenberger reset and completed a pass. Got some help from the coverage in the back end, slipped inside the offensive lineman and sacked Mettenberger in the second. Cox batted a pass on the next play. Drew a holding call on a run play in the third. Fought off defenders and stopped Bishop Sankey after a 4-yard run in the third. He played 62 percent of the snaps. Announcers made it a point to mention how much Chip Kelly praised Cox during production meetings. He’s had a great season. The Eagles need him to be disruptive against Dallas. Read more »

Zone Read: Eagles-Titans, the Day After

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline - USA Today

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline – USA Today

Ever since Josh Huff played for Chip Kelly as a true freshman at Oregon in 2010, his head coach has asked the same question on the field before games.

Are you scared?

“He always asked me that before every game,” Huff said. “And every game I tell him the same answer: No I’m not scared, and I’m ready to make a play. And that was evident today.”

Huff was 7 yards deep in the end zone when he fielded the opening kickoff against the Titans. He said he knew regardless of where he received it, he was going to bring it out. And so he did.

Key blocks from James Casey, Trey Burton and Zach Ertz sprung Huff as he headed towards the right sideline. He delivered a stiff-arm to Titans kicker Ryan Succop at the Eagles’ 37 yard line and kept the ball in his right hand.

Near the Tennessee 20, he delivered a second stiff-arm, throwing a Titans defender to the ground. Huff crossed the goal line, faked a spike and tossed the ball behind him as his teammates began celebrating.

As he returned to the sideline, he got a handshake from Bryan Braman, a congratulatory headbutt from Chris Polk and a hug from his position coach, Bob Bicknell.

Then Huff met Kelly – his head coach for four of the last five seasons. They embraced for a few seconds, and Kelly had some words for the rookie wide receiver. Read more »

Eagles-Titans Notes: McCoy Breaks Loose

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Philadelphia Eagles                                                                                   (photo courtesy of USA Today)

LeSean McCoy sized up the lectern quizzically and began fidgeting with the microphone as his postgame press conference began.

“Damn this feels big, tall,” said McCoy as he tried to settle in behind the podium, which is generally reserved for quarterbacks and players that have a big game.

“You haven’t been there in a while,” a reporter cracked, drawing laughs.

“He ain’t lying, though,” said McCoy, taking the jab in stride.
Read more »

Midseason Grades: Eagles Defense

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

With eight games down and eight to go, let’s take a position-by-position look at where the Eagles stand. We’ll hand out grades for performances up to this point and project what’s in store for the months ahead.

Here’s the defense. We’ll get to the offense in a later installment. Read more »

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