But at some point, you just can’t argue with the numbers.
Through six games with Todd Bowles as defensive coordinator and Jim Washburn as defensive line coach, the Eagles were allowing quarterbacks to complete 76.3 percent of their passes – a historically bad number.
But in the last two games, since Andy Reid fired Washburn and added Tommy Brasher, the Eagles’ defense appears to be much-improved, limiting Josh Freeman and Andy Dalton to just 44.3 percent completions. Against the Bengals, they did not allow a single completion of more than 19 yards.
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.”
“We have possible lineup changes, and people compete everyday,” Bowles said. “There are no spots set in stone. We’re playing our best guys. If there was somebody that was stepping up to play better, they would be playing.”
Bowles didn’t mean it as a slight on the Eagles’ depth, but his comment spotlights the team’s lack of young talent at cornerback and safety.
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.”
That hasn’t stopped a whole slew of fans and pundits alike from jumping right off the Foles train, of course. From Chosen One to just another bum, in 90 minutes flat.
Before you write him off completely, take a look at how the other rookie quarterbacks performed in their first starts this season:
From draft positioning to the future of the Eagles’ secondary, here are 10 things to know about how the Birds’ defense matches up with the Panthers’ offense.
Though things have gone different than anticipated, the much-hyped cornerback says he is not planning his exit strategy out of Philadelphia.
“I definitely feel that I have assimilated into it and acclimated into it and all of that stuff,” said Asomugha. “I have gotten the question throughout this year a couple times: did I make the right decision [coming here], should I have gone [somewhere else]? And that doesn’t cross my mind at all. It’s always, yes, this is the place I want to be.
“I absolutely believe in the decision I have made and believe in this team.”
When the locker room opened up to reporters Thursday afternoon, the place was humming. Nnamdi Asomugha and Kurt Coleman were engaged in a passionate conversation. Mardy Gilyard was chasing an unidentified victim around with a towel. Music blasted from Trent Cole‘s stall. (At one point an Oldies song came on and everyone began looking at Cole sideways. “It’s not me!” he said. “It’s Pandora!”)
There were signs of life for the first time in weeks.
Marty Mornhinweg foreshadowed these developments earlier in the day.