DE Ryan Kerrigan Kiel Leggere/Philadelphia Eagles

Defense?

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Defense! Defense! Defense! Defense!

It’s a cheer that resounds across football stadiums all over the country. It’s the fan’s way of encouraging their favorite team to stop the opposing team’s offense from driving down the field.

Here’s a visual aid of such cheering:

So, the D represents “De” and the drawing of the cardboard cutout of the picket fence represents “fense”

De-fense…

Get it?

Pretty rudimentary concept. 

So is the notion that you can’t win a football game if you allow the opposing team to score a touchdown on seven of it’s eight drives.

What was once considered a strength for the Philadelphia Eagles is now a liability. Defensive coordinator Johnathan Gannon was, a short four weeks ago, a star in the making. A boy genius. Now everyone is questioning the decisions of Nick Sirianni for choosing such a young and inexperienced coaching staff.

While Tyreek Hill was having his way with the Eagles secondary, or on at least one inexplicable play, linebacker Eric Wilson, the Eagles defensive line was doing it’s version of the Electric Slide. How many times did Josh Sweat and Derek Barnett over-pursue?

Speaking of the defensive line there has been a lot of publicity regarding the lack of production from Fletcher Cox and Ryan Kerrigan. Is it scheme or is it Father Time? Fletch, always the professional says that he is not worried and the plays will come. Gannon says that you can’t see the contributions that Fletcher Cox is making and part of the success of Javon Hargrave is because offensive lines are double teaming Fletch. It is also a new system for the veteran.

In addition, Gannon was asked why the Eagles don’t run a dime package on defense when they play a team with fast receivers and tight ends like KC. He said, “we don’t have a dime package.”

That means that there are always at least two linebackers on defense every snap for the Eagles. Perhaps you may remember that, in this little forum, we have discussed how the Eagles, as an organization, have neglected that position both in the draft and free agency and, predictably, have mediocre linebackers. 

So…

Why would you have defensive packages that force said linebackers to cover wide receivers?

Hey, Coach! 

Let me tell you something you already know:

YOU HAVE TO ADAPT YOUR PLAY CALLING TO YOUR PERSONNEL!!! YOU CAN’T JUST PLUG ANYONE INTO YOUR SYSTEM AND EXPECT IT TO WORK!!! OUR LINEBACKERS COULDN’T COVER MY GRANDMA!!!

Breathe….breathe…breathe…serenity now…

The Eagles defense looked legit through the first three halves of the season. Then Brandon Graham went down. Now every defensive coordinator has the formula to beat the Eagles. Since the Birds play a Cover-2 or Cover-3 base set there is a lot of pressure on the linebackers to cover running backs and tight ends. And I think we covered that topic already. 

Since they have not been able to get the same pressure that they were getting from their front four, opposing quarterbacks have all day to find the holes in the zone. 

Football is a chess match. Your opponent makes a move and you try to counter it. You anticipate what he is going to do and make your own move. 

The Eagles defensive coaches have to move around their chess pieces. 

Unless all they have to move around are a bunch of pawns.

Here’s a mind blowing statistic:

The Eagles are the most penalized team in the NFL. 

It’s one thing if you don’t have the horses which may be the case for the Birds. But not being able to stay on sides, illegally run downfield (Dillard), draw an offensive pass interference penalty (Arciega-Whiteside), or commit a chop block (Barnett, again!!!) is just a byproduct of being an undisciplined team. Especially when three of those penalties take points off of the board.

How in the world can you beat a team like the Chiefs, or any team for that matter, when you rack up eleven penalties?

I mean, thinking that you can win a game while accumulating eleven penalties is as misguided as thinking it would be a good idea to invite Urban Meyer to your daughter’s Sweet Sixteen party.

And the worst part is that once you start getting flagged a lot you get a reputation. The refs are looking for it because they know that you hold a lot, or false start a lot, or commit pass interference a lot, or commit cheap penalties a lot, etc. Peer pressure is real!

The defense and the penalties overshadowed the second best outing of the year for Jalen Hurts and the offense. Devonta Smith looks like he is going to be a very good receiver. He runs crisp routes and has soft hands. Plus, the Slim Reaper (best nickname ever!) is Jalen’s favorite target. There is still no running game but Sirianni called a better scheme. Let’s see if he continues to adapt. Stupid penalties took points off of the board but the decisions of the rookie coach and quasi-rookie quarterback were better. 

Because it was better I’m taking the Birds to win outright against the Panthers on Sunday. I know I just crapped on the defense and penalty situation but I have a hunch that they squeak out a win in a shootout. Carolina is a 3.5 point favorite, as they should be, but without Christian McCaffrey, who is doubtful to play, they are a lot less dynamic. 

I also believe that Miles Sanders will have a lot more touches and the Eagles offense will be able to move the ball again albeit against a defense that is better than the one they faced versus the Chiefs. 

But, like I said, it’s mostly a hunch. 

There could be worse reasons to lay good money on a football game?

Right?

Can I get a little help here??

Anybody???

Go Birds!

Eric Written by: