I made the joke on Twitter last night that it was kinda scary to think the Eagles were going to be choosing a Defensive Coordinator from one of the two staffs in a game that finished 34-31.
There used to be great defenses that just shut people down. The 1985 Bears had 2 shutouts and allowed a total of 10 points in 3 playoff games. That’s one of the greatest postseasons ever…if not the greatest. The 2000 Ravens gave up 23 points total in 4 playoff games. That was dominant defense. The 2002 Bucs gave up 37 points in 3 games, some coming in garbage time in the blowout Super Bowl win.
Those were elite units. Beyond them, we’ve seen defenses rise to the occasion. The Giants defense in 2007 and 2011 never let anyone score 21 points on them. They weren’t stifling, but were good. The 2006 Colts held 2 teams to 8 points or less. Tom Brady lit them up for 34, but other than that game, they played great defense.
More and more the offenses are taking over. There are 11 playoff games in total. With 2 teams per game we’ve got a total of 22 offensive outputs to judge. 8 of those 22 resulted in 30 or more points this year. 16 outputs were 24 or more points. And it wasn’t like good defenses weren’t in the postseason. Denver #2, SF #3, Seattle #4, Cincinnati #6, Houston #7.
What is a good defense anymore? What does it take to win a Super Bowl?
The best defenses in the regular season normally dominate mediocre competition. Sometimes playing the right schedule can have a strong hand in this. Do you play rookie QBs? Are you facing backup QBs due to injuries? Are you catching teams at a time when they’re cold? And so on. I’m not saying the defenses aren’t good. Sometimes they are aided by circumstance.
The postseason means you are facing good teams. Not everyone has a loaded offense or veteran players. Andrew Luck and the Colts were the only team to score fewer than 10 p0ints this season. Still, for the most part, you are facing teams that are going to be tough to shut down.
In the playoffs you are looking to play timely defense. I don’t know that you can have the mentality that you’re going to shut down an offense. Seems to me that you want a veteran coach who can create a gameplan that has specific goals. We’ll take away this receiver. We’ll take away this running play. We’ll blitz on these plays, hoping to create a turnover. Stuff like that.
The Niners gained 468 yards. They scored 31 points. The game was greatly affected by a pair of Ravens takeaways and their Red Zone defense. Dean Pees is the Ravens DC. He had no answer for SF much of the night, but his guys came up with the takeaways, got the crucial stop on 4th/goal, and forced FGs on a pair of other RZ trips. That’s the difference in winning and losing. Timely defense.
I hope the Eagles are able to put together an outstanding defense. When you think of Eagles football, you think defense. Concrete Charlie. Bill Bergey. Reggie White. Brian Dawkins. I’d love to get back to a point where teams knew they were going to struggled to move the ball.
I can settle for “good enough”. More than a great defense, I want a Super Bowl. What we have seen in recent years is that you must have the right offense to win. You must be able to score points and make big plays. The defense can get hot or make timely plays and help the team go win a Super Bowl. You simply aren’t going to win with a mediocre offense. Some might point out the 2000 Ravens or 2002 Bucs, but those teams are irrelevant in today’s game. Football has shifted. This is an offensive league now.
Can the Eagles build a defense capable of winning the Super Bowl in short time? Definitely possible. The cupboard isn’t bare. The key is making the right moves. And I’m speaking in a reasonable sense. This isn’t fairy tale time where we draft HOF’ers in rounds 5-7 and have a month of shutouts.
The most important move is hiring the right DC. We still don’t have any word on that front. We’re all sitting and waiting. Once the DC is hired, the Eagles will know the scheme and style of players needed to make it work. Feels like that will be the 3-4, but nothing is certain for now.
If the Eagles do switch to a 3-4, the front seven will get the most media and fan attention, but it will be the secondary that needs the most help. Are all 4 starters gone? 3? 2? Chip Kelly has been evaluating the Eagles. No word on what he thinks so far, but I’m sure after watching the ATL, NO, CAR, DAL, and WAS games he was beating his head against a wall.
Howie Roseman, Kelly, and the DC will need to come up with a plan to fill key holes so that the defense can be solid in 2013. I don’t think Kelly is expecting to challenge for the Super Bowl right away, but he’ll want the defense to play better than they did in 2012. As much as we need coverage help, adding a veteran DB with strong leadership skills seems just as important. DRC isn’t a natural leader. I covered Nnamdi, aka the Blame Machine, the other day. Nate is too quiet. Kurt Coleman is the best leader, but he’s got limited ability.
This is going to be an interesting offseason. And very important.
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So what to the Ravens have in common with the Giants, Packers, and Saints? That is the last 4 teams to win the Super Bowl. It is also a list of the opponents in the last 4 Eagles home openers. How crazy is that?
And the year before that…the Steelers played in the 2nd game of the year at The Linc.
The last time the Eagles didn’t play the Super Bowl champ was 2005, when the Steelers won. We did host the Seahawks that year in a MNF debacle. They went on to lose to the Steelers in the SB.
If you include preseason games, you’d have a ways to go before finding the last year the Eagles didn’t play the SB winner.
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If you want something funny to read, check out this piece on CBS handling of the blackout. Very funny stuff.
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