The recent flashback posts have gotten a few people to talk about the glory days when the defense was tough, physical and played with a lot of attitude. Gang Green punished you.
They also came up short in the playoffs.
1988 – lost the Fog Bowl … gave up 341 yards and 20 points … 164 rushing yards
1989 – lost to the Rams … gave up 409 yards and 21 points … 144 rushing yards
1990 – lost to the Skins … gave up 299 yards and 20 points … only 93 rushing yards
Then Bud Carson took over.
1992 – beat the Saints … gave up 360 yards and 20 points … only 76 rushing yards
1992 – lost to Dallas … gave up 346 yards and 34 points …. 160 rushing yards
That is hardly an impressive stretch of games. The defense came up small when we needed it to shut teams down. Let’s compare that group to some of the Jim Johnson groups.
2000 – The Eagles played 2 games. Gave up a total of 23 points. Allowed 237, 199 yards. Teams ran for combined 162 yards.
2001 – Eagles played in 3 games. Gave up 9, 19 and 29 points. Allowed 258, 184 and 371 yards. Rams did run for 161.
I could keep going, but you should get the point. The Jim Johnson teams played with less attitude, but more discipline. They were able to play well in the postseason. Not every game, but enough that the Eagles had consistent success in January.
There is no question that the defense was too soft the last couple of years. The hitting was inconsistent and the tackling was flat out bad. Not only did teams not fear the middle of the field, they saw it as a welcome mat to the endzone.
I don’t need the 2013 defense to get back to the Body Bag days. That stuff makes for great stories, but it didn’t win playoff games. Not to mention, with today’s rules, you just can’t go out and punish people the way you used to.
DeMeco Ryans will hit and tackle. Mychal Kendricks can be physical. Patrick Chung is a big hitter. Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher will both hit and tackle. I have no idea what to expect from FS. Nate Allen struggled the last couple of years, but as we’ve talked about…the Wide-9 put a lot of pressure on DBs. That can lead to passive play and guys losing confidence. I think that is exactly what happened with Nate. Go watch the 2011 BUF game. He tackled better in that game than any other time in the NFL. It was after that game that his knee started to get sore and his level of play declined. 2012 was a struggle basically the whole year.
If Nate can bounce back or Kenny Phillips can stay healthy, the middle of the field will be a lot less friendly.
A little more attitude on defense would be nice, but I would prefer to see the defense play with more brains than anything else. Missed assignments have plagued us more in recent years than a lack of bone-crushing hits.
Having a tough defense is good. Having a smart and tough defense is great.