The Eagles had major issues with tackling in both 2011 and 2012. Whether it was the Charmin Brigade of Nnamdi and DRC gently brushing against offensive players as they ran toward the end zone, Nate Allen diving and missing or Mychal Kendricks playing out of control, the Eagles found a variety of ways to miss tackles and help the offense.
That changed in 2013.
Per Football Outsiders, the Eagles were 6th in the league in lowest broken tackle percentage. FO is going with the term broken tackles rather than missed tackles.
Buffalo once again had the lowest rate of plays with broken tackles, although as I said before, the Bills didn’t have the fewest broken tackles in the league. That title went to Kansas City at 45, followed by the Patriots, Saints, and Bills. That Kansas City number is a little shocking considering how many shaky-tackling defenders Andy Reid employed in Philadelphia. But it wasn’t anywhere near as shocking as what happened to the Eagles with Reid gone. Chip Kelly’s new regime changed a lot of things about the Eagles; one of the changes that may not have been as noticeable is that the Eagles suddenly figured out how to tackle. The Eagles were near the bottom of the league in broken tackles after leading the league in both 2011 and 2012.
Remember all the nonsense last year about how Chip Kelly wasn’t doing enough live hitting in Training Camp and that would hurt the Eagles? Chip focused on bringing in tough, physical players. If you do that, you don’t have to work on their toughness. They just are.
The Eagles coaches focused on fundamentals. They stressed getting in proper position. They stressed proper technique. Players were taught how to tackle, a skill that is lacking across all levels of football. The results speak for themselves. Nate Allen didn’t suddenly turn into Brian Dawkins, but his tackling did improve.
There will always be missed/broken tackles. This is the NFL. The other guys are pretty good and they’re taught to make you miss or run you over. That’s gonna happen. You just want to limit those situations. The Eagles did that last year and it helped in a major way.
We’ll see if another spring and summer of focusing on fundamentals can make the players even better. The coaches are going to teach a lot of the same things. The players will already have good habits this time around so it should help them to improve.
All this talk about tackling may seem silly to some. Effort and desire are part of the equation, but technique is every bit as critical. Kendricks doesn’t miss tackles because he’s lazy or not physical enough. He plays too fast. He wants to make the tackles so much that he gets out of control. This is where fundamentals come into play. Guys have to know they must be under control and focus on technique. Flying to the ball is no good if you can’t seal the deal when you get there. It will be very interesting to see if the coaches can get Kendricks to take the next step and play more consistently.
Malcolm Jenkins is on the list of the players who had the most broken tackles last year. I’m sure the Eagles are aware of that and will focus on fundamentals with him. Jenkins is a tough, physical player. There is no question of desire. He just gets sloppy. That can be fixed with good coaching, which apparently the Eagles coaches did last year.
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It is a pretty good effort, but I would be disappointed if the Eagles took a TE that early. I can’t say it would be a bad pick because the player is certainly good, but that’s just a position I’m hoping the team addresses later in the draft or with a UDFA. The Eagles might feel differently. We’ll find out soon enough.
Feel free to rip Jimmy’s effort. Clearly it is the worst mock ever and he should be banished from the United States.