Anomaly or Issue?

Posted: October 19th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 83 Comments »

Jim Johnson was a great defensive coordinator. He shut down all kinds of offenses and great players in his storied career. There was one exception – the Colts. Johnson’s defenses got shredded by the Colts multiple times over the years and never shut them down.

You might blow this off by talking about Peyton Manning being one of the best QBs of all time, but that’s only part of the story. In 2002 the Colts had a series of injuries at RB and faced the Eagles with James Mungro as their starter. It was his second game ever. He ran for 114 yards and 2 TDs. Over the final 41 games of his career, Mungro ran for 8 TDs and 326 yards. The score of that game was 35-13. I don’t think I have to tell you who won.

In 2006 the Colts ran for 237 yards in a 45-21 win. Peyton threw 20 passes for 183 yards. They just ran the ball over and over and dominated the game. Indy’s stretch play just gave JJ and the Eagles fits. Struggling with the Colts didn’t make JJ any less of a coach. The NFL is all about matchups and there are times when another team just seems to have your number.

In 2004 Johnson had an outstanding defense, but the team went to Pittsburgh and got dominated. The Steelers ran for 252 yards that day and won the game 27-3 (wasn’t even that close). In 2008 Johnson had one of his best defenses and they limited the Steelers to 34 yards of rushing. The Colts were JJ’s kryptonite. With the Steelers, it was one really bad game and one really good game.

There is suddenly a lot of panic in regard to the Eagles defense.

Talk to me in a month. This group was lights out for the first 4 games of the year. They looked like one of the best units in the league. They had a bad day on Sunday. An awful day, really. The next month will tell us whether Sunday was an anomaly or an issue.

I have confidence in the defense. Jim Schwartz is a terrific coach. He has some really talented players to work with. You can also just go with the eye test. The sloppy play from Sunday wasn’t what we’ve seen from the defense over the course of the rest of the year. Nigel Bradham played great football in the first 4 games, but struggled on Sunday. Fletcher Cox didn’t seem to be as much of a force as he usually is. WAS ran the ball 33 times and Jordan Hicks only had 3 solo tackles.

You also have the fact that Bennie Logan missed part of the 1st half and all of the 2nd half. He has played his best football in the past 3 games. The Skins had moved the ball with him in the lineup, but 145 of their rushing yards came after his injury. His absence hurt the defense.

I don’t think this is the time to panic in regard to Schwartz, the scheme or the players. Let’s see how this group responds to a bad showing. I think Schwartz will get his guys to settle down and play better defense. Missed tackles, poor gap integrity and penalties were the biggest issues. Those can be fixed. I think Schwartz, Cox and the rest of the guys in green will get the job done. I’m not guaranteeing wins, but I do think the defense will bounce back in a major way.


83 Comments on “Anomaly or Issue?”

  1. 1 Anomaly or Issue? - said at 12:47 AM on October 19th, 2016:

    […] Tommy Lawlor Jim Johnson was a great defensive coordinator. He shut down all kinds of offenses and great players […]

  2. 2 disqus_jB7dl5fzvO said at 1:00 AM on October 19th, 2016:

    You’re never as good as your best game, never as bad as your worst.

    Is this defense the top-3 unit we thought it was after the PIT game? Maybe, but probably not. But it sure as hell isn’t as bad as it showed on Sunday. Being on the field for 39 straight plays sure didn’t help, so the offense holds some of the blame for not being able to consistently sustain drives (the old Chip problem – also on D not getting off the field on 3rd down). Kirk Cousins has our number, and WAS has 3 good receiving threats where we have 3 average-below average CBs. The matchup was not in our favor in the pass game.

    However, the run D needs to be fixed. Every time Fran posted a video on Twitter today, nobody was getting off blocks and there was no gap integrity (also a crap load of holding not getting called). Should be a correctible issue with a very talented DL. Luckily the Vikings don’t have a great running game, so we should see improvement on Sunday.

  3. 3 John Galt said at 1:12 AM on October 19th, 2016:

    The offense really had nothing to do with the TOP disadvantage in this game or the 39 straight plays – that was about the D not getting off the field on third (and of course scoring which I don’t want to discourage). In general the O could be better at sustaining drives, but the big difference in games 1-3 and the last two is the D making plays on 3rd down

  4. 4 disqus_jB7dl5fzvO said at 1:20 AM on October 19th, 2016:

    Agree with the fact that it was mostly all on the D. But the offense wasn’t doing them any favors, which is kind of what I was getting at.

  5. 5 laeagle said at 12:25 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    Technically, the D itself wasn’t doing itself any favors (thanks, Malcolm Jenkins). Neither was the STs (thanks, Wendell Smallwood).

  6. 6 John Galt said at 12:47 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    Jenkins should have taken a knee at the 50 after that pick so the D could get some rest.

  7. 7 anon said at 1:04 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    No good, i needed those points in fantasy.

  8. 8 anon said at 2:48 AM on October 19th, 2016:

    pick six and kor also didn’t help.

  9. 9 Buge Halls said at 8:30 AM on October 19th, 2016:

    With the return for a TD and the Pick 6, the offense wasn’t even on the field for a good portion of the game.

  10. 10 RTP210 said at 1:00 AM on October 19th, 2016:

    I tend to think it’s both an anomaly and an issue. Do I think we’ll allow back-to-back-to-back 13 play drives for touchdowns on a regular basis? Nope. Do I think we have serious weaknesses that will be exploited by teams? Yep.

  11. 11 GermanEagle said at 5:30 AM on October 19th, 2016:

    Well at least we get Bennie Logan back against the Vikings. *jk

    All joking aside I will actually be shocked if the Vikings O puts up more than 17 points on us at home.

    I am aware that we might not have the best CBs and that Sammy Sleeves is playing his best football of his career, but apart from Diggs they really do lack some playmakers – unlike Washington last Sunday.

    It won’t surprise me to see a low scoring game with both offenses struggling in this one. And despite the fact that nobody will think we have a shot, I happen to believe this game might be decided by a late FG.

    Go birds.

  12. 12 D3FB said at 9:04 AM on October 19th, 2016:

    You mean Adam Thielen isn’t keeping you up at night?

  13. 13 Crus57 said at 7:58 AM on October 19th, 2016:

    I think it’s pretty obvious that the issue is the pink gloves and shoes. We were playing pretty well until we started wearing them.

  14. 14 Corry said at 8:01 AM on October 19th, 2016:

    I think it’s a bit of an anomaly, but it’s been more than one game. They looked pretty sorry in the first half of the Detroit game as well. If the Vikings with at running back and Sammy Sleeves shred the D, I think I’ll be in full on panic mode.

  15. 15 ChoTime said at 9:32 AM on October 19th, 2016:

    I agree. If sleeves shreds us, then we’re not good.

  16. 16 Gary Barnes said at 8:24 AM on October 19th, 2016:

    Disagree Tommy. The defense got absolutely shredded vs DET in the first half – counters, slants, screens, attacking the edge etc. were all effective ways the DET offense kept us on the field, off balance and built a sizable lead.

    It may be a 1.5 game anomaly, we’ll see, but to me the blue print is clear: a good run attack matched with an effective slant/screen pass game that negates our pass rush, exploits the wide 9 and exposes our LB and CB coverage can effectively beat the Eagles.

  17. 17 Buge Halls said at 8:29 AM on October 19th, 2016:

    But the 2nd half they dominated

  18. 18 Gary Barnes said at 8:36 AM on October 19th, 2016:

    Correct, they were able to adjust, but the first half still happened and unfortunately the damage done in the first half cost us the game.

    They were not able to adjust vs WSH so maybe the power run attack component of the blue print is more the issue than the quick throw slants/screens and counter/edge runs. We’ll have to see more games to know for sure.

  19. 19 tag1555 said at 8:59 AM on October 19th, 2016:

    Probably apropos of nothing, but Schwartz has mentioned that stopping the Colts’ stretch play was a big reason the Wide 9 system was developed. Basically, they found out that the DEs were too wide for TEs to get a good blocking angle on them, one of the principles of the stretch, and Peyton Manning didn’t like doing play action off the stretch vs. the wide 9 because he was taking too many blindside hits with his back still turned off the PA.

  20. 20 bdbd20 said at 9:00 AM on October 19th, 2016:

    James Mungro, Joe Webb, Joe Jurvecious, Matt Asaiata. We’ve definitely made some scrubs look like pro-bowlers.

  21. 21 A_T_G said at 10:01 AM on October 19th, 2016:

    You mistakenly put the greatest QB of the modern era on your list. So good he plays special teams and WR so that the league remains competitive.

  22. 22 ChoTime said at 12:10 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    FACT: There used to be a street called Joe Webb street, but it was changed because no one crosses Joe Webb and lives.

  23. 23 MattE said at 3:14 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    …..Chuck Norris Blvd is a pretty dangerous neighborhood too

  24. 24 A_T_G said at 12:26 AM on October 20th, 2016:

    Before settling on WR, Joe Webb tried punting. On a clear night, you can see the football shaped bruise on Jupiter that resulted.

  25. 25 bill said at 9:09 AM on October 19th, 2016:

    I’m really curious to see if Destiny Vaeao played as badly as it looked to me. Didn’t have good camera angles, but on several runs it looked like the RBs just trucked him – he barely slowed them down, let alone stopped them. Not many defenses look good when their DTs can’t bring down RBs after contact.

    The problem with the power run shortcomings may have been directly related to Vaeao’s shortcomings. If Logan misses significant time, this may be a recurring theme.

  26. 26 ACViking said at 11:28 AM on October 19th, 2016:


    I don’t mind that the past couple weeks, two teams that couldn’t run the ball before facing the Eagles suddenly were able to run the ball effectively. (Det for half a game, Wash for 2 halves.)

    What is more bothersome is the Eagles Red Zone defense the past couple weeks. (Jim Johnson made his money in the RZ — especially in ’02, when the Eagles couldn’t stop Mungro or any other RB . . . until the RZ.)

    Regarding Washington’s rushing stats pre- and post-Benny Logan . . .

    Before Logan went out, Wash had 85 rushing yards.

    After he went out, but before that 57-yard garbage run, Washington had 88 yards rushing (or so).


  27. 27 sonofdman said at 11:57 AM on October 19th, 2016:

    Great point about the red zone defense. Hopefully they will improve that in the coming weeks.

    I am also concerned about the red zone offense. In both of the last two games they settled for field goals when they were trying to come back and needed touchdowns.

  28. 28 P_P_K said at 12:00 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    You are being gracious, ACViking, it does bug me that two teams with weak running games ran so easily over and through our front seven. Hoping it is, truly, an anomaly and not an issue.

  29. 29 anon said at 12:43 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    Agree think that’s maybe the difference between the first couple of weeks teams got to the redzone but we got stops, picks, fg blocks, etc. that kept big points off the board.

    That led to us being able to really control the clock

  30. 30 Tumtum said at 1:06 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    The D performance is tied to the front. When the front struggles everyone will struggle. This is pretty much always the case, but probably amplified here. The front was garbagio on Sunday, so the whole unit was.

    I think they will be fine. I am most concerned about the O-line and the penalties. Plain and simple.

  31. 31 The original AG said at 1:23 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    Lots of missed tackles, bad angles, and penalties. Clean this up and they are a much better unit. Two weeks in a row a blow to the head of the QB turned a what-would-be-4th down into a 1st inside the 5 yard line. Both times the teams scored a TD.

    I believe they’ll get it cleaned up. New scheme, new coach, and it’s still early in the season.

    It seems the extremely early bye week wrecked the momentum. Get a win and it starts to go the right way again.

  32. 32 ChoTime said at 1:26 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    Or, the other teams got film on the the Eagles and can now successfully game plan against us, and the onus is on Pederson and Schwartz to counter the counter.

  33. 33 The original AG said at 1:32 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    This I think is the answer. These guys get paid a lot of money to break down tape and find a way to beat the opponent. This is the mark of a great coaching staff – to be able to adjust to what everyone else is doing.

  34. 34 Anders said at 5:53 AM on October 20th, 2016:

    There is nothing new about Jim Schwartz defense or the Eagles offense for that matter.

    Its not the other teamknowing the scheme that make Kendricks miss a tackle or Jason Peters taking a false start.

  35. 35 anon said at 1:26 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    “tackles, bad angles, and penalties” these are hallmarks of bad defensive units. Way too early to make pronouncements about the team, but at some point you are what you are.

  36. 36 Blackfoot said at 2:27 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    that’s true, play better and they’d be better

  37. 37 GermanEagle said at 1:34 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    Last time I checked Joe Webb is not starting for the Vikings, so there’s always a chance…!!!

  38. 38 ChaosOnion said at 3:03 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    Remembering that game still frustrates and infuriates me to no end. Freaking Joe Webb on a freaking Tuesday…WTFO.

  39. 39 Corry said at 7:08 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    And the corner blitz that Mike Vick never saw coming…300000000 times that night.

  40. 40 MattE said at 3:11 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    i wanna downvote so bad.

  41. 41 Nailed It! said at 1:51 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    Leodis practiced full today and will play Sunday. That would be huge for the D.

  42. 42 Dave said at 2:07 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    Why? He might be an upgrade from Mills, but that bar is set awful low.

  43. 43 anon said at 2:45 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    Mills has proven great value for us already. Compare him to Big V.

  44. 44 Nailed It! said at 3:05 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    Yes cause our corner group has put on a clinic without him so far.


  45. 45 Dave said at 3:11 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    I wish we could trade for a guy with promise…maybe someone like Eric Rowe.

  46. 46 Nailed It! said at 3:13 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    Who pissed in your cheerios?

  47. 47 Will Ft. Daft Punk said at 4:25 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    The Eagles

  48. 48 MattE said at 3:14 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    definitely laughed a bit on that one

  49. 49 daveH said at 2:23 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    Tried to go a full day without reading

  50. 50 P_P_K said at 4:37 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    Hi, I’m PPK, I’m an Iggles Blitz addict.

  51. 51 ChaosOnion said at 3:00 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    Let’s all take a breath and remember the Eagles
    * have a brand new, first time head coach with a brand new offense
    * have a rookie QB
    * will be missing their starting RT for the next 9 weeks
    * have a brand new DC installing a brand new defense
    * are rebuilding in places besides QB, HC, DC
    * were projected to get 6-8 wins during preseason

  52. 52 MattE said at 3:11 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    thats what i say, all these week-to-week Eagles fans are really pissing me off….. if you don’t know names on the practice squad you’re not a real fan lol

  53. 53 Corry said at 7:04 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    I think I know the practice squad, but it depends if Darrell Greene is on or off it this week.

  54. 54 MattE said at 3:19 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    Not to worried about run defense. Schematically was gonna happen eventually, how you fix it schematically not sure. In comparison to a 2-Gap scheme which we also recently experienced I will take Schwartz’s scheme all day, mainly because I want my DL to attack first and think 2nd (vs. 2-Gappin where DL are diagnosing first). The fact of the matter is that the DL are going to have to get into the habit of asking

    “why did i just beat my blocker that easy? Oh shit it’s a screen/misdirection/counter/delay”

    I think keeping that in the back of your mind vs. thinking constantly with 2-gap is the better way to go.

    It’s just burns a little extra when your defense is getting beat by those kinds of plays, vs. just having a team run straight over you (which is just demoralizing).

  55. 55 Will Ft. Daft Punk said at 4:30 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    Film breakdown from Johnny Page.

    Pressure got to Wentz early causing him to miss some throws but he played alot better in the second half.

    The defense was turrible. WTFs completely took advantage of the wide 9 just like the Lions. Guys were over running plays all game or failing to keep outside contain. One coverage breakdown led to a Veron Davis TD.

    And we failed to pressure Cousins. The one time we did (thanks Marcus Smith) he threw a pick 6

  56. 56 Anders said at 5:51 AM on October 20th, 2016:

    The wide 9 is not the reason players couldnt tackle.

  57. 57 Will Ft. Daft Punk said at 11:59 AM on October 20th, 2016:

    No. but the Lions and WTFs both took advantage of the scheme with misdirection and counters. Its part of the reason why guys kept over pursuing

  58. 58 Gian GEAGLE said at 4:46 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    We might be able to use Vaitai’s struggles to our advantage in the screen game. When a DLineman feels that it’s too easy and the Olineman ISNT offering enough resistance, usually they will abandon their pass rush because it means a screen is coming. With the Vikings DE licking their chops over the

  59. 59 anon said at 5:18 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    yeah thought we should have done that a ton in the WAS game – maybe some RO just to make Kerrigan think instead of kicking Big Vs but every passing down.

  60. 60 scratcherk said at 6:26 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    So Rowe did pretty well against AJ Green last week. With our CB situation, hard to believe he couldnt break into the lineup…

  61. 61 GermanEagle said at 6:44 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    In all honestly it took him 4 games to be active for the Pats. The jury is still out.

  62. 62 Will Ft. Daft Punk said at 8:10 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    The verdict on our CBs has already came in: They are bad.

  63. 63 Corry said at 6:56 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    I think Rowe will always do well against big physical receivers and likely struggle against the smaller, shiftier guys. With that said, I’ll never understand going into the season with 4 corners when 2 of them have extensive injury histories. McKelvin has only played all 16 games 3 times in an 8 year career and Ron Brooks has never played all 16 in a season (4 seasons)….I mean besides familiarity with Schwartz.

  64. 64 Dave said at 8:52 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    While Mills will struggle against the big physical guys and the small shifty guys.

  65. 65 wee2424 said at 12:30 AM on October 20th, 2016:

    Couldn’t disagree more. Its the ones with deep speed that give him trouble.

    He would actually be better off in slot in my opinion.

  66. 66 GermanEagle said at 6:43 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    Lots of very exciting story lines in this matchup:

    – Wentz vs Sammy Sleeves aka Ze Trade of the century
    – The return of Pat frigging Shurmur
    – The return of Hank frigging Fraley

    But most importantly that hasn’t been brought up again at all so far:

    – the battle of the Kendricks brothers and why the Eagles always seem to pick the wrong sibling.


  67. 67 scratcherk said at 7:55 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    Shawn over Stacy?

  68. 68 scratcherk said at 7:57 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    Brent over Garrett?

  69. 69 scratcherk said at 7:57 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    Randall over Sam?

  70. 70 scratcherk said at 8:00 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    Shawn over Stacy?
    Randall over Sam?
    Brent over Garrett?
    Brian over Byron?

    Thats all the ones I can think of that it worked out for us…

  71. 71 A_T_G said at 12:30 AM on October 20th, 2016:

    Well, we did end up doubling down on our loss with the first pair. But your last pair pretty much end the conversation.

  72. 72 wee2424 said at 12:34 AM on October 20th, 2016:

    Have sat here for 20 minutes trying to think of another. Cant.

    Edit: Mike over Marcus Vick. Sort of a lame one but I guess we could have gotten Marcus as an UDFA if he wasn’t in prison coming out of college. Or did he get kicked out?

  73. 73 Dave said at 8:50 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    Ah, the honey bear. I’m not sure who was worse, him or Jason Kelce circa 2015/2016. I have vivid memories of Vince Wilfork dominating him in the Superbowl.

  74. 74 wee2424 said at 12:31 AM on October 20th, 2016:

    Must be missing something. Why will Fraley be involved in this?

  75. 75 GermanEagle said at 8:56 AM on October 20th, 2016:

    He’s one of their asst. coaches.

  76. 76 ChoTime said at 1:07 AM on October 20th, 2016:

    1. “One refers to a person with Ze typically (a) when their gender is unknown, and one wishes to avoid assuming their gender, or (b) when they are neither male nor female in gender, making he and she (and also either/or terms like s/he or (s)he) inappropriate and potentially hurtful.”

    2. Ze frank. comic genius. Unfortunately hasn’t made a video about ergles, but his video about owls is rofl.

  77. 77 Koy: The Legend of Neckbeard said at 8:07 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    But what if we suck

  78. 78 scratcherk said at 8:07 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    Isnt that the Detmer family motto?

  79. 79 Koy: The Legend of Neckbeard said at 8:11 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    I don’t think it was ever a question of if

  80. 80 Dave said at 8:58 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    As much as I want the Eagles to win this year, it’s really just starting to hit me that barring major injuries, we’ll be talking about Wentz leading our team in 2026, maybe even to the year 2030 or beyond. I get really excited thinking about the fact that the Eagles might not be looking for another franchise quarterback until I’m ready to retire. At this point, I just want to enjoy the ride.

  81. 81 daveH said at 9:14 PM on October 19th, 2016:

    Who’s favored in this debate ? What’s the spread

  82. 82 A_T_G said at 12:26 AM on October 20th, 2016:

    I think the most likely winner is Alec Baldwin.

  83. 83 Insomniac said at 12:11 AM on October 20th, 2016:

    Just wanted to share this little gem of a channel.