Bad Day at the Office

Posted: September 17th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on Bad Day at the Office

The Eagles lost a real game for the first time in a long while. That has more than a few fans in panic mode. I don’t know if they legitimately feel this way or this is just being done for the sake of nostalgia.

Jim Schwartz and his defense are getting ripped for their performance. The Eagles defense did not play well in Tampa. However, I think there is a definite over-reaction to what we saw on Sunday. There are really two situations where you should worry…lack of effort or lack of talent. Neither was the case on Sunday.

That game really boils down to two plays, each of them a 75-yard TD pass. On the first, Malcolm Jenkins simply made a dumb decision. He jumped an underneath route and let one of the fastest players in the league go deep on a CB with mediocre speed. Dumb, dumb and dumb. And Jenkins knows that.

On the next TD, O.J. Howard caught a pass about 10 yards up the field. Jordan Hicks had tight coverage and just missed deflecting the pass by three or four inches. Ronald Darby was there to make the tackle and limit the play to less than 15 yards. Inexplicably, he decided to try and strip the ball (or something like that). Howard went right by him and down the sideline for a TD. Darby chased him as hard as he could, but didn’t catch up until Howard was in the end zone.

If Jenkins stays in the middle and Darby makes his tackle, those plays are solid gains, but nothing noteworthy. Instead, there were two breakdowns and they gave Tampa long TDs.

The Bucs had three drives that went for 70 or more yards. Two of them were one-play drives. That means there was one long, sustained drive in the whole game. There were also drives that covered 22, 25, -6, 27, 21, -1 and 8 yards.

Here’s a shocker…Tampa punted more in the game than the Eagles did!

And let’s put some perspective on this. The Steelers just gave up 42 points to a QB making his third NFL start. And the Steelers were at home. Carolina gave up 31 points to the Falcons, who were 4 for 4 in the Red Zone. The Patriots gave up 31 points to Blake Bortles and the Jaguars. Last week the Saints gave up 41 offensive points to Tampa.

The Eagles gave up 27 points. It felt a lot worse than that, but it wasn’t.

We thought the defense might be great this year. That could still happen, but they have a lot of work to do before we can re-visit that conversation. They were bad in Tampa. Give the Bucs credit, too. That offense is clicking right now. Ryan Fitzpatrick seems to see every open receiver and puts the ball right on the money. The line is playing well and the receivers are making big play after big play.

Jim Schwartz will not be a happy man this week. He’ll see the mental mistakes on tape and it will eat at him. Jenkins knows he has to stay deep on DeSean. For some reason, he got greedy at that moment. Darby had several good tackles in the game. Why on earth did he decide to do whatever he did at that moment vs Howard? There was the play where Chris Godwin was wide open in the end zone. We haven’t seen a good replay to know who is at fault on that, but it was clearly a blown assignment.

Jalen Mills gave up a RZ score to Mike Evans. Mills had pretty good coverage on that, but there was a perfect throw and he couldn’t get to the ball. I’m guessing Schwartz will be fine with that. You can’t expect to stop every play. You just can’t have breakdowns that give the opponent huge plays. Those are devastating.

I need to re-watch the game a couple of times to really get a feel for what Schwartz was trying to do strategically. He had his guys play off a lot and that made shorter completions easy. When you face fast receivers like Evans and Jackson, there is no simple strategy.

I still believe in Schwartz and the Eagles defense. Sunday was ugly, but it was one game. We’ve seen too much good out of this unit for people to go into panic mode. There are issues to be sure. Veteran QBs give them fits. They aren’t nearly as good on the road. But at the end of the day, this is still a good defense.


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