Fixing the Defense

Posted: September 25th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 127 Comments »

The Eagles are 30th in the NFL in yards allowed. They are 26th in points allowed. You don’t need to be an expert to figure out those aren’t good numbers.

So what can be done to fix the defense?

Time. There is no substitute for experience. The coaches are trying to learn the players. The players are trying to learn the scheme. And the players are learning to function together within the scheme. I’ve been studying Eagles games for more than a decade. I have to watch defensive plays over and over because I don’t always know what’s going on. The 3-4 feels completely foreign to me and and I’m sure it feels the same way to some of the players.

The players generally know their assignments right now, but there is a drastic difference between knowing what to do and being able to carry out the assignment at full speed in a natural, almost instinctive way. That’s not happening with any consistency. Players are able to play fast when they’re comfortable. They need to react, not think. That just takes time.

I can’t stress enough the importance of defenders playing together in a cohesive way. Good defense is so much more than big hits and guys acting tough. Great defenses play smart. They do a good job with their run fits. Players are in the right gaps. Great defenses cover well as individuals and as a group. They understand how to work together. They communicate, both before and during plays. Mistakes can happen when players don’t know where to be or when they try to do too much and ignore their assignment.

Think about the great Bucs defenses. They were elite with stars like Sapp, Brooks and Lynch in 2002. They were 2nd in the NFL in 2007 with those roles filled by Jovan Haye, Jermaine Phillips and 34-year old Derrick Brooks. The scheme was simple. The key was the execution of the scheme. Monte Kiffin did a phenomenal job of teaching the system to new/young players. They didn’t make mental mistakes. And they flew to the ball and tackled very well. It takes time to get a system in place like that, but the Eagles can certainly do a much better job of the basics than what we’ve seen through 3 games.

While the coaches have been with the Eagles players for a while now, there is still learning going on. The coaches are seeing which players are making assignment errors. They got hints in the preseason, but this is a whole other thing. This is when you really find out about players. The coaches can see which guys are spending extra time working on issues. The coaches are finding out which guys are coachable and which ones aren’t. They’re finding out who wants to be great and who just wants a job.

Time and experience will only cure so many things. Some of the errors come down to guys just being sloppy and not executing well. Mychal Kendricks is too talented to miss as many tackles as he is. I think his biggest problem is playing too fast. He ends up off-balance and reaching or diving for the ball. Kendricks needs to play more under control and keep his feet under him so he’s got a good base and can be in good tackling position. Before you get too worried about him, remember that another Eagles 2nd round pick had tackling issues when he was young…some kid named Brian Dawkins.

The coaches are working with players to fix their issues. Some of the problems will go away this year. Others will take longer. Some will never go away, which may lead the player to go away.

Talent is a huge key. The Eagles don’t have enough. Simple as that. The 3-4 requires impact LBs. Kendricks is the closest thing the Eagles have to an impact LB right now and he’s still working through some basic issues. Barwin or Cole would be fine with an impact OLB across from him. But they aren’t good enough across from each other.

The secondary needs help no matter what scheme you run. We all agree on that.

The one X-factor with this area is seeing how players develop. Fletcher Cox is getting better each week. We expected him to be an impact player in the 4-3. If he can also be an impact player in the 3-4, that takes some pressure off the need for impact LBs.

We’ll see how Kendricks progresses. He could become a significant factor. What is Ced Thornton’s ceiling…okay starter or good player? And so on. As the players show what they can do, the coaches and personnel department will adjust their thinking for how to fix the roster next March.

The coaches will also tweak the scheme to better fit the personnel.

While on that subject, many of you aren’t happy with the defensive staff for how they’re run things so far this year. I’ve said all along that I think they should have gone to the 4-3 Under as the base and just mixed in some 3-4. Instead. Bill Davis and his staff have focused more on the 3-4. I wish I could explain why for sure, but I can only guess.

It could be that the coaches felt the 3-4 was simpler to teach, from a schematic standpoint. It could also be that the coaches wanted to run the 3-4 to see who fit and who didn’t. If you tailor the defense to fit the current personnel, you don’t know who fits from a long term perspective. The coaches want the 3-4 to be the long term defense.

The other possibility is that the coaches saw the players in the OTAs and Training Camp and decided the 3-4 was the way to go.

I’m not a 3-4 guy. Never will be. But that’s what the coaches want. I do think it is important for them to do what they want. When Bill Parcells took over Dallas they had a good 4-3 defense. Parcells kept the scheme and DC Mike Zimmer. They finished #1 in the league in his first year. Parcells was a 3-4 guy, but couldn’t argue with success. The defense struggled in 2004 and Parcells ditched the 4-3 for his beloved 3-4. He just wasn’t going to be comfortable unless he was running his scheme. When Buddy Ryan took over the Eagles they were coming off a season with a Top 10 defense. They had run Marion Campbell’s 3-4. Ryan put in his 4-3 defense immediately. He wasn’t about to run the 3-4 and it didn’t matter how good the unit had been. I totally get both men and why they did what they did.

I know many of you remain frustrated with the way the coaches have used Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry. I want both players on the field more myself. That said, we need to be careful not to overrate these guys. I’ve written plenty about Graham and how the PFF stats overrate him. Good player. Not a special player. Curry is a trickier subject since he  just played last week. We need to see him in action more. Teams will study what he does. Let’s see how that goes. Remember that Jamar Chaney looked great in his first couple of games.

Curry earned more reps with the way he played vs the Chiefs. It will be interesting to see if they try to mix him in on some run downs or if they try to limit him to being a pass rusher. It is too early to know what will become of Curry. The coaches might leave him at backup DE. They could try him at OLB on a regular basis. They could try and mostly keep him at DT in the Nickel.

I’d love to see the coaches shift Ced Thornton to NT, Cox to LDE and use Curry at RDE in the base. I don’t think that is very likely, but would love to see them try that. You would sacrifice some run defense, but would have 3 athletic players up front.

The defense is a work in progress. Davis and the staff will experiment with both scheme and lineup until they find the combination that works the best. We must remember that the Eagles are only 3 weeks into a new defense. The goal is to build a good defense over time. This situation won’t get solved this season. For now, the focus is on getting the current group to be functional. They made some progress against the Chiefs, but weren’t good enough. They should get better as the players get more comfortable in the scheme, but don’t expect anything special this year.

* * * * *

Derek Sarley did a good breakdown of the defense for the Daily News (still sounds funny to say that).


127 Comments on “Fixing the Defense”

  1. 1 BobSmith77 said at 2:04 AM on September 25th, 2013:

    ‘Beatings to continue until morale improves’

  2. 2 TommyLawlor said at 2:45 AM on September 25th, 2013:


  3. 3 Jon Coffey said at 12:09 AM on September 27th, 2013:

    Whippings for all until the defense is better

  4. 4 SteveH said at 2:30 AM on September 25th, 2013:

    The best line from Reuben Frank’s latest article:

    “The Broncos scored a season-low 37 points in their 37-21 win over the Raiders Monday night.”

  5. 5 P_P_K said at 8:33 AM on September 25th, 2013:

    Now I’m really bummed.

  6. 6 SteveH said at 2:35 AM on September 25th, 2013:

    I think we’re going to struggle with a 3-4 until we get a difference maker at nose tackle. If you have a Vince Wilfork type at NT it makes it so much easier for everyone else.

    I do feel for Billy Davis though, trying to revive his career with this bunch. Maybe if he’s still here a couple years down the line but I’ve always had the impression that he’s only keeping the seat warm until we can get our hands on someone we really want.

  7. 7 Anders said at 5:58 AM on September 25th, 2013:

    How many 3-4 teams have that player? The need for a dominating NT is overblown. Give me the just as rare elite safety instead

  8. 8 Jon Coffey said at 12:11 AM on September 27th, 2013:

    We need a big fast negro back there like eric reid or sean taylor or someone of the likes who’s not afraid to bring the wood on the offense’s negros

  9. 9 JTHC75 said at 2:14 AM on September 27th, 2013:

    The shouldn’t run a 3-4 unless they do have that kind of player. One reason you’d want a 3-4 is that it’s probably more effective at containing running QBs, but again, it won’t work out unless you have a powerful double-wide NT.

  10. 10 anon said at 8:56 AM on September 25th, 2013:

    Part of me thinks you need some continuity we’ve had 4 D Coord’s in 3 years. At some point they have to learn and grow in the scheme. Agree Billy Davis wasn’t a great choice but we didn’t have a lot of options i don’t think.

  11. 11 Weapon Y said at 4:02 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    It looks my Operation Wait For the Jets to Suck and Fire Rex Ryan might not work out after all. It’s still early, so it could happen and that would be my ideal plan. Again, he’s terrible at making personnel decisions, but he might be the best defensive coach in the NFL. I’d definitely take a chance on him in that capacity only.

    If the Jags go 0-16, I guess they’d consider firing Gus Bradley although that would be 2 guys fired in 2 years. I know it’s unlikely, but I was on the Gus Bus in January. I’d love to welcome the Gus Bus aboard the Chip Ship and make Davis walk the plank if things don’t go well this year.

  12. 12 BlindChow said at 7:30 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    Yeah, if they fired Mularkey after 2-14, it’s possible Gus becomes available after 0-16. And neither one was the guy who drafted Gabbert!

  13. 13 ACViking said at 7:39 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    the difference between the two situations is Mularkey was hired by the *former* GM just a couple months after JAX’s new owner, Shad Khan, assumed control.

    Bradley, on the other hand, is the *new* GM’s guy hired with Khan’s more informed blessing.

    I don’t see it happening. But you never know.

  14. 14 Maggie said at 8:29 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    Neither Bradley or Kelly is going to be fired in ONE year. grow up a little.

  15. 15 Jon Coffey said at 12:13 AM on September 27th, 2013:

    Jeff Lurie is too smart to start firing the staff so hastily. He let Andy Reid run the staff into the ground for years without meddling. These people obviously are talking out their asses bc that is not Lurie’s MO

  16. 16 Cafone said at 10:34 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    I can’t agree there. He’s making a ton of money and with his past record he’s lucky to have an NFL DC job at all right now. Nobody was going to hire Davis to run a unit full of pro-bowlers, that’s for sure. He was on his way to a job as an NFL or college assistant and got one additional shot, however unlikely, to redeem himself as an NFL coordinator. He couldn’t have expected it to be easy.

  17. 17 Jon Coffey said at 12:14 AM on September 27th, 2013:

    What do you know bitch? If you watch film and actually know what football is…then you will notice that the defense leaves much to be desired; but, does show improvement.

  18. 18 TommyLawlor said at 2:47 AM on September 25th, 2013:

    Picking on Eli and the G-men is always fun.

  19. 19 laeagle said at 10:10 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    Not sure if you saw my comment there, but “The Onion” is also “The Onion for Sports”:,33988/

  20. 20 xlGmanlx said at 3:44 AM on September 25th, 2013:

    You could rotate Curry in for Graham, in that front
    Cox, Thort, Graham/Curry

  21. 21 deg0ey said at 3:50 AM on September 25th, 2013:

    The way I see it, this unit is right where we expected it to be. The fun thing is that it seems like Chip knows what he’s doing on offense and that will hopefully mean less pressure on the D to win games.

    What we should be hoping for (for the next couple of seasons at least) is that they can be good enough not to lose games. I’m fairly confident that, with a bit more experience, this group can hold most teams to scores in the low-20s. That wouldn’t necessarily be great D and it likely wouldn’t hold up against the best teams, but it should give the offense a chance to win most weeks.

  22. 22 Michael Winter Cho said at 7:06 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    You meant 30s, right?

  23. 23 Cafone said at 10:28 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    Why should we be hoping for that? We need picks man. I’d like to see a season full of 40-39 loses that prove the viability of Kelly’s offensive system and leave us with a boatload of good picks.

  24. 24 deg0ey said at 2:23 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    It is, of course, your right to hope for whatever you like but that is in fact your attitude then I suspect the next few years of Eagles football are unlikely to be fun for you.

  25. 25 Jon Coffey said at 12:23 AM on September 27th, 2013:

    You are a dumb bitch. This defense doesn’t have the horses to consistently get interceptions week in and week out. We can get them occasionally; but, we are much better at getting sacks and forcing punts. What we really need, and I realize you are too dumb of a bitch to see this; but, what we really need is our offense to stop turning the ball over. I am sure we would have beaten the Chiefs had we not had 5 turnovers. Even still, 430 yards of offense is damned impressive with 5 turnovers.

  26. 26 Cafone said at 9:32 AM on September 27th, 2013:

    Picks as in “draft picks”.

    Frankly, I am unsure if you are serious or if you are having fun doing a parody of a moronic Eagles fan.

  27. 27 Jon Coffey said at 3:09 PM on October 1st, 2013:

    I’m an Eagles fan to the core and I’m not sitting here confused if you’re doing a fat bitch parody or not because I can tell you are just a fat bitch

  28. 28 Jon Coffey said at 12:17 AM on September 27th, 2013:

    Now that sounds like one of the more sensible things I have heard in this thread so far. No the defense doesn’t force turnovers and seize takeaways; but, there is no doubt improvement in the defense. I wish I could say the same for our offense and the propensity for turnovers that they have shown in the last couple of years…Then we wouldn’t be talking about how bad the defense is…We would be talking about Philadelphia being 3-0 and heading to Denver in the bout of two undefeated teams…

  29. 29 Scott J said at 6:26 AM on September 25th, 2013:

    It’s frustrating watching our defense get worse while teams like the Saints and Texans take a huge jump overnight with a new DC.

  30. 30 Dan said at 8:02 AM on September 25th, 2013:

    You must not have watched the games last year if you are saying our defense is getting worse, especially since our defense actually did solid against KC.

  31. 31 anon said at 8:53 AM on September 25th, 2013:

    I think they did a good job but there’s nothing really dynamic about KC’s offense and they failed to get a stop basically at all in the 4th quarter. No real downfield passing attack to contend with but got burned several times (on the same play).

  32. 32 TommyLawlor said at 8:40 AM on September 25th, 2013:

    The Saints have played bad QBs/offenses. We’ve faced tough opponents. Big diff.

    Houston had a good base of personnel and then made a great hire in Wade Phillips. He’s an infinitely better DC than Bill Davis.

  33. 33 eagleyankfan said at 9:17 AM on September 25th, 2013:

    When was Wade Philips hired? The same year we hired a OL coach? My memory is shot, but it’s worth asking…

  34. 34 TommyLawlor said at 9:41 AM on September 25th, 2013:

    I think so.

  35. 35 Weapon Y said at 4:07 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    Just imagine how different things would be if an actual defensive coach was hired instead of Juan Castillo. A guy like Wade Phillips might have made all of the difference.

  36. 36 Cafone said at 10:24 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    And we might still have Andy Reid here rather than Chip Kelly. I’m not saying things happen for a reason, but sometimes bad decisions can lead to revolutionary change for the better.

  37. 37 Jon Coffey said at 12:26 AM on September 27th, 2013:

    Cafone, how many fucking stupid things are you going to post on this sum bitch before someone else calls you out for being a dumb bitch?

  38. 38 RIP Worms said at 10:04 AM on September 25th, 2013:

    Clearly it is entirely too early to draw any conclusions about Bill Davis’s long-term prospects. With that caveat, are there a handful of names out there that you would be willing to sign to replace Bill Davis at year’s end? For our purposes here, we will assume Bill Davis proves to be a “replacement-level” DC.

    Rex Ryan could be available. Not sure Chip would want the circus that would accompany him, but there’s no question he’s a great defensive mind (is he a 4-3 guy, though?). Anybody else who you think may be available and would be a clear upgrade (and not just change for the sake of change)?

  39. 39 BlindChow said at 10:58 AM on September 25th, 2013:

    Rex Ryan is 3-4 guy. He is unbelievably great at gameplanning for elite QB’s.

  40. 40 Tom33 said at 11:12 AM on September 25th, 2013:

    I always wondered why Rex and Rob were 3-4 guys when Buddy was such a staunch 4-3 proponent.

  41. 41 Anders said at 11:17 AM on September 25th, 2013:

    Influence during coaching upbring.

    Also Rex Ryan while a 3-4 guy is a lot like Jim Johnson and his father in that there is several 46 defensive philosophies.
    And yes Jim Johnson often overload blitzed, but instead of two LBs, it would often be a LB and a safety.

  42. 42 BlindChow said at 11:30 AM on September 25th, 2013:

    Those rebels!

  43. 43 Jon Coffey said at 12:27 AM on September 27th, 2013:

    He likes bringing the pressure with no safety help over the top when it is a pressure situation on 3rd down. I see no reason why Bill Davis can’t study and emulate him. This is basically a trial-and-error year for Chip Kelly and his staff; Jeffrey Lurie has said as much. He might as well try out whatever he can to develop a style that works.

  44. 44 Finlay Jones said at 12:25 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    How is it too early to draw conclusions on Davis? he does have 4 years of, failed, DC experience? Of course he might turn it around here, but there are now 4 years and 3 games worth of evidence that he isn’t very good. Boykin at OLB and Graham split out wide covering a WR? no thanks.

  45. 45 laeagle said at 10:11 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    Jim Johnson’s record wasn’t fantastic when he came here. Please keep Davis’s career in perspective. Not saying he’s Jim, but c’mon.

  46. 46 Jon Coffey said at 12:30 AM on September 27th, 2013:

    Thank you Iaeagle…Finlay Jones is obviously a faggot, I am glad somebody else noticed this fact

  47. 47 laeagle said at 12:31 AM on September 27th, 2013:

    There’s no way I’m supporting anything you say, tough guy. Even if I agree with it. Back off and try civil discourse rather than name calling.

  48. 48 Jon Coffey said at 12:34 AM on September 27th, 2013:

    Iaeagle, I didn’t realize you were such a pussy…I will say what you were thinking since you lack the big, heavy testicles

  49. 49 Jon Coffey said at 12:35 AM on September 27th, 2013:

    Ill bet you have never even clogged the toilet by urinating before either….

  50. 50 laeagle said at 12:36 AM on September 27th, 2013:

    Ugh. How did I know I’d get such a witty response. Perhaps some aspirin and water would help at this particular moment, followed by sleep? And then the inevitable self hatred and shame tomorrow morning.

  51. 51 Jon Coffey said at 12:37 AM on September 27th, 2013:

    You do what you gotta do man…

  52. 52 Jon Coffey said at 12:29 AM on September 27th, 2013:

    Hey man, get off Billy Davis’ nuts. The guy is improving from week to week. Let him try some shit out and see what he can do. Don’t be such a faggot!! Show the man some patience and be supportive…

  53. 53 deg0ey said at 2:34 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    I actually think that hiring Rex Ryan could be the best thing for everyone involved (assuming he leaves the Jets and doesn’t get another HC job):

    Rex gets to step out of the spotlight and rehab his image a bit with a view to getting a head coach gig a couple years down the road.

    Chip gets a guy that can be left alone to rebuild the D and get the absolute most out of the (small amount of) talent available – and can offer a good deal of input into which areas are priorities to strengthen and with which type of player.

    Howie gets the chance to hire a smart up and comer as assistant DC to learn from Rex and then take over if/when he leaves for an HC job.

    There are lots of reasons that it probably won’t happen, but it also makes enough sense that it might.

  54. 54 Ben Hert said at 3:41 PM on September 26th, 2013:

    It would be a grade A douche-bag move to dump Davis after one year with sub-par talent, but I couldn’t think of anything better in terms of staff changes for the Eagles.

  55. 55 BlindChow said at 10:57 AM on September 25th, 2013:

    At least we didn’t have to endure a year of Spagnuolo.

  56. 56 Maggie said at 8:32 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    The defense could not possibly be worse than last year!

  57. 57 P_P_K said at 8:38 AM on September 25th, 2013:

    The D is what the D is. I’ve actually been kind of happy with their performance because I thought things might be worse. I don’t have any optomism about the upcoming game against Denver, but I do think there’s still room for improvement this year by adjusting the personnel and tweaking the schemes. Considering how bad the NFC East is, we could be in competition for a playoff spot. My hope is that after a draft or two, maybe some trades and free agent grabs (and maybe a new DC?), the D can catch up to the offense before Shady ages out.

  58. 58 NFC East Breakfast Links: Terminator joins the fun | | Football News, Analysis & Discussion said at 9:02 AM on September 25th, 2013:

    […] Some thoughts on fixing the defense […]

  59. 59 Tom33 said at 9:24 AM on September 25th, 2013:

    I was always a 4-3 guy too, but I do understand the arguments in favor of the 3-4 in today’s NFL. So, if this is the direction Chip wants to go, the sooner they start the sooner they’ll get there.

    I think the long-term fix is that they need better athletes on defense. As you mentioned, Kendricks and Cox seem to have the ability to stand out. I’d like to see what Wolff and Curry could do as well, as they appear to have the physical tools to make a difference on the field.

    I think the Eagles are paying the price for drafting guys like Jarrett, Laws, Te-O, Marsh, and Bryan Smith (who?) at the top of the past few drafts and not having them contribute.

    The thing that they can fix now is basic stuff – better angles and better tackling. They don’t have the talent to overcome breakdowns in these areas.

  60. 60 eagleyankfan said at 9:30 AM on September 25th, 2013:

    so — we’re saying time will make Allen better? My view is half empty. At least 1/2 the players on D — stink. Some of remaining players are “OK” but are in the wrong defense. Allen will NEVER EVER EVER make the people in front of him better. Did I say ever? I meant to say — there are better odds of pigs flying. I’d rather put in the “seasick crocodile” to play safety. We knew the D was going to stink(thank goodness Mathews is still here, otherwise our special teams would be in shambles). We knew the people Kelly brought in was to “help” and were not a long term fix. This D won’t get better in time. This D needs new(read better) players. If you’re saying “time will get this D better” and that’s translated to “wholly poop, I pray we rebuild this D in the off season”, then I agree with you.

  61. 61 deg0ey said at 3:37 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    There’s a difference between ‘better’ and ‘good’.

    Time will make this defense better. It will not make it good. Better is as much as we can hope for this season and ‘good’ is probably a little too optimistic an expectation for next season as well.

    The plus side is that the coaches seem to be saying the right things and will hopefully make the right moves in the offseason to eventually get a good D in Philly.

  62. 62 eagleyankfan said at 3:49 PM on September 25th, 2013:


  63. 63 Rage114 said at 9:50 AM on September 25th, 2013:

    Tommy, off topic and I apologize if you already addressed this and I missed it but are you and Bama still doing podcasts?

  64. 64 Weapon Y said at 10:14 AM on September 25th, 2013:

    As much as I am terrified of watching the Eagles take on Peyton Manning, I am pumped for the Giants game the week after that. With how bad their o-line is, I feel like Fletcher Cox or Vinny Curry could have a major breakout game that day. Kinda like the time Osi Umenyiora wrecked Winston Justice. I’d love it if one of those guys became the household name on defense we’ve lacked since Dawkins. I am still afraid of Cruz gashing our secondary though.

    As a sidenote, let’s hope the Giants aren’t able to draft Jadeveon Clowney. I could definitely see them doing that if they got a top 3 pick. I’d rather win against them and take my chances though.

  65. 65 BlindChow said at 10:18 AM on September 25th, 2013:

    Whenever we go up against a bad O-line, we get no pressure. The same thing was said about the Chargers’ O-line, and we couldn’t touch Rivers.

  66. 66 Weapon Y said at 10:33 AM on September 25th, 2013:

    In Cox’s case, I think he was still getting used to the scheme. He looked way more comfortable against the Chiefs. Of course, Curry wasn’t even active so he bore no responsibility for that loss. The Giants o-line looks really, really bad. Not as good as this year’s Chargers (I’ve actually defended King Dunlap for awhile. A flawed player certainly, but he shows flashes of talent periodically as he did against us). It’s more like the 2012 Eagles Keystone Kops o-line with Dunlap, Demetress Bell, Danny Watkins, Dallas Reynolds, and Dennis Kelly. I’ll be really disappointed if Eli doesn’t get the crap beaten out of him.

  67. 67 Maggie said at 3:03 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    Actually, Watkins is on a 3-0 team right now. Good on him.

  68. 68 BlindChow said at 7:20 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    And he’s responsible for at least 2 of those wins himself!

  69. 69 Maggie said at 8:36 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    Not necessarily, but he’s 3-0, not 1-2.

  70. 70 BlindChow said at 10:13 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    And Chad Hall and Juan Castillo were in the Super Bowl last year!

  71. 71 anon said at 10:18 AM on September 25th, 2013:

    Is it talent or is it scheme? Maybe it’s a bit of both. But we could have the best D players in the league but if the scheme is poor and there’s no leader and no communication then they are going to play like crap. You could also have a bunch of middle round talent, playing under the right scheme with coaches that can coach and the team can play well.

    I’ve been a big proponent of getting bomb guys in FA, but it doesn’t always work.

  72. 72 Anders said at 11:04 AM on September 25th, 2013:

    Im 100% sure the coaches are trying to see who fits on both sides of the balls. Difference between the offense and the defense is that the O actually have talent in place to execute the scheme.

    By playing 2 gap in base defense (we have to remember that on many downs the Eagles are playing 1 gap) the Eagles gets too see if Cox can be a star, if Thorton can be a good player. Can Curry make the transformation? We also finds out if guys like Graham and Cole can be OLBs for us.

    Last majority of the Eagles problem on defense is also completely unrelated to the defensive front. Playing a 4-3 defensive front does not mean Kendricks misses fewer tackles or look lost in coverage. Playing 4-3 does not change the fact that Chung and Allen is good safeties.

  73. 73 A_T_G said at 3:22 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    I betting that you meant to put a “not” in that post. I’m going to leave it to the other readers to try to figure out where.

  74. 74 Finlay Jones said at 11:58 AM on September 25th, 2013:

    I saw thatsarley break down earlier. Graham split wide covering a WR, and boykin as olb.
    = Davis hate!

  75. 75 Maggie said at 3:08 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    Like Anders said, the coaches are still finding out exactly what they’ve got. Have played only 3 games, and DON’T say they could see what they’ve got from last year. Every intelligent fan knows that this is THIS year. I still cannot comprehend the “fans” who say dump whoever, with no clue where to get somebody better. Out of thin air?

  76. 76 Flyin said at 12:04 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    I get the feeling no one thinks the Eagles are going to shut out the Broncos. Ugh! Negadelphians!

  77. 77 eagleyankfan said at 2:59 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    ha. a victory would be keeping them under 40 points.

  78. 78 Arno1982 said at 1:01 PM on September 25th, 2013:


    Next sunday it will be my first time in the US. We’ll be in New York. What is the best place to go to have a nice beer and watch the Denver-game? Preferably with some fellow-Eaglesfans.

    Any suggestions?

  79. 79 Richard O'Connor said at 1:22 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    I could never watch a game at a bar but I’ve heard good things about Wogies in the Village. It’s also a beautiful area of the city. There are a couple in Midtown, too.

  80. 80 Arno1982 said at 2:17 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    Thanks guys. Philly would have been perfect, but I’ll be back to see a live game in the Linc.

    I’ll try Wogies. Lokking forward to watch sunday with some real football fans for once. 🙂

  81. 81 Homer Frizzell said at 2:32 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    I’d like to extend a warm welcome to the US and NYC to you. If you try Wogies let me know how it is. I usually either follow along on the computer at home or go to a local place by me that isn’t so Phillycentric. Wogies sounds like a nice change of pace.

  82. 82 therevxxx said at 9:11 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    wogies is a decent place, but more of a phillies bar and not a great selection of tvs. Turtle Bay is the #1 spot to catch an eagles game in nyc

  83. 83 Homer Frizzell said at 7:50 AM on September 27th, 2013:

    I’m familiar with Turtle Bay. Is Wogies a bit more subdued?

  84. 84 therevxxx said at 9:29 AM on September 27th, 2013:

    Never been there for an eagles game, only for phillies playoff games a few years ago (place got just as crazy as turtle bay does during Eagles games, maybe even crazier). Much smaller place, better food, better beer selection but like I said, not enough TVs for me. I def like the place though (more so than turtle bay), but no idea what the atmosphere is like during a birds game. Only reason I choose Turtle Bay for Eagles games is because there is nothing but birds fans there and it is $20 all you can drink and all you can eat wings (plus a bit of a pain to go all the way downtown to the village for Wogies).

  85. 85 A_T_G said at 3:18 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    There is a nice little place about 2 hours south on I-95 where people gather to watch the Eagles…

  86. 86 mksp said at 4:29 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    If you do decide to go to Wogies, get there on the early side, it gets packed pretty quickly.

  87. 87 anon said at 10:42 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    shorty’s in midtown has cheesesteaks and eagles fans.

  88. 88 therevxxx said at 9:10 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    turtle bay… this is an eagles bar. nothing but eagles fans there and they will be on every tv

  89. 89 BC1968 said at 1:43 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    If we had just a below average defense then we’d have a great chance at this division. This defensive coordinator and the decision to go 3-4 sucks big time.

  90. 90 Bob Brewer said at 2:42 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    We had a less than below average defense last year with a 4-3.

    Scheme only counts for so much.

  91. 91 Anders said at 3:18 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    Read what I wrote below. First we are only in a 3-4 on base downs, second, 4-3 and 3-4 does not matter if the safeties blow like Nate Allen and Chung

  92. 92 Cafone said at 10:19 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    The problems that our division rivals are experiencing are not going away any time soon. All three are on a downward slide that may last years.

    Sure, the immediate goal may be to win the division, but the ultimate goal is to win a Super Bowl. We aren’t looking for another Buddy Ryan team that beats the division rivals and then loses in the first round of the playoffs. That was good enough back then. It is not good enough anymore. Like him or not, Andy Reid raised all of our expectations.

  93. 93 anon said at 10:40 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    hmm, disagree. gotta capre diem, can’t remember a time when division was soo weak. we can take it, in fact outside of seattle the whole nfc only looks OK.

  94. 94 Cafone said at 10:45 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    When one can’t spell “carpe diem” correctly, I believe the standard practice it to use “yolo” as a substitute.

  95. 95 eagleyankfan said at 3:50 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    TB did it. Thinking maybe the Eagles should too.

  96. 96 GermanEagle said at 5:24 PM on September 25th, 2013:


  97. 97 RIPJJ said at 4:06 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    I probably am going to get ripped for this – but Tommy we all love you for the work you do and truly you do yeoman work…but as a commenter had written earlier – please stop trying to be dave spadaro lite (I truly think you are becoming that or probably have already become that – I love to read your stuff and sometimes wonder why on earth would one of the big publications not hire you but man the sugar coating you do – is it because you write a column for that you feel you cannot rip into them)….Billy Davis sucks – period….I thought this was an excellent piece whoever wrote this –
    Seeing the game on Thu night – was like watching a bunch of inept bumbling team playing professional football…when we had got the Chiefs to 3rd and 19, my wife seated next to me said – we got them – I had just finished telling her that watch the next play – the Eagles defense will most probably do something stupid – lo and behold the Chiefs converted it….as the saying goes – fool me once – shame on you…but when it happened the second time around…wow just wow – I was at a loss of words….
    And why is no one asking Chip Kelly this question – we were in the red zone – Mccoy picks up 7 yards on 1st down….and what does Kelly do – calls for 2 straight Vick throws….and we end up kicking a FG…..Vick looked skittish all game – the OL was bad at pass blocking and instead of running our best player in a goal line situation we put the ball in Vicks hands….when Kelly was hired a lot of people talked abt what a high football IQ he had and his in game adjustments….where the heck are his in game adjustments….if Riley Cooper cannot get separation why not insert Damaris Johnson….why not use the James Casey and the less said abt not playing Vinny Curry or Graham the better…..this is another year where the fans have to endure a crappy season!!

  98. 98 Flyin said at 4:19 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    I’d like to start off by ripping your writing style…it is crappy! Try using paragraphs.

  99. 99 mksp said at 4:31 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    Ugh. If you don’t like it here, go back to TATE.

  100. 100 TheRogerPodacter said at 5:03 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    i fully agree with this. i come here to see Tommy’s view on things. i know going into it that he sees things in a more positive light than some. i think his writing just takes a little while to get used to in order to see when Tommy is really pissed about something. he doesn’t just say “Kendricks suckzzzzz”. and i like it that way.
    if i wanted to see a ton of people crying that every single player on the team is awful, i’d go back to TATE.

  101. 101 laeagle said at 1:08 AM on September 27th, 2013:

    No. The only answer to football is three yards and a cloud of dust. Process be damned. Nothing new will ever work. Even it it’s kind of old.

  102. 102 A_T_G said at 4:56 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    Wow, and I thought George Bush butchered that saying.

    “…fool me once – shame on you…but when it happened the second time around…wow just wow…”

    That isn’t even close!

    Besides, nuance isn’t a sugar coating, and “…Billy Davis sucks – period…” would be a pretty crappy article.

  103. 103 GermanEagle said at 5:22 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    First I thought this was a fan comment straight after the game, then I realized it’s already Wednesday. Atta boy…!

  104. 104 BlindChow said at 7:16 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    I actually agree with most of what you said after “Seeing the game…” Basically it felt like watching an Andy Reid-coached game (except with lots more running).

    But you probably should have just left that top part out.

  105. 105 Cafone said at 10:13 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    We are three games into a new coaching regime with a major systemic change on defense. Enjoy the offense and expect the team to be bad. If you can’t do that then just take a break for a year and come back next season because you are only going to drive yourself crazy.

    “this is another year where the fans have to endure a crappy season!!”

    Exactly. What the hell were you expecting?

  106. 106 Mac said at 4:24 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    I’ve been concerned about Kendricks since last year’s game vs. the Bengals. Watching him get juked by Andy Dalton is not encouraging at all. He needs to learn how to keep himself balanced and in control of his body. Maybe he should work with a drunken master in the off-season.

  107. 107 A_T_G said at 4:49 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    Two posts about Hugh Douglas?

  108. 108 Mac said at 4:29 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    Waaay off topic, but what’s up with Hugh Douglas?

  109. 109 holeplug said at 10:20 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    He’s an alcoholic

  110. 110 midnitemud said at 6:10 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    Tommy, speaking of next March (actually draft planning), and olb opposite Barwin or Cole, is Van Noy THE target for the Eagles, or are there other prospects on your mind? This of course leaving out free agency prospects. It seems like he might be the perfect fit (youth, coverage and rushing ability, playmaker, etc.).

  111. 111 D3FB said at 8:26 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    He lists 6’3 245 which is very similar in size to Jarvis Jones. The problem is coaches prefer OLB’s to be a few inches taller and around 260. I’ll admit he’s an extremely fun player to watch and talented but not sure he fits in with Kellys “big people beat up little people” mantra

  112. 112 Anders said at 5:43 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    Anthony Barr if we suck enough. Khalil Mack, Jeremiah Attouchu, Addrian Hubbard (perfect size, but seems to have declined).
    Aaron Lynch

  113. 113 BobSmith77 said at 10:00 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    Kelly after Manning drops 45 pts on this team in the postgame:

    “Reggie White is not walking through that door, fans. Eric Allen is not walking through that door, and Seth Joyner is not walking through that door. . . “

  114. 114 austinfan said at 10:25 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    The Steelers are the template for what Chip wants to do on defense. 3-4 two gap as the base (and even Tommy forgets that the base 3-4 is only on the field for 40-45% of snaps, the rest of the time is either a 3-3 or a 4-2-5,. so plenty of opportunities to give someone like Curry 30-35 snaps a game if he earns it) defense, with blitzing schemes off a solid run defense front (which allows the safeties to play off the LOS on run downs, negating play action).

    Steelers had players who had a year or two in the system before they started, and they knew exactly what they were looking for in the draft. That provided great continuity (along with exceptional durability), a key to running a complex blitz scheme. Eagles are two years away from reaching that stage, they’ve just implemented the 3-4, they need to give everyone at least a year together in this scheme, and to evaluate who fits and who needs to be replaced.

    As far as talent, check back in December, Thornton might be proven, Logan might grow into the system, Kendricks might settle down, one of the young CBs (Carmichael, Prater, Poyer) might step up, Wolff might become the leader of the pack. How these players work out will set the tone for the offseason, which is sure to make RG (unless Herremans suddenly turns it around) and defense the priority.

  115. 115 eagleyankfan said at 10:36 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    Just a guess on what JJ is trying to say below… I think he’s asking — where are the promises that were made? For example. It’s been written that Chip is a great “in game” changer. It was also written that Chip does the right thing by getting the ball into the hands of the play makers. Well, KC came to town and shut down DJ. Where was the in game adjustments? Why wasn’t the ball getting into DJ hands like the other games with the in game adjustments? Where were the “mismatches” that Chip says the Eagles need to take advantage of? Avant is not a mis-match, he’s an after thought.
    I get we’re going to lose a lot. But I sure would like to see “things” that Chips says he’s going to do actually carry over to the field. Another example — Why isn’t DJ returning punts like Chip said he’ll be doing?
    Any way — it’s a guess on what JJ is asking. I have the same questions. Maybe the get answered in the next couple of games. Stay strapped in, it’s still a fun ride.

  116. 116 Cafone said at 10:41 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    Like it or not, Avant is our second best receiver right now. Didinger was on CSN today breaking down film on Riley Cooper and showing what a liability it is to have a #2 receiver that can be easily taken out of the game with single coverage.

    The fact of the matter is that Vick has Jackson, an average slot receiver in Avant, and a whole lot of nothing to throw to right now.

  117. 117 anon said at 10:47 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    yeah think chip is caught between a rock and a hard place. Think they had Maclin and Benn (frankly their faulth for bringing in a bunch of people with knee injuries, though who could have known). So he’s stuck with what would have been WR 3/4 as starting guys. Avant + Cooper have to play b/c they block well downfield. The only unplayed options are ertz and casey, ertz doesn’t block or catch.

    Maybe they can do something out of the backfield with bubble screens but sadly he’s shown that look so often that everyone is prepared for it.

  118. 118 anon said at 10:47 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    Also if we aren’t winning 1 on 1 his whole scheme doesn’t work, all of his funny formations are predicated on being able to win hat on hat battles which we weren’t against KC.

  119. 119 Cafone said at 10:50 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    Yeah, perhaps seeing more from the tight ends is the only solution to the passing woes right now.

    But I’d vote for more Shady.

  120. 120 eagleyankfan said at 11:17 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    Wasn’t that another promise? TE mismatches…maybe he’s waiting for the second half of the season to reveal his whole play book

  121. 121 anon said at 12:00 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    i think that’s part of it, but te performance has to improve.

  122. 122 anon said at 12:01 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    or more bryce, criminal that he’s not getting more touches

  123. 123 Eagles Wake-Up Call: Don't Blame Offense For Struggles On 'D' | Birds 24/7 said at 6:30 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    […] Lawlor of offers thoughts on fixing the […]

  124. 124 Ray Rodriguez said at 9:22 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    I love your stuff Tommy but while we are fixing the eagles defense can we also fix the font you use for your articles? It’s pretty tough to read and your fantastic write-ups really deserve better. Cheers!

  125. 125 Cafone said at 11:43 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    This may or not help, but try adjusting the zoom. If you are on a windows computer, hold down the CTRL key and move the scroll wheel on your mouse. If you do not have a scroll wheel, hold down the CTRL key and hit the + and – on your keyboard.

  126. 126 Ray Rodriguez said at 11:49 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    Yeah I know about zooming the text and it does help to make it a bit more readable but I just don’t love the feel of the font in general for reading text. I feel like standard web fonts that are used on sites like sbnation would be great. LIke I said I love Tommy’s stuff going back to his game preview and recaps on the Eagles messageboards that I have always anticipated so I’m just being picky with his igglesblitz font choice. 🙂

  127. 127 Josh Henderson said at 7:33 PM on September 26th, 2013:

    I, for one, would like to look at the positives for the defence after three games. It’s amazing the flack that Billy Davis and the players have suffered through already. Can we not just appreciate that we have a chance of making a stop in short yardage situations again? Not to mention no longer having that pit in your stomach every time the opposition gets into the red zone, because you used to know the TD was coming! How about the relief of not seeing players wide open 10-15 yards behind our deepest defender? From what I’ve seen, the players are hungrier on the field, flying to the ball, and actually gang tackling for what seems like the first time in ages. In the last two losses I would be more apt to put the blame on failures by the offence to either sustain longer drives, take advantage of opportunities, or at the very least not turn the ball over! In the Chiefs game the special teams also deserve their share of the blame, in all phases. Take away the 10 point lead Vick and the ST’s gift wrapped Andy Reid and we might be talking about a completely different outcome. And remember, the D held KC to a FG after the muffed punt inside the 10.

    I understand that losing is a tough pill to swallow, but can we not appreciate that we held Dwayne Bowe to 4yds receiving? I know Donnie Avery killed us, and even worse, on 3rd and long plays, but did they not play well to set up that down and distance? Also, can you fault Davis for expecting Andy to toss it deep in at least one of those situations? Since when is Big Red so conservative? I know that we feel there should’ve been an adjustment, but that play may be the lesser of two evils. With all the talk in the off-season about big, physical corners, I expected more press coverage… but maybe we don’t have the personnel to pull it off? Safety for example. But it would be interesting to see more often.

    Finally, seeing Cox beating QB’s to the sideline is a thing of beauty! Connor Barwin has been tough and versatile as advertised. Watching Cedric Thornton stand up a RB at the LOS in short yardage is reassuring, and having a LB like Kendricks, who has the potential to both cover and perfectly time a blitz is magic! Let’s give them a season to adjust to the new scheme and give Billy Davis time to re-invent the mentality of our defence and acquire the players to thrive in his system.

    One last note, about Vinny Curry. I feel like not enough is said about him being true to his gap responsibilities, and his role as a single component in a defence functioning as one unit. Are we too focused on statistics and perceived production? One thing that caught my attention was a locker room post-preseason game interview of LB Chris McCoy. He had a couple of sacks, and described one by saying something like “that’s not how it was drawn up, but I saw something and was fortunate enough to make a play”. Well sure sounds like he got lucky, which suggests he is likely to be a liability on the field in other circumstances. His release, despite his lack of versatility (and spare me the idea that Casey Matthews could function as an OLB), might tell us that Billy Davis won’t accept freelancing, even if they occasionally result in big plays. As you’ve mentioned with Brandon Graham, Tommy, perhaps Curry’s production is also inflated and his play otherwise could come at the detriment of the defence as a whole.