• December 9, 2022

The Eagles Linebackers Didn’t Get The Job Done On Sunday

You have to blame the Eagles linebackers primarily for the days that rookie running back Jahvid Best and tight end Brandon Pettigrew had for the Lions on Sunday.  Best had 78 yards rushing with two touchdowns on 17 carries and another 154 yards receiving on 8 catches and another touchdown.  Pettigrew had 108 yards receiving on 8 catches.  That’s much too much.

The Lions could have beaten the Eagles on Sunday if they had looked up Best on their last offensive play and thrown the ball to him because he was being covered by Birds outside linebacker Ernie Sims.  Best could have beaten Sims inside on that play, if the Lions had been smart enough to get the ball in his hands.  I think Sims is a tremendous athlete and he plays hard but the young man is out of position all the time.

Every NFL linebacker who has played the game for a short period of time, knows that you have to stay inside of a running back, if you’re covering him man-to-man.  Sims let Best beat him inside and it hurt the Birds.  He gets himself out of position too often, both on passing and running plays.

Also at the Will linebacker position in the Eagles defense is supposed to be the guy making a lot of tackles.  In fact he should not only be making tackles, he should knocking ball carriers out.  Sims overruns too many plays.  There’s a reason the Lions traded him to the Eagles and they knew how to take advantage of his weaknesses, but again Detroit made the mistake of not getting the ball to Best on their last offensive play or they may have won that game.

With a guy like Best you’ve got to clamp him in all situations.  The clamp technique in coverage means you’re close enough to the receiver to touch him with both hands.  You want to dissuade the quarterback from throwing him the ball because he can make something happen if he gets his hands on the football.

I knew middle linebaker Omar Gaither wasn’t a burner but I never realized how much he lacked speed,  until he and Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew were running down the sidelines.  Gaither was chasing Pettigrew and it seemed like they were running for hours.  It took forever for them to run 30 yards and Gaither didn’t close one inch on Pettigrew, who isn’t the fastest of tight ends.

Gaither is also not a physical player.  Too many times, he’s getting hit rather than taking the fight to the offensive blocker or ball carrier. Gaither made 11 tackles but too many of them were five, six, seven yards or more downfield.  A number of times he was able to get into the backfield on run plays because he’s got good instincts.

Sims has the speed without the instincts, while Gaither has the instincts without the speed.

I think you can win with Gaither, but you’ve got to have people playing well around him.  Too many times, Brodrick Bunkley and Mike Patterson were being handled in front of him and that allowed the Lions to gain big yardage early on the ground against the Eagles. Teams are going to run the ball versus the Eagles.

I thought defensive coordinator Sean McDermott put the Birds defense in some run blitzes to get them playing more aggressively.  Sunday surely wasn’t one of Patterson’s better games.

Akeem Jordan is a decent linebacker, but he’s not exceptional.  He’s a good athlete but he’s not really a Sam linebacker.  They have him playing there because they don’t have anybody who is better.

All I can say is Stewart Bradley hurry back.


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September 21, 2010 4:24 am

the andy reid administration dosent place a premium on the importance of linbackers and what a shame.
his drafting of them has been terrible ( quinton caver, matt mccoy ) havent had a dependable SAM linbacker since carlos emmons left. thes best linbackers we ever had was emmons, trotter ( his first term here ), and shawn barber, barber was the perfect weakside LB. we have been unstable at that position.ever since linbackers are the soul of the defense.

September 21, 2010 4:52 am

is there a team out there so desperate for a LB that we can trade Gaither. or drop him and use a second or/third pick of future to get a good LB here? Speaking of future picks, why don’t FO use them for trade for a big mean hog of a OL or two. Makes sense to me to get a LB or OT in a trade where we know the guy is good rather than gamble in draft!!!

Paul Mancini
Paul Mancini
September 21, 2010 7:00 am

To Tydm,
There was interest in Gaither by a few teams during SUmmer Camp (Rams,BRowns,PAnthers)
Now watch game film of him, and those teams filling their needs elsewhere, there is not much a market for him now..They should play the young LB’s Cheney,Clayton and even Fokou look to get them playing time for SIms,Jordan, & Gaither are not cuttung it..
In hindsight, they should have drafted an ILB in the 3rd/4th Rounds and shifted Bradely back outside where he belongs and plays his best …

September 21, 2010 8:18 am

“Omar Gaither made 11 solo tackles in the win over the Lions which showed his good instincts in making some of those plays. He was active which is what you want from your middle linebacker. Unfortunately, Gaither was no where to found when Jahvid Best was lighting up the Birds with TD runs up the middle and a long 75 yard screen play.”

Mr. Cobb, my reply to this post was “Omar Gaither Stinks”. I also called out Ernie ” I can only hit my own teammates” Sims. Glad to see you’ve modified your comments.

The Eagles did draft some talent at linebacker and after watching Sundays game I don’t think they could possibly play any worst that what I saw on Sunday. Gaither is soft. He always has been. Some people can turn on the Nasty (Jack Lambert, Dick Butkus, L.T., Singletary, Trotter, and Bradley) some can’t (Bow tie LB, and Gaither.)

September 21, 2010 8:41 am

Gaither is terrible against both the run and the pass. Ernie Sims appears to be the classic over pursuing player, if he happens to get a hit on you it will be nasty, but he usually won’t get the chance because he’s out of position. Akeem Jordan is just a guy, you rarely hear his name mentioned during the game because he rarely does anything to distinguish himself. I think Stewart Bradley is an above average player, solid against the run, serviceable against the pass. He plays with an intelligence that the other LBs seem to lack. The big issue that the Eagles LBs have had for years is that the guys on the outside aren’t play-makers. Your outside linebackers need to generate turnovers, tipped balls, stripped balls, interceptions. They had a great combo with Emmons who could cover the TE, Barber who had a nose for the ball, and Trotter who could stuff the gap.

September 21, 2010 8:53 am

With the LB problems and the O line problems can we really expect a winning season

The first time they play a division opponent –the Skins –we will find out

September 21, 2010 9:26 am

It doesn’t matter who the MLB back when the DTs play as bad as ours. Everyone knows that your DTs have to get on and stay on blocks so olineman can’t get to the next level. And when that does happen, you LB get pushed out the way. Ask Ray Lewis how he felt when Siragusa retired. Your MLB usually can only make plays in the running game when the tackles do their job. I’m not excusing gaither because he does stink but our tackles aren’t that good either. I think LB will be a problem for us this year as usual. They will be better than last year but that’s still not saying much.

Paul Mancini
Paul Mancini
September 21, 2010 9:44 am

A couple of other observations
#1) DT (M Patterson is not the player he was 2 years ago, he just doesn’t get the penetration or take up enough space up to be an effective run-stopper)
#2) Why are the Eagles LB’s constantly lined up 4-5 yards off the line of scrimmage.. everytime I watch other teams who are more aggressive, they have their LB’s lined up closer to the line of scrimmage so they can shoot their gaps quicker and clog up the running lanes..The Eagles LB Are so far back that they actually create more cut-back lanes and can get blocked by an OL/TE/FB who has a head of steam, they when the LB move to avoid the blocks (Sims), they create even a larger running lane…maybe a more aggressive scheme and line up these LB’s closer to the line of scrimamge can help them make more plays to use their athleticism and speed more..

September 21, 2010 1:15 pm

I thinks Ernie Sims has been on the losing end for so long that he overplays everything and gets beat.
Gaither is a below average football player. Jordan is really a non-factor on the field and the defensive tackles are undersized and slow.
Bradley is really good and so is Cole but they need help and are just not getting it from the DT’s and LB’s

September 21, 2010 1:46 pm

AR needs to work on getting the right players in there in position to make plays.

September 21, 2010 1:49 pm

Ernies Sims hits more of his teammates than the opponents. He’s always crashing into one of our guys but always out of place when it’s time to hit their guys. Such a shame. All that speed and don’t know what to do with it.

September 21, 2010 1:51 pm

And I’m not a believer in McDermott

September 21, 2010 1:59 pm

Thanks Captain Obvious

September 21, 2010 2:39 pm

Perhaps we can convince MJD to wear an Eagles jersey on Sunday that way Simms might tackle him.

September 21, 2010 2:42 pm

However I’m sure we’ll address the deficiencies of the D this offseason through schrewed trades for high motor players coming off injuries for a discount. Then combine that with 3rd and 4th round talent like earthworm filler in Wendys hamburgers and we’ll be back on the same road again next year, just different faces.

Paul Mancini
Paul Mancini
September 21, 2010 3:25 pm

What’s going on with DE D Tapp and Teo’Neisham who have both been on the Inactive list the 1st 2 weeks…Eagles gavea up a 4th Rd Pick and DE Clemmons to get Tapp who can’t evn dress for a game…
and Teo Neisham is another Gcogong project I am afraid..
It’s amazing to me that Tapp is at all the OTA,Camps,Pre-Season and then a week before the Season starts, the Eagles have to trade another draft pick to the Ravesn to pick-up DE A Barnes wha is basically taking the playin time that was desisnged for Tapp. If the guy can’t play, then get rid of him and flat out release him, I rather a younger player with potential like DE Pannel Eghboh, who as least has some upside..
Also TE C Harbor, again his at all the OTA,Camps,Preseaon and is replaced by a player (G MIlls)
who was picked up a week earlier from the Vikings Practice squad…

Paul Mancini
Paul Mancini
September 21, 2010 3:40 pm

Best news I’ve heard all week,
WR H Baskett released as the Eagles make a roster move to sign RB Joquie Bell who is a 2nd year player who did not make the final Cut in Buffalo (as they already have 3 solid RB’s on their squad in (Lynch,Jackson and CJ Spiller)
J Bell is 5-11″ and goes about 220 lbs and is a pwerful, low to the ground back..
He had 27 rushes for almost 150 yards (about a 5.5 ypc avg) /for the BIlls in Preseason who had M Lynch and F Jackson injured at the time so he got some reps)
He comes from tiny Division II Wayne State (which is in Michigan)
I think the Eagles will be looking at releasing M Bell in about 2 weeks and possibly have J Bell and M Marlett become the back-ups to McCoy..

September 21, 2010 3:44 pm

WWW, hopefully the Jags wear their teal jerseys which Sims may mistake for midnight green. And you’re right, we will address areas of need with bargain basement players coming off season ending surgery and trading out of the top 2 rounds to get more picks in the lower rounds so we can bring more bums into camp. And sell guys like Darryl Tapp to schmucks like Spadaro, I mean schiller who will agree that it was an excellent move because the Eagles said so.

September 21, 2010 6:00 pm

Sims played ok!!! it was gaither!! week one after bradley got hurt gaither!! he sucks!!! why they dont release him idk! he looked like trotter from last year on how slow he was chasing after pettigrew. why we didnt get a mlb!!! but noooo the eagles get a rb and we dont run the damn ball anyways!!! i dont understand!! get a solid mlb just incase if bradley isnt 100% and cut gaither!! mlb has been our acillies heal last year and the cowboys exposed it!