• December 5, 2023

Eagles Defense Can’t Afford For The Offense To Struggle

Everybody is focusing on the Eagles offense when talking about why Andy Reid made the change at quarterback.  I think he looked at his offensive line before making the decision but he also looked at his defense.

The Eagles defense is built to play with a lead, if the offense can’t get ahead and a team is allowed to pound the Eagles smallish defensive front with a tough running game, the Birds will be exposed.

If Kevin Kolb were to start and struggle, it would put pressure on the defense which they can’t handle.

The Eagles defensive front isn’t built to be pounded for a full game.  If the offense can’t put points on the board the defense will be decimated before the season is over.

Let me make it plain, the Eagles defense didn’t play winning football last week in Detroit.  The offense saved them.  Think about it, if Michael Vick hadn’t put on a Superman cape, the Eagles would have lost to the Lions.  Yes, you read it right, they would have lost to the Lions.

On the other hand, if they can get ahead, force teams to throw the ball and turn their pass rush loose, it makes them a better defense and also a better football team.

Before defensive coordinator Sean McDermott starting utilizing some run blitzes this past Sunday, the Eagles front seven was getting manhandled. On the first scoring drive the Lions ran the ball down the Eagles throats with seven or eight straight running plays until they had marched nearly 80 yards for a touchdown.  It wasn’t pretty.

The defensive tackles especially Mike Patterson were being cleared away in the middle by one of the Lions guards.

Middle linebacker Omar Gaither was getting pushed back by the center, guard or fullback. Ernie Sims was overrunning plays or being caught out of position.

Detroit’s ability to run the ball was disarming the Eagles pass rush.  It’s much more difficult to rush the passer, if you’re worried about a running attack.

Disappointingly I saw number one draft pick Brandon Graham get handled by Lions tight end, Brandon Pettigrew.  Graham looked like a little guy being dominated by a bigger, stronger, more powerful man.

On the play I’m talking about Lions running back Jahvid Best was able to get the ball on a handoff, then take it deep and outside, as Pettigrew solo-blocked Graham.  The young defensive end had better not let this happen in the future.  If you can block a defensive end with a tight end, you can dominate a defensive front.

Graham impressed me with his ability to bull rush guards on pass rush downs, but he’s got to be more of a factor against the run.  You’re probably going to see a lot of Juqua Parker at left defensive end on run downs.

It will help the defense to get Stewart Bradley back in the lineup but I don’t know how much he will help if the defensive tackles are being handled.

The problems on the defensive side are one of the reason’s Vick has been made the starter.


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September 23, 2010 10:45 am

The Birds D is not going to be fixed by Bradley’s return. It will help but there are too many glaring issues with this defense.
The DT’s are just average at best, The Linebackers (besides Bradley) are smallish and over pursue, and Ellis Hobbs is just plain awful.
And Samuel needs to not play 10 yeards off of a reciever!
Plus the tackling on this team is just dreadful.

I hope that this is just the D getting off to a slow start because it is so early.
If not we are going to be the 1981 Chargers.
Offense scores a ton of points and still loses the game due to a very poor defense.

Paul Mancini
Paul Mancini
September 23, 2010 10:49 am

I think Graham will be a work in progress
He will make plays with his pass-rushing abilitly but will get pushed around in the running game
and especially if he’s playing an inside position…
This week with the Jags QB Situation (garrard is not a 100 %) and the lost their #2 QB (L McCown)
out for the Season with a Torn ACL, they just signed 36 year old T Bouman to be the #2 this week who is familiar with Jags offense…
I really see the Jags running a lot of 2 Tight-End Sets and attempt to rush the Ball 40-50 times versus the Eagles smallish Defense not only to protect QB Garrard from getting sack/injured,
but to keep the Eagles O with M Vick off the field..
Field Position, Kicking Game and Special teams will most likely determin the Winner of the Game in a hard fought, lower scoring tyoe of game than many are expecting
IF I were S McDermott, I would have 5 DL out their on occastions (when they have 2 TE’s) and win thaty battle at the line of Scrimmage, I also would have the OLB’s play closer to the line of scrimmage to negate their power Sweeps and pulling Guards that they like to run often with MJD
and Lastley, I would put a player (maybe Sims or a Mickell or N Allen) and follow MJD everywhere on the field for he is about the only weapon the Jags have that can win the game for them…

September 23, 2010 11:32 am

If its a “tough low scoring game” as you say then the Birds are in trouble and the move to Vick makes even less sense than it does now. The Birds haven’t gone to Vick for any low scoring games. Presumably they’ve put him in because they feel he can consistently put up 35 pts. And he better on Sunday, otherwise this is a failure. If all you’re hoping for is Vick to put up 20, then couldn’t Kolb have accomplished that?

The Jags are a defensive mess. Both Orton and Rivers tossed for more than 300 yards against them. If Vick doesn’t ‘light it up’ then I think the Birds are in even deeper trouble with the vick/Kolb situation.

Again, this is exactly why the Vick/Kolb decision makes no sense to me at all. Wouldn’t it have been better for the Eagles to roll Kolb out there this week. Hand off the ball 30x (I know I know….) have Kolb toss up about 24, complete maybe 16 or 17 and get a nice 24-10 win…..confidence builder, and knowledge that Vick is there in case.

If, in that scenario, Kolb blows chunks, then back to Vick who we know is pretty good against the basement dwellers of the league.

The way it is now, we know that Vick can light it up against Detroit and probably the Jags. (And I say that lightly ’cause Cutler threw for 100 more than Vick did against the Lions) Awesome. Or not. We have no idea whether Vick can compete against the tough Ds that are coming, and Vick’s backup is demoralized. Good times all around.

jimmy mac
jimmy mac
September 23, 2010 11:36 am

How in the world can a defense have the same problem for a decade and not be fixed?..They cant stop the run and they cant get pressure on opposing QB’s with just their front four..it’s a joke..How much longer are we to wait for Bunkley and Patterson to show up?..Their lazy bums who do just enough..Zero push up the middle..

September 23, 2010 12:03 pm

I don’t think Dick Jauron was just came to the Eagles to coach the DBs.

After giving McDermott the use of most of this year’s 13 draft picks, he had better produce this year.

The Eagles let the strenth and DB coaches go last year and Micky D will be next if this defense does not do better.

Bill Shuey Linebackers coach…how hard are you working? How can you have a LB with the physical talents of Sims and he plays like a complete moron?

Ernie Sims… do you even study your playbook? Do you look at your game film or are you cracking jokes and trying to get a date with the Eagle cheerleaders? Get your head out of your rear and play some football. You are living a dream come true and it’s only going to last for a short time. Decide(latin root of this word means to literally cut off any other result from happening) to be great, and with your physical skills, you will be. Or you can be another bum, who a couple of years out of football is broke.

Paul Mancini
Paul Mancini
September 23, 2010 12:19 pm

It’s one of the knocks that Sims has had since College Days, is that he is not very discplined and just relys on his athletic talents instead of proper positioning,sticking with alignments the Defense calls,and reading blocking keys and reacting to them..This is nothing new about LB SIms
To Vonnie,
I am calling for a low scoring game for the Jaguars are a diffenrent team when they play home,
they are also banged up on Offense and their Defense so they are going to attempt to shorten-up the by running,running and more running until the Eagles can prove that they can stop their running game and to keep the Eagles Offense off the field..
I would come out and line up in a 5-2-4 Defense and take their running game away as early as possible

September 23, 2010 12:31 pm

Speaking of defense just my humble opinion i hate reading all these comments along the lines of vick hasnt been tested yet cause HE BARELEY BEAT the lions. I really think anyone who is writing this just didnt watch the game last week. Vick played beautiful football he really did. What really happend was the DEFENSE ALMOST LOST to the lions. I think javad best will be a good back but we made him and pettigrew look like hall of famers. Our defenses r notoriously slow to start so i do beleive we do have a very talented d that should really mature nicly this season and be a really good defense.

September 23, 2010 1:03 pm

Best did most of his damage on screen plays, and other pass plays. He only had about 80 yards rushing, for such a ‘hot’ back, I’m not considering that ‘not being able to stop the run’. The LIons are a very good running/screen team with Best and the Eagles D did fine against the run in my opinion. I don’t think that stopping the run has been an issue for the Eagles in recent years nearly as much as people make it out to be. It’s really only a MLB issue if Bradley is out. That being said, he IS injured too much. But I don’t blame the DTs for screen plays – the majority of Best’s damage.

September 23, 2010 1:05 pm

Eaglez, then how do you explain us almost beating Green Bay with that D, to start out the season? I think VIck lost that game by not running in for the score.

September 23, 2010 1:09 pm

jimmy, that’s been the problem with the way they drafted and acquired their defensive players. Always fast athletic guys when sometimes you just need a guy who just can’t be moved. Once Ray Rhodes players started to trickle out of town and the league it became painfully obvious that we didn’t know how to build a defense. Andy loves to pass the ball and for the most part this is a passing league so he has built his defense to defend the pass. Fast athletic players with “high motors” to get to the QB since they would be passing the majority of the time. The problem is, you just as much balance on your defense as your offense. Everyone knows to beat our defense, run the ball. So while most teams won’t be able to take advantage of our defensive weaknesses on a weekly basis, come playoff time we will face the teams that will be able to exploit it. That has been the problem for the 2nd half of the decade.

September 23, 2010 1:17 pm

eaglez4ever……for 3 years now everyone has played beautifully against the Lions.

September 23, 2010 1:35 pm

Hmmm good point schill if he would have run that ball we would have won ….but if your going to go that route if vick would have been in the whole game we would have won too. There is alot of what ifs and i by no means am trying to talk trash on our d like i said in my prvious post i am a fan. In response to vinne LOL your right it is expected to play beautiful ball agaisnt the lions . The only thing that was bothering me was on this site and many others i kept reading “vick only beat the lions lets calm down”. To which my response has to be no vick dismantled the lions (again no surpirse) and sigle handedly gave us a chance in the GB game. Now am i saying the dude is manning or brees or brady no im not. I do however think vick desreves a little more credit than he is getting. I personally think vick is playing ALOT better even than his probowl years in ATL.

September 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Schill its easy….we had Stew game 1 and Omar game 2. I beleive Stew means that much to the D. He would of been the one covering Best in that game. With Stew in there its a totally different D in there.

September 23, 2010 1:53 pm

ozz – yep.

September 23, 2010 1:53 pm

J MACThe defense has had a problem for a decade because Reid has no clue how to build a defensive or offensive line. In the 2004 superbowl we had a weak O Line in the middle and we still do. This year
Sims seems to have disappeared. The only big hits he had was in practice when the players didn’t expect to get hit and probably slowed down.Tapp and Te’o Nesheim haven’t done much if anything and Graham doesn’t look like rookie of the year material. Justice will have to prove that he can protect Vick’s blind side. Vick may not last throught the season with the O Line giving up 5-6 sacks a game. With the supposed “best offensive line coach’ and “a proven special teams coach” we seem to be having great diffucilty in these areas. With two quarters against Greenbay who did not game plann for Vick and four quarters against a team that lost a record number of games Vick looked good but the better dedenses are on the horizon. The Eagles were a good screen team with Andrews at guard. They don’t seem the same with Cole.

September 23, 2010 1:57 pm

Here’s another what if: if the Eagles hadn’t given up 27 points to Packers and 32 points to the Lions, they wouldn’t be 32nd out of 32 teams in points allowed. They are currently in the bottom 10 in most defensive categories (yds/gm, pass yds/gm, rush yds/gm) If it weren’t for the 4 interceptions, this defense would be downright ugly. The Eagles have built a gimmicky defense to go along with their gimmicky offense. They are not a fundamentally sound team.

Paul Mancini
Paul Mancini
September 23, 2010 2:22 pm

Spot on Easy Money..
JJ was a mater of Gimmick plays/coverages/formations and obviously MCDermott has a lot to learn..
WIsh that they would schemes and get back to a more Physical/Downhill type of Defense instead of having one of the smallest front 7 in the NFL..
Also Shiller,
The Eagles didn’t really stop T Best on the ground either.. (Lions had over 120 yards rushing by halftime but had to junk the run by the end of the 3rd Period because of being down by 2 scores and more.. so then thaey had to go to pass, pass, pass mode (which the Eagles didn’t defense real well either) …
If Coach AR, Players,Media and many Fans all think M Vick is going to save the day for this season, many of you are in for a rude awakening.
The team will only go as far the play of the O/Line and LB groups play (and how well D/C McDermott gameplans and makes asjustments and rotates/utlizes his players on that side of the ball)
The NFC East Defenses have become the NFC Least here lately, as all 3 teams Defenses were lit up last week.. Whichever team gets it together the quickest and remains healthy will be in the drivers seat to win the NFC East this Season.

September 23, 2010 3:10 pm

This team has given up the most points in the league over 2 weeks (not to mention against Detroit’s backup) yet they are fine?…. right.

September 23, 2010 3:57 pm

The defense will be fine once Stew returns. The biggest problem was Omar Gaither. His pursuit is terrible and he can’t get off blocks. The defense will rebound nicely this Sunday!


September 23, 2010 4:02 pm

Lets go on record here…….. every D is better when the other team is playing from behind. Does this really need to be stated??? If you can make a team 1 dim then of course it gives you a better chance. Bottom line….. this D needs to play better…. i mean…… Andy reid needs to do a better job of putting these guys in a position to play better…. cough cough.

Paul Mancini
Paul Mancini
September 23, 2010 4:28 pm

It backfired in the Eagles case though Stevo
Up against Detroit with 6 minutes left and ahead 35-17 and you allow them 2 late 4th Quarter Drives
with a back-up QB and you knew the Lions were going to pass, pass,pass (be 1 dimensional)
I thk that’s waht everyone is referring too…

September 23, 2010 4:59 pm

yes and the lions fell short. They did as the eagles always do when tey are up…… Prevent D. I hate it but in this case it worked.

September 23, 2010 5:06 pm

Things I think i think…….

– The birds D will get better as the year goes on. I think as long as they can keep 55 healthy (someone suggestied cloning him the other day and i think we should look into it), this D will jell. I still think we are 1 starting corner short but i like what they are doing. Could nate allen be for real??

– We will see a run game. I think the DE’s will not be able to just bull rush up the middle, they will need to keep an eye on Vick. so….. there are lanes up the gut. This maybe be the cold meds talking BUT….. i think andy has seen the light. I expect no less than 125 yards per week on the ground. Look for Vick and Shady to run alot. I cant believe i just typed that. Pman….. copy that on file so you can all laugh at me later.

-I think special teams will be a struggle all year.

-I think Dick J is better then McD.

-I think the Phills are redhot!!!!!!

September 23, 2010 5:42 pm

I think that the Eagles will be healthy this season if they can stop knocking each other out of the game with those wild flying around hits and falling on each other. Kolb and Clay Matthews excluded of course.

September 23, 2010 7:41 pm

Hey vinnie we r not playing the chiefs this week.so stop.

September 23, 2010 7:42 pm

If we were playn chiefs at the linc u could have got ur wish

September 23, 2010 9:22 pm

I agree with the claim that Jauron didn’t come here just to be a DB coach. I’ve felt that ever since the deal was made to bring him here. To me it was obvious that Jauron was promised the DC job if McDermott fails. Otherwise Jauron could have easily landed a DC job elsewhere. Why else would he take a DB coaching job?

Interesting that no one player on the Eagles’ defense is glaringly bad. Hobbs and Hanson and Gaither are mostly bad but not the absolute worst. Sims IS the absolute worst on the run. But really the problem with this defense is cohesion, recognition, coordinated movement: stuff that comes from coaching. OK so you understand the zone blitz (but do you understand it’s mostly dead unless you run it against the Eagles offense LOL) but does that make you qualified to be a DC? McDermott is very clearly on notice; two more weeks of 30+ points and he’s got a good chance of getting canned.

Now if we can only fire Morningwheg, Burkholder, and Castillo….

September 23, 2010 9:36 pm

our linebackers stink!!!!!!!!!!! Sims who? When are we going to have a decent linebacking Corp?

When we are saying the same thing every year the problems points to talent evaluators. We need to change whoever been looking into linebackers for the last 5 years…and our special teams suck too.

Go Vick

Paul Mancini
Paul Mancini
September 23, 2010 11:01 pm

Eagles Defense will go as far as the following 9 veteran players contribute and step up
DT M Patterson, DT T Laws, DE Barnes & Tapp, OLB E Sims & Safety Q Mickell, and CB E Hobbs
and A Samuel & J Hanson.
We all know that T Cole, J Parker, S Bradley will bring it every game.
We also know that Rookies B Graham,N Allen will make a lot plays and make some errors too..
At least 6 of the Eagle 9 veteran players on defense I listed , can make plays and make an impact even when on a rotational basis, then the Eagles Defense has a chance make plays and be opportunistic and stay aggressive
If these 9 Veterans don’t step up and remain inconsistent, injured,not inspired, then it will be a long year defensively and right now I am not very encouraged by the play of Patterson,Sims,Mickell, and Tapp has been invisible since he’s come to the Eagles. Parker,Hobbs,Samuel,Hanson and Barnes have played well so far.. lots of opportunites for players to make plays, let’s see who steps up

September 23, 2010 11:19 pm

Right on stevo

September 23, 2010 11:23 pm

Paul, what is your take on Tapp? We would all like to know. And if you think someone might have missed your post containing your opinion of eagles defensive end Darrel Tapp, just post it again, a bunch of times, over and over again

September 24, 2010 8:21 am

If the Eagles defense is that small and subject to the run then their opponents would be crazy to abandon the run unless they are down more than 2 tds to start

And if they are down by more than 2 tds than passing won’t help because the Eagles can score at will

So the logic would be “Just run the ball baby ” against the Birds all year

Paul Mancini
Paul Mancini
September 24, 2010 9:36 am

My take on Tapp is since he has dropped from a 3rd,4th,5th and now to 6th on the depth chart,
Why keep a 3-4 year Vet and pay him the amount of $$$ to only be in street clothes during the games…
They are better off admitting the mistake of acquiring him and move on and utilize that roster spot and $$$ for other areas of need…(like a 4th Safety, like another MLB, like another TE, maybe even another WR or QB..)
I hate when the Eagles have players on the roster who do not earn their paychecks, it pisses me off…
Like R Brown the last couple of years, Shawn Andrews, LJ Smith, J Kearse,H Baskett, and others come to mind…
Every player drafted,traded for or acquired thru free-agency is a risk and some do not pan out which I relaize and understand is part of the game, but why compound an error in judegemeny by keeping highly paide players who are not in future plans or contributing on game days and please don;t tell me well what is COle, Graham or Parker get injured… You don’t build a roster tha way and you don’t keep highly paid veterans as Inactive on your roster every week

September 24, 2010 10:04 am

Paul, I’m guessing you probably know but I think schiller was messing with you. You guys are hilarious.

September 24, 2010 10:07 am

Paulman, I agree. That was the problem with them getting so many DEs this offseason. It’s like they figured “hey, out of all these guys someone has to be good”. Now you’re left being thin at other areas on the team. For one we need a blocking TE, another safety and with the way Peters gets hurt each game, once he goes down there’s no backup for Dunlap. I’m ok with the urgency to get pass rushers but they ignored other areas and now have a bunch of dead weight on the roster.