• May 19, 2022

Eagles Should Have Matched Up Connor Barwin On Antonio Gates

San Diego Chargers v Philadelphia EaglesEagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis is definitely playing with a weak hand.  His secondary especially the safety position leaves some things to be desired, but he’s got to get the most of his players.  The cornerbacks aren’t the best man-to-man coverage guys.  The linebackers are somewhat limited in their coverage ability

On Sunday he was searching all over for an answer to Phillip Rivers and the Chargers passing game.  First it was wide receiver Malcolm Floyd running trail routes against Eagles cornerback Cary Williams.  All that ended when Birds middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans pounded Floyd in the head and neck after he had caught another pass against Williams.

Rivers decided to start going to “Old Reliable”, Antonio Gates.  Gates was matched up against second-year linebacker Mychal Kendricks.  Gates was working on Kendricks like he was a big man trying to get the ball in the post.  He would run into the smaller Kendricks, bump him then head the opposite way and catch the football.  Kendricks was at his mercy.  The matchup was a no contest situation.

Gates is a former basketball player and future Hall of Famer, who is 6’4″ 260 pounds and in his 11th NFL season.   He has made eight Pro Bowl teams and been selected All-Pro five times.  Kendricks is as quick as a cat, but he only in his second year and he stands 5’11” and weighs 238 pounds.

Rivers and Gates started playing catch as the game continued.  Every time Rivers got himself in a key third down situation, he was looking for the matchup of Gates and Kendricks.

Davis should have changed the matchup when he saw that it was so one-sided.  He had nothing to lose by making the adjustment.  Kendricks was no matchup for Gates.  He was too small and too inexperienced to be able to deal with the future Hall of Famer.

He should have put veteran linebacker Connor Barwin on Gates.  Barwin is bigger at 6’4″ 260 pounds with more experience and a very good coverage skills.  If that didn’t work he should have double-teamed Gates and made Rivers throw the ball to somebody else.

He tried to blitz Rivers and he changed the coverages, but he didn’t change that matchup.  You don’t have a long time to make adjustments in a NFL game and Davis should have gone into the game with his eye on that Gates-Kendricks matchup.  It wasn’t a good one.


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  • As I have complained about since last Year

    LB M Kendricks should play the OLB and strictly be a Pass-Rusher and Blitzer on Passing SItuations.. He’s limited in Pass-COverage and Ryans is even worse which is why the Texans traded him once they went to a 3-4 Scheme ..

    Eagles need a new Set of ILB’s, shift Kendricks to OLB and let him do what he does best and rush the paser with his SPeed & athleticism..
    This Eagles Front 7 needs at least 2 more legitimate Pass-Rushers.
    so there are a lot more needs than just the Safety & CB Positions

  • Paul, Kendricks is the same size as Daryl Washington in Arizona, Larry Foote in Pittsburgh etc. His size is fine to play the ILB position in this defense. I didn’t hear anyone complain about his size after the Washington game, I was hearing/reading how dynamic he was, making plays all over the field. Look, this defense is what we have known since training camp began, they have a couple promising young players, but overall, they stink. It’s going to be another draft + free agency before most the pieces are in place. Remember, a “4-3 hybrid” means we want a true 3-4 but don’t have the players to do it on the roster.

    • Eagles are at least 2 Drafts & Off-Season’s away from a competitive Defense
      You can expect 3-4 Rookies next Season on Defense to make a big impact..
      Eagles need 7-8 Players on Defense..

      • We agreed that was a priority Pau. We’ve been saying it all off season. But as I mentioned, we missed an opportunity to help ourselves defensively by whiffing on defensive talent in this past draft..

        • And Free agency! We 3, were saying ALL off-season, that this past draft & free agent crop, was the deepest in years with quality, & quantity defensive help, especially the secondary, & we managed to draft, & sign NONE of them!!!! Weaselman has absolutely NO clue how to evaluate talent. WTF did they even waste the time, bring Gamble here, if they weren’t going to utilize his eye for talent? Lurie & Weaselman have lady parts!

          • Add me into that group Dcar, seeing the potential of the offense makes the lack of insight into fixing the defense criminal. Ertz and Barkley should never have been drafted and Casey shouldn’t have been signed.

            • A good GM would recognize that. Now you see my point from this summer Biggie. It’s just one loss, but will this defense will be our achilles heel all year, and injuries may play an even bigger role.

              • Agree GM its only one loss but it won’t be the last because of this defense.

  • Well G that ain’t a good thing coaching wise if Davis didn’t have the sense to rectify that chit! You’re damn right you got to put an experienced big player in that situation. I really dont think Davis is going to be in Philly long if he gameplans the way he did in the Chargers game. He looked lost as far as an answer for the middle of the field!!

    • Then Why doesn’t HC Chip Kelly get more involved then on the Defensive Side of Things.. To watch your Ship go down and get pushed around all day and not do anything as HC about it is as stupid as calling 3 pass plays in a row at the 14 Yard Line on 1st, 2nd & 3rd Downs with 2:30 Left in a game that you are trailing 30-27 and where your Defense has not stopped the Chargers all day long.. you run the F’n ball to close out the game and attempt to get a first down and then a TD to go up 34-30 leaving the Chargers to have to get a TD to beat up, and if you don’t get a first down with 3 Running PLayes, you at least milk the clock down and leave less time availalbe for the Chargers if you end up kicking a FG to tie it 30-30.. Poor Job by Kelly all the way around in my book..
      This isn’t the Pac-12 anymore…

  • Hey chip defense matters

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