OUR team averages almost 30 points a game, yet almost every game is a nail-biter. The reason is simple: We can’t stop anybody. Oh sure, our Defense has given us a few exciting plays, but by and large we hemorrhage yards and points pretty much every week. What’s worse is that we do it the same way every week.
Let me nutshell that :
In Points our Offense is #4 in the NFL, our Defense is #20
In Yards our Offense is #4 in the NFL, our Defense is #26
So who isn’t pulling their weight here? The Defense.
We have THREE problems on Defense, but they all have the same solution. Take a look.
PROBLEM 1: Coverage
For some reason (in a pass happy league) we play a lot of Single-high Safety coverage, which leaves our CB’s on an island with more field to defend. We keep the other Safety in the box to help with the run. Throw in NFL rule changes that inhibit the physical style that BOTH of our CB’s were brought in to play, and you have a recipe for weekly meltdowns. The EAGLES can’t control the rule book, but we CAN pick a coverage concept that doesn’t make things harder on our own players. This is a system problem.
PROBLEM 2: Pass Rush
We have 33 sacks. How is that a problem? Good question. Here’s your answer. We’re a base 3-4 team, but at times we switch into a 4-3 front. In our 3-4 set we typically send 5 to get pressure on opposing QB’s. What’s funny is that in our 4-3 set, we can reach the QB with only a 4 man rush. If we can reach with 4, then sending 5 is wasteful, because it takes away from our underneath coverage. However, due to the base system we’ve selected, we’ve hemmed ourselves in pretty good. This is also a system problem.
PROBLEM 3: Talent Utilization
The reason we can reach with 4 in our 4-3 set, is because our two best pass rushing DE’s are back-ups. What’s funny is that on a team with 33 sacks so far, those two back-ups have 10.5 of them. DE Vinny Curry is our second leading sack man (6) and OLB/DE Brandon Graham (4.5) is tied for third on the team. So we don’t start our best because they are too small to play 3-4 DE. Instead of finding a way to get our best talent out there, our coaching staff is in love with a crappy system. That is most assuredly a system problem.
Everyone wants to blame the players when our Defense shits the bed, but the reality is that Defensive Coordinator Bill Davis’s scheme is full of obvious holes. Crossing routes give us fits. In routes are almost automatic, and the Flats are 7-11 (always open). Due to Connor Barwin and Trent Cole being used mostly as rushers, that’s pretty much how this scheme is supposed to go.
By design of our scheme, we give up easy completions because we totally vacate the surrounding areas where those routes (CROSS, IN, QUICK OUT, and WHEEL) are run. Those are already high percentage routes. Without any coverage in those areas, teams are just playing catch. And again we do this every week. Every week. These same repeated flaws allow even bad teams like Jacksonville and Washington to have a shot at beating us. As you’ve seen.
THE SOLUTION: Replace Bill Davis
Bring in a Defensive Coordinator who understands that today, playing lots of physical man coverage will breed lots of flags; which in turn breeds soft play; which in turn breeds touchdowns allowed. Bring in a DC, who doesn’t waste his resources, but instead gives himself and the athletes options. Bring in a DC who will play his best players, and be more married to results than a scheme. Stop paying a guy who makes things easy on out opponents.