THERE’S talk of the Jets possibly running the 46 Defense this year, and as an Eagles fan (of a certain age) I can’t hear the words “46 Defense” and not smile and think back to a simpler time. A time when the NFL was afraid of our team, our fans, and even the turf in the stadium.
Teams dreaded having to play the Eagles. It wasn’t just “Oh man they’re so good, they’re gonna kick our butts” type dread. It was ‘BodyBag Game’ type dread. It was “Seth Joyner twisting up Jeff Rutledge’s facemask” type dread. It was our career-ending, “Knee-eating turf” and “700 Level” type dread. Big, strong, alpha males from all over this country, outright FEARED coming here.
The words “46 Defense” has the ability to take some of us back to a time that almost seems like a fairytale when we reflect on it. If you became an Eagles fan after Buddy Ryan, then you have no frame of reference to compare it to. Nothing Jim Johnson (god bless him) ever did could compare to the unit we had from about 1989 to 92. And everyone to follow JJ so far has ranked somewhere between the Eagles either playing a joke on us fans or sucker punching us while we kneel in prayer at church.
It got me to thinking about how leaky our defense is now, and how it would be great if we could put our 1990 Defense on the field with our 2013 Offense. That would be awesome wouldn’t it? (For one it would mean that Reggie White and Andre Waters were still alive.) Also with as good as that defense was at causing three-and-outs, the Eagles would seemingly always have the ball. And with LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson still in Eagle green, a triple digit score wouldn’t be out of the question.
BUT, since we can’t pull out a defense from a quarter century ago, why not just think about who we’d like to replace Bill Davis with when he’s fired after this season. Now is also a nice time to think about what kind of system we’d like to see run here. Personally, I’d like a 4-3 Monster instead of a typical base 4-3. The only problem is I think we’re a 3-4 team as long as Kelly is the Head Coach.
That said, I can’t think of a 3-4 system that I really like. I can think of 3-4 defenses I like, but that has far more to do with the players (generally LB’s) than necessarily the system they ran. Fan’s here seem to think our 3-4 will be better this year with Kiko Alonso being added, Brandon Graham now starting and DeMeco Ryans returning. Maybe it will, but I seriously doubt it.
The problems with Bill Davis’s system are in base principles of how to apply pressure and what is sacrificed in order to do so. It works fine against bad teams, but in San Fran, Arizona and now here, it can’t run with the big dogs. When your biggest issues are your core principles, who you plug in really doesn’t mean much.
However when you play sound, solid football… Man, I’m telling you, I do miss those days.