TONIGHT the Eagles gutted the Steelers 17 – 0 in front of a national audience (provided you weren’t in any of the blackout areas). Our Defense grabbed 4 picks, 4 sacks and only allowed 50 yards rushing on 21 attempts. Sounds pretty bad-ass, right. Start buying Super Bowl packages, right?
Hold your horses. Pump the brakes. Last year, we wiped out the Ravens 40 – 17 in our second preseason game. I said “pump the brakes” but many of you didn’t listen. A week later, Green Bay sat their starters (sound familiar?) and we won 39 – 26 in Green Bay. QB Sam Bradford went 10/10 with 3 TD’s and many of you were talking Super Bowl. Yes. Many of you were. This, however, was my reaction to that game:
“Normally after a preseason game, I want to talk about what we need to fix. While there is PLENTY, I won’t do that this week. Many fans are really pumped over the result of the game, and pumped over what they saw of the game. So I’ll leave it at that.”
Remember how last year went? Maybe you’ll listen now.
Pump. The. Brakes.
We started tonight night facing a “B” team, and our Defense did what they’re supposed to do if some coach decides to gamble with the future confidence of his reserves. We showed those sacrificial lambs why they’ll get to watch more football than they’ll play.
We had some issues on Defense though. DE’s Connor Barwin, and Brandon Graham allowed themselves to be washed out of position a few times vs the run. This version of the Wide 9 won’t work if the DE’s can’t set the edge and turn the action back inside, to a free-flowing LB.
There seemed to be more of a pocket for the QB to step-up into tonight; as well as clear line of sight and passing lanes. More has to be done to force QB’s to move in the pocket, because we won’t be facing 4th round draft pick who gift us 4 picks, every week. We have to make plays, not just rely on mistakes.
I told you back in May – no wait, I told you back in April, even before the Draft- that the Defense would likely have to carry the Offense this year. I said the Defense would set the Offense up with short fields, artificially padding our scoring stats. It is unlikely that we’ll run away with the NFC East, and more likely that we will merely survive it. That being said, pump the brakes Eagles fans. We still have much work to do.