DEFENSIVE Coordinator Jim Schwartz is not going to abandon the principles that have built his career thus far. However, it’s clear that the old dog needs to learn a couple of new tricks. We need to become more disruptive of opposing passing games. We need to play some damned press coverage.
We don’t need to do it every down. That’s not who we are. But a 3rd and 7 should never come with a clean release off the line. Especially given how rarely this team blitzes. (We’ll also get into that soon, in another edition of The 12.) Adopting and adapting tactics that work, is just being smart. Observe:
Schwartz like to use off-coverage. He likes his Cornerbacks to play with a “cushion” of 5 or so yards off the line of scrimmage, so that they can read the intent of the receiver. (Is it an inside route, an outside route, a GO route, etc.?) That allows the CB to constrict their area of responsibility, release (if needed) the receiver to underneath LB coverage, and inform the Safety about where they have to be to help deep.
Last year the Eagles defense allowed opposing QB’s a 66.6 completion percentage (9th worst in the NFL). We also allowed 4,308 passing yards (3rd worst), 60 passes of 20 or more yards (tied for 3rd worst), collected just 10 interceptions (only 7 teams had fewer)*.
On the plus side, we only gave up 6 passes of 40 or longer (only 3 teams allowed fewer), and only 22 touchdowns all year (only 7 teams allowed fewer). Then again why would a team gamble if we keep giving them easy completions?
We aren’t giving up the big plays, but we also aren’t getting our Defense off the field. Plus, the longer the opponent has the ball, the more opportunities they have to do something dangerous with it.
We simply aren’t doing enough to get teams off the field. We aren’t doing enough to create turnovers. We aren’t doing enough to turn so many hurries into sack/fumbles. We aren’t doing enough to be disruptive. That 66.6 completion percentage (9th worst) tells that tale. New Orleans (both games) tells that tale.
Good but not good enough. If the mission is to win, then similar to the Patriots, we need to adjust to the situation, then adopt and adapt those tactics that will help us accomplish our goal. One of those things would be more of this:
*NOTE: I use the “only x# teams had fewer” line, because of the screwy way the NFL ranks ties in a category. Note that both the Eagles and Bengals are ranked 9th , and how there is is no 10th ? As you can see, I made the adjustment and placed us 9th worst, not tied for 9th worst.
Both teams allowed a 66.6% completion rate, but going one decimal place over (Cincy .6660, Philly .6661), would allow for a definitive ranking. The NFL however, stops shy of that for some reason. This is just lazy stat keeping on the NFL’s part.
Keeping inaccurate stats helps fans make silly mistakes in debates, and look foolish for doing so. This can’t happen to you, because I do the homework to keep you looking good out there.