Better things to come together for Eagles defense…





The talk around Philly is how bad the Eagles defense looked against New England in a Week 2 preseason game… 250 yards allowed on the ground and 226 yards given up by air.

Now is the time to remind ourselves that (a) in a short turnaround week with the Steelers coming to town Thursday night, the defensive game plan was restricted, and (b) with the first round of cuts coming up after the Steelers game, a lot of guys who were playing against New England were getting their showcase time and many will not be here much longer.

The first half of the 3rd preseason game is traditionally the one considered a dress rehearsal for the regulars and a basic defensive game plan.

So I don’t make too much of what went down in Foxborough last Friday night.

Everyone around the league is holding out on their true defensive profiles. Week 2 is just a time to concentrate on getting a look at how individual players are progressing and responding to the game unfolding around them. How is this prospect reacting on the field when we try him out at a different location, such as putting a slot cornerback into outside coverage? How is this 3-year veteran tackle reacting when we take his hand out of the dirt and ask him to backpedal in coverage? You know, that kind of thing…

Everything is fluid and unsettled in Game 2 and doesn’t even come close to resembling a final product. And nobody that I can remember ever made the Hall of Fame based on film from a preseason game anyway.

Even the guys who had a real nice outing on offense, like Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz and Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez, for example, know that they were facing off against an equally fluid and unsettled Patriots defense.

I also remind myself that a lot of the eventual starters on the Eagles defense and offense didn’t even play in the game due to injury, or appeared in such limited playing time that their impact was inconsequential. You also have got to know that some veterans are holding back on full effort when they are in there. A guy playing in the 3rd or 4th year of his rookie contract doesn’t want to risk it all when he’s going up against a crazy rookie opponent who’s desperate to impress his coaches.

It’s the same dynamic all around the league in preseason Week 2. Nobody is really going full-barrel and showing what they’ve got, and most aren’t even sure they know what they’ve got. They will all have a better feel for their true identities after preseason Week 3 and the first round of cuts.

Our own corn-fed philosopher Brozer from Virginia addressed this situation very eloquently in a late post from Saturday night:

“Welp, I did a little paroozing on the Intranets……checking out sports papers from San Diego, Deeetroit, Houston, and Oakland:

San Diego: “Jeremiah Atatatatatchoochoo has yet to provide the spark and playmaking ability the Chargers need”

Deeetroit: “Kyle Van Noy plays a lot, but makes few plays”

Oakland: “Khalil Mack like any other rookie: looks lost during games”.

Houston: “Clowney and JJ Watt flash potential on first 2 plays of game,……then quiet for rest of night” (Clowney is playing LineBacker,…..and is getting abused in pass coverage). (p.s. PLAY THAT FOOL WIFF HIS HAND IN THE DOIT !)

“So, like, might wanna give Marcus Smiff some time (next year).”

“Having said dat……I was pimping Darqueeze Dennard by late fall last year,…..saying we needed to trade up to get him, knowing he’d be a high first rounder, even though he was being mocked in the 2nd at the time. He looked like Troy Vincent 2.0 to me out there….leadership, et all.

When he was there,…..I was all “TAKE HIM !!!!!”

“Apparently, he didn’t “fit our mold” as far as what we want in a cornerback (tall guys, that rely on getting real physical wiff WR’s, which now earns you a defensive holding penalty, every other play. Good plan.).

“Marvin Lewis is calling him the best rookie corner he’s ever seen,….and he knows a little sumptin about defense. Got a sack his first game……and is doing well in coverage.

“Sometimes, you overtink tings….”

Thomas Jackson

About Thomas Jackson

Jax Sports Media has been reporting on NFL teams in the mid-Atlantic region since 2006. Thomas Jackson is its senior writer. Tom started covering the Philadelphia Eagles for the MVN Network in 2007. In 2009 he joined the Bloguin Network. He now also covers the Baltimore Ravens.