Obviously, we very well could have been 4-0. I understand everyones frustration and wanting to clean house. Just relax. There are 12 games left. Clearly, we're all feeling the same pain of our team not maintaining a lead going into halftime and the 4th quarter. You cannot take pro bowl players from FA in a shortened off season and expect them to all gel together with a shortened off season. It takes time. Right now, we're doing it on the fly which down the road, may work but our immediate future as a defensive UNIT isn't looking good, obviously. Looking towards next season, this team will be significantly different in performance. A full off season is key. Right now it's sort of the "fitting a square peg in a round hole" mentality just trying to force it to work right out of the gate.
It doesn't help that our offensive play calling so far is pretty questionable-not to mention our impeccable draft strategies in the past 2 years-and not a lot of people have brought it up. We have a perfect closer in LeSean McCoy yet we turn into this pass happy idiot where we try to make the big play and it comes back to bite us in the ass. Of course, I won't blame any player in particular for losing the game whether it's Jeremy Maclin and that fumble at the end of the 49ers game, Kurt Coleman missing a tackle on Victor Cruz and then taking Nnamdi out of the play trying to rebound. We're not finishing games as a team regardless of who made what mistake, the team is not playing well together. More after the jump...
On defense, clearly we have some issues now more than ever with Trent Cole being out. I liked what I saw from Babin the past 4 weeks on the RIGHT side of the defense. Moving him to the left will make him nonexistant but I do believe the starting left tackle for the Bills is out so he should still have a favorable matchup if they bump him over. I'm a littler relieved that Tapp is back because he plays the system very well and could be a decent stop-gap for Cole in this game. I'm a huge fan of the wide-9 but I feel like if our MIKE, reads run pre snap, he should definitely pinch the line. I've only seen our LB's call a line shift once so far and that was in the Rams game. You know what happened? We stuffed the run. I know, shocking. Now, I was watching the last game on a computer with a shitty stream so I'm not sure how many line shifts were called by Chaney which brings me to my next point.
Communication. If you can't communicate as a defense, congratulations, you are the worst defense in the NFL same can be said about an Offense. It really doesn't look like everyone on our defense is on the same page. I know, as a football player myself, everyone on the team has to communicate. Everyone. Maybe not the kicker, but the OL, QB, WR's, RB's, DL, LB's, CB's and S's. There is not one single player on offense or defense who should remain quiet for all 4 quarters pre snap. As a TE/WR I've made line-calls, had plays flipped and made hot calls(calling the blitzer for an easy quick route for a few easy yards for those who don't know). Communication makes everything significantly easier and I feel like we're lacking on both sides of the ball. Also, don't tell me that an audible counts as communication. Thats just changing the play, obviously you have to communicate that.
I don't see our WR's or QB for that matter call the blitz pre snap and throw the hot route. I understand we want the big play too often but we have a team who can beat a blitz every snap of the game and we just don't do it. All someone like DeSean or Jeremy has to do is point the blitzer on their side out, call "Hot" or whatever they want to call it, run a few steps, and turn. Vick also needs to throw that ball. I'm not saying I don't like Vick's performance at QB or anything. I appreciate his willingness to try and extend the play, wait around for the big gain and whatnot, but when someone is giving you easy yards, don't make it harder on yourself and your team. Throw the hot route, get some yards, keep the clock moving. Our WR's have enough speed to gain more yards after a quick run and catch like that. It should be so simple but we complicate it with our greedy go big or go to the bench mentality.
On defense, it looks to me like the only guys trying to communicate anything are Samuel, Asomugha and Chaney. I can appreciate that. It seems like everyone else is sort of in that pre-snap "this is my job on this play" mentality where all they're thinking of is their current assignment and blocking everything out, which is good, unless your MIKE is trying to communicate to everyone and you're not listening because you're "in the zone". We need to appear as a cool, calculated and effective machine on defense and it all starts with communication.
The second thing on defense is tackling. We need to stop the arm tackling. It's absolutely ridiculous. 3 things you need to know when it comes to tackling: Get low, head up, wrap up. It's that simple. Stop going for the big hit against these elusive players who more than likely will make you look like an asshole when you miss. Wrap up and bring the ball carrier down. It's not hard to do. Just watch a Patrick Willis highlight before every practice and every game.
So far, I haven't really disagreed with a lot of defensive play calling aside from deciding to dial up blitzes out of Nickle on 3rd and long. In my opinion, on 3rd and long with a secondary like we have, play to their strengths. Give a mixed up look. Press with NA on the inside, play off with Samuel and have DRC move to the outside and cover the no. 2. Don't send any of them on a blitz and exploit our weak safeties. I loved Kurt Coleman last season in the pass and run. He didn't come up with INT but he batted away quite a few TD's and made tackles in the run. This season, I haven't seen that Kurt Coleman yet, unfortunately.
If there was any game to have that Cullen Jenkins' "killer mentality" this would be it. Minimize mistakes, force and capitalize off turnovers, finish a drive with points and make the right decisions. Defense loads the box? Make them pay as soon as the ball is snapped. Bills are in I form? Shift the line and stuff the run. If they pass out of I, we've got two corners good enough to defend the pass and at least two LB's capable of covering the RB's/TE's. I think this game could be a winnable game for sure. Anyone is beatable on any given sunday but if any member of our starting O or starting D steps on that field half assed, we'll pay for it tenfold. Our Eagles have to get their mind right, start fighting and finish strong. We can win out this season or it could be a bumpy(er) ride. 12 more games after this one. Let's start the winning this week.