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The "Wide Nine" Is Not The Problem With The Eagles D

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I'm not sure whether it's the fact that it's something new or that some color guy on the broadcasts have talked about about it, but a lot of people here seemed to decided to blame Jim Washburn's "wide nine" system. It's not so much that the system is inherently bad, as the Titans proved for years it's not, people fear that the Eagles simply don't have the LBs to be successful in it and it makes the team susceptible to the run.

Personally, I fail to see how lining the defensive ends a couple feet one way or the other is going to have any kind of dramatic effect on LB play, but that's not even my biggest problem with the complaints about the "wide 9."

There's no doubt that the Eagles have been poor against the run. Against the Giants, poor tackling was to blame for that more than anything, which is not something moving the defensive end over three feet is going to change. You can either make a tackle or you can't... But further than that, it's not the run that has dealt the killing blows. Look at the last two losses.

Eli Manning and Matt Ryan have thrown for 8 combined TDs and yet still people persist complaining about the way the LBs have played against the run. Manning threw TD passes of 40, 74, 28 and 18 yards. Can someone tell me how those were a result of slightly larger initial running lanes?

The fact is that it has been the pass, not the run that's dealt the killer blows. The Rams rushed for 154 yards against the Eagles, which is more than either the Falcons or the Giants ran for and yet they managed only 13 points because the coverage did it's job.

So while the "wide 9" system is new and different and seems like a convenient thing to blame for the defense's struggles, it's just hard to see how the evidence supports that. I'm just having trouble seeing how Casey Matthews becomes a much more effective player if Trent Cole is lined up three feet to the left. And don't tell me about last year. We're talking about all new players. Casey Matthews is a rookie, Jamar Chaney started two games last year, Moise Fokou did not started 11 games last year. So really, no comparison to how the LB unit played last year to this year makes any sense.

The pass defense was the problem last year and it's the problem again this year.