The Eagles defense struggled in a lot of areas on Sunday against the 49ers and defensive coordinator Sean Desai took complete responsibility for the issues. He spoke to reporters on Tuesday about how he needs to be better at getting the players in the right call faster and more consistently, and he also talked about adding Shaq Leonard to the linebacker room.
Here’s what else the DC had to say:
On the defensive struggles vs. 49ers
He admitted that there were a lot of things that bothered him after watching the film, but he needs to get to some calls differently and needs to get to them quicker and in better situations.
“That’s what I need to be able to do, and that is what’s going to help our guys execute in a cleaner format. And, so, I gotta do a better job of that.”
Desai went on to say that they started off fast in the first quarter, but then he didn’t get to the things they needed to get to fast enough from there.
He was asked about the defensive line having a quieter day against the 49ers offensive line, and Desai once again took ownership, saying he needed to get to their answers quicker. They were able to get some pressures and QB hits early, and they continued to try and get around him and do other things, but the DC has to be able to change the look and get guys in more advantageous positions.
Desai did say that they have been pretty good at making adjustments this season, but in this past game, it didn’t happen fast enough.
“It’s just a matter of me calling the right play at the right time.”
The DC gave credit to the 49ers for how they switched up calls and looks, and noted that they called more of the right plays.
On 3rd down and redzone situations
“I think we lean into what we believe in. I think we lean back into our techniques.”
He admitted that they have given up a lot of yards the past few weeks, and need to do better in 3rd-down and redzone situations.
Desai later talked about those situations being a high focus for them, and it’s going to an even greater focus now. He said that they have to do a better job as a staff and as coaches in those areas, but he is confident they’ll improve.
On the tackling issues
Desai said to give credit to the 49ers for finding ways to get guys in space, but ultimately he has to do a better job putting guys in position to get tighter and corral in those areas.
“It’s starts with me. I gotta do a better job of getting those guys in that position, and get them tighter when they’re trying to make it that space game on different levels.”
Desai later talked about how he always looks to himself to see how he can improve the space issues schematically, and then put guys in better positions more consistently to make plays. He acknowledged that it’s a space game in the league, but teams will hit different areas. Again, the DC noted that San Francisco did a good job of hitting their soft zones and calling plays that they need better answers for.
As for the effort specifically, Desai said that it’s something that needs addressed at all levels, including himself, he has to improve. He also noted that every player would agree that they all, including coaches, need to improve from an execution standpoint, and the DC needs to be able to help them.
On adding Shaq Leonard
“I can’t speculate what happened with the Colts, but Shaq’s been an all-down, All-Pro linebacker in this league, so we’re excited to get him in here and get working with him — kind of teach him our stuff, and have him part of that room, and compete with everybody and then move forward that way.”
Desai went on to say that Leonard is another nice piece they’re adding a linebacker room that they already like, but it’s nice to have another veteran presence there.
He later noted that the linebacker is comfortable in a stacked position, so they’ll keep Leonard there, and then he’ll be able to do some other things. Desai said once Leonard gets into the room and gets acclimated, they’ll be able to see him do different things and find a good role for him.