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Eagles Film Review: Depressing defense

Philadelphia Eagles v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Well, this Eagles-Giants game wasn’t very fun. This one is going to be a quick one, because I only watched the first half, and I feel like I’m just repeating myself at this point. Sigh. (Previously: offense version.)


The Giants watched the Cardinals game last week. If you play 12 personnel against this Eagles’ team they often go to a 5-man front. Then all you have to do is motion a receiver across the formation to show 2 receivers on one side, and you will get one of the Eagles’ edge rushers to drop into coverage. This is a great example of the Giants’ offense using the Eagles’ defensive rules against them.

My very simple solution to this: stop playing 5-man fronts. Haason Reddick and Josh Sweat can’t play in coverage. Throw all the 5-man front stuff out of the playbook for the rest of the season. If Matt Patricia wants edge defenders who drop into coverage, he needs to realize that he doesn’t have the personnel right now. Stop doing it.

This is going to sound crazy but I liked some of the stuff the defense did in the 1st quarter. I think this front 4 should play a lot of snaps together on early downs next week, because I think it gives the Eagles the best chance right now of stopping the run and maintaining their gap integrity.

I’m not entirely sure who is at fault here (my guess is Avonte Maddox because usually in a pressure situation like this, you would ask the Apex (slot) defender to take the #2 unless he goes inside) but either way, it’s just a bad call. Josh Sweat can’t play in coverage. If he’s in the game, let him rush the quarterback, or just don’t play him. This defense looks so lost right now and it’s clear that the communication between the defenders is non-existent. The switch to Patricia has clearly been a disaster, but I think the worst part of it is that the players haven’t adjusted to the new terminology or style and they are just lost out there. Even Matt Patricia isn’t this bad... I think.

I think Jalen Carter has looked a bit fatigued over the second half of the season, and I would consider using him in obvious pass rushing situations only to keep him fresh and let him attack like this.

I miss the Eagles being good in coverage. I know the defense sucked in the Super Bowl, but this team was so good at zone match for most of the season. I miss those days, so this play was a nice throwback to that. Why can’t this team just do this more?

I thought Jordan Davis was outstanding in this game. I also thought most of his best snaps came from a 4-man front. I am hoping he is feeling fresh right now, because the Eagles are going to need him to be back to his best if they have any chance in the playoffs. I think this would be my starting defensive tackle duo against the Bucs on early downs.

I’ll never pick on individuals when I’m not certain, but I’m extremely confident that this is a bad play by Maddox, who hasn’t looked right since returning. This is cover 3 against a 3-level stretch play on 3rd and 11. Maddox has to get depth, stop the throw to the intermediate route, and then come downhill to make the tackle when the ball is thrown to the short route. You just can’t get beat like this, especially on 3rd and 11. This is poor.

Speaking of poor... anyone want to explain this one to me in the comments? Reed Blankenship is the 3-4 edge, defending both the RB/QB at the mesh point. He is a safety! What is going on with this one? Defending the mesh point takes real talent, and a lot of reps in practice, so why does Patricia just assume he can do this? I’m lost on this one.

You don’t need any analysis from me here. I don’t care who the defensive coordinator is, you can’t win when the players tackle like this. There’s nothing that needs to be said.

This is a contender for worst defensive call I have seen. Just think for a minute... have you ever seen a play that looks like this? I don’t think I’ve ever seen an edge defender and a linebacker, both frantically running 5 yards behind a running back on a wheel route. Ever. You just don’t see this. It’s comical. I have no idea why Morrow is passing off the route but he’s not really passing off the route anyway, because he keeps chasing Barkley. Is he just yelling at Smith to help him out because he knows he’s screwed up? I have no clue. Nolan Smith has no chance here at all. He has no momentum and is also blocked off by the receivers. This is another example of the Giants motioning and getting the Eagles to drop an edge defender into coverage. My goodness, this play is a disaster.

Playing box coverage (4 over 3) and triangle coverage (3 over 2) against empty is my personal favorite defensive call. I love it. The Eagles could not play this 3 over 2 worse if they tried. I know that the defensive personnel has changed a lot this year, but how bad is the communication here. Come on. It’s week 18! You just don’t see stuff around the league this bad very often. I’ve got nothing more to say, it’s just bad.

Well, this was depressing. The Eagles need to get back to basics and just try and play some respectable defense against the Bucs. Please don’t make me watch a game like this again. The past few weeks have been so bad on defense, it has to get better... right?

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