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Eagles Film Analysis: This team needs a lot of speed added

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Philadelphia Eagles v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

This was a brutal way to end the Eagles season. I know I shouldn’t say this, but if you can’t face reading this one right now, I do not blame you in the slightest. I’d normally say this at the end of the post but thank you all so much for reading and commenting on these posts all year. I couldn’t do this without your support, so it’s massively appreciated. I’ll be here all off-season as always! (PREVIOUSLY: Offense version.)

Defense

Full disclosure: I’m writing this whilst having no idea what is happening to Nick Sirianni and the coaching staff. So I won’t speculate, but I am expecting the entire majority of the defensive staff to be fired, no matter what happens to Sirianni.

I don’t have much else to say about the defense, so this one might be a bit of a quicker one. I have been critical of the Eagles blitzing 5 (especially with one of them from depth) all season long, and it continued to hurt the Eagles’ defense this week. They do not hold up in coverage well enough when they rush 5. Avonte Maddox is playing outside leverage here as if he has inside help, but the linebacker isn’t there! I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but when we look at the successful defensive plays later on, the Eagles are usually rushing 4.

The Eagles have done this a lot of late, and I’m not sure I remember it working too much. Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t want my nose tackle moving away from the center and allowing him to get straight to the 2nd level.

I got really angry speaking about the offense, so I don’t have the energy to criticize the Eagles’ coaches on defense this week. Everyone knows it’s bad and I’m sure this staff is going to look very different next year. But you can’t do anything when players play like this.

On the offensive side of the ball, I was critical of the coaches and didn't really criticize the players too much. On the defensive side of the ball, you just have to admit that the players are simply not good enough. James Bradberry has had an awful season and I feel vindicated in saying that the Eagle should not bring him back last off-season. The decline was not entirely unpredictable either as he did not play well towards the end of last season.

This play needs the Benny Hill clown music. It all begins because the Eagles rush 5, which means rather than have a linebacker cover the back, they have to ask Maddox to come from the safety position to cover the running back. The 5-man rush is a disaster.

The Eagles cannot ignore the linebacker position anymore. This doesn’t mean you have to draft one in the 1st round, but the Eagles need to invest money into this position. The position has been a disaster all season, and I’m honestly not sure what you are meant to do as a defense when your linebackers are giving up explosive gains to Cade Otton.

I was so impressed with the Eagles' run fits the first half of the season. What happened?! The Eagles have 2 defenders take the B gap, and then I’m guessing Cunningham is supposed to get outside of Sweat (which is something else the Eagles do a lot that rarely works) but he takes a horrible angle and the edge is just left wide open.

Weirdly, I was far less annoyed watching the defense than the offense. I know the defense sucks. But at least they showed some fight. The defensive line actually played well, and if the offense was functional, this game might have been close. I know Brandon Graham has expressed interest in returning, and I would be fine with it. BG can still play.

I am so disappointed that Nolan Smith didn’t get more snaps this year because I don’t feel like I have a great idea of what to expect from him next year. I was glad to see him win here, and I think he’s been wasted this year by playing multiple positions rather than getting after the quarterback. The Eagles need him to have a good 2nd year and I’m looking forward to going back and watching his snaps in depth this off-season.

I think a good defensive coach will be very excited to coach this defensive line next year. There is a lot of talent there, and I think Milton Williams is a very good defensive tackle.

We have to end with this play. What a disaster. You don’t need my analysis, you already know this is terrible. The Eagles badly need some team speed, and I would be prioritizing defensive backs and linebackers who can run and tackle. It may sound basic, but this defense is slow and doesn’t tackle well. The entire Eagles team needs to get back to the basics and start doing the simple stuff well. This team needs a lot of speed added.

Well, that’s this season done. 36 film reviews in the book. I have probably written about 50,000 words and posted 400 videos, so thank you so much for checking these out. Bring on the off-season...

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