After First-Quarter of Season Eagles’ Defense a Bit ‘Two-Faced’
The Eagles defense has been like one of the many girlfriends Jerry Seinfeld dated in the hit 90's TV sitcom 'Seinfeld' -- two faced.
Jerry famously dated a woman named Gwen, who doesn't look good in certain light, but good in other lighting.
That's sums up the Eagles defense through four games so far this season.
After giving up just just 23 points in their first two games, that total has ballooned to 83 points in the last two contests.
"I think we're all pissed off about the last two games," admitted Eagles defnesive coordinator Jonathan Gannon. "We haven't played great on defense. That's evident. And that starts with me and starts with the coaches."
There are plenty of reason we can point at, including the linebackers, cover-2 scheme, Brandon Graham's injury and the inability to stop the run are all things that come to mind.
One name that everyone seems to be point out is six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Fletcher Cox.
In 181 total snaps this season, the 30-year old has just five tackles, none for loss and no sacks.
"I would say Fletch is doing a good job right now," said Gannon on Tuesday. " People know that we play with Fletcher Cox, so they do certain things that you typically don't see on tape. What we get, certain teams do not get because of our personnel."
"But I thought -- he's playing good."
"We're four weeks through, the production will come. I'm not worried about the production from Fletch."
While Cox hasn't produced at the level Eagles fans are used to, there is plenty of blame to go around.
The team has given up a 11 red zone touchdowns, second worst in the league. They are 31st in the league against the run, giving up 150.3 yards per game. And they have not been able to get off the field on third-down, allowing opposing teams to convert 48% of the time, which ranks 27th in football.
So is there something Gannon can do with his scheme to help his team?
"Yeah, I would think -- we always first look at the coaches," explained Gannon. "You know, when we come in on Monday, critically, how can we help our players a little bit more to put them in better position to win the game."
"So it always comes down to self-evaluation, ‘Hey, what can we do to help our players? What did we say the three things are to win this game? Did we get those three things done?’"
"And the last two weeks, we have not done that. So, you look at -- if we get these three things done, are we putting ourselves in a position to win the game? You look at those first. The three things we said, are they the right things?"
"Then from there, you look at execution and what we're asking our players to do and how can we help them and serve them better to put them in better spots. And that starts with me, to the coaches, right down to the players."
The Eagles have talent with Javon Hargrave having a career start to the season, Cox, Josh Sweat, Darius Slay are all players you can win with.
The challenge is can Gannon get more from players like Derek Barnett, who's penalties have hurt the team in multiple games this season. Can he get more from his linebackers, Alex Singleton and Eric Wilson, who have been targeted 35 times and have allowed 30 completions for 272 yards and four touchdowns through four games, according to PFF.
The team excelled against two average offense, in Atlanta and San Francisco and struggled against top of the better offenses in the league, Dallas and Kansas City.
Lets see if there is some middle ground when they face the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, which you can listen to with Merrill Reese and Mike Quick. Coverage begins at noon with the kickoff at 1 p.m right here on 97.3 ESPN Radio.