As exciting as it was to watch the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Washington Redskins in Week #1…there were still many unanswered questions that arose after watching “The Oregon Duck” offensive system. One thing I believe that escaped the cracks in the fallout from Week #1 was how God Awful this defense could really be this season. I mean, going into this season it appeared that the Eagles had at least improved in some aspects of their Defensive side of the ball. However, after Sunday’s loss to the Chargers, it appears that there are infinite cracks in the Eagles armor.
First of all, the Eagle’s secondary is hideous. That may be too nice of a word. For those of you that are from my generation, their Secondary SUCKS! Ok…that sounds better. Nate Allen is an absolute disgrace of a safety and he makes Erik McMillan (Safety 1988-1993) look like an ALL-PRO. Nate Allen can’t do anything right at the Safety Position. He consistently gets burned by fast receivers. In fact…he gets burned by average receivers like Eddie Royal of the San Diego Chargers.
Nate Allen may also be the worst tackler I have ever saw in the NFL. He should be cut yesterday. The other Eagle’s Safety, Patrick Cheung is average at best. He made a few tackles on Sunday, but he is not suited to the 3-4 Defense that is employed by the Eagles at this time. Now let us go to the Cornerback Position. Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams are considered O.K. by NFL standards, but O.K. does not cut it in today’s Pass Hungry/Offensive Happy League. I mean, a few years back we had Lito Shepherd and Sheldon Brown. So much has changed since then. First, the Eagles signed Asante Samuels in a move that looking back, had the if you can’t beat them…join them MOTTO. In other words, the New England Patriots were the top standard not only on offense, but their Defense was stellar as well. Samuel had a few good seasons, he was a playmaker. However, he would not even fit this defensive system. And do we have to rehash the nightmare named Nhamdi Asamugha. I am not even sure if I even spelled his name right…but who cares, he may have been in the TOP 10 Eagles WORST Free Agent Signings of all time.
We as fans were also sold a bill of goods when we were told that our Linebacker Core had improved. Maybe on paper this was true. The Free Agent Demaco Ryans from last year, draft pick Brandon Graham, Casey Matthews, etc. However, these linebackers were torn apart by an older Tight End Antonio Gates and a career number three wide receiver Eddie Royal. The Middle was like a war zone and all of the Chargers land mines struck the gold target. The Eagles could not cover the middle, which also made them susceptible to the Deep Crossing Pass.
Now let us look at the most important part of the 3-4 Defense, the Defensive Line. The down lineman need to get a push up the middle to allow the outside linebackers to put pressure on the quarterback. There is only one problem with this…what happens when the Defensive Line cannot even sniff the quarterback?? Who is Cedric Thornton? He is one of the Eagle’s Defensive Starting Ends. He wears Number 72. Well, do you want to hear a funny stat. Thornton was almost on the field for all of the Eagle’s Defensive Plays…minus a few. Well, We never heard his name called once…not even on the television. Does Cedric Thornton exist? Was he really playing Sunday or was it just a mirage. The Eagles managed just one sack and one hurry. Phillip Rivers looked like Terry Bradshaw in his heyday, sitting back in the pocket ALL DAY LONG…one play even kept alive for 20 seconds. Sorry, I am a die hard Eagles fan, but these facts are UNACCEPTABLE. This Defense is putrid!
I was listening to 94 WYSP, the Eagle’s post-game show as I usually do on Sunday. I was driving home from work having missed the entire game. But I did not have to see the game to know that the Defense played horribly. The stats showed it all. I always look at sacks, hurries, and pressures and you can usually see if a defense was good, despite the final score. Also, yards allowed is a key number. Well, the Eagles gave up over 500 Yards to the Chargers offense! Yeah, thats not a mistake folks…500 Yards. What did the Eagles forget this was the NFL. Well, while listening to the post-game show I heard many dumb callers. However, the dumbest call of the day belonged to some fan who truly believes that the Eagles are going to go 14-2 and win their first Super Bowl. Come AGAIN!!! Are You Kidding me?! He said that this was an anomaly and that the Eagles can win no matter what with their High Octane Offense. He referred to the New Orleans Saints and New York Giants who had the 31st and 30th worst defenses the years that they won their Super Bowls. There is one huge difference here. Although those defenses did give up points, they also put plenty of pressure on the quarterback.
Hearing this guy made my stomach cringe. First and foremost, I am extremely excited about this Offense and I am a true believer in Chip Kelly. Furthermore, I do believe that we can win a lot of games by outscoring opponents. However, I am a die hard fan. And as an Eagles fan, I still go by the mantra that Defense wins Championships. Wow, I truly miss those Bud Carson and Jim Johnson Defenses. Even remember the Buddy Ryan era…the Eagles always had a potent offense but they were lead by their defense. I am afraid to admit it, but until this team addresses it’s defensive woes, I do not feel that they will be going anywhere. They could sign Calvin Johnson and Brandon Marshall and A.P. Their offense can be as potent as they want but they have to be able to have some assembly of a Defense. So…Chip Kelly, if you are listening, please address this defense ASAP. And also, let me give you one huge piece of advice…please do not ever mention the words…”I need to do a better job next time.” Seriously, we spent the last fourteen years listening to that same phrase and we grew to HATE the person who spoke those words. So, create another phrase for press conferences and interviews. And no matter what you do the rest of the year, a win Thursday is an absolute MUST!!!!! I cannot watch Andy Reid beat this team. I just can’t.