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> Before we criticize the D too much, got to consider the context of how it happened
post Dec 19 2017, 11:44 AM
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QUOTE (Reality Fan @ Dec 19 2017, 12:22 AM) *
It is not an issue of rest...the D gave up 23 in the first half and 6 in the 2nd.

They just seem sluggish to start every game the last 3

The great Les Bowen ponders the defensive issues:

It is unlikely the Eagles have forgotten how to tackle over the past month or so, or that they never really could defend a slant, and teams are just now catching on that the middle of the field is wide open, as it was in Sunday’s struggle with the previously inoffensive New York Giants.

So, what in the name of Nnamdi is going on here? A defense that allowed 35 points during a three-game stretch against Denver, Dallas and Chicago has allowed 88 in its last three games. (Yes, I’m including the touchdown the Rams scored on a blocked punt, because officially, the NFL charges all points to the defense.)

Tuesday we’ll get to ask defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz that question. Monday, all we had was the guy in charge, Doug Pederson, but even though Pederson mostly works with the offense, he had some thoughts.

“I do know this: It’s been a rough three games,” Pederson said, when asked if fatigue is a factor. “We’ve been on the road. There was a West Coast trip in there with Seattle and L.A., and then [we were] up in New York. I think back to when we played the Broncos — I believe the Broncos were on the road for three games in a row at the time we played them, and you saw what happened there,” the Eagles winning, 51-23, against what had been considered a tough Denver defense.
“I think there’s something to say about that, being on the road, and traveling,” Pederson said.

Pederson didn’t say so, but the Seattle loss, having to chase Russell Wilson around CenturyLink Field, had to be pretty draining; it might not be an accident that the two games since have been the Eagles’ worst of the season in terms of points allowed.

Pederson also alluded to a “compounding interest of everything that’s sort of taken place in the last month of our season,” which also makes sense. Maybe the offensive guys knew Nick Foles well enough to trust him with their season right away, but what the defense might have seen when Carson Wentz went down was the loss of the team’s leader and the best player on the roster.

If the Eagles could clinch homefield throughout the playoffs, and rest some starters, that might make the defense look a bit more crisp in the postseason. The first-round bye the Eagles secured against the Giants also could help.

It was revealing that when Pederson was asked about tackling Monday, he didn’t threaten any Week 16 full-contact practices, he talked about the importance of making sure “guys are fresh.” The Giants rolled up 88 offensive snaps Sunday.

Of course, there are issues that might not be fixed by rest. The quarterbacks the Eagles have faced the last three weeks – Wilson, Jared Goff and Eli Manning – are a pretty solid bunch. No Brock Osweilers or Mitch Trubiskys lately. And on the second weekend of the playoffs, when the Eagles take the field, the opposing quarterback is likely to be pretty good.

During that stretch when the Eagles were blowing teams out, maybe we convinced ourselves a bit too easily that the defense was making up for the loss of middle linebacker Jordan Hicks to an Achilles’ tear back on Oct. 23. Going into the season, I would have rated Hicks as one of the five most indispensible Eagles, and Sunday, watching Manning work the middle, it was hard not to wonder if Hicks might have helped stop the bleeding.

“It’s tough when you lose your starters,” said Pederson, who threw in the fact that backup MIKE Joe Walker also has missed time, but did not mention that neither Walker nor Najee Goode is anywhere near as talented and intuitive as Hicks. “Yeah, it can be a little disruptive defensively. But listen, we don’t use [injuries] as excuses. We still figure it out, and try to find ways to win, and we’ve been able to do that.”

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