HomeDa Birds NewsBrandon Graham remains confident in Eagles defense, expects it to improve

Brandon Graham remains confident in Eagles defense, expects it to improve

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Brandon Graham remains confident in Eagles defense, expects it to improve

PHILADELPHIA – It’s batten down the hatches for the Philadelphia Eagles coaching staff after a stunning 35-31 defeat at the hands of Jonathan Gannon and the Arizona Cardinals, an organization in the conversation for having the worst roster in the NFL.

“We’ll just keep working, baby,” defensive end Brandon Graham said. “We didn’t get this far for no reason. It doesn’t matter what other people say. Like I tell the guys, block the noise out because at the end of the day it’s not gonna change nothing. It’s about what we do. Moments like this help me and shows us why we can’t do little things.

There’s plenty of blame to go around and the offensive coaches are just as culpable in the loss as the defense. However, the wheels fell off the defensive so the focus will remain there for now.

Philadelphia had a 21-6 lead at halftime against a Cardinals plan devised on time of possession and moving the chains with a powerful running back in James Conner.

Conner, with help from backfield mate Michael Carter, did their parts in taking advantage of the Eagles’ limitations at linebacker but it was still stunning to see a 15-point collapse and a defense that had no answers against a team with a dynamic quarterback but limitations in the passing game.

Eagles coach Nick Sirianni believed Gannon, his former defensive coordinator, tried to mimic what the Washington Commanders did in 2022 when they used a ball-control offense to halt Philadelphia’s 8-0 start with a 32-21 upset at Lincoln Financial Field.

Credit: USA TODAY

“I think he probably thought about the Washington game last year where Washington was able to control the clock and keep our offense off the field,” Sirianni surmised. “He probably thought about that. You’ll have to ask him. I don’t know. But good game plan by them and they obviously executed and hats off to them.”

The total carnage was 221 yards on the ground and 449 yards total for the Cards.

On Monday, Sirianni was still searching for answers.

To turn the Eagles’ offense around, Jalen Hurts needs to address this specific problem.

“Any time that somebody rushes for 200 yards, you can look at it a bunch of different ways,” the coach said. “They had some really good schemes that they did against our defense. They schemed us a couple times. There were a couple times we had some uncharacteristic missed tackles that they had, and granted, give them credit, too. I don’t want to take anything away from them because Conner is really good at breaking tackles. That’s what he’s good at.”

In the end, Sirianni blamed it all.

Related: ‘There’s Nothing To Say!’ A. J. Brown Silence Speaks Volumes

“So, sometimes it was our run fits of where we were. And when I say that, it’s like, okay, maybe we missed a run fit by a player, but also we have to coach it better in those scenarios,” he said. “It’s never — especially when there’s that many, and when it feels like that and it’s over 200 yards, it’s always — there’s never one thing. There’s never one thing. It’s a combination of they schemed us, run fits of us not doing it, not executing it well enough and us not coaching it well enough, and then also some missed tackles based off the guys that they have and what they were doing.”

By the numbers, the Eagles’ defense faced eight Cardinals possessions and allowed four touchdowns and two field goals with two stops, a meaningless white flag at intermission, and a brilliant 99-yard pick-six by rookie safety Sydney Brown.

Peel back the onion on the interception, however, and you’ll note Kyler Murray tried to signal to rookie Elijah Higgins that he wanted to shift toward a corner route. The latter missed it, instead sticking with an inside-breaking pattern with Murray lofting the football to the pylon from the Philadelphia 24-yard line.

Take away that mental mistake and in meaningful situations, you likely would have had a 7-for-7 night for what came in as the 24th-ranked offense in the NFL.

The Philadelphia faithful never got a chance to meet Arizona punter Blake Gilliken and it all came just weeks after the panic move for demoting defensive coordinator Sean Desai for Matt Patricia when it came to the play-calling.

Calling that decision a Band-Aid on a broken leg would be grossly underestimating the healing powers of a Band-Aid on a broken leg.

Related: ‘There’s Nothing To Say!’ A. J. Brown Silence Speaks Volumes

Right now the Eagles seem like a runaway locomotive to wholesale changes on the defensive side in the offseason and a complete re-calibration on the Vic Fangio-inspired scheme Sirianni has preferred.

For those noticing Fangio himself and his Miami Dolphins surrendered a 56-spot to the powerful Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.

The path forward for this season is crossing fingers on the impending returns of Zach Cummingham at linebacker and Darius Slay at cornerback can slow down some of the communications issues that have plagued the Eagles’ defense.

That and faith might be all the Eagles have left.

“We’ll just keep working, baby,” defensive end Brandon Graham said. “We didn’t get this far for no reason. It doesn’t matter what other people say. Like I tell the guys, block the noise out because at the end of the day it’s not gonna change nothing. It’s about what we do. Moments like this help me and shows us why we can’t do little things.

“When we have a chance to bury people we have to bury them. I know I’ll keep speaking because I know it’s going to happen, it’s going to start clicking.”

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