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Eagles Defense Making a Strong Case for Being One of the Worst in Football

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Let’s get to the Philadelphia Eagles links … 2023 NFL playoffs: Should the Chiefs, Eagles, Lions, Jags panic? – ESPN+

Let’s keep it simple: The Eagles’ defense is bad. Not bad by last year’s standards. Not bad by Philadelphia’s standards. Not bad by their expectations heading into the season. Not bad by the measure of other Super Bowl contenders. Over this six-game stretch that followed the win over the Dolphins, they have a strong case as one of the worst defenses in football. In the situations that matter most, the Eagles have come up wanting. Since the second Commanders game, Sean Desai’s defense ranks last in third-down conversion rate, allowing opposing teams to move the chains a league-high 54.8% of the time. They’ve also gone 8-for-14 on fourth downs. The Cowboys were right in that ballpark during Sunday’s comfortable victory, going 9-of-16 on third downs and adding a fourth-down conversion on their only try for good measure. Dak Prescott and the Dallas offense were 6-for-8 in the first half, allowing the Cowboys to get out to a 24-6 halftime lead. […] Most disconcertingly, though, the pass defense feels broken. The 2022 defense approached league records with 70 sacks, and the pass pressure helped produce career seasons for James Bradberry and C.J. Gardner-Johnson in the secondary. There were concerns about how the defense would hold up with changes at the second and third levels, but the Eagles don’t really have a place to hang their hat right now. Over the past six games, they rank 30th in pressure rate, as they’ve bothered opposing quarterbacks just 24.0% of the time. Over that same stretch last season, they were pressuring opposing passers just under 35% of the time, which was the fifth-best mark. They posted a 12.7% sack rate from Week 8 to Week 14 last season, which was comfortably the best in football. Josh Sweat voices Eagles’ defensive frustration after another woeful effort from Sean Desai’s unit – Inquirer

“We’re not where we’re supposed to be,” Sweat said later, still visibly despondent. “Me personally, on my side, I feel I definitely could have done better. But it’s too hard. I’m just not used to when we [apply] pressure well that we don’t take care of each other all the time.“ That’s what we need to be on better. Too many escapes. I’m just not used to it, not used to it, not used to it. I’m used to rushing so well against good opponents. It’s both ways. That’s why I’m frustrated. You know, obviously I got to watch the film.”

Sweat, normally one of the more carefree Eagles, didn’t seem to be calling out any individual player or coach following yet another slow-starting performance by the defense. When you’ve lost by 20-plus points two Sundays in a row, it would be tough to point blame in one direction when so many are deserved. The Eagles are a good team playing very badly – BGN

Not to make excuses, but this schedule has been the most difficult I can ever remember in Eagles’ history. The last stretch that remotely compares was in 2006, when Jeff Garcia had to navigate through three straight road games against divisional opponents in December in order to get to the postseason — and they did it. In the last seven weeks, these Eagles have played the Dolphins, Cowboys, Chiefs, Bills, 49ers and Cowboys again. Those opponents have a combined record of 44-20. That’s a winning percentage of .687. They’re a team with older players at key positions and it’s clear the physical and mental toll of this string of games has gassed them. They look like they’ve hit a brick wall, particularly the defense. Last night, they were on the field for 82 snaps. Against the 49ers, they played 72 snaps, the week before in the OT win against the Bills, an insane 95 snaps, and against the Chiefs were on the field for 79. BGN Instant Reaction Show – Week 14: Eagles lose to Cowboys, 33-13 – BGN Radio

Jessi Taylor and Shane Haff unload their thoughts following the Eagles Week 14 loss to the Cowboys. Handing out 10 awards from the Eagles-Cowboys game – PhillyVoice

7) The ‘Vision’ Award: Jalen Hurts. Hurts struggled to see the field well last Sunday against the 49ers. It felt like he was better at getting the ball to the right spots against the Cowboys, but he also may have missed some opportunities. There was one play, for example, in which he appeared to have Brown running open down the field on a post route and if he saw it, it might have been a big play. Instead he threw incomplete to a well-covered Smith. As always, the tape will tell a more complete story. Hurts also took ownership of a deep throw to Smith on the run in the corner of the end zone. Whether it was a ball Smith should have caught or it was “off by inches” as Hurts claimed, the theme of the Eagles’ offense not hitting on as many explosive plays recently continued. Bad Night in Big D – Iggles Blitz

The offense had a rough night. Give Dallas credit. They have a good defense. But boy, the Eagles offense deserves a lot of blame. Hurts didn’t have his best game. He had a bad fumble and made some poor decisions in the passing game. Hurts didn’t get enough help. DeVonta Smith played his worst game of the year. He had a couple of drops and also fumbled. AJ Brown also had a fumble. You aren’t going to win a first place showdown when your three best offensive players all have fumbles. Ugh. Fans and some media members are going to be playing the blame game. Was it the coordinators? Was it the offense? Was it the defense? Did Howie not bring in the right guys? And on and on. This was a team loss. The Eagles are in a funk right now. They make key mistakes and just don’t make plays. The coaches are not pushing the right buttons. Nick Sirianni was testy in his postgame press conference. I get the feeling he let the team know he wasn’t happy with their performance. Roob’s Observations: Eagles have nightmare performance in lop-sided loss to Cowboys – NBCSP

3. They haven’t all been his fault. But 15 turnovers in 13 games for Jalen Hurts is definitely concerning. In his first three seasons, Hurts lost six fumbles on 2,316 snaps. This year he’s lost five in 883 snaps (plus Sunday night). So he’s gone from losing a fumble every 386 snaps to losing one every 176. So more than twice as often. Why is he fumbling so much? There are times Hurts tries to do too much with the ball in his hands, times he runs into traffic in the pocket trying to escape the rush, times he simply is unaware of defenders in the area. Sunday’s fumble was just a good play by safety Donovan Wilson stripping Hurts in traffic, but it can’t happen. The Cowboys had just taken a 7-0 lead, the Eagles had a nice drive going deep in Dallas territory and then that. When Hurts was dealing with that knee injury, he was staying out of harm’s way, taking a knee before he got hit if he was in the open field. And it made sense. As often as Hurts takes off and runs – both on called runs and scrambles – there’s just not a lot of good things that can come out of it. He’s just got to be more careful. But that’s not in his nature. Jalen Hurts: Eagles need ‘honest evaluation’ after Cowboys loss. Fletcher Cox gave one – Delaware OnlineNo wonder Cox said it’s time to “really find out who the dudes are.” “I’ve been part of teams where the dudes in the locker room do something about it, and I’ve been part of teams where it kind of crumbles,” he said. “Now it’s time to see the real leadership and the real players, the guys that are elite on this team, myself included, step up and do something about it and get this team another win.” To which cornerback Darius Slay responded: “That’s how you find out who a team is…


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