Philly Sports Talk

Focus Friday: D-Backs need to get back!!!!

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Last Friday, we focused on the defensive line, which once again seemed to be lifeless against the Cowboys QB Tony Romo in their pursuit to bring him to the turf with what has been an all but absent pass rush all season long. This week against another division rival, the New York Giants, it will be the secondary’s turn to take the focus. The Eagles pass defense is ranked 30th in the NFL giving up 311.6 yards per game. Against the Giants receivers this week that finally got out of the winless column against the Minnesota Vikings, this secondary will need to play off of the receivers and hit them at the very touch of a completed pass. Trying to stay foot to foot with them and match their speed and strength will almost be as big a task as the defensive line getting to Eli Manning this week even with a depleted offensive line.

 

In week 5 vs. these same Giants, Manning passed for 334 yards, 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. The secondary got after the receivers in the second half and stepped in front of a few passes in which Eli handed them in running from pressure. This week the adjustment should be made on wide receivers Hakeem Nicks and Ruben Randle who had a combined 15 catches for 238 yards. Whether its help over the top or having the Linebackers bump them on their routes in zone coverage on their way to the secondary, something has to give for these defensive back to show that the play we have been seeing from them collectively as a unit in the first 7 weeks of the season has improved.

 

The Eagles were giving up a 107.2 passer rating in the first four games of the season and have improved over the last three games to a well balanced 69.1. They are also only giving up 3.4 yards per carry. So there is a form of improvement even though the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Giants aren’t truly an offensive threat being ranked 31st (Bucs) and 27th (Giants) in scoring. However, holding the Dallas Cowboys to just 17 points last week speaks a little more to the defenses credit being as though they were ranked the 2nd highest scoring team in the NFL coming in to the game against the Eagles.

 

Bill Davis has been telling us to “trust” him. Over the last three games, he has shown that he appears to have made the necessary adjustments. He cited a few areas that needed adjustments and pointed them out with the team and coaching staff after watching film of the Cowboys game. “We just got done doing the tape evaluation of the [Dallas] game with the coaches and players together. The biggest thing we came away with is we’ve got to make sure that individually, we’re getting better on the little things, then, collectively the defense gets better. Effort to the ball has to be there. Tackling has to be there. He stated. “Our turnovers [12 takeaways, including eight interceptions] are in a good place. We’ve got to continue to take the ball away. Our third down was a little better [against Dallas, 31 percent]. We’ve had some struggles with that. So that’s improving. The red zone [62.5 percent, 28th in the league] has to get better. The points per game are at 24 right now. That’s not good enough. We’ve got to get that lower and play really good enough defense to win the game. And last week we did.”

Hopefully that was the beginning of a continuing trend with this defense. Getting better each week, building off of the week before and consistently making progress. The division is still up for grabs and the saying still holds true “defense wins championships” which is what we as fans are looking to become. If nothing else, NFC East Champions, a task that rests on the defense thus far this season.

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