Through five games, if you look at the statistics, the Eagles defense sits in the middle of the pack. The Birds rank 14th in points against, 15th in yards against and are tied for 9th in turnovers. Those statistics don’t tell the full story though, as the Eagles defense has been highly inconsistent from the start of the season.
Philadelphia held Green Bay to just 3 points on its first four drives and last four drives, but on their 5th through 8th possessions, the Packers racked up 24 points. In Detroit, the Birds gave up 17 points on the first five drives, none on the next six, then 14 on the last three.
Washington scored all 17 of its points on its first three possessions, then did nothing on its last seven. Last week San Francisco put up 10 points the first 10 times it had the ball, then 14 on the final three possessions.
“One thing that was going on, that was a communication problem, so we’re definitely working on that. We’re practicing with the noise and using the hand signals to get that correct,” Samuel said.
The veteran cornerback thinks the main key is getting a defense with a lot of new starters on the same page. “Just putting it together, man,” Samuel said. “Just keep practicing, keep chopping that wood, coming in and correcting the mistakes and just trying to put the total package out there.”
The chemistry on defense will be tested today, with a Falcons squad that likes to go into a no-huddle offense at times with Matt Ryan calling the plays. That forces the Eagles to choose their defensive play quicker, and cuts down on the time to spread the word to all 11 players on what is going on.
Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott said getting the calls to each player on the field is critical. “Communication is big,” McDermott said. “We just need to make sure that everybody’s getting the call. When an offense presents a no-huddle offense to the defense, there is a communication aspect that is involved there.”
Perhaps the defense’s difficulty getting onto the same page, which is somewhat understandable with so many new players coming into the fold this year, has contributed to the inconsistencies. After all, the defense has been at its worst in times when on-field communication is most critical.
During opening drives when opponents have broken from their traditional game plans, forcing defensive adjustments, Philadelphia has struggled to make quick changes. The defense has also had trouble late in games, when the no-huddle offense forces plays to be called and communicated quickly.
McDermott did point out that the Eagles won both games in which they had late defensive lapses. If they want to become one of the contenders in the NFC though, the Eagles will have to hurry up and find the fix.
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