Can The Eagles Defense Continue to Take Flight?

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Aug 15, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; The Carolina Panthers offensive line and Philadelphia Eagles defensive line get set for a play during the second half at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles won the game 14-9. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Clearly, Davis had his work cut out for him. Not only was he supposed to retool a disappointing defense into a scheme for which is was not currently yet built to handle, but he was to do it under the guise of a coach who promised a win-now mentality combined with the sky-high pressures of coaching for rabid Philadelphia fans. Here’s how the Eagles finished in those same categories in 2013, again courtesy of Pro Football Reference.


  • 17th of 32 in points allowed (382)
  • 14th of 32 in average points allowed per drive (1.73)
  • 14th of 32 in passing touchdowns allowed (25)
  • 10th of 32 in rushing yards against (1,668)
  • 14th of 32 in interceptions (19)
  • 5th of 32 in fumbles recovered (12)
  • 3rd of 32 in total turnovers (31)


Miraculously enough, six starters on the 2013 Eagles defense were members of the 2012 team in some capacity. Even more interesting, of those six (defensive end Cedric Thornton, defensive end Fletcher Cox, right inside linebacker DeMeco Ryans, left inside linebacker Mychal Kendricks, right outside linebacker Trent Cole, and safety Nate Allen), four were playing new positions for the first time in the NFL. Thornton and Cox changed from a 4-3 defensive tackle to 3-4 defensive end, Kendricks from 4-3 strong side linebacker to 3-4 inside linebacker, but Trent Cole made the most drastic change from 4-3 defensive end to 3-4 outside linebacker, and many questioned his ability to drop into coverage after so many years with his hand in the dirt. DeMeco Ryans was previously a captain of the Houston Texans when they ran the 3-4 defense under former Dallas Cowboys coach Wade Phillips.

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