The More Things Change For the Eagles, the More They Stay the Same

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Dec 20, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) scorers a touchdown past the tackle attempt of Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Kiko Alonso (50) during the third quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Battle of Attrition

Teams have learned pretty early this year that Philly does not like to hold to the ball very long, and even if they did, they haven’t been able to. The Eagles’ defense looked gassed and got gashed Sunday night. Again. I hate to hammer home the same point as the previous page, but this problem deserves its own three paragraphs dedicated to it.

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When your offense is only holding onto the ball for about 1.5 minutes at any given time, it means your defense gets that long to rest. After a while, that will start to wear on even the most athletic player. Not to mention average level ones. By about the end of the second quarter, the Eagles defense looked like they had been on the field far too long. And by the fourth, forget about it.

The Cardinals have a bevy of offensive (and defensive) weapons, so I knew the Eagles would have trouble keeping pace with them, but Philly’s defense looked great in the first half. They shut down the run, kept Carson Palmer in check, and didn’t give up any big plays. However, the defense was on the field for nearly 20 minutes in that first half. The Eagles only averaged 11 minutes of possession, per half.

How can this be a formula for success?

It isn’t. The fact that the offense cannot sustain drives, which keeps the defense on the field forever, is second biggest contributing factor of Philly’s failures.  Here is a bit of a reality check; if the Eagles defense played with any other offense in the league, they would be considered one of the best. Just for the fact that they would be fresher on the field and would be able to maintain a high-level of play. They have no shot of that with an offense going three-and-out faster than it took me to type that sentence. The Eagles are dead last in time of possession, and their losses reflect that.