3 lessons learned from Eagles ahead of Week 11’s game versus Saints

Nick Sirianni (L), Jalen Hurts (R), Philadelphia Eagles (Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)
Nick Sirianni (L), Jalen Hurts (R), Philadelphia Eagles (Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Jonathan Gannon, Philadelphia Eagles
Jonathan Gannon, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

This Eagles defense can be ferocious if they’re allowed to compete.

Through nine weeks of the current NFL campaign, Jonathan Gannon has been looked at as a bit of a goat. Notice we said ‘goat’ as opposed to G.O.A.T. No one thought that the Eagles’ defense would substantially outplay that of the Denver Broncos en route to a blowout victory on the road, but that’s exactly what happened. Sure, Philly allowed 308 total yards and that’s nothing to write home about, but they made timely stops.

They also kept Denver out of the end zone for the majority of the contest, and they put six points on the board themselves by way of a fumble recovery that Darius Slay returned 82 yards for a touchdown.

Gannon allowed the Eagles defense to do what they’ve wanted to do all season. They played aggressively. Their corners played press coverage versus the Broncos receivers on the outside. The only thing that they didn’t do was bring a blitz.

Gannon has played more conservatively than he’s needed to, and he’s done so for most of the 2021 season. He even did so versus the Broncos of various points of the most recent game. Rarely did Teddy Bridgewater throw the ball downfield. He didn’t need to. Philadelphia gave up short passes, and that’s how the Broncos were able to sustain drives and move the ball.

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It would have been nice to see Gannon bring pressure or maintain pressure, especially with the knowledge that the Eagles’ defensive line was playing versus three backups along Denver’s offensive line, but he refused to do so.

This team has some playmakers. They just need to be given the green light to attack. If the defensive coordinator adapts that philosophy and sticks with it and if Gannon stays aggressive for a full 60 minutes as opposed to being reactive, this defense can be ferocious. We’ve seen glimpses of it from time to time. We’d just love to see it more often than not.