Questions about the Eagles rushing defense, plans for moving forward

Fletcher Cox #91, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Fletcher Cox #91, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Philadelphia Eagles
Brian Robinson, Washington Commanders (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

Here’s some out-the-box thinking for what the Eagles should do moving forward.

Washington Commanders tailback Brian Robinson Jr. is a strong interior runner much like Houston Texas star Dameon Pierce, who the Eagles got a good look at in Week 9. Samuel Cosmi and Charles Leno, Jr. are Washington’s best tackles. Andrew Norwell and Trai Turner are the guards. Tyler Larsen is a monster at the center position.

The interior of the Commanders’ offensive line is where they’re the weakest. If Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave need to get one-on-one looks, they could have a field day.

Most teams that have faced the Eagles have run the ball successfully against them. Washington poses an issue as they use a lot of sets with multiple tight ends. Cole Turner, a rookie from the Nevada Wolf Pack, is mostly a red zone target, but he is also a talented run-blocking tight end.

John Bates is also a talented blocker. Amani Rogers is a weapon in his own right while Logan Thomas is a seasoned vet. There are questions about whether or not he’ll be available for next week’s game.

The advantages of playing versus 12 and 13 personnel packages are both personnel and alignment advantages. Defenses often use base defenses that field three to four linebackers and big nickel personnel packages that place three safeties on the field simultaneously.

The Philadelphia Eagles could use three or four safeties, but past the starters, Marcus Epps and C.J. Gardner-Johnson, they don’t have a lot of talent at the position, so utilizing three or four linebackers seems optimal.

Then again, if the Eagles gave Reed Blankenship more snaps (and that’s a big if) and used him and Andre Chachere as box safeties that might do the trick. Increased usage of Shaun Bradley and Nakobe Dean as stack (off-ball) linebackers to support T.J. Edwards and Kyzir White, the overhang defenders in this scenario, could be a great way to sell out to stop the run and get Nakobe Dean and Shaun Bradley quality snaps.

It’s a different way of thinking. It goes against what Gannon typically likes to do, but if Philly is on board with trying something different, they may discover that they’ll be satisfied with what they learn about their defense and the guys they’re fielding to run it.

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