“Take Some Chances”
Q&A: Birds Secondary Too Soft
After 9 weeks the Eagles are 3-6. Their 27-24 loss Sunday to the Los Angeles Chargers told the story of their season, as they allowed Justin Herbert to complete a career-high 84 percent of his passes in a game that came down to a last-second field goal.
Former Eagles safety Quintin Mikell and former Eagles wide receiver Jason Avant discussed the pass defense’s struggles on the latest “Q&A” on Inside the Birds, along with the ups and downs from Jalen Hurts, and if Hurts really is the long-term answer that the Eagles should be building around.
“I don’t think it’s time to just give up, he’s gonna have his ups and downs,” Mikell said. “There’s nothing wrong with building an offensive scheme around a guy with Jalen Hurts’ skill set, in my opinion.”
Avant agreed, in principle.
“I understand what you’re saying and I agree. But here’s the problem,” Avant countered. “We have an ideology in the city of Philadelphia with how things should be run. There’s a clear disagreement within the organization on how they want it done, and what they actually have.”
On top of allowing another career high in completion percentage to the opposing quarterback, the Eagles also didn’t force a single punt. Avant and Mikell discussed the lack of continuity throughout the defense, and why the defense is struggling so badly.
“The coverage has to match the pressure that’s coming up front,” Avant told Mikell. “If you’re blitzing people, you’re saying, ‘We want to get the ball out quick,’ so therefore let’s get on our man and disrupt the timing. Especially if you’re in man-to-man coverage. You’re in man-to-man [on] the first third down of the game and it’s 3rd-and 6 or 3rd-and 7. Steve Nelson is 10 yards off the receiver — 10 yards off!
“Darius Slay is sticking [his man] straight up, and Avonte Maddox is halfway in between, and now we’re getting three different versions of man coverage across the board in one play. No one is in unison at all.”
Mikell observed similar soft approaches.
“The second part of it is, when we’re sending pressure, the secondary’s gotta understand the ball’s coming out fast.” Mikell told Avant. “They’ve gotta sit on some routes, take some chances, and jump on some routes.
“Make that quarterback uncomfortable and make him pull the ball down and allow the blitzer an extra half a second to possibly get a sack or create some pressure. I think it’s slowly getting there, but not fast enough. It was extremely frustrating to watch that live.”
– Tyler Strasser (@tylerstrasser7) is a staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.
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