‘What’s The Purpose Of That?’
Q&A: Gannon's Game Plan, Defensive Aggression Lacking vs. Commanders
No longer able to mask major flaws behind an undefeated record, the Philadelphia Eagles were exposed in several areas in their 32-21 loss to the Washington Commanders at the Linc on Monday night.
On the latest “Q&A” podcast on Inside The Birds, former Eagles Jason Avant and Quintin Mikell analyzed the team’s first loss of the season and looked ahead to Sunday’s matchup against the Indianapolis Colts.
Jason Avant: “It was a horrific game plan by Jonathan Gannon…What I didn’t like about it was the lack of aggression at the line of scrimmage, when it came to the secondary players. Why do you have Darius Slay matching sides and you’re going zone half of the time? What’s the purpose of that? Keep the man on the same side of the field. It makes no sense to bring him to Terry McLaurin’s side and play zone behind it. If you’re going to make a dude follow, play man-to-man.”
Quintin Mikell: “I’ve heard it since I was playing: you have to get to third down to be able to rush the quarterback. You have to do what you have to do in the first and second down to get to the opportunity to be able to get after the QB. It doesn’t start on first down. It’s a gift and a curse when you have so much success early on with turnovers and sacks, because now guys are starting to count the stats. Stopping the run is a team game, a total defensive effort. You have guys that are not holding their gap integrity.”
Avant: “Our receivers, for the first time all year, lost their matchup…There were times where our receivers could have came back and stepped to the ball. The Commanders were the one attacking the ball and knocking balls out and being more aggressive in the back end where our guys were more passive.”
Mikell: “They have the talent to be a dominant defense against the run. To stop the run game, it’s more about attitude than anything. It’s about want-to, about guys getting to the football and getting off of blocks with an attitude, linebackers sacrificing their bodies, running through gaps, taking on fullbacks, that’s what it’s about. It’s about playing hungry. That’s what this defense needs to do to get back to where they were. When that ball goes in the air, you can see the hunger in everybody. I want that same tenacity to be applied when they’re playing first and second down and they know the team is about to run the ball.”
Avant: “We have to sell out to the dirty work. I thought our DBs were disinterested against the Texans when it came to getting their nose in and getting dirty and I thought that same attitude was with our defensive line this week. We have to be committed to the dirty work and not the white-collar work. Not the sacks, we have to be committed to the blue-collar work. That part is the most selfless part. That part hurts, it doesn’t affect the number of zeros that you can get in the offseason, but it will affect the ring size you can wrap that championship ring around. Though it’s not statistically pleasing, there’s something about giving yourself up for the team that when you win, everybody gets paid anyway.”
Avant: “New coach, new energy. They got Jonathan Taylor the ball again. They have a good defense, they did just lose Shaquille Leonard for the season, though.
– Benjamin Paul is a staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.
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