December 5, 2023   3 MIN READ

‘Back To Drawing Board’

Q&A: Eagles Defense Needs to Be More Physical


Plenty of the Philadelphia Eagles’ biggest flaws were exposed in the team’s most recent loss to the fellow NFC contender San Francisco 49ers.

On the latest episode of “Q&A” on “Inside The Birds,” former Eagles standouts Jason Avant and Quintin Mikell broke down what went wrong in the 42-19 defeat.

Sean Desai

Eagles Defensive Coordinator Sean Desai’s unit has struggled in recent weeks

Sean Desai

Jason Avant: “Sean Desai has to go back to the drawing board. You have to evaluate your players because now you know what the standard is. That was the best team in the NFL. Now you have to figure out where you want guys.”

Quintin Mikell: “When you watch the Niners defense, the d-line is coming off the ball low and physical, the linebackers are square and playing downhill, the secondary is flying to the ball. When you watch the Eagles defense, I see the d-line getting off the ball, but the linebackers are flat-footed and getting caught and the secondary is getting pushed around.”

Defensive Back Seven

Mikell: “If you take half of the plays that they had mental errors on and they are where they are supposed to be and making tackles, it is a much closer game. But you have Deebo (Samuel) running reverses and screens and taking them to the house.

Avant: “You are turning down contact. The backend can’t turn down tackles like this. With Deebo, you are tackling a running back, you are not going to smack him and knock him down like he’s a receiver, you have to get in front of him.”

Kyle Shanahan

Avant: “I think he is the best offensive playcaller in the league. I like that he dresses up the small details, you do all of this window dressing just to run zone. They have superior personnel in Deebo and Christian McCaffrey and then you have a dude that knows how to use them.”

Eagles Run Game

Mikell: “We only ran D’Andre Swift six times, Kenny Gainwell two times, Boston Scott one time. I think that was a huge mistake not to stay committed to the run. Even if you are only getting two or three yards a pop, what that does is slow those linebackers down from getting to their drops.”

Avant: “We need guys that can get plays started. That’s what you see for the Niners, they can throw a screen or reverse or jet sweep. We are not effective in those plays consistently to make it a compliment to the run game. We need a receiver that is an enforcer.”

– Benjamin Paul is a staff writer for

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