Philadelphia Eagles: Defensive Statement vs. RG3, Redskins

Philadelphia Eagles Defense

The Philadelphia Eagles’ Monday night victory over the Washington Redskins is getting a lot of media attention because of Coach Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense, while the Eagles defense is getting overlooked. Heading into the season, many experts predicted the Eagles to put up plenty of points, while expecting the defense to be atrocious based on last seasons track record.

Now, the Eagles defense didn’t play flawlessly, but they exceeded any expectations that so-called experts and fans had set. In fact, before the game, ESPN analyst Tom Jackson said, “Alfred Morris would lead the league in rushing by the end of the game.”

Amid all of their doubters, Philly’s defense came out firing and played well early. On the Redskins first play from scrimmage, they forced an Morris fumble, and on the fourth play Brandon Boykin recorded his first-career interception. The production didn’t stop there.

Alf fumbled in the end zone, giving the Eagles a safety, and Cary Williams made a spectacular diving interception on a back shoulder curl later in the game. Unlike last year, the Eagles were able to create turnovers, which, in turn, lead to the Eagles scoring 26 points in the first half.

The reason they had such success was their ability to pressure Robert Griffin III. According to Sheil Kapadia of PhillyMag.com, Defensive Coordinator Bill Davis blitzed on more than 50 percent of the Redskins’ snaps, causing RG3 to make errant passes and bad decisions. It’s odd to see a team send that much pressure, but there are reasons for Davis’ madness.

First off, the strength of the Eagles defense is their front seven, more specifically their defensive line. Davis was simply scheming to what they do best–getting to the quarterback. Blitzing as much as he did is due to a weak secondary, and the longer his cornerbacks and safeties are asked to cover, the easier it will be for opposing quarterbacks to dissect them.

Lastly, Davis blitzed that much because he knew Griffin’s mobility was less than 100 percent, and would be forced to stand in the pocket to make his throws.

The Eagles played very well on defense, but in the latter part of the game, Davis got cautious with play calling. This resulted in Washington marching their way back into the game.

Understandably, the Eagles defense didn’t play a flawless game, and there is definite room for improvement heading into Week 2. But last week’s performance serves as a great building block, and if they continue to improve, could surprise many people this season.

Geoff covers the Philadelphia Eagles for Pro Football Central. Geoff was the editor of Inside the Iggles, a FanSided blog about the Philadelphia Eagles.