The Philadelphia Eagles defense played with a great deal of intensity against the New England Patriots in their second preseason game of the year. The thing that this relatively young defensive group must learn, however, is how to focus that intensity and still play disciplined football. Philadelphia was assessed with entirely too many roughing the passer and offsides penalties. Those are the kind of mistakes that will cripple a team in when the games actually start to matter. Over the next two weeks, defensive line coach Jim Washburn and defensive coordinator Juan Castillo must make it a point of emphasis to start playing smarter football on the defensive side of the ball; intensity will only get you so far, you have to make sure your head is in the game if you want to succeed in the NFL.
The defensive end position is already strong for Philadelphia, but it looks as if they might have to keep another player in that rotation; Phillip Hunt. He has been a standout thus far in the offseason, displaying his speed and quickness off the edge. Those attributes lead to a sack and forced fumble against the Patriots last night.
Cedric Thornton, a defensive tackle has also turned a few heads so far in camp and added a sack in addition to 3 solo tackles. Fletcher Cox, on the other hand, played well but picked up a silly roughing the passer penalty. Cox is still a rookie, and despite his obvious potential, still has some maturing to do.
Linebacker DeMeco Ryans put together a nice game against the Patriots, as well, racking up 4 solo tackles and 1 assist. He also displayed the pass coverage skills that Philadelphia has been desperately seeking in a linebacker for quite some time. He is definitely going to make his presence felt on this Eagles defense in 2012.
This version of the Philadelphia Eagles defense, despite missing some key pieces, played well against New England. At the same time, the Patriots were missing some important members of their offensive group, as well. If the Eagles defense can work on eliminating mental lapses, they are going to be a formidable force this year. With that being said, if the undisciplined play continues it will end up costing the Eagles some opportunities to win games.