While Chip Kelly‘s up-tempo offense showed itself pretty well in its first game action, it was the Philadelphia Eagles defense that was the real story of the evening, and for all the wrong reasons.
The defense was consistently filling the wrong gaps and showed poor tackling form when they did have a chance to wrap up ball carriers. This could be a consequence of the lack of tackling that is practiced, especially in 11-on-11 drills in training camp. Coach Kelly admitted after the game that more live tackling was in order after what was frankly an embarrassing performance by the first-team defense against the New England Patriots first-team offense.
It wasn’t a total lost night for the defense and coordinator Billy Davis‘ evaluation of his young players. Vinny Curry showed up and had an impressive evening with half a sack and seemed to live in the back field when his number was called. Chris McCoy, Bennie Logan and Brandon Graham also impressed with pressure on the quarterback and stuffing the run, although Graham had a gaffe missing his assignment on a long LeGarrette Blount run that should have been stopped for a loss in the back field.
It will be back to square one for coach Davis and his defensive crew. They will learn from their many mistakes and try and correct them. Luckily, this happened in the preseason, so their is still time to iron out the kinks in what is a major transition that many of these young and veteran players are going through in moving from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense. Improvement and practicing the fundamentals are necessary for the defense to get over the hump. Time to go to work, Davis.