Although they surrendered 27 points to the Washington Redskins in the end, allowing the game to get a lot closer than anyone had hoped, the Philadelphia Eagles‘ defense produced play much better than most thought they could.
The first half proved to be a huge confidence builder for the young group, but based on the prevent formation that they went with in the second half it didn’t translate quite as well. The choice ended up allowing Washington back into the game and depleting the performance the defense had originally built. In the later stages of the game they were able to get back to stopping Robert Griffin III, but the damage had been done to the unpredicted, three turnover, first half output.
This coming week the Eagles’ defense faces a different type of challenge against the San Diego Chargers in Philip Rivers. The mobility that RG3 possesses will not be a concern with Rivers who will sit behind the offensive line in the pocket and attempt to pick the secondary apart with his passing ability. In order for Philadelphia to find the success it had against the Redskins again this Sunday in the home opener, the defense will need to produce a performance similar to the first half output from Week 1.
More onus will be put on both the secondary and defensive line to make the game work for each other. The coverage down field, which has been spotty at times, will need to be more consistent than it showed in most of the preseason. A return to the first half of a week ago when all receivers seemed to be draped by defensive backs gaining interceptions and setting up the offense will be needed. Tighter coverage would allow a very capable defensive line to put more pressure on Rivers and force him into turnovers or throws he doesn’t want. Working together they can cause havoc for another offense and continue to build on the confidence of their win against the Redskins.
Another challenge is ahead for Billy Davis and the Eagles’ defense, and with Rivers able to handle the pressure of the blitz, hitting receivers quickly, it may force their hand into changing the way they want to play and matching up more man to man.