This game was too much of a flashback to the 2012 season for the Philadelphia Eagles’ defense. Before we take a look at how to fix it, we need to acknowledge some facts about the unit.
They are short on skilled players and depth. You saw when Brandon Hughes was on the field how much he did not deserve to be there. Nate Allen is not a starting safety in this league, no matter how many times they insist on throwing him in the backfield. Patrick Chung has lost a step. Isaac Sopoaga failed to generate any pressure or make an impact.
The entire defense failed to get pressure on a San Diego Chargers’ line that should have yielded more chances. Even with the strong performance against the Washington Redskins in Week 1, this defense is just not good enough to sustain versus tough opponents.
Here are a few ideas to get things back in shape. First, Bradley Fletcher must get healthy and back on the field. None of the backups are sufficient. Hughes was exposed and Jordan Poyer is not ready to be on the field as he showed last week. This is a position that needs help either in free agency or the next draft.
Call back Kenny Phillips or at least hit the streets and find an extra safety. After the game, there was talk of moving Cary Williams to safety. I can see why, but I can’t see who would replace him on the corner. He did perform much less this week than last and he will need a strong game against Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday.
The young core needs to step up their game across the board. Mychal Kendricks looked winded this week and was beat multiple times in coverage. Brandon Boykin had a solid outing. Fletcher Cox and Bennie Logan both need to be more disruptive in the backfield. Billy Davis needs to figure out a way to get pressure and cover behind it.
The soft zone is getting destroyed with the longer time the defense is out on the field. I think if Davis gets two years to pick up the players he needs and to institute his system, he could be a success. It all depends on the length of his leash. The best defenses build from the draft and within. This is the time to make it work and start the process that may not fully pay off for two or three seasons.