Fixing Defense Must Be 2014 Priority for Philadelphia Eagles

By Matt Shaner
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

At this point in the season, the Philadelphia Eagles stand in a precarious position. Michael Vick has stated he will start the game on Sunday against the New York Giants. With Nick Foles and his concussion, expect Vick to be backed up by Matt Barkley and newly-resigned G.J. Kinne. This doesn’t provide any comfort if Vick’s hamstring acts up again to any fan who knows the game and witnessed Barkley’s growing pains.  He may end up being a good starter in the league, but this season will certainly be a battle if he continues to see playing time.

With seven games of evidence, we know and understand what the Eagles will be this season.  They are standing at a crossroads without the quarterback of the future and fielding one of the worst defenses in the league.  Billy Davis‘ unit has had up and down performances but is still very much a work in progress. They are not a group of players that can run his 3-4 defense and will need a few seasons of drafts to build.  The question is, what do you attack first?

This is a quarterback-rich draft and Chip Kelly could have his pick of signal callers.  We will learn how much the team believes in Kelly and Davis as to which one lasts longer with the team. Kelly has a few years to get his system in place, but Davis should have a shorter leash. He has more league experience than Kelly but a less quality record. We’ve seen repeated instances of poor coaching and the inability to adjust. He tries to disguise coverage, but without the linebackers to cover, the 3-4 cannot work.

There will always be quarterbacks coming out of college.  The defense is a much more delicate pyramid to build.  If I was in the Eagles’ war room this spring, I’d go defense heavy.  Take a difference maker on that side of the ball. You can always run with Foles or Barkley for another season.  The best quarterback can be a good defense until the game is on the line where the defenses without backbones will always come up short. For Kelly, an offensive coach, this may be a challenge, but if he is focused on building a legacy here, he must address his defense before grabbing his franchise quarterback.

Matt Shaner is a Philadelphia Eagles writer for Follow him on Twitter @MDShanersports, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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