This Just In: The Eagles Pass Defense Stinks this season

This Just In: The Eagles Pass Defense Stinks this season

     If you read my new book LOUD, you will learn very quickly that I possess no intricate knowledge of football or radio or life, really. That’s why I get especially upset when my basic understanding of these things exceeds that of the so-called experts.

     I knew – absolutely knew – the Eagles were going to get smacked Sunday against San Francisco at the Linc. In fact, I stupidly said so on countless podcasts and broadcasts last week, even though my pessimism was not a dumb strategy for book sales.

     Let me put this in the simplest terms – since that’s the only way I think anyway. This Eagles pass defense stinks. It is awful. It is insanely lucky to be a component on a 10-2 team. Many of the same players in the secondary now were there to blow the Super Bowl last season, and this crew is a year older and a step slower than that sorry bunch.

     Many analysts with more knowledge – but less moxie – than me are saying today that the game was an outlier, that the Eagles will regain their form in Dallas next Sunday night. These people are delusional.

     After the first two three-and-outs, the Eagles defense allowed touchdowns on the next six SF possessions, five of which were on drives of 70 yards or more. The Niners had minus-six yards in the first quarter and still finished with 456 total yards to go with their 42 points.

      OK, fine. But that doesn’t mean the Eagles pass defense stinks. It just means the Birds had a bad game. No?


      Remember, the previous week the defense allowed 34 points and 505 yards (339 in the air) against Buffalo. And then toss in the two brutal efforts against the immortal Sam Howell of Washington, the lousy work against the Cowboys a few weeks ago and, really, most of the other games this season.

     Here’s the only statistic that should matter today to Eagles fans who are watching the same games I am: Right now, after 12 games, the Eagles are ranked 30th in the NFL against the pass, allowing 260 yards per contest.

     That stat is not just an indictment of the lack of quality pass defenders on the roster, but also of the philosophy behind that motley crew. GM. Howie Roseman has always prioritized big, strong linemen like the two kids from Georgia (Jalen Carter and Jordan Davis) in the middle of the defensive line, at the expense of linebackers, safeties and corners.

     And then the organization compounds the problem with a bend-but-don’t-break style that eschews the blitz and thereby diminishes the effect of the talented pass rushers. Can you imagine how much more effective Haasan Reddick would be if there were an extra rusher or two charging at the quarterback?

     The most interesting exchange after the game came via social media when Seth Joyner had the audacity to point out that the Eagles have made opposition offense comfortable because they don’t play physically, and rarely punish a ball-carrier when they do have the chance.

     Slay, who at 30 is looking more and more like No-Play Slay, took offense. He said on social media that Joyner was “talking out of the side of his neck” – whatever that means.

     Obviously, Slay has no idea who Joyner was or how he played during his ferocious NFL career. If Slay did, maybe he would understand better the value of physical intimidation.

     As always, Seth got the last word when he wrote: “My job is to be an analyst of the game, Darius Slay. And guess what? You didn’t tackle worth a damn yesterday. That’s just the truth. What did I say was a lie?”

     In this new, gentler sports environment, players and coaches are much more sensitive to criticism, even when every stat and every eye test demands a harsh appraisal.

     Too bad. Slay and his partners in the secondary were not awful Sunday against SF. They have been brutal all season. Only the Chargers and Commanders have been worse against the pass this year. That means, among the rest, the Giants, Jets, Bears, Colts, Oilers and – yes – Jonathan Gannon’s Cardinals have all been superior.

     So let me say this one more time, so there is no confusion.

     The Eagles 2023 pass defense stinks.

     It will ruin the 2023 season.

     During this book tour, after 30 stops in two weeks, the comment I have heard most often is how much the listeners miss my response on the air the day after games.

     Be careful what you wish for.

     The Eagles are going nowhere this season unless they admit their shortcomings and address them immediately.

     My bet is, they won’t.


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