Chip: Defense has tackled problems

Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

One of the reasons the Eagles' defense couldn't get off the field through the first four games of the season was poor tackling, which among other things pretty much negated defensive coordinator Bill Davis's emphasis on giving up the underneath pass here and there to keep from getting beaten deep. Teams were completing passes underneath, then getting 40 or 50 yards after the catch.

That isn't happening anymore.

"We work on tackling every day as a fundamental in practice," Kelly said Thursday. "We've got a defensive staff that teaches it really, really well. There's obviously concern with tackling (in practice), how you get that done without injuring other guys, but I think they've done a good job since Day 1 ... the other thing that's always key to tackling is how many people do you get to the ball."

Kelly said CBA restrictions on padded practices -- only one per week is allowed -- are a challenge -- but "you can still practice your approach -- long stride, short stride, stagger stride, all that stuff without taking guys to the ground. I think it's what you emphasize every day in practice. I think one of the things we want to pride ourselves on is being a good fundamental football team. The only way you can be a good fundamental football team is to practice it."

Kelly said DeSean Jackson, who tweaked an ankle in practice Wednesday, would practice Thursday. He said safety Patrick Chung (shoulder) is able to practice but isn't sure yet how his shoulder will hold up to contact. Kelly said wideout/.returner Damaris Johnson, who did not practice Tuesday or Wednesday, would give it a shot Thursday to see where his ailing ankle is.