Friday, December 26, 2014

Davis: Birds defense facing biggest challenge

They've approached the half-century mark in points allowed vs. Denver and Minnesota, but Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis said Tuesday that the Chicago Bears might be an even tougher test for his unit.

Davis: Birds defense facing biggest challenge

Members of the Eagles defense celebrate an interception. (Kathy Willens/AP)
Members of the Eagles defense celebrate an interception. (Kathy Willens/AP)

The Eagles' coordinators faced a lot of questions Tuesday about Sunday's 48-30 loss at Minnesota, but for Bill Davis and the defense, the questions are only starting, as the Eagles prepare for the prolific Chicago Bears offense Sunday night.

"Probably the biggest challenge of the season, obviously because it's this challenge, but it is a well-rounded, talented offense that's coming at you," Davis said of the Bears, who have a healthy Jay Cutler at quarterback, a premier running back in Matt Forte, and perhaps most critically, a trio of top receivers. Brandon Marshall has 90 catches for 1,185 yards, Alshon Jeffrey 80 for 1,265, Martellus Bennett 59 for 659. They have caught 22 touchdown passes among them.

"Our guys, we had a bad day at Minnesota. I think they're ready ... they're in the right mindset. Nobody's poutin' about last week. We accepted it. We owned up to it. We watched the tape and talked about the mistakes. Now we're going forward, we're going to attack Chicago and give them everything we have," Davis said.

Davis said nickel corner Brandon Boykin is dealing with the NFL's concussion protocols. Boykin was on the field for practice after Davis spoke, without his helmet. Davis said safety Patrick Chung and reserve corner Roc Carmichael are in the mix to replace Boykin if he doesn't play.

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Davis said the plan going into the Minnesota game was to alternate Chung and Kurt Coleman (presumably because Chung hasn't played that well during Earl Wolff's absence), that Chung was not benched for giving up the first touchdown of the day, a 57-yard pass to Greg Jennings. Davis predicted Chung will have his best game against Chicago. Wolff seemed close to returning last week; it's too early to say his status for Chicago.

Davis said the Eagles gave up too many big plays against the Vikings and lost their composure late, when they had a chance to put their mistakes behind them and pull out the win.

Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur defending the strong tilt toward passing instead of running against Minnesota, but indicated that isn't a gameplan you'll see real often. Shurmur downplayed the DeSean Jackson sideline spat, which arose from Jackson not attempting to tackle Shaun Prater after an interception. Shurmur said everyone in the offensive room has resolved differences.

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