Friday, December 26, 2014

Eagles' D fails to reach goals; blitz breakdown

The Eagles' defense is failing to reach the goals it set before the season. Plus, here's a look at the team's blitz schemes through two weeks.

Eagles' D fails to reach goals; blitz breakdown

Eagles defensive coordinator Sean McDermott shared with the media his set of goals for the 'D' back in May.

Each week, I'll take a look at those goals and see which ones the Birds met, along with a breakdown of their blitzes at the bottom.

Let's start with the goals.

Allow 17 points or less: One week after allowing 27 points to the Packers, the Eagles allowed 32 to the Lions. The defense has not limited an opponent to 17 points or less since Week 15 of last season, a span of five games. The Eagles rank dead last in points allowed through two weeks.

Allow 285 yards or less: Not even close. The Birds gave up 444 yards to the Lions. In Week 1, they actually were close, allowing 299 yards to the Packers. On the season, the Eagles are giving up 371.5 yards per game, 25th in the league.

Create two or more turnovers: For the second week in a row, the Eagles accomplished this one, picking Shaun Hill off twice. Through two weeks, the Birds have four takeaways. No NFL team has more. The Jaguars have turned it over six times. Only five teams have been worse.

Limit opponents to less than 44 rush attempts and pass completions (combined): Hill completed 25 passes, and the Lions had 23 rushing attempts (not counting Hill scrambles) for a total of 48.

Allow no more than three big plays (defined as runs of 10 yards or more, or passes of 25 yards or more): The Eagles are not getting it done here through two weeks. They gave up six big plays against the Lions - four in the run game and two in the passing game. Against the Packers, they gave up five big plays, and four were in the run game. So through two weeks, the defense has given up eight runs of 10 yards or more.

Limit opponents to 5.5 yards per pass attempt: Nope. Hill averaged 7.4 yards per attempt, a better average than Aaron Rodgers put up in Week 1. David Garrard is averaging 7.8 yards per attempt through two games. Michael Vick is averaging 7.9.

Again, these are not my goals. These are the ones McDermott and his staff have outlined for the defense.

THE BLITZ

The Eagles blitzed 11 times against the Lions and used eight different combinations. Here they are:

BLITZ No. of times
Sims, Mikell 3
Hanson 2
Sims 1
Sims, Jordan, Allen 1
Sims, Allen 1
Jordan, Gaither 1
Gaither, Allen 1
Allen 1


On the season, here's how the Eagles' blitzes have broken down by individual player:

Player No. of blitzes
Sims 17
Allen 6
Mikell 6
Bradley 5
Gaither 5
Hanson 4
Jordan 2
Samuel 1


As you can see, Sims has been the Eagles' most active blitzer, by far. McDermott will blitz Hanson from the slot a couple times a game. We can pretty much mark that down, going back to last year.

I've been impressed with Allen's ability as a blitzer. He has two interceptions on his own, but Allen was actually blitzing on the Eagles' two other inteceptions this season.

And finally, here's a look at how many times each Eagles defensive lineman has dropped back into coverage (for the season). Of the 11 blitzes against Detroit, the Eagles dropped a lineman back on seven of them.

Player No. of times dropped back
Cole 8
Barnes 3
Laws 2
Parker 2
Graham 1
Dixon 1


Earlier Sunday, I rounded up who is picking the Eagles.

And I'll be chatting at 4 p.m. as always. Click here to join the chat from a mobile device.

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Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
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Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for philly.com. His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at skapadia@philly.com or by clicking here

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