Tuesday, September 30, 2014
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Eagles-Bears: Film Review of Defense

Here’s the breakdown of the Eagles defense in the Bears game after re-watching the tape:

Eagles-Bears: Film Review of Defense

Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

Here’s the breakdown of the Eagles defense in the Bears game after re-watching the tape:

FIRST TEAM

Defensive line: Cedric Thornton was the most disruptive on the first team line. He shot into the backfield and dropped Bears running back Matt Forte for no gain. On the second series, he got push and batted down a Jay Cutler pass.

Damion Square, starting in place of the injured Bennie Logan, didn’t stand out – good or bad – on defense, but did block a 41-yard field goal attempt. Fletcher Cox was quiet and didn’t appear to get any pressure against the pass.

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Linebackers: Trent Cole, like Cox, didn’t put much on film. Connor Barwin was his typical strong self against the run. He set the edge and forced Forte inside, where Malcolm Jenkins made a stop. He fought off a pulling guard and dropped Forte for a four-yard loss. He didn’t get much penetration on his rushes.

DeMeco Ryans filled a hole that forced Forte outside to Barwin. He missed a tackle on a 15-yard Forte carry that was called back by a hold. He was covering tight end Zach Miller on a perfectly-thrown 10-yard TD pass by Cutler.

Mychal Kendricks was good in coverage. He and Ryans converged to hold receiver Brandon Marshall to a short catch. He cut off the tight end downfield on a Cutler toss that ended up short. And he stopped Marshall again after a short grab.

Defensive backs: Cary Williams broke up a short pass underneath and allowed Alshon Jeffery to catch a 16-yard pass in front of him. Bradley Fletcher was toasted by Jeffery for 40 yards, but the play was nullified by offsetting penalties. Marshall also ran him off for a 13-yard reception on a curl route on 3d and long.

Playing slot with the starters, Brandon Boykin was called for holding after he grabbed a jersey. The penalty was declined. He played some snaps outside with the second team, but was never thrown at.

Malcolm Jenkins fought off a receiver and dragged Forte down for a one- yard loss. He laid the wood on receiver Eric Weems after Cutler threw high. Cutler completed a 23-yard pass in front of him in the zone.

Nate Allen played the entire first half. Playing centerfield, he intercepted backup quarterback Jordan Palmer. He blitzed a few times but never got into the backfield. He overran a short pass tackle attempt, but later wrapped up Marshall after a short catch.

SECOND/THIRD TEAM

Defensive line: Vinny Curry was constantly in the Bears’ backfield. He drew holding penalties on guard Joe Long, and bull rushed past him for the Eagles’ lone sack. He was unblocked on a screen and nearly got to Palmer again. He later stretched out a rush.

Brandon Bair was constantly around the ball and ate up blockers. He fought off a blocker and dropped a running back for a short gain. Beau Allen showed power and quickness for 330 pounds. The nose tackle was knocked to the ground on a screen, but hustled 10 yards downfield to get in on a tackle. He walked the center back with a bull rush that knocked Palmer as he threw incomplete. A play later, he pursued to the sideline for a stop against the run.

Taylor Hart shed a block and dropped a running back for no gain. He read a screen and ran it down -- unfortunately after a 13-yard gain. Joe Kruger looked better than he has during training camp, which is all that counts. He zoomed into the backfield and dropped a back for a three-yard loss. He bounced off two blockers and got into the backfield again when Palmer was rushed incomplete.

Alejandro Villanueva was quiet initially, but jumped in the pile on short carries.

Linebackers: Brandon Graham had more ups than downs. With his hand in the ground, he slipped a lineman and hurried Palmer into the pass that Allen picked off. Earlier, he missed a tackle in space.

Marcus Smith was active. He dropped on a screen and assisted on the tackle. He rushed from a two-point stance and knocked the ball down at the line. He made an open field tackle on the receiver that was negated by defensive holding.

An unblocked Travis Long was called for roughing the passer after he blindsided Palmer. He tipped a pass on a rush. He forced a ball carrier inside where he was dropped for a loss. Bryan Braman was credited with a tackle for loss.

Najee Goode played the run well, and had three tackles. Casey Matthews bit on a play action and the Bears picked up 14 yards on third and short. He left with an injury.

Jason Phillips was victimized by another back shoulder TD pass to Miller. Those are tough to defend. Phillips or Curtis Marsh appeared to cover the wrong receiver and left open Michael Spurlock for a 20-yard TD catch and run. Emmanuel Acho was in position to make a tackle on a rush, but was pushed back several yards.

Defensive backs: Roc Carmichael played the most snaps on defense (51) and struggled on the outside. He was beat for 12-yard, 24-yard and 40-yard catches. He was also flagged for holding.

Jaylen Watkins played both outside cornerback and in the slot. He had more success inside. He was burnt on the outside when he bit on a move and Bears quarterback Jimmy Clausen connected with Chris Williams for a 73-yard touchdown. He came up on a short pass but overran the play. He blitzed out of the slot and forced an incomplete throw. It looked like he was late to react on a corner route that netted a 20-yard completion. Playing in slot, he back pedaled and made a leaping interception.

Earl Wolff didn’t do his chances of besting Nate Allen for the starting safety job any favors with a sloppy open-field tackle attempt after Graham’s whiff. Chris Maragos made a strong stop in run support. Ed Reynolds aided Carmichael on stopping a check down pass on third and long. He broke up a pass in the end zone.

 

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Birds' Eye View is the Inquirer's blog covering all things Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL.

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