If you watched Week 1, it was apparent that the Philadelphia Eagles defense wasn’t ready for what the 2022-2023 season was going to bring. But, they proved they’re quick learners.
In a matter of a week, defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon turned things around, and the defense dominated in their last two games.
Now ranked fifth in the league, the defense is hoping to remain a strong contender in the NFC.
PROGRESSION OF THE EAGLES DEFENSE
According to Pro Football Focus, the Eagles defense ranked 18th in the league during the 2021 season. Playing under Jonathan Gannon for the first time, they allowed 3,756 passing and 1,834 rushing yards.
The team lost Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox played one of his worst seasons, Derek Barnett was a penalty fein, and defensive gaps needed to be filled. After making the appropriate changes during the offseason, the Eagles defense looks great on paper. And after Week 1, they looked even better in person.
|Week 1 (Detroit Lions)||Week 2 (Minnesota Vikings)||Week 3 (Washington Commanders)|
|Total Net Yards Allowed||386||264||240|
|Total Passing Yards Allowed||205||202||153|
|Total Rushing Yards Allowed||181||62||87|
WHAT’S GOING RIGHT
Since Week 1, the Eagles defense has improved upon their total net yards allowed, as well as passing yards allowed, ranking sixth in the league.
The main difference between the latter weeks compared to the start of the season have been cornerback coverage and the defensive line’s ability to get to the opposing quarterback.
Darius Slay and newcomer James Bradberry have been an unstoppable duo. Bradberry has one interception for 27 yards and one touchdown. During Philadelphia’s game against Minnesota, Slay finished with two interceptions, nearly adding two more. He also had a career-high five passes defended.
Aside from making plays, the two have also allowed some of the lowest passer ratings in the NFL.
Lowest passer rating allowed among CBs:
– Darius Slay: 29.3 (3rd)
– James Bradberry: 30.5 (4th)
— Thomas R. Petersen (@thomasrp93) September 26, 2022
The defensive line was sack happy last week, completing eight of nine against Carson Wentz. It was tied for the most times the former Eagles’ quarterback has been sacked in a game during his career. It also highlighted Fletcher Cox’s ability after having a slow season last year, and Haason Reddick who fans were waiting to get a glimpse of.
FIXING THE SCHEME
Where the defense struggles is in stopping the rush game. Ranked 17th in rush yards allowed per game, the Eagles’ focus moving forward should be on tackling. Leading the defense with tackles is T.J. Edwards with 27, who also recorded his first sack of the season on Sunday.
The Eagles will now take on former head coach Doug Pederson and the Jacksonille Jaguars come Sunday. Jacksonville’s offense is ranked 10th in rush yards per game, giving Philadelphia the opportunity to brush up on their skills.
Philadelphia will get home field advantage. Kick-off is at 1 PM.