December 06, 2016
It would appear that the excuse-making for the Eagles' recent defensive woes is limited to the defensive line, and not the Birds' cornerbacks. According to Jim Schwartz, the Eagles' corners "aren't playing very well right now."
Also, water is wet.
On Monday, we took a look at Fletcher Cox's assertions that the Bengals were getting the ball out quickly, and when they were taking deeper shots down the field, they were in max protect looks, keeping seven players in to block. As a result, the Bengals' supposed scheme made it difficult to pressure the quarterback. After reviewing the game, we found those assertions to be untrue. Rather, the Eagles' pass rush simply wasn't beating blocks.
Because the Eagles haven't been able to get to the quarterback recently with just four rushers, Schwartz has dialed up more blitzes.
"We blitzed an awful lot in this game," said Schwartz. "I think I called 19 blitzes, 17, a couple of them we audibled out of. Since (the Bengals were) going to try to make it hard to blitz, and a couple of those looks you might get sued for malpractice if you tried to blitz a couple of those looks. During max protection they want you to blitz and keep you light in coverage. Facts were in this game, we got beat in blitz, we got beat in zone, we got beat in cover two, we got beat in two man, we got beat in six. We rolled through every one. We got beat in all of them."
Unfortunately for Schwartz, when the blitz doesn't get home, the Eagles don't have the players on the back end to hold up against opposing receivers.
"Facts of life, our corners aren't playing very well right now," Schwartz acknowledged. "It doesn't mean I've lost confidence in them because that's the same bunch of corners that shut down some of the best offenses in the NFL. But we're in a slump, and it didn't matter what we were calling. A couple weeks ago when I was up here, we were talking about Minnesota and I said, ‘It didn't matter what I was calling, they were all working.’ In this game, it didn't matter. Didn't matter what we were calling, it wasn't working.
"I think I watch enough baseball. Baseball players deal with slumps all the time. The only thing you can do in a slump is go back to basics, go back to technique. If you're a corner it's all about technique, one of those two things. It's about technique and it's about confidence. We're not playing with a lot of confidence at corner, and we need to tighten up our technique."
Tightening up technique sounds fine and good, but getting better corners this offseason is probably the bigger solution.
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