PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Billy Davis isn’t sugarcoating the way Peyton Manning picked apart his defense.
“We took a whooping,” the Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator said Tuesday. “That’s what happened. We did not play good enough to win, obviously. Those games are tough to swallow. But you move on from them.”
Manning and the Denver Broncos dismantled the Eagles in a 53-20 victory on Sunday. No surprise, Manning did it to three other teams already this season and numerous times throughout his stellar career.
Before Manning, though, Philip Rivers, Alex Smith and Robert Griffin III, to some extent, each had their way with Davis’ beleaguered unit. The Eagles (1-3) have the NFL’s worst-ranked defense in total yards (1,787) and are second-worst in points (138).
“You have to learn from your mistakes and move forward,” Davis said. “We’re not where we want to be. But believe it or not, I know the results are not there, but behind the scenes, I’ve watched that game probably 10 times now on tape along with every other game we’ve played. The fundamentals, the techniques, the understanding, the players playing with each other, it is moving forward.”
Philadelphia — and Davis’ 3-4 defense — meets the New York Giants (0-4) on Sunday. And despite those results, that defensive alignment is not going to change.
“The results did not show in that game obviously, so I’m asking to you trust me even though there are not the results. But the guys know through the daily work that the techniques, it will turn. It will turn. It hasn’t turned yet,” he said. “It’s not where we want it to be, but we’ll continue to put our heads down and work, and I really believe it will turn.”
While most teams take Tuesdays off, the Eagles were back on the practice field preparing for a rival. Eli Manning and Co. will be desperate to snap their losing streak. So, it’ll be another difficult matchup for Philadelphia’s defense.
Despite the struggles, Davis insists the team has the personnel to run a 3-4 defense. The Eagles used a 4-3 front for 14 years under Andy Reid and had success until the past couple seasons.
“We’ve got the talent,” Davis said. “We just have to get them playing together within the scheme. I don’t care what you run. A wide nine or a 3-4 two gap. Every player playing his technique, they’re all attached to each other. The defensive linemen’s technique are attached to the linebacker’s technique or attached to the safeties. When you have inconsistency in any one spot, the defense breaks down.
“It doesn’t matter the scheme, it matters the techniques. That’s what we have to get to, and we’re not there yet.”
The switch takes plenty of adjustments and the Eagles clearly are going through some growing pains. Some players like Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham and Trent Cole are better suited for a 4-3, but they’re learning on the job and playing new positions. Cox switched from tackle to end and Cole and Graham went from ends to linebacker.
Other players like linebacker Mychal Kendricks and cornerback Cary Williams are simply not performing well, period. Both had excellent games against Washington in Week 1, but it’s been downhill since.
“I think Mychal thinks a little bit too much and doesn’t let himself go play and just kind of pull the trigger and go,” coach Chip Kelly said. “Obviously everybody is aware of his athletic ability as he continues to grow and figure out exactly what we are doing scheme-wise and things like that. I think you’ll continue to see him get better and better and better because he does have that athletic ability.”