Five Big-Picture Takeaways from Eagles Preseason Game Three

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2.) The Cohesion Level of the Defense is a Bit Behind the Talent Level

Aug 29, 2015; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Hundley (7) gets a pass away while under pressure from Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Fletcher Cox (91) in the second quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

It must drive Chip Kelly crazy that he cannot drill his defensive unit to the point of muscle memory the way he does with his offense. Though there is a definitive uptick from a talent standpoint on the 2015 Eagles defense compared to the two years prior, Saturday revealed that their could be a few bumps along the way before this unit becomes a finished product.

It is worth mentioning that the two starting inside linebackers Saturday, Mychal Kendricks and DeMeco Ryans, were seeing their first action of the preseason and the coaching staff is still very much in the experimentation phase when it comes to figuring out who the likely option at the nickel corner position. It’s also important to bear in mind that the same ‘they’re not game-planning’ line that applies to those defenses going up against the Eagles should also carry the same weight vice versa.

All that being said, there were a couple of breakdowns that took place with the first defensive unit on the field along with a couple of trends to keep in mind going into the regular season. What’s important to acknowledge is that a unit faced with the type of turnover that took place on the Eagles defense combined with the unknown of facing an opposing offense generally does not favor the group trying to keep points off the board.

It is likely that the first time the entire ‘first-string’ defense takes the field together will be in the team’s Monday night week one opener against the Falcons. Especially against a passing attack that features the weapons that Atlanta does, one would hardly expect Billy Davis’s group to pitch a shut out on the road. Though there is a noticeable emphasis on technique and playmaking throughout the group, it is important to recognize that the defense can only achieve the level it aspires to if it can operate as such as a group, rather than several individuals.

Seeing Walter Thurmond continue to make plays and the defensive line once again dominate is great, but it’d be misguided to think that the Eagles defense was not without its shortcomings on Saturday. The Eagles may be able to get by on talent alone for the first few weeks of the season. That said, it is vital that the coaching staff is able to find a way to forge the necessary level of chemistry within the group on the fly during the regular season. Otherwise, the Eagles will continue to be exposed by some of the top offenses in the league.