Five Big-Picture Takeaways From Eagles Week 12 Loss Vs Lions

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1.) Injecting Talent to the Defense Only Delayed the Inevitable Failure of Billy Davis

The Eagles defense has a good deal of talent on the depth chart. One could argue they are light years ahead of the offense in that regard. The offseason strategy of providing Billy Davis with an influx of talent to execute his defense made sense on the surface. Over a good chunk of the first half of the season, save for a few clunkers, the unit performed quite well and positioned the Eagles to win a handful of games. Had the offense been able to hold up their end of the equation, one could argue the team may have one another game or two.

Unfortunately, Davis was unable to make any sort of adjustments with his scheme as teams started to find cracks. Jordan Hicks going down didn’t help, but things had started to leak even before that. The turnovers stopped coming in bunches and opponents started to capitalize on 3rd-and-longs at an alarming rate, much like they did in 2014. Teams started targeting the team’s inside linebackers with passes to players out of the backfield. Meanwhile, the team’s cornerbacks fell susceptible to teams running quick slants against their lax coverage. Though the dreaded ‘X-Plays’ did not re-surface like they did in 2014, teams were able to matriculate on offense when the Eagles weren’t forcing turnovers.

Simply put, Davis did not put his players in a position to win down the stretch. The NFL is an ebb-and-flow league and one cannot trot out the exact same gameplan every week expecting the team to force three or more turnovers a game. The defense prided itself on turning the ball over, but had to have a contingency plan against teams that did not shoot themselves in the foot. Especially against Detroit, Davis left his players out to dray and get embarrassed. Poor tackling and technique aside, putting Eric Rowe on Calvin Johnson only to get victimized has potential long-term negative effects.

Billy Davis is an amicable, accountable coach that has obviously garnered respect around the league. Unfortunately for him, he has proven incapable of diverting from his flawed gameplan on a week-to-week basis. All the talent in the world is meaningless over the course of a 16-game season if the opposition is able to locate the weak points within a scheme. It took a bit longer than it had in years past, but Davis’s approach to defense is not capable of stopping modern offenses. Davis made a handful of bold statements this season after forgettable showings by his unit. It’s hard to imagine there’s anything he can utter after this latest disaster to keep his job in Philadelphia for much longer.