SOUTH PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Through four games, the Eagles’ Defense has played seven strong halves of football. The one bad half has left a sour taste in the mouths of the players.
The Eagles were lit up by the Lions in the first half of their loss last Sunday. The defense tightened up in the second half before Detroit handed the Eagles their first loss of the season. For players such as Linebacker Jordan Hicks, Sunday’s game in Washington will be a chance for redemption.
“It stings because you know that we had the game,” said Hicks. “So guys are eager and that’s the vibe around here. Guys are eager to learn and they’re eager to fix the problems.”
The Eagles will try to fix their problems against a Washington squad which had turned it’s season around. After dropping their first two games, the Redskins have won three in a row and have catapulted themselves back into the NFC East race. Defensive End Fletcher Cox knows the team will have to be ready going on the road against the streaking Skins.
“We’ll still prepare the same,” Cox said. “We know we’re going on the road into a hostile environment. They won a few games, so they’re going to come out with a little swagger. We’re coming off a loss, so it’s going to come down to who wants it the most.”
The Eagles appeared to have several missed tackles in their loss last Sunday, but Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz believes the mistakes were more about taking the right routes to the ball carrier, and Schwartz does not want to see his unit change its aggressive style of play.
“I thought our leverage was bad on a couple screens,” said Schwartz. “I wouldn’t necessarily think tackling wasn’t good. We’re going to miss some tackles. It’s because we’re an aggressive defense that we like to fly and not slow down at the ball. In order to do that, you need other guys filling off of you. If you over-coach guys not to miss tackles, you don’t fly to the ball.”
A game against Washington also means facing former Eagle DeSean Jackson. The speedy wide receiver has burned his former team several times since moving to the nation’s capital, and Connor Barwin knows the Redskins will try to get Jackson open down the field.
“They’re going to take three or four chances,” Barwin said. “He’s one of the best, if not the best, deep threats in the league. He has been his whole career.”