Eagles DC Gannon: ‘I think we’re all pissed off about the last two games’

The first two weeks of the season, the Philadelphia Eagles defense was playing excellent football. In Week 1 against the Falcons, Philadelphia held Atlanta to six points, and in Week 2 versus the 49ers, the Eagles held San Francisco to 17 points. 

However, the last two weeks have not been very memorable for Philly’s defense. They have given up 77 points in the previous two weeks, including 42 against the Chiefs last Sunday. Additionally, they have had a difficult time stopping the run. In the last two weeks, the Eagles have given up 360 yards on the ground. Currently, Philly is 31st against the run.

When the defense falters, fingers get pointed at the defensive coordinator, which is Jonathan Gannon,

“Yeah, I would think — we always first look at the coaches,” Gannon said at a press conference on Tuesday. “You know, when we come in on Monday, critically, how can we help our players a little bit more to put them in better position to win the game.

“I think we’re all pissed off about the last two games. We haven’t played great on defense. That’s evident. And that starts with me and starts with the coaches.

“So it always comes down to self-evaluation, ‘Hey, what can we do to help our players? What did we say the three things are to win this game? Did we get those three things done?'”

According to Gannon, he’s running out of patience with himself.

“My level of patience, it’s wearing thin on myself,” he said. “‘Hey, Jonathan, let’s get them in better position, so we give our team a chance to win the game.’ It’s not really towards getting irritated at the players. That’s how I’ll always roll; that’s how the coaches roll. So, when we came in here on Monday and sat down, I talked to the head coach on Sunday, on Monday morning, and then we’ll talk to him tonight.

“And the patience for me is wearing thin, ‘Hey, let’s get competitive. Let’s get in a game.’ Because right now, we haven’t been in a game — I know we were in that game, but from a defensive standpoint, like, we got to keep the points down, keep the yards down, get off the field to give our team a chance to win.

So, where I’m most non-cool, calm, and collected right now is not with the players; it’s with myself.”

Gannon is taking the blame, but it’s deeper than him. It’s a talent issue. The linebackers are very average; the secondary is not much better, and the defensive line is missing a big piece in Brandon Graham. The defense is probably not as bad as we’ve seen in the last two weeks, but it’s probably not as good as we’ve seen in Weeks 1 and 2. 

Gannon and company have a lot of work to do to get this defense turned around.

Eagles’ Schwartz on defense celebrating down 14 points against Seattle: ‘I didn’t have a problem with that’

For the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday’s game against the Seahawks was an ugly day for the team, and because of the lack of offense, the Eagles would fall to the Seahawks 17-9.

The Eagles’ defense came to play. Philadelphia’s defense held Russell Wilson and the Seahawks’ offense to 17 points, which is huge considering that many believe Wilson was playing like an MVP candidate.

Even though the Eagles’ defense played well, the unit was criticized for what it did after creating a turnover.

Early in the fourth quarter, with the Eagles trailing by 14 points, Philadelphia was able to recover a Seahawks’ fumble. After the fumble recovery, the Eagles’ defense ran to the end zone to celebrate. This celebration was criticized by some because Philadelphia was trailing 17-3.

On Tuesday, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz addressed the celebration.

“I’m pretty old school. I’m old school when it comes to celebrations or music at practice,” Schwartz said. “I probably have the biggest get-off-my-lawn sign in the whole neighborhood (jokingly).

“I mean, I grew up in Baltimore. Swag was Johnny Unitas with black high tops and a crew cut. That’s the way I grew up, but I think you have to also set that scene. We had just taken the field after the fourth or fifth turnover, one of those. I don’t remember what it was. There were ten minutes left in the game, I think that’s right around the scene right there, and if we give up a score there the game is pretty much over because it turns into a three-score game and it would be probably inside eight, nine minutes and that’s a tough situation to be in.

“So we had a job to do. We had to go out on the field and get a stop. And not only get a stop, but the ability to get the ball back in that situation. We actually caused two fumbles in a row and were able to get those and give our offense a chance.

“It didn’t work out for us, but we ask our guys to go out on the field and play with some passion and play with some excitement, and I don’t know what the rule book is when it comes to stuff like that, but I would certainly — from an old school guy like me, I didn’t have a problem with that.

“We expect them to go out on the field and be excited and play with some passion. I would much rather have that headline be written about us or that criticism be out there about us than whatever, ‘Defense took the field dejected.’

“I like the resiliency our guys have shown in those situations. A lot of those getting the ball backs. We forced the fumble late against Minnesota when the game was sort of out of reach. We got an interception against Dallas that sort of gave us a fighting chance. We got a stop and blocked a kick against Detroit.

“I like the fact that the guys go out there and play passionate football and have an attitude to get a stop and a never-say-die attitude. I think those are all positives. I don’t view those as negatives.”

Hey, was the celebration that big of a deal? No! It’s not an issue. The Eagles losing on Sunday had nothing to do with the defense running to the end zone to celebrate. However, it does look bad when you are down by 14 points, but in the end, it had no bearing on the game. Therefore, it really does not matter.

Dom Capers joins Jaguars as defensive assistant

Dom Capers, a veteran of 31 seasons as an NFL coach including two as the Jaguars’ defensive coordinator, has joined Jacksonville’s coaching staff as senior defensive assistant. Under Head Coach Doug Marrone, he will work closely with Defensive Coordinator Todd Wash and the team’s defensive coaches.

Capers previously served as Jaguars defensive coordinator from 1999-2000 under then-Head Coach and current Executive Vice President of Football OperationsTom Coughlin. In 1999, the Jaguars were 14-2 – their best record ever – and won the AFC Central Division before hosting the AFC Championship game. Capers has been the head coach of two NFL expansion teams – the Carolina Panthers from 1995-98 and the Houston Texans from 2002-05. Most recently, he was the defensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers from 2009-17.

“Dom Capers is one of the most respected defensive coaches in the game today, and he has been for many years,” Marrone said. “His defenses have long been among the most effective and productive in the NFL. He has career experiences and accomplishments that will benefit our coaches and our players. He adds a unique perspective and veteran presence that will be valuable assets to immediately help us. I look forward to working with Dom and having him on our staff.”

Capers’ NFL coaching career includes 17 seasons as a defensive coordinator. His first coordinator role came in 1992 with the Pittsburgh Steelers, where the defense ranked in the top three twice and the Steelers advanced to the playoffs all three seasons. He was defensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins from 2006-07 and the Packers from 2009-17. The Packers went to the playoffs in each of Capers’ first eight seasons there, and they won Super Bowl XLV following the 2010 season.

Capers’ coaching career began with 12 seasons at the collegiate level from 1972-83. His stops included Kent State, Hawaii, San Jose State, California, Tennessee and Ohio State. He spent two seasons with the Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars of the USFL before entering the NFL coaching ranks in 1986 with the New Orleans Saints.

Among the head coaches Capers has served under are Jim Mora Sr., Bill Cowher, Coughlin, Nick Saban and Mike McCarthy. He also spent one season as special assistant-secondary under Bill Belichick with the New England Patriots. Capers has been recognized as coach of the year (Panthers), assistant coach of the year (Steelers, Jaguars) and coordinator of the year (Packers).

Are the Cavs in trouble?

The Cleveland Cavaliers have been making move, upon move in order to strengthen their roster. At this point, it’s a work in progress. The additions of  Kyle Korver, Derrick and Deron Williams, Andrew Bogut (injured and gone), and Larry Sanders (recently called up from D-League) have worked on the offensive end, but defensively the Cavs have been a mess. While the Cavaliers score 110 ppg, they give up 106 ppg(22nd in the NBA). However, last season the Cavs gave up only 98 ppg(4th in NBA). Maybe the addition of Larry Sanders could help, but he is coming back to the NBA after being gone for two years. Also, if you look at the last few games, point guards have torched this team. Last Sunday, D’Angelo Russell hit them up for 40pts; Kemba Walker dropped 28 on Friday, and Saturday night John Wall scored 37. The teams in the Eastern Conference that could challenge the Cavaliers all have big time point guards; John Wall in Washington, Isaiah Thomas in Boston, and if healthy, Kyle Lowry in Toronto. 

The Cavaliers and Celtics are tied for the best record in the Eastern Conference. Do I think the Cavaliers need home court advantage to get to the NBA Finals? No! They did not have it two years ago against the Raptors, and they still made it to the NBA Finals. Boston, Toronto and Washington could challenge the Cavs, but there’s no way I’m betting against LeBron James.

I believe the Cavaliers will “score” their way back to the NBA Finals. Will they win another title? I’ll let time be the judge of that one!