Eagles Insider

Sirianni not happy after Eagles' pass defense gets shredded again

Eagles Insider

The Eagles’ pass defense was already reeling coming into the Chargers game. Then they lost Avonte Maddox and Darius Slay, their two best cornerbacks.

With them, the Eagles may have had a hard time slowing down Justin Herbert. Without them? They had no shot.

The Eagles played tough Sunday, they played hard, they played physical. But Herbert was just too good.

In the Chargers' 27-24 win over the Eagles at the Linc Sunday, Herbert became the fifth quarterback in the last seven weeks to complete 80 percent of his passes against the Eagles.

Thirteen quarterbacks in history have completed 80 percent of their passes against the Eagles. Five of them in the last 41 days.

Digest that for a moment.

The Eagles are only the second team in NFL history to allow five 80 percent quarterbacks in a season. The 2015 Buccaneers also did it. 

And there are eight games to go.

“Of course, when a guy comes away and he’s 84 percent, you're going to say, ‘We didn't do our job,’ right?” Nick Sirianni said. “We’ve just got to be better. Again, I have to go look at the tape and all the calls. Obviously, not good enough starting with myself and by the defense there with the pass defense.”

Herbert, in his 23rd career start, completed 32 of 38 passes (84.2 percent) for 356 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 123.2 passer rating. And ran for a touchdown.

He’s the first quarterback ever to complete at least 80 percent of his passes for 350 or more yards with no interceptions against the Eagles.

 

Through nine games, opposing QBs are completing an astounding 75.5 percent of their passes against the Eagles. The previous NFL high through nine games was the Lions’ 74.1 percent in 2016. The NFL record for a full season is 72.7 percent by that same Lions team.

Now, a lot of this is by design.

Facing big-armed QBs, Jonathan Gannon likes to ask his d-backs to legislate against the big play, allow underneath throws and rely on strong tackling and 3rd- and 4th-down stops.

And for most of the game Sunday, that worked.

But on two 4th-quarter scoring drives that gave the Chargers the win, Herbert was too good.

Sirianni has been critical of Gannon in the past, but he put the blame squarely on himself Sunday night.

“Any time you play a quarterback like Justin Herbert — there is no surprise I think he's a good quarterback, we all know he's a good quarterback — you have to be on your A game and (that) starts with us as coaches,” Sirianni said.

“So I'm not going to say Jonathan anything because that's my name on that. Whatever happens on that field my name is on - offensively, defensively. I'm not the offensive coordinator, I'm the head coach.

“It’s all of us together. It’s first myself, getting the right calls and putting the players in position, then Jonathan, then the players executing.”

In fairness to the Eagles’ secondary, they finished the game with two cornerbacks who had previously played a combined total of 20 snaps in their careers before Sunday.

Andre Chachere played most of the game in the slot after Maddox hurt his knee in the first quarter, and rookie Zech McPhearson – who had never played on defense – finished the game at outside corner after Darius Slay pulled a hammy late in the third quarter.

“We are really close,” safety Marcus Epps said. “We all need to continue to focus up, keep grinding, keep trusting the process and just execute better out there.”

Especially the execute better part.

Now, this isn’t all on the secondary. The Eagles’ defensive line has underachieved tremendously, and in the last three of those 80 percent games – the Bucs, Raiders and Chargers – the Eagles didn't have a sack. In the Chiefs game they had one.

In the NFL these days, quarterbacks are just too good to let them stand in the pocket with no pressure. They’ll pick you apart.

Which is exactly what’s been happening.

And don’t look now, but the Eagles face Teddy Bridgewater next Sunday in Denver.

He’s only the 5th-most accurate QB in NFL history at 67 percent and 4th in the league this year at 70.2 percent.

It doesn’t get any easier.

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