After whooping on the Titans Sunday afternoon, our Philadelphia Eagles are 11-1. For the first time this season we can say the Eagles dominated their opponent in all three phases on Sunday. The offense put on a showcase through the air to the tune of 386 yards passing and 3 TD’s. It was a Masterclass in how to expose your opponents weakness. The defense balled out too. The Titans were held to 122 passing yards, which is great but throwing the football isn’t what the Titans do well. Unless you think football is played with your feet and a round ball you are aware the Titans run the ball down your throat for 4 quarters. Derrick Henry, currently 3rd in the NFL in rushing and two time rushing champion, was held to 30 yards rushing. Hell his QB even out rushed him with a bum ankle (arm too if we’re being honest). You would think with performances like these, Eagles Defensive Coordinator Jonathan Gannon would be given his flowers by now, but you’d be wrong.
Eagles Defensive Coordinator History
Here in Philly we know defense, at least we think we do. We’ve had a couple of the greatest coordinators and team defenses the league has ever seen. Buddy Ryan is beloved in this town by every dad with a looney toon tattoo on his calf. Which is an interesting concept because these same dads claim to only accept winning and winning was something Buddy wasn’t very good at, but that is for a different day. In fact the highlight of Buddy’s reign as Eagles Defensive Coordinator is summed up by a defense that he didn’t even coach. The 1991 Eagles were absolutely dominant. With names like Reggie White, Wes Hopkins, Eric Allen and Jerome Brown, just to name a few, the 1991 Philadelphia Eagles ranked 1st in rushing against, 1st in passing against and 5th in scoring. The defense had 5 Pro-Bowlers and 3 1st Team All-Pro’s. That defense was epic! As a team the 1991 Eagles had 26 interceptions and had 2 defensive lineman with 13 sacks or more. That defense is a no doubt about it top 10 defense all time and would have automatically been in the top 5 if they managed to make the playoffs.
More recently fans can call on the memories of the Jim Johnson era. Jim Johnson’s defenses were always good, not 1991 Eagles good but the 2004 team was pretty close. Jim Johnson is where we began to loathe the term ‘bend but don’t break’ and that’s exactly what the Jim Johnson Eagles did. In 2004 the Eagles were second in the league in points against but ranked closer to the middle of the pack in both passing and rushing yards against. If bending but not breaking was the best thing the 2004 Eagles defense did, blitzing was the second. No one knew how to dial them up better than Jim Johnson. Opposing Quarterbacks didn’t know when or from where it was coming, all they knew was they were in big trouble.
The Jonathan Gannon Era
Fast forward to today, the Eagles are the best team in football with an 11-1 record. The defense is currently the 1st against the pass, 7th in points allowed and 2nd in total yards surrendered. To continue the onslaught of impressive stats, the Eagles are also 2nd in team sacks and 1st in interceptions. All of this information and stats yet we still have fans suggesting Jonathan Gannon is no good. This morning, fans woke up to tweets that the Eagles defense needs to blitz more. Excuse me, WHAT?! Let’s review the stats again, 1st in passing D, 2nd in sacks, 1st in INTs. Why in the world would be blitz more if our base pass rush package gets to the QB with no problem? Why would we surrender coverage when they’re already the best in the league just to blitz more? Do we just like blitzing? It’s not like the Eagles don’t blitz, they’re middle of the pack in blitz percentage. Are we suggesting blitzing just for blitzing sake?
Which legendary NFL defense would love to resurrect?
1985 Chicago Bears
1976 Pittsburgh Steelers
2000 Baltimore Ravens
2002 Tampa Bay Bucs
1986 New York Giants
2013 Seattle Seahawks
If you listen closely, you can already hear the lot of ya! Ahh this dood thinks Gannon is better than Buddy and JJ. Yo Cholly check out this clown, buddy thinks Gannon is a hall of famer. I’m not saying any of that and I would never. I spent far too many Sundays watching bend but don’t break to disrespect JJ. What I am saying is this defense is pretty good and it doesn’t have to blitz to be really good. How much of that is Gannon and how much is the talent? It’s probably a pretty even mix of both. Heck even if you hate Jonathan Gannon and think he’s a product of talent you could find some rational thought to give him credit for recognizing that talent and just letting them ball. But who am I kidding, this is Philly, we don’t do rational. Go Birds!
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