Eagles DC Commits to a Better Defense Leading Into Vikings Game

Anthony Barr
Oct 13, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back Jordan Howard (24) is tackled by Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr (55) during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

In Week 1, the Vikings put together an excellent win over the Packers. Meanwhile, the Lions were taking on the Eagles, a team many are expecting to do good things in 2022. Philadelphia won their game, but they allowed 35 points. Defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon thinks his defense needs to improve. Indeed, the Vikings offense is next on the schedule, so the Eagles will be looking to get better in a hurry.

A piece on the NFL’s website relays Gannon’s thoughts. Some of the solution will rest in perfecting football basics: “I think it’s very clear to the coaches and the players after watching the game, what we need to improve on quickly and from an execution standpoint, from a technique standpoint.”

Execution and technique, though basic, are things that teams work on continuously. That being said, putting together a less-than-stellar performance does add an extra sense of urgency.

Gannon believes his defense will be better: “Overall, happy that we won the game, but that is not the standard that we need. We need to improve quick, and we will.”

The commentary in the article suggests that if the Eagles fail to improve in time for the Vikings game, it could lead to a poor outcome for Philadelphia: “If Philly can’t get off the field against the Vikings’ high-powered offense, the Eagles offense might not be able to carry them to victory this time around.”

Upon first glance, Minnesota’s 23 points in Week 1 aren’t particularly impressive. However, we need to remember that Green Bay never really challenged the multiple-score lead. It made sense, then, for the Vikings to chew up clock and prioritize field position as the game went on. Overall, the offense had an excellent day, and they likely could have pushed the score into the 30s (and perhaps higher) if needed.

A quick look at the defensive numbers suggests Philadelphia has a lot of work to do. The Vikings would likely be very happy to run the ball against the Eagles. Doing so would help keep Jalen Hurts and the talented Philadelphia offense off the field.

In my mind, the key to continued success on offense rests in finding some more balance. Justin Jefferson ought to continue being the team’s #1 option. However, there’s enough talent to ensure teams can’t focus too much on him.

Adam Thielen should get more targets, and it’s possible we should see Alexander Mattison get more carries. Integrating the tight ends – especially if it involves Irv Smith Jr. – would be a similarly laudable goal.

In the end, the Vikings have only had one game, and the Eagles will present their own challenges. O’Connell will need to put together a game plan that allows his skill players to get into open space with consistency. If he does so, Minnesota has a good shot at overcoming Philadelphia’s defensive improvements.