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Philadelphia Eagles pass defense continues to be exploited


Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) makes a catch during the second half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles on September 6 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Photo by Derik Hamilton/UPI

By Ed Kracz, The Sports Xchange

It isn't easy these days to play pass defense in the NFL, with the new rules protecting the quarterbacks and defensive backs unable to so much as breath on a receiver without fear of being flagged for holding or pass interference.

The Eagles, though, must find a way to do it better than they have so far in allowing three receivers in four games to burn them for more than 100 yards. The latest was Corey Davis, who had 161 yards receiving in the Tennessee Titans' 26-23 overtime in over the Eagles on Sunday. He follows on the heels of Atlanta's Julio Jones (169) and Tampa Bay's DeSean Jackson (129).

"Until we can address it and fix it and get better at it and practice, as you guys know, teams will continue to do it," Eagles coach Doug Pederson said about team's throwing the ball all over his defense. "It's like if a team can't stop the run, keep running. And that's just where we are right now."

Pederson, who met with reporters at his Monday press conference, said he and his staff will evaluate certain defensive positions and players this week, but that is not something new. Conversations about personnel happen weekly. Now, though, the conversations may take on a heightened sense of urgency.

"We have to be careful that we are not just on a whim swapping people out," the coach said. "If you start doing that, it starts moving other people around as well. We're going to take these next couple of days and really evaluate everybody, evaluate us as coaches, too, and see if there's a change to be made, we'll make it. If not, then we'll leave it alone.

Expect a conversation regarding cornerback Jalen Mills, who once again was targeted often and failed to respond on throws of 28 yards and 51 yards from Marcus Mariota to Davis. Mills was also flagged for pass interference for the third time in the last two games.

Sidney Jones is a second-round draft pick from a year ago, and probably would have been a first rounder had he not ruptured an Achilles tendon in his pro day workout leading up to the draft. Jones, who is getting snaps at the inside slot corner spot, isn't immune to struggles. He was in bad position on one Mariota TD throw. But inside slot is a position Jones never played at the University of Washington, so he could be moved to his more natural home outside in place of Mills, who was a seventh-round selection in 2016.

Pederson has repeatedly stuck up for Mills and did so again on Monday.

"These corners are on islands a lot," he said. "I think I look at it from an offensive perspective. When you see a guy that maybe you can attack, you try to attack and that is what offenses are doing right now. ... he is working through it, he'll get better and we'll get better as a team."

Mills needs to get better quickly with the Minnesota Vikings set to visit Philly on Sunday. The Vikings have Kirk Cousins at the controls of an offense that has wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. Cousins has thrown for 1,387 yards with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions this season for a passer rating of 103.6. Thielen leads the Vikings with 40 catches for 473 yards and two touchdowns with Diggs checking in with 27 receptions for 311 yards and three scores.


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U.S. Daily News | Sports: Philadelphia Eagles pass defense continues to be exploited
Philadelphia Eagles pass defense continues to be exploited
U.S. Daily News | Sports
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