Behind enemy lines: Eagles

September, 3, 2013
9/03/13
10:55
AM ET
The talk all summer in Philadelphia surrounds the offense. Maybe it's because few really wanted to discuss the Eagles' defense, which struggled all last season. But, writes ESPN's Phil Sheridan, the Eagles don't think they need a dominating defense to be successful.

Sheridan takes a look at a comment by Eagles general manager Howie Roseman, a sentiment he shares by the way, to provide insight into why they wanted to hire Chip Kelly and why they have hope despite a work-in-progress defense. I'm not sure defense is "dead," but I do think the notion that a shutdown D is the only way to go has changed. This is an offensive league. But this only means you readjust what you expect from a defense. Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett always says he doesn't get caught up in numbers when it comes to rankings, mainly because they go by total yards. I agree with him (I also remember Greg Blache having a similar view once upon a time, only to change it when the rankings were favorable).

But you still need to rank high in points per game, obviously. And, if you can't stop teams, you'd better help the offense out by creating turnovers. Last season, the Eagles intercepted eight passes and forced five fumbles. The Redskins, by contrast, intercepted 21 passes and recovered 10 fumbles. Teams with great offenses and opportunistic defenses go quite far in the NFL. That's where Philly must improve defensively.

• The Eagles made a linebacker move that doesn't quite make sense to Sheridan.

• By the way, you can bookmark the Eagles' site on ESPN.com for daily updates.

• Michael Vick's 2012 season was, perhaps, a result of a bad preseason marked by injuries and missed summer practices. The fact he struggled shouldn't have been a surprise. This summer? Completely different, writes CSNPhiladelphia's Reuben Frank.

• A roundup of Eagles beat writers and their thoughts on the 53-man roster.

• Two years of poor drafts have taken a toll, writes Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

John Keim

ESPN Washington Redskins reporter

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