As the 2015 season got underway, the Eagles Run Defense set some assertive tones. But as the season went on and we saw the emergence of Jordan Hicks before his injury and disappointing return of Kiko Alonso, the run Defense has gone from ranked 2nd in the league to 27th. But why has there been such a rapid and frightening decline when stopping the run?
It’s no lie that Jordan Hicks was en route to a DROY nomination prior to his injury, but just how vital was he? Well, let’s look at the average yards per rush before and after his injury.
Pre injury: 4.1 yards
Post injury: 5.0 yards .
First 6 games: 3.5 yards
Last 8 games: 5.1 yards
In the six games that Jordan Hicks has been absent, the Eagles have allowed 50 more rushing yards per game. It doesn’t take a mathematician to tell you that’s almost an entire yard more per rush..and it isn’t as if they’re playing elite backs week in and week out. The play against David Johnson in which he quite literally steam trained his way through the Defense was just embarrassing to watch.
Every opposing rushing statistic seems to have increased since we lost Hicks. But this brings up another argument. When Hicks went down with injury..Alonso was preparing for his return from injury. So was it the loss of Hicks that saw such a loss of talent that the run D disappeared..or the return of Kiko Alonso?
Since his return from injury, Alonso has been worryingly inconsistent every week..to the point where we address it every week.
We could post endless videos about how Alonso is hurting the Defense but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. This happens week after week, play after play.
Alonso is quick to tell the media that he is 100%, but if that’s the case the Eagles have perhaps made the most damaging trade in franchise history.
Off-loading McCoy wouldn’t exactly have been hard, he’s a sought after talent and driving a better deal than a linebacker with an injury history and a pick would have been as difficult as predicting when a swing pass is coming. But settling for something so low and banking on a turnaround was always a risk..but the more the season draws on, the more Alonso’s inconsistency and almost fear of getting hurt haunts the run Defense.
Would Alonso be this bad if Hicks was sharing the snaps? It’s an interesting question but you can’t blame the failure to the stop the run on Alonso alone.
Bennie Logan has had an injury holding him back for weeks now and it’s no coincidence that the numbers have risen considerably since the injury first surfaced. Logan is likely out for this Saturday which is only going to hold the Defense back more.
But then there are the missed tackles. The Eagles missed a total of 15 tackles against the Cardinals..15 of the 67 they attempted. The run Defense as a whole seems to have lost his spark..and I don’t think it’s down to any one particular reason…but without Simba, it’s clear just how much the team are struggling.