Jonathan Gannon addresses Eagles’ tackling issues

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PHILADELPHIA, PA – DECEMBER 26: Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon and Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (91) chat during the game between the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles on December 26, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

The Philadelphia Eagles’ defense has been a top-10 unit through the first nine weeks of the NFL season. While a top secondary and aggressive front seven have mixed well with an offense that is also a top unit, the defense isn’t a perfect unit.

The Eagles have some tackling woes

Few great defenses are perfect. The 2022 Eagles’ defense has been one of the worst tackling teams in the league. As puzzling a statement as that can be, the team’s lack of consistency in simply tackling the opposing teams has kept inferior teams like the Cardinals, Texans, and Cowboys in games that were ultimately dominated by the Eagles.

Jonathan Gannon opens up

While defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon has acknowledged the tackling problem as something to fix, he isn’t completely worried about it.

“That’s a challenge on a short week going down there, not to make an excuse because everyone has to do it. But I think getting back to a normal week of practice and going through our normal routine will help us with that part of our game.” Gannon told reporters Tuesday. “I talked about it with the team, with the defense. There were some things that I could have done a little bit better to get us in some better spots to make some easier plays for our guys.”

Gannon’s remarks about putting his players in better spots have been echoed throughout the Eagles coaching staff. Nick Sirianni has repeatedly taken the blame for mistakes players make on the field, putting the faults down to a lack of preparation or bad play call.

Looking forward

As the team gets ready for a Monday night matchup against the Washington Commanders, tackling will be a key to another Eagle win, but they’ll be playing a quarterback that they did not face weeks prior.

With Taylor Heinicke winning three of his last four starts with the Commanders, Washington feels much better about their team than when the Eagles won 24-7 back in September. To Gannon, even with a new quarterback, the offense is relatively the same.

“It’s basically the same offense to me. It’s just that he (Heinicke) can move around and make some off-schedule plays, which that presents a different challenge to us when we rush and when we cover.”

If the Eagles are to continue their franchise-best start to a season, they’ll need to do a better fundamental job of tackling against another inferior opponent.

That isn’t lost on the Eagles coaching staff.

Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire