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Benching Alex Singleton, Eric Wilson was key reason for Eagles’ 44-6 blowout victory

Just ahead of yesterday’s game against the Detroit Lions, Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon made some significant adjustments. After weeks of horrible play, Gannon benched both Eric Wilson and Alex Singleton in favor of Davion Taylor and T.J. Edwards. It was a move many were waiting for, and it came at the perfect time, being a crucial piece of the Eagles’ 44-6 blowout victory.

During yesterday’s game, Gannon was a changed man, continuously sending pressure towards Jared Goff, who was sacked five times. Josh Sweat and rookie Milton Williams tore apart the Lions’ offensive line, and the one-on-ones they got through sending an extra defender helped tremendously.

One of the most significant beneficiaries of the adjustments on defense was linebacker T.J. Edwards. Edwards played like a bat out of hell yesterday, being perfect in the run game for the Eagles. Over 18 rushing attempts, Philadelphia allowed just 3.1 yards per carry, and the change in backers was a large part of that.

Eagles linebackers snap percentages the last three weeks:

GameAlex SingletonEric WilsonDavion TaylorT.J. Edwards
Week Six (Buccaneers)63%31%49%32%
Week Seven (Raiders)56%33%55%41%
Week Eight (Lions)34%0%63%66%

Edwards graded out at 89.4 in the running game, according to PFF. The next closest Eagle was Marcus Epps with a 72. Epps and Edwards were tied for the most tackles yesterday with nine each, combining for 18 of the team’s 41 tackles.

Alex Singleton still played, but in a minimal role, and Shaun Bradley saw a significant increase in snaps as well, playing just a bit less than Singleton. It’s quite the fall from grace for the Eagles’ captain, but it was a change that needed to be made.

Bradley was by far the best linebacker in coverage, grading out at 72.8 over 13 passing attempts. Singleton was still the second-worst defender in coverage, with a 55.5 over 17 passing plays. One major knock against T.J. Edwards was he allowed the most yards receiving by a mile. However, the Lions’ only weapon on offense is T.J. Hockenson, so this was expected. 

It remains to be seen if Jonathan Gannon will stay with this mindset next week, but it’s likely doubtful. The Chargers are a high-powered offense who can explode for big plays often, which allows an excuse to go back to the soft coverages. Their best bet is to put pressure on Justin Herbert, but it could cost them. At the same time, the Eagles aren’t expected to win anyway, so they might as well get risky.

Mandatory Credit: Philadlephia Eagles

Writer for The Liberty Line, Host of The Flyover Podcast. You can follow me on Twitter @JackPConnell

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