The Eagles' defense under former head coach Chip Kelly and defensive coordinator Bill Davis never really had a fighting chance to succeed given just how much time they spent on the field. Kelly could care less about trying to dominate time of possession so even when his offense would score it still was not on the field all that long. Last season, the Birds' defense finished the season ranked 30th in the league in average yards allowed (401.6) and 28th in average points allowed (26.9). This unit was also ranked 28th against the pass and when it came to stopping the run it was dead last on the list allowing an average of 134.6 yards a game.
No matter who new head coach Doug Pederson tapped as his defensive coordinator, it is pretty obvious that there is really only one way to go this season since it would be pretty hard for this defense to get any worse. The man who is now in charge of turning things around is Jim Schwartz. He has been a head coach in this league with Detroit, but his primary area of expertise is on the defensive side of the ball after serving as a coordinator for 10 of his 22 years coaching in the NFL.
One big thing that Schwartz does brings to the table should be a much higher level of discipline that was seriously lacking under Philly's former coordinator. The Eagles were constantly getting beat on the deep ball and they struggled to get off the field in long yardage third-down situations. The level of talent on this team was definitely not reflective of the results on the field. The defensive line is solid with the likes of Fletcher Cox and Bennie Logan and players like Connor Barwin and Brandon Graham are versatile enough to play up front or just off the line as outside linebackers. The Eagles' defensive secondary has been a source of angst for the past few seasons, but with some new direction you should see some better results behind cornerback Nolan Carroll and safety Malcolm Jenkins as primary anchors.
The biggest change that Schwartz will try and institute is getting after the quarterback with just his defensive line. He believes in a simple scheme that hinges on getting pressure up front while playing man-to-man in the secondary. Time will tell how the current players on the Eagles' roster adapt to this new scheme, but as I mentioned before there really is only one place to go given last year's results. My question is how far up will this defense actually rise from the bottom of the list?