McDermott Was Afraid of the Chargers Passing Game

Written By Bob Cunningham On Monday, November 16, 2009

McDermott's refusal to blitz lost the Eagles this game.



With a depleted secondary and linebacking corps, defensive coordinator Sean McDermott was obviously afraid of Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, and the pair of 6'5" receivers the Chargers boast in Vincent Jackson and Malcolm Floyd.

He feared their big-play ability to the point that he got out of what this defense does best, which is blitz and get pressure on the quarterback. Instead of sticking to the defense's strengths, McDermott opted to sit the safeties and linebackers in coverage.

The front four got some decent pressure on Rivers, but he was easily able to step up past the pressure into a clear pocket, allowing him to find Gates in the middle of the field, along with every other receiver on the team.

McDermott's inexperience came to the forefront yesterday by allowing himself to get scared of the opposing offense and take him out of his element.

There's a difference between tweaking your defense to best defend an opposing team, and it's another thing entirely to change your entire philosophy. When you change the philosophy of a defense, only bad things can happen.

These linebackers are not good enough to sit back in coverage and be effective. They have to constantly be attacking the line of scrimmage to fill gaps on running plays, and get at the quarterback on passing downs.

Will Witherspoon was playing the WILL position, a position he has played in the past, but Chris Gocong was forced to play the MIKE -- a position he has never played in either college of the NFL, which was quite evident during the course of the game -- and Moise Fokou made only his second career start at SAM linebacker.

Were it the original starters in Stewart Bradley, Akeem Jordan, and Chris Gocong this defense could have probably worked, but it was doomed with the trio the Eagles put on the field yesterday.

For that matter, even having guys like Omar Gaither at WILL or Witherspoon at MIKE might have worked, but this trio was absolutely not ready for what McDermott was asking of them.

If this happens again, Reid is going to have to step in and talk with his young defensive coordinator. This is not something that can be allowed to happen again because it lost the Eagles this game. Even with their redzone woes on offense, just one defensive stop could have given them the win.


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