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The performance the Eagles' first-team defense delivered Thursday was eerily similar to what we saw from that unit last September. It was a short performance, so I don't want to draw any sweeping conclusions, but it was one that was highlighted by poor tackling, poor execution, poor coverage and an inability to get off the field on third- and fourth-down. And again, they struggled against the run.
Sure, the defensive line was still quite effective despite being down three of the four regular starters, but new arrival DeMeco Ryans was a ghost, and Jaiquawn Jarrett embarrassed himself. Nnamdi Asomugha was beat for a first down. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had another missed tackle.
I'm not panicking yet, but I am concerned. Yet for what it's worth, defensive coordinator Juan Castillo isn't worried.
"The thing is that (the players) haven't played since (2011)," Castillo said Sunday."It is the beginning and the key here is that by the first game of the season those things are not happening. That's why we are working every day. You saw that we came out and had a pretty hard practice Saturday and we started tackling. Football is a muscle memory game. You do it over and over again and then you get it."
OK, well, how come the Eagles seem to requite more repetitions to master the muscle memory?