Philadelphia Eagles News

Jenkins, Defense Ready To Bounce Back

Linebacker Casey Matthews sees the similarities.

Last season, the Eagles lost to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, at the time the highest-powered offense in the NFL, 52-20. Last Sunday the Eagles lost to Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, right now the highest-powered offense in the NFL, 53-20.

The Broncos racked up 472 yards, while the Packers picked up 475. Both games were on the road.

"They're pretty similar, when you look at it," Matthews said Tuesday.

Eagles fans should hope that Matthews is correct in identifying the similarities of the situations, especially when it comes to how the defense responded last season.

After last year's loss to the Broncos, the defense reeled off nine straight games of holding opponents to 21 points or fewer, a demonstrative response to a loss that was, at the time, tough to swallow.

This year's iteration of the loss was equally painful, but with the Eagles sitting at 7-2 with a defensive unit big on confidence and bigger on forward thinking, the result could once again be a catalyst for defensive coordinator Bill Davis' unit.

That's certainly how the players view it.

"It definitely was a character builder, it's definitely going to show who we are as men, and who we are as individuals out there," cornerback Cary Williams explained Tuesday. "We can't allow this game to trickle over into the next game, and we understand that."

Safety Malcolm Jenkins said after Tuesday's training session that he knows the unit won't allow that to happen; the defense has already put the loss in the rearview, he said, and is focused on the this week's matchup with the Tennessee Titans.

"It's not lingering. We've already put it past us," Jenkins said. "You can't let your victory from the previous week or your failure from the previous week carry into the next week because each week is different, each week is a different opponent."

Jenkins said he has complete faith in the defense's ability to bounce back because of the attitude he's already seen his teammates bring to this weekend's matchup.

"I think the biggest thing is that we're eager to get better, to make the corrections that we need to make," Jenkins explained. "We're excited, and we're looking forward to the opportunity to get better. We still have all the confidence in the world, we still know we're a great team, and we're looking forward to proving that this week."

Matthews said he looks at this week's game as one that will define the defense's character going forward, with six crucial games coming up in the heat of a tight race for the NFC East division title.

He and his teammates know the defense could have played much better against the Packers' superhuman offense. But there were things that the unit can take away from the game, and they'll build on those pieces and work towards a much better, more complete effort this Sunday against Tennessee.

"We just need to come back and fix it," Matthews explained. "It's not like we were in bad spots. We had pretty good coverages. [The Packers] were just making plays. Sometimes there were breakdowns, but that was just a good offense."

Matthews couldn't remember the last time he played a quarterback who was as on top of his game as Rodgers was Sunday, but that was no excuse, he said. Which is why the defense is so ready to get back to Lincoln Financial Field this weekend and take on the Titans.

It's going to be a big game for the unit, and they're champing at the bit to show their true character.

"I'm sure I speak for everyone in here," Matthews said with a grin, "when I say that Sunday can't come fast enough."

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