PITTSBURGH -- Rookie Casey Matthews, the youngest member of the Eagles' starting defense, understands with great maturity the challenges of having a new unit come together: "We time to be on the field together and to get to know each other and get used to playing with each other. Everything from making the calls to execution, we need to get on the same page. Time is the only thing that helps you there."
Nobody was in a rush to blame any particular part of the Eagles' defense after Thursday night's 24-14 loss to Pittsburgh. The Eagles couldn't get off the field in the first half, during which the starters played.
And while it was disappointing, to say the least, it was a half of practice with each other. What it showed is that the Eagles need more practice.
"The good thing about a game like this is that we can take a lot from it, learn from it and put this 'Dream Team' thing to rest. We have a lot of work to do," said Matthews, the fourth-round pick from Oregon. "We have to watch this film and get better."
Why the struggles? Matthews said the scheme was "pretty vanilla" and that the Steelers just executed better than did the Eagles. The truth is, the Eagles have been together for a very short time, and that inexperienced showed against quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense.
"I'm new to this. I've been here three weeks," said Matthews. "I'm getting better each and every game as I get more reps in practice. The more time we spend together the better we will play."
What's next for the defense and for Matthews? A day off on Friday and then practice on Saturday, with the Browns ahead next Thursday.
For his part, Matthews said he felt good on the field after taking only 8 snaps the previous week. Matthews had 3 tackles, one for a loss.
"I felt OK out there," he said. "I didn't get into a rhythm the first week, so to go out and play against a good team like the Steelers, it helps out a lot. As far as responsibility wise, I felt pretty good out there."