Philadelphia Eagles News

Screens Give Defense Fits

PITTSBURGH -- Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger helped his offense win the time of possession battle in the first half of their win Thursday night over the Eagles with the ability to off-set the Eagles' dynamic pass rush with the screen pass.

In all, Roethlisberger was 8-of-12 for 125 yards with two touchdowns before getting coming out of the game in the second quarter.

"We just have to go back to the drawing board. That's why they call it the preseason. We're going to get everything back together," defensive end Trent Cole said. "We still have a great team. I don't care what anybody says. We still have a great team."

Under new defensive coordinator Juan Castillo and defensive line coach Jim Washburn, the Eagles have installed the wide-nine technique to take advantage of the speed and depth along the defensive line. Instead of reading and reacting at the snap, the linemen sprint to the ball. With a savvy quarterback like Roethlisberger and a line that did a good job of picking up the pressure, the Steelers were able to use that rush against the Eagles.

Defensive end Jason Babin, who played in the system last year in Tennessee with Washburn, said the Eagles had some kinks on the field.

"Honestly, on the defense, we weren't on the same page at times. We weren't communicating well," Babin said. "Everyone has a specific assignment. You just have to do it and everything will work itself out. It doesn't take talent to stop the screen it takes guys turning, running and throwing themselves at guys. When you're not in the right spot and you turn and start running, it doesn't work out."

As tough as Thursday night's loss was, it doesn't count in the win-loss column. And that gives the Eagles some time to fix what happened.

"Honestly, I'd rather have this happen now in the preseason where we make mistakes and we realize what we need to work on and what we need to focus on before the regular season when it counts," Babin said.

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