This season, the Eagles' run defense has been a major strength for the team. It has allowed an average of just 3.11 yards per carry, the best mark in the NFL.
The front seven has been spectacular when it comes to stopping the run, and for members of the secondary, that's all they could ever ask of their teammates. According to safety Malcolm Jenkins, not worrying about that aspect of the game only allows him to focus further on his job.
"That's everything. As a secondary, when you don't have to worry about the run game and you can stop the run in a two-safety look, that's just one more person you have in coverage," Jenkins said on Tuesday. "It takes the stress off you. We honestly don't think about the run at all as a secondary because our front does a great job of really clogging up the gaps.
"If one does happen to break, it's usually going east or west. Those are easy tackles for us to come out of the secondary to make. Rarely do we get somebody screaming downhill through the secondary. That's a DB's nightmare. That's one of the benefits of playing in front of the big guys we've got, or playing behind them I should say."
Despite the praise, linebacker Connor Barwin was quick to push the credit back to the team's secondary, as was Mychal Kendricks. They both have been impressed with the way the pieces have all fit together, and they're especially impressed with Jenkins and Walter Thurmond.
Barwin even joked that "Jenkins needs to realize that their ability to cover on the back end is helping" with the run defense. The two parts both need to be executing properly for success, which Thurmond explained in detail.
"It forces them to pass the ball and it utilizes our strength in the secondary. Then the offense gets to points where they just have to pass to get away from running," Thurmond said. "It just makes life easier to where we can go out there and get turnovers, get sacks, get interceptions and get the ball back to our offense. It goes hand-in-hand as far as defense and our offense scoring points and raising the score."
Heading to Washington this weekend, that shut-down defense will have what may be their biggest challenge of the season. Washington will undoubtedly run the ball, a proven statistic. It is currently the fourth-best rushing team in the league, with 431 yards in its first three games.
It relies heavily on two backs, Alfred Morris and Matt Jones, to help the offense produce. Jones is averaging 5.25 yards per carry, while Morris is averaging 4.06.
"Morris is a big, tough runner. I've played against him for a couple years now," Barwin said. "Then the new guy, their rookie, is a big, fast guy. We have a lot of respect for their running game. That'll be a huge challenge for us.
"We've got a lot to improve on. We want to continue to get even better against the run, and as I said we've got a big challenge with the Redskins' running game. It'll probably be the toughest run game we face this year."
Both teams are currently sitting at 1-2, and it's clear this division game holds a lot of weight. The Eagles, however, are confident in their abilities, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
This Sunday, the defense just wants to do their job, and do it well.
"We feel good, but as linebackers, that's your job. That's my job. If I don't do anything else, you need to stop the run as a linebacker," Kendricks said. "Linebackers get super excited off tackles ... like you're doing your job. Now if you get a pick six or something crazy, some sacks, then I say be excited. If you're making some tackles, you're doing your job. It's just a day's work."