‘Not Here to Point Fingers’ Eagles LB Describes Inconsistent Play, Mistakes on Defense

Nate Gerry

Getty Nate Gerry is the new leader of the linebackers room in Philadelphia.

It was a rough day for the Eagles’ defense last Sunday, one marred by poor execution and missed assignments.

Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz took the blame for the mistake-filled performance after the Rams racked up 449 yards and 37 points. The poster boy for those failures has been Nate Gerry who appeared to be out of position covering Tyler Higbee. The bulky tight end went off for three touchdowns, including two where Gerry was seen lagging behind in coverage.

The Eagles middle linebacker didn’t deny those lapses were his fault but there was more to those “hide plays” than the naked eye saw.

“The first one was a boot, not here to point any fingers or anything,” Gerry told reporters. “But I know the second one, I had man-to-man, and it was just one of those hide plays where I had him wide high and he just ran down the opposite way. I just lost my eyes for a split second and I got out-leveraged.”

The first score he referenced was a 4-yard strike to Higbee with 11:15 showing in the first quarter. Jared Goff arced it over Gerry’s head for an easy pitch and catch. On the second one, the Eagles fell for misdirection to the right and Goff found Higbee streaking down the left side of the field. Gerry was the scapegoat trailing late in coverage on that fourth-quarter touchdown to nail the coffin shut.

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Inconsistent Football, Just Flush It

Gerry took over the starting MIKE job this year after the Eagles let Nigel Bradham walk in free agency. It was all part of the organization’s plan to get younger and faster at linebacker, including investing a third-round pick (Davion Taylor) and sixth-rounder (Shaun Bradley) in the position. Gerry has taken over the leadership role in the room and honestly addressed the breakdowns without pointing fingers.

“We had a lot of people in and out of spots where they were supposed to be,” Gerry said. “I think it’s just a thing during the week that we have to fix, going over the plays throughout the week, being fundmentally sound and all on the same page. There were a couple times last week where we weren’t on the sampe page and obviously it cost us, so throughout the week we just have to make sure our communication is on point and everybody is on the same defensive call.”

The 25-year-old watched the tape with his teammates and diagnosed what went wrong. They have learned from their mistakes and moved on to Cincinnati. The defense, especially the linebackers, need to do a better job of stopping the run after giving up 191 rushing yards to Los Angeles. That game? Flushed.

“It’s just one of those bumps in the road that we have to put behind us and learn from it,” Gerry said. “Especially after today’s practice, I feel like we definitely flushed it. We talked about it, obviously we watched the tape and learned from our msistakes we had, just got to flush it.”

Stats Don’t Show How Good Bengals Are

The Bengals rank 26th in total offense, two spots ahead of the Eagles. Rookie quarterback Joe Burrow put the league on notice last week when he showcased his rocket arm and undeniable poise during a nationally-televised game in Cleveland.

Yes, the Bengals lost but Burrow ultimately won the hearts of fans. He threw for 316 yards and three touchdowns in that one. As good as the kid from LSU has looked, it all starts with the stopping the run.

“Stats don’t really show it, but they’re a good football team,” Gerry said. “They got a good running back, he can run the football. Joe Burrow, he looks like a veteran back there … he’s very poised, he has tremendous pocket presence and he’s not going to make a lot of mistakes so we got to put some pressure on him, hopefully put him in some situations that can cause him to make some mistakes but we have to stop the run with Joe Mixon because he’s a great back.”

The Bengals are averaging 95 rushing yards per game and 229 yards through the air. They like to pound the rock with Mixon and then get versatile back Giovani Bernard involved in the passing game. Meanwhile, the Eagles are surrendering 135.5 rushing yards per game after ranking third-best in 2019. Philadelphia has been one of the stingiest defenses against the run throughout Schwartz’s tenure.

“We take pride in stopping the run here in Philadelphia, and that’s what we didn’t do,” Gery said. “We watched the tape and we learned from the mistakes that were made [last week]. We’re focused on the Bengals and stopping the run with them.”

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