April 17, 2024

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How the return of Jordan Davis saves the Philadelphia Eagles in week 13

How the return of Jordan Davis saves the Philadelphia Eagles in week 13

In week eight of the 2022-23 NFL season, Jordan Davis went down with an ankle injury. The Philadelphia Eagles selected Davis with the 13th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Despite a lack of playing time, Davis made an immediate impact on the defense. After being on the injury reserve for four weeks, Davis will be active, making his return against the Tennessee Titans.

Jordan Davis’s impact

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - OCTOBER 30: Jordan Davis #90 of the Philadelphia Eagles is helped off the field after an injury in the second quarter of a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lincoln Financial Field on October 30, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

While the Eagles have an absurd amount of depth on their defensive line, losing Davis had a severe impact on the Eagles’ run defense. Since listing Davis to the IR, the Eagles have given up 134 rushing yards per game. This number would be the eighth most rushing yards allowed per game in the NFL. Before losing Davis, the Eagles were allowing 115 rushing yards per game. A 21-yard increase truly highlights the impact that Davis had on this defense.

While Davis was a large part of this run defense, his absence can’t be the sole blame for the Eagles’ lack of success. Defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon has been subpar in game-planning and play-calling for the Eagles’ defense. Over the last few weeks, every team has known that they could kill the Eagles on the ground, and those teams did just that. Not once did Gannon play a run-commit defense, trying to eliminate the run game early.

Why Jordan Davis is a necessity against the Titans

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 13: Derrick Henry #22 of the Tennessee Titans runs the ball for a touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second quarter at TIAA Bank Field on December 13, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida.
Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

With the Eagles’ run defense struggling, their fans are terrified of this week 13 matchup with the Titans. This fear is because they have one of the most dominant running backs in all of football in, Derrick Henry. In this case, dominant doesn’t mean elite; it means very hard to tackle. Fortunately for the Eagles, they’ll have a 6’6, 330-pound monster returning to their defensive line this week.

This is different from saying that Henry will see little-to-no success simply because Davis is back in the lineup. Naturally, Henry will get his and likely put up some excellent numbers. Over his last five games, Henry is averaging over 100 yards per game, and a touchdown score a game. That being said, the Titans are not known for their passing game whatsoever. The Titans will lack offensive game elsewhere if the Eagles can somewhat contain the run.

The one concern in the passing area is the Eagles’ secondary without CJ Gardner-Johnson. Johnson fell to the ground after a hit in the Packers game, leaving after that play and remaining out. Davis and Johnson swapped places on the IR on Saturday, making for a bitter-sweet roster update from the Eagles. With all of that being said, things could be worse in the secondary. Rookie Reed Blankenship will fill in for Johnson at the safety position, just as he did against the Packers. In that game, Blankenship had a very impressive interception from Aaron Rodgers. His level of play against the Packers decreased concern among Eagles fans. The Eagles will have a chance to dominate a solid Titans team with a complete defensive performance.