The Philadelphia Eagles are struggling heading into their Week 4 matchup against the San Francisco 49ers. The Eagles are sitting at 0-2-1 and have had their troubles on the offensive side of the ball.
Quarterback Carson Wentz has underwhelmed so far. The fifth-year pro has thrown two interceptions in each game so far while completing just 59.8% of his passes. This bodes well for a Niners’ defense that is second in the NFL in passing yards against per game.
“It’s a tremendous defense. I know they’re missing some pieces, but it’s still an aggressive attack style, they’re very, very dominant explosive, upfront, you know, with their front, four guys, linebackers can run, they’re young,” Philadelphia head coach Doug Pederson said. “Just just put on the tape, and you love the way they play. You respect everything about them.”
San Francisco’s pass rush is missing Nick Bosa and Dee Ford, but this is a favorable matchup for the 49ers defensive lineman. The Eagles are giving up 3.7 sacks per game and have had trouble giving Wentz a clean pocket.
“It takes a quality game plan, it takes being able to execute against a really good front,” Pederson said. “Our guys, they look forward to going against a great defense like this.”
Pederson speaks highly of San Francisco linebacker Fred Warner. Pro Football Focus has the BYU product graded at 84.6 through three games. Warner has also played more than 90% of the defensive snaps in each of the 49ers contests.
“The fact that he never comes off the field, he’s all three downs,” Pederson said. “For a young player, you can see the leadership, getting them lined up, giving him in the right calls ... Just a lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm. The kid can run, he’s a downhill, physical linebacker that I think is just playing really well right now.”
Philadelphia has played well defensively. The Eagles racked up 8 sacks last week against the Cincinnati Bengals and ranked sixth in yards allowed per game. Pederson isn’t taking backup Nick Mullens for granted with starting QB Jimmy Garoppolo’s status for the matchup still up in the air.
“San Francisco’s blessed to [have] probably two starters, quite frankly, guy’s a smart kid, he’s a hard worker, he puts the time in, you can see that,” Pederson said. “He doesn’t make mistakes it’s rare that you see a poor decision, a bad throw something like that on tape. He’s just constantly processing the information, doing the right thing with the football, helping his team win.”
Mullens’ development is a credit to head coach Kyle Shanahan, who continues to impress despite the rash of devastating injuries the 49ers have suffered early this season. Shanny has kept the team focused on the task at hand, as evidenced by the back-to-back blowouts over the lowly New York teams.
Pederson knows he and his team will have to be at their best to get a win on Sunday. He praised Shanahan’s system and how is energy resonates with the team.
“Just making it making it simple for the guys, I think that’s the thing that Kyle can do, being able to teach and communicate his vision, his plan for the game plan that particular week,” Pederson said. “That’s why you see guys play fast, they play, I want to say excited, but it’s a group that kind of thrives off of that, and they thrive off each other, and execution, and it’s all because they do a great job of their preparation.”