Philadelphia Eagles

Will the 2021 Eagles ever force a turnover?


The Eagles’ last interception was against a quarterback who’s retired. Their last forced fumble was forced by a player who’s not currently on an NFL roster. Their last September interception was picked off by a player who hasn’t played in two years.

You get the point.

The Eagles don’t create turnovers, and that’s been the case for a few years now, but this year was supposed to be different and at least so far, it’s not.

For the first time in 23 years and only the third time in franchise history, the Eagles have no takeaways two games into a season. 

The Eagles ranked 22nd, 21st and 22nd the last three years with 17, 20, 19 takeaways. Add it up and they ranked 25th over the past three seasons. Not to mention 28th with just 29 interceptions.

This was a big Jonathan Gannon point of emphasis during training camp, but two games in, the work hasn’t paid off.

The Eagles have gotten their hands on some interceptions and they’ve forced a couple fumbles, but the INTs have been dropped and the fumbles have either been recovered by the offense, rolled out of bounds or negated by a penalty.

The Eagles and Jaguars are the only NFL teams with no takeaways. Not very good company. 

The only other years the Eagles opened with two zero-takeaways games were 1996 and 1998.

“I think that you saw some hands on the ball last week and those (turnovers) will come,” Gannon said. “It's like what the head coach (Nick Sirianni) talks about: ‘What we know is to be true, you keep doubling down on that process.’ And how we practice, how we prepare, how we talk about taking the ball away, they will come. So, I'm not real concerned about that.”

The Eagles have some guys with decent takeaway resumes.

Darius Slay once led the NFL with eight interceptions in a season and has 20 in his career. Anthony Harris led the NFL with six INTs just two year ago. Eric Wilson led all linebackers with three INTs last year.

But so far? Nil.

Gannon said as long as his guys stick to their fundamentals, the turnovers will come.

“The things that we can improve on, all of us, are just the couple plays here and there of alignment, assignment and key technique. And just executing at a little bit of a higher level throughout the game consistently.

“That goes for myself as well, continuing to put our guys in the best position possible every play. And so I know I can improve on that.” 

Since the start of 2018, no Eagle has more than three total interceptions.

Ronald Darby, Rasul Douglas, Nate Gerry and Rodney McLeod are tied with three. Marcus Epps, Sidney Jones, Avonte Maddox and Jalen Mills have two. A bunch of guys – including Andrew Sendejo, Corey Graham and Duke Riley – have one.

That’s over 50 games.

Forced fumble leaders during that same stretch are Malcolm Jenkins (7), Fletcher Cox (5), Brandon Graham (4) and Josh Sweat (3).

The Eagles’ last interception? It was by T.J. Edwards off Alex Smith.

Their last forced fumble that resulted in a change of possession? Michael Jacquet.

Their last September interception? That was Nigel Bradham two years ago.

This Eagles defense has done a lot of good things so far. They’ve held points down, they’ve stopped the run for the most part, they’ve avoided big plays.

But safe to say that until this group starts forcing some turnovers, it’s going to be very difficult for the Eagles to be a consistent winner.

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