PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Over the last month, the Philadelphia Eagles have made ordinary and aging running backs look like Emmitt Smith in his prime.
They'll have to figure out a way to stop the run or it could be a problem down the line and in the playoffs.
We have to get better,'' defensive tackle Darwin Walker said.After the last game, if you're a coach on another team, you probably will try to do the same things.''
The Eagles (7-1) gave up 252 yards on the ground in a 27-3 loss last Sunday to the Pittsburgh Steelers, who were without leading rusher Duce Staley. Veteran Jerome Bettis filled in for the former Eagles running back and gained 149 yards on 33 carries.
When we were in the right place, we missed tackles,'' linebacker Ike Reese said.The biggest thing about Sunday is that our (defensive backs) made more tackles than our linebackers and our front four. We can't allow that to happen. Those guys aren't built to be tackling 240-pound, 250-pound running backs all game.''
Through eight games, the Eagles are ranked 27th against the run, allowing 130.6 yards per game. In the last four games, they've allowed 688 yards, an average of 172 per game.
The Panthers got 66 yards from Stephen Davis and 63 from fullback Brad Hoover in a 30-8 loss to Philadelphia on Oct. 17. Carolina easily would've run for more than 158 yards if Jake Delhomme hadn't been forced to throw 42 times because the Eagles built an early lead.
Lee Suggs ran for 78 yards and William Green added 64 in Cleveland's 34-31 overtime loss to the Eagles a week later. The Eagles were able to stop the run in the second half, though, holding the Browns to 42 yards.
Chester Taylor, playing for suspended All-Pro Jamal Lewis, ran for 78 yards in Baltimore's 15-10 loss to Philadelphia two weeks ago.
``It's a concern. All you can do is go look at the tape, correct it and not make the same mistakes,'' middle linebacker Mark Simoneau said.
Philadelphia's inability to stop the run starts with the struggles of Walker and fellow starting defensive tackle Corey Simon. Both are having sub-par seasons, with Simon, a former first-round pick, playing in the final year of his contract.
Backup defensive tackles Sam Rayburn and Hollis Thomas have done a better job against the run, and could get more playing time. Also, backup middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter could see more action.