The Eagles' first-team defense took more than 30 fewer snaps in preseason games this summer compared to last summer. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz didn't think that will affect the team's readiness for the season because the two practices with the Miami Dolphins provided significant work for the defense.
"We didn't have a situation where we practiced against another team last year," Schwartz said. "And that starter took a lot of reps Monday and Tuesday. Those were some hard practices. If you're going to look at it that way, you have to include that. It's against another opponent. It's good quality competition. There's some contact. It's not live contact, but there's some contact. And I think that'll probably even it out a little bit more."
Linebacker Jordan Hicks said the Eagles' forced turnovers also must be taken into consideration when assessing the difference in snaps in this preseason. He has a point there. The Eagles' first-team defense has forced four turnovers in just more than three quarters. Those capped drives of five plays, three plays, one play, and two plays.
"I think that's a positive sign," Hicks said. "It shows we're getting off the field. …Going into this first game, we're definitely further along this point this year than we were last year."
The turnovers are especially noteworthy. The Eagles are swarming on defense this summer, playing faster in their second year in the scheme. But the preseason caveat must be applied, according to Schwartz.