No. 2 in the all-important statistic are Baltimore and Minnesota, teams that are each plus-4.
Because there is a bit of randomness to turnovers, it’s the one statistic that can’t be counted on to continue at the current rate when things pick up after the bye week for the final 11 games.
What Philadelphia has done, however, is assemble a host of defensive players who have a history of getting their hands on the football like Haason Reddick, Kyzir White, James Bradberry, and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, coupled with an offensive coaching staff, spearheaded by assistant head coach/running backs Jemal Singleton, that has stressed taking care of the football each and every day at the NovaCare Complex.
The market correction will be more on the offensive side of the football which has turned it over just twice in six games.
The defense, which has nine interceptions and five fumble recoveries, is on pace for nearly 40 takeaways a hearty number but nowhere near the modern record of 63 by the 1984 Seattle Seahawks or the franchise standard of 56 by the 1989 Eagles defense.
The 2017-18 Super Bowl LII team took it away 35 times and is the neighborhood Philadelphia would like to be in by the end of the season.
Adding playmakers in the secondary like James Bradberry and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson to the proven abilities of Darius Slay and Avonte Maddox has had the back seven buzzing. Last season featured competency at those positions with Steve Nelson and Anthony Harris but little opportunity for the sudden change Nick Sirianni and Jonathan Gannon crave.
Slay and Gardner-Johnson lead the Eagles with three interceptions each after CGJ picked off two Cooper Rush throws during last Sunday’s win over Dallas.
Bradberry has two picks, including a 27-yard pick-six in the season opener against Detroit, and Maddox has one.
“Obviously we have really talented players,” said Gannon. “They’re going to make a lot of plays that a lot of guys don’t make or can make because they have a lot of talent. They take the film work and the coaching to the practice field, and it carries over to the game field. When they get chances to make plays, they make them. It’s really helped our team.”
Gannon pointed to GM Howie Roseman for procuring the talent and defensive passing game coordinator/defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson and assistant DB coach D.K. McDonald when it came to getting the newcomers up to speed.
“He’s a guy that it wasn’t very hard [to fit into the sefense] because he loves ball,” said Gannon. “Like that’s what the whole premise of this thing is about is football character. Do guys love ball? They love to play. He does. “So even though he might not be the same personality that James Bradberry is, James Bradberry loves ball. So does Chauncey. Of course, they’re going to get along.”
You can’t control the random nature of NFL turnovers but, like most things in preparation this season, the Eagles controlled what they could by acquiring players with a history of taking it away, and emphasizing their own ball security.