Jonathan Gannon Isn't Worried About Lack of Turnovers

The Eagles are top five in a number of key defensive categories, but turnovers aren't one of them
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PHILADELPHIA - The Eagles' defense has been pretty impressive over the first two weeks of the season from a bottom-line standpoint.

Entering Week 3, which will culminate when the Eagles visit Dallas on Monday night, Jonathan Gannon's unit is top five in many of the most important defensive categories like points allowed (No. 2), total defense (No. 4), pass defense (No. 3) and third-down defense (No. 5).

The one area that hasn't been a part of the success is turnovers, a cornerstone of Gannon's HITS philosophy.

Through 120 minutes of football, the Eagles defense has yet to generate a turnover, something somewhat mitigated by the fact the offense has played turnover-free football as well.

They and Jacksonville are the only team in the NFL without a forced turnover, yet.

They are also the only team in the NFL that hasn't committed a turnover, so, for now, it's no harm, no foul.

"I think that you saw some hands on the ball last week [in the 17-11 loss to San Francisco] and those [turnovers] will come," Gannon told SI.com's EagleMaven Wednesday. "We just got to keep doubling – it's like what the head coach 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."

From Gannon's perspective, his defense has done enough to win each week and that's his ultimate goal.

"I do believe it's really cool to see our guys when we do give them the game plan, and say, ‘Hey, if we do these three things, we'll have a chance to win the game.’ And I thought that we've done that for the first two weeks," the DC said. "So, hopefully, we can continue to do that and continue to grow and get a little bit better as we get going."

Jonathan Gannon

Jonathan Gannon

The competition is going to ramp up from here, however. The Cowboys have an explosive offense and then Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas Chiefs, as well as Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will sandwich a game against the much-improved Carolina Panthers.

All the upcoming offenses over the next month are much more explosive than Atlanta or San Francisco, the Eagles' first two opponents.

One of the keys against the Falcons and 49ers has been limiting so-called X-plays or explosive plays. Gannon's defense has only given up one pass of more than 20 yards in the first two weeks and only one run above 15 yards.

A 40-yard gash play by the 49ers' Deebo Samuel late in the first half Sunday was the key play on the scoring drive that put San Francisco on top for good. Even that one play, however, was a relatively short catch over the middle that Samuel used his speed to run away from the secondary.

"The one that happened over 20, I wish I had that call back because I think I could do a better job of putting our guys in a better call to not allow that," Gannon said when discussing the Samuel play. "But, we've talked about it since we've gotten here, is explosive plays is a winning stat, winning or losing stat, as takeaways are.

"... I think that why you see that right now – and we can get better at that, as well – but I think these last two games, what you're seeing is guys being in the correct spot and playing the coverages the correct way. And, it really comes down to execution in the call and we're executing those calls not to allow explosive passes."

Moving forward, it's hard to imagine the Eagles staying in the top five of so many defensive categories after the murder's row of Cowboys, Chiefs, and Bucs. If the numbers remain respectable, however, that will be a very positive sign for this defense.

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

-John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody McDonald every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on both PhillyVoice.com and YouTube. John is also the host of his own show "Extending the Play" on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.