By Mary Cunningham
No living Eagle alum is more beloved by Birds Nation than the great Brian Dawkins, who roamed defensive backfields for 13 years as one of the best safeties in the NFL.
So, when he talks — as he does for a living now on ESPN — we all listen.
In an appearance on 97.5 the Fanatic’s “Mike Missanelli Show,” B-Dawk ripped the lack of effort the Eagles defense appeared to show in Sunday’s loss to the Buccaneers, telling Missanelli the lack of heart “hurt me.”
“I’m not seeing it on a consistent basis,” Dawkins said of the defense’s effort. “I’m in seeing it from guys I expect to see it from. When you go out and go crazy and completely give everything that you have, that bleeds off onto other guys. And I’m not seeing that.”
Dawkins said when he came to Philly in 1996, he researched Eagles defenses of the past and discovered they played with both effort and nastiness, attributes he feels are lacking in Davis’ squad.
“Stop helping people off the ground. When you knock a dude down, let him stay down,” Dawkins said emphatically. “It sends a message that ‘I’m going to be there all day. I’m not going to help you up, so don’t even offer me your hand.’ That’s what I’m talking about.”
Dawkins was offended by how easily quarterback Jameis Winston picked apart the defense.
“Don’t let a rookie sit there and look at exactly what [defense] you’re going to be in so he can pick you apart for five touchdowns. Are you serious?” an emotional Dawkins asked rhetorically. “When I see a defense lining up exactly in the end result … you make the job too easy for a quarterback with the height they have outside at receiver.”
Dawkins noted defensive coordinatoDavis could have learned by watching tape of former Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, who Dawkins said would have blitzed the rookie quarterback from multiple angles, forcing him to make bad decisions and get rid of the ball faster.
“We’re going to make you think faster than you already are thinking as a rookie because we’re going to pressure you, we’re going to come after you,” Dawkins said of Johnson’s defense. “We’re going to make you make mistakes. We’re not going to allow you to be comfortable.
“If I’m the coach, I’m going back to show them the good things [in the Dallas game], not the bad things. I want you to see the good things we’ve seen from this team. … Video department, I want you to go back though the season and pull up the positives, the great plays, the speed, the tenacity, the angry play from every one of these individuals and let’s put it on a tape we can show these dudes. Because that’s what we’re missing.”