Eagles' defense waiting for balanced, cohesive game to stop both run, pass

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PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis is waiting for that game when it all comes together.

So far, it hasn't happened.

When his unit controls the opponent's running game, it gives up more than 400 yards passing. When it contains the opposing quarterback, as it did last week against San Francisco, it gets gashed for more than 200 yards rushing.

"We just have to get consistency right now, at all positions," Davis said as his unit prepares to play the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. "I can't say one position — corner, safety, inside (linebacker), outside (linebacker), the D line — played a complete game. And I can't say anyone played poorly or outstanding."

Through its first four games of the season, the Eagles defense has managed to take away one aspect of the opposition's attack while getting burned by the other.

In the opener against Jacksonville, the Jaguars managed less than 3 yards per carry rushing the ball, but journeyman Chad Henne threw for 266 yards and two touchdowns.

Indianapolis rushed for 169 yards, but the Eagles were able to hold quarterback Andrew Luck, whose 1,305 passing yards leads the league, to 172 yards.

Washington managed just 84 yards rushing on 28 carries, but backup quarterback Kirk Cousins passed for 427 yards.

And last week, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick managed just 189 yards passing but Frank Gore ran for 119 of the team's 218 rushing yards in the 26-21 win.

"The edge of our defense, we gave up six big plays again this week," Davis said. "Those six big plays, plus four penalties that extended drives, are what we have to eliminate. Consistency again is our main issue. We are so far ahead of where we were a year ago, but these big plays were not hitting us as much."

Davis said that will help the defense grow, along with being more disciplined with penalties.

The Eagles face a Rams offense on Sunday that, after just three games, ranks ninth in total offense and ninth in passing offense despite playing with a third-string quarterback in Austin Davis.

Davis, a second-year man out of Southern Mississippi, replaced 13-year veteran Shaun Hill, who replaced Sam Bradford, who tore his ACL during the preseason.

Rams running back Zac Stacy has gained 181 yards on 42 carries, an average of 4.3 yards per carry this season.

"It's a quick, rhythmic offense," Davis said. "They've got some running backs who hit the hole hard and right up. They are downhill runners. They take exactly what you give them."

NOTES: Right tackle Lane Johnson came out of his first practice since returning from his four-game suspension OK and is expected to start Sunday against the Rams. ... Nickel cornerback Brandon Boykin (hamstring) and linebacker Mychal Kendricks (calf) both sat out practice Wednesday. Kendricks has missed the past two games. Boykin said early in the week that he expected to play Sunday. He'll have to practice Thursday or Friday for that to happen.

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