PHILADELPHIA — Bring on the no-huddle.
"They have been talking a lot about tempo," Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis said Wednesday. "If they do, we practice against that every day, all day. So the tempo will not faze our group."
Davis' unit is used to practicing against Chip Kelly's nonstop, record-setting offense. Trying to stop Nick Foles, LeSean McCoy and company in practices is a tough task. That's why Davis is confident his guys will handle Chad Henne, Toby Gerhart and the Jaguars.
"What are they going to do to their defense?" Davis said. "If they tempo and we stop them, we are no-huddle defense and that's part of it. You have to be in phenomenal shape to be a no-huddle defense, so if they want to tempo us, they have to make sure that they are in great shape defensively, I think."
Sounds like Davis is warning the Jaguars to think twice about going fast. But Jags offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch is eager to run it.
"I spent a lot of time studying what Chip did," Fisch said. "In 2012, we didn't really huddle at all in Miami. We would've liked to run more tempo than we did last year. But the most important thing is first-down production. We're going to go fast."
Whatever the Jaguars do, it'll be a good test for the Eagles in their opener. They won the NFC East title last year despite having the worst statistical defense in franchise history. The 6,304 yards the Eagles gave up in 2013 were 15th-most in NFL history and the 4,636 yards passing were fifth-most.
But the defense improved significantly after an awful first month and had a stretch of nine straight games allowing 21 or fewer points.
"I feel like right now we're in a good position as a defense," linebacker DeMeco Ryans said. "I feel like we picked up right where we left off. Defensively, I feel like our communication is a lot better. Our goal is to not give up a lot of points. We feel like our offense can put up points against anybody, so as long as we hold our own defensively, we should be fine."
Safety Malcolm Jenkins is the only new starter for Philadelphia, but players are more comfortable playing in Davis' 3-4 now that they've done it for a year.
"We got a year under our belt, we got a feel for what Coach is going to call and what he demands every play," cornerback Cary Williams said. "It's going to be fun. We're going to be as physical as we possibly can and we're going to be relentless."
NOTES: WR Josh Huff (shoulder), OT Matt Tobin (ankle) and CB Jaylen Watkins (hamstring) didn't practice Wednesday. Each is a reserve, but Huff would be the No. 1 kick returner if he can play. DB Nolan Carroll would replace Huff if he can't play. ... LB Marcus Smith, a rookie first-round pick, isn't a starter and it's possible he will deactivated for the opener. "We are still not at that place where we are positive of everything," Davis said. "We are game-planning for certain situations. What they come at us with will dictate what we come back at them with, what personnel groupings we are in, how we use our players and what the matchups are."
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