Some Hope for the Defense

Posted: June 2nd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 87 Comments »

The Eagles defense was all over the place in 2013. They were up and down during the season, but also in games. There would be stretches where they looked outstanding. There would be other times when they seemed hopeless.

I started thinking about the Chargers game yesterday and a couple of things occurred to me. First, Bradley Fletcher missed the game. That meant that Brandon Boykin started and Brandon Hughes had to play a lot. Patrick Chung started at FS. My review of his game began with “Not a good game…”. That was also when Vinny Curry was banished to the bench. Damion Square was the backup RDE. He was useless as a pass rusher in that game. You had Sopoaga at NT. He got no push on pass plays. It really shouldn’t be a surprise that the Eagles gave up 539 yards and 33 points.

The Eagles gave up 396 yards to a beat up Packers offense. They gave up 427 yards to the Skins in the second meeting. What did those games have in common? Bradley Fletcher missed both of those games.

This is where having Nolan Carroll and Jaylen Watkins can make a real difference. There was no depth at outside CB last year.

Personnel changes at Safety will also help. Look back at last year and you’ll see that Patrick Chung starting meant bad stuff would happen in that game. He actually got benched for part of the Vikings game due to sloppy play.

Malcolm Jenkins doesn’t have to be Brian Dawkins to help the defense. He just has to play smart and eliminate some of the mistakes that Chung made. That will make a big difference. Jenkins spent a lot of time in the slot last year. This season he will be more of a pure Safety. The Eagles can move him around if they want, but they have good slot corners so Jenkins won’t be needed there on a regular basis.

Last year Kurt Coleman and Colt Anderson struggled when they did play on defense. The Eagles feel like Chris Maragos should be an upgrade on them. Anderson never showed much potential on defense. Coleman did, but not last year.

I haven’t had a chance to go back and study all of my old notes, but it sure looked like the backup DL failed to do much in some of the bad games from 2013. This is where Joe Kruger, Taylor Hart, Vinny Curry, Damion Square and/or Beau Allen have a chance to make a difference. A play here. A play there. That can really help a defense. I’m not talking about strip sacks. Just a batted pass or some quick pressure on a 3rd down that forces an incompletion. Get the other team off the field.

Competition will help here. Kruger, Hart and Curry could be fighting for 2 spots. They certainly will be battling for playing time. Allen and Square will be battling for a spot and playing time.

I would have loved for the defense to add some impact player, but this group can get better with the guys they did add. Study the worst performances from 2013 and you’ll see how this group can make a difference.

_


  • MattE

    Ugh… Roc Carmichael

  • Engwrite

    Hope you are right, Tommy. I wonder if with their new flexibility the may consider playing the dime with Boykin one on one on a receiver (such as DeSean), Jenkins on the slot plus Wolff and Allen.

    • MattE

      I would love to see Boykin on DeSean this year….

      • GEAGLE

        Whoever can play him closest to how the kid from the saints played him, will get to defend him.. Boykin/Jaccson would be awesome tho

    • GEAGLE

      Yeah I think we will absolutely see 3 safety looks with Jenkins moving into the slot! Heck, Billy Davis wanted to do it last year and our safeties sucked lol.. Billy considered,Chung in the slot, so you can count on Jenkins being used in that role…. But we will have plenty of variety, different looks to throw at people….
      ..
      For example! we will throw a dime look at QBs, Iike the one you suggest with 3 safeties….but we will also throw a dime defense at QB that only uses two safeties, with Boykin and Jaylen Watkins as the slot
      CBs… So even if Nate starts the season as the #2 safety. Wolff will still see snaps every game… But no matter how good Nate is, by November/December Earl Wolff should make it impossible to keep him off the field. He has too much talent and athletic ability to not develop into A stud. IM expecting him, and judging him on his ability to win the starting safety position before this year ends… IDEALLY Nate plays great, but Wolff beats him in camp..But at the very least Wolff needs to win that job by December 1st of this year

  • GEAGLE

    This defense is going to be really good!!! Like I said this time last year, we are going to be better than people think. ..
    ..
    I don’t think they got the credit for just how well they played after the Denver game. Too many people look at our defender as the players they saw on the field last year….by now everyone knows that they should expect young players to improve, but we should be expecting improvement out of our veterans as well. No matter how well Guys like Barwin played, we haven’t seen his best ball as an Eagle yet. We haven’t seen him play with a defense play as a cohesive unit yet. this year we will take a few Giant steps forward, but in 2015 guys will really know each other’s game and that’s when we should our best ball…I don’t care how great Barwin was, it will get BETTER! We haven’t seen him play yet with a developed veteran defensive line in front of him. we haven’t seen him and Kemdrick have that connection when they just look at each other and know what each other are thinking..

    The ONLY players we shouldn’t be expecting improvement from our guys who father,time has gotten it’s hands on and have already started their athletic nose dive. With all due respect to everyone, I don’t care to hear what anyone has to say about Demeco Ryan. Fans and media have been counting that dude out since the moment we traded for him. We got the dude at like 27-28yrs old and talked about him as if he was 33yrs old. He then goes on

    • Mike Roman

      Sure, DeMeco doesn’t have the speed to keep up with the modern TEs in the league, but few LBs do. The man does everything else so well. He is smart, physical, and reliable. He set career highs for INTs, sacks, and passes defended last year. I’m not sure why everyone is so ready to push him out the door.

      I remember when London Fletcher was a free agent from Buffalo so many years ago and nobody wanted to touch him because of his age. Look at how that turned out. A 3-4 ILB can have a long, productive career in this league provided they stay healthy.

      • Ken Jomo

        The reason everyone is willing to oush him out the door is the $6.9mil he is getting paid. He is making more than Patrick Willis this year and only $100k less in 2015. He is being paid like an impact ILB, but is simply a very steady, consistent player. That’s not a bad thing to say about your ILB, but you can’t pay him as a high level impact guy. Especially with all of the young talent we have coming up for contracts over the next couple of years.

        • GEAGLE

          Sure they will renegotiate his contract. The QB of a Multi front, no huddle defense is important and I believe Chip has every intention on having Demeco when he takes the run at the Lombardi this next 2-3 years. Meco is a family man, and he wants to win. I’m sure they will renegotiate, and !Meco is the type of vet you can keep because he won’t make a stink about younger players taking more and more snaps…..he is also the Type of I high character guy that down the road you can convert his salary to signing bonus, pay him up front to clear some cap space and not have to worry about Meco taking the money and then mailing it in…

          We will renegotiate and keep him here another two years…

          • anon

            He’ll be gone if they think someone can take his place. The way our depth looks he’ll be here for at least 2 more years (can’t see them buying a starting ILB next year). I’d really like to see Goode progress to a starer, but i don’t see Kendricks Qbing anything for another year — hopefully he’ll prove me wrong in TC.

          • Mike Roman

            To me Kendricks and Ryans are yin-yang. On one hand you have the young (sometimes reckless) play maker and on the other hand you have the sound technician. I think it would be dangerous to have two of the same starting side by side at ILB.

            I’d love to see more of Goode so we can get a better feel of where he fits in. I think we have to play him more this year so we can see what we have there. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to give DeMeco some rest either.

        • Mike Roman

          Totally. I get that part of it. But people are pointing to his age and speed as other reasons to oust him. Well, I don’t know. Maybe it’s the age / $ factor combined that have people ready to move on. Until we are sure that we have his replacement ready, I’m just weary of cutting him. So I’m pulling for a contract renegotiation.

      • GEAGLE

        Yup yup…. Meco is going to have his best year as an Eagle. I have no doubts..as great of a year as he had last year we put soooo much on his plate in every way possible. He had to QB a front 7 with little experience and little time to gel. He had to make all the calls and get all young players lined up. We made him the face of the defense having to handle all media responsibilities..and we had no depth, no subpackage alternatives so we had no choice but to ask way too much of him….this year, we will get to see all the awesome stuff we are accustomed to getting from Meco, but we are now equipped with depth for subpackage alternatives so we will get to mask his weakness and only ask him to do what he is great at…
        ..
        Which means we should see his best, and most efficient year as an eagle. Not only do we get to only ask him to do what he does well this year, but it’s the first year since he has been here that he will get to enjoy schematic continuity…he wasn’t supposed to be able to play in a 3-4, now he actually has some experience in this scheme… Really excited about the year we get out of our Captain, and I can’t wait to see him play with young players around him like cox,Kendrick,Logan,Boykin, curry who should be really flying around. I believe our front 7 will be EXCELLENT. I said we had the best front 7 in the division this time last year and people thought I was nuts lol

        As awesome as our front 7 will be, I think it’s equally exciting to add Malcolm Jenkins who is basically like adding the DB version of Demeco Ryan…actually Jenkins is a cross between Meco’s leadership/QB ability in the he secondary And Barwins versatility, jack of all trades in the secondary… So while the signing of Jenkins isn’t like adding a stud Brian Dawkins, I think it’s an extremely under rated signing… Just like when we signed Barwin! people thought it was solid but nothing to get excited over! and now Barwin proved to be a HUGE addition…. I expect the same dynamic to play out with Jenkins..

        last year I said, we already have 70% of the pieces to an eventual top defense in place(they just needed time to develop and Gel)..Today I’ll say we have ATleast 85% of the pieces in place! Expecting a much improved defense this season, by the end of the year we will be accepted as a top 10 defense…

  • A Roy

    Actually, I think losing Jackson might help the defense somewhat.

    How? We had a ‘quick strike’ offense last year. Many drives were over in less than two minutes one way or the other. Jackson had a significant number of 20+ yard plays. Losing that, and having longer, more time-consuming drives, will keep the defense off the field more and will tire out the opposing defense more.

    • mtn_green

      Quick strike is here to stay, not going anywhere. It’s Chips philosophy. I do think we might see some more intermediate and short passing which will help sustain drives. But every play will be one good block or missed tackle from a touchdown.

      • A Roy

        It may be what they want to do, but I don’t believe they have anyone as dynamic as Jackson, thus the drives will be somewhat longer. I think that’s a good thing

  • GEAGLE

    Tom and anyone else who wants to chime in…

    I have no idea what Maragos is supposed to be. What is the primary reason for why he is here? I have to admit I do not know his game. is he an ELITE ST player? Is he here to be this era’s Ike Reese, Colt Anderson..who were our best special teams players but guys we never wanted on the field playing defense?
    Is he a great ST player? Or is he a quality backup safety who can be counted on to add depth, while being a solid special team player?

    he could be a horrible safety and still be a great signing depending on how good he is on ST, and what your expectations of I him are at safety. If you aren’t counting on him in subpackages or key reserve roles, than his ability at safety don’t matter.,,, but if u signed him thinking you are adding him is reliable safety depth, than,he can’t suck at safety and be considered a good signing,,,
    ,,,,
    I’m assuming he is a better ST player than Colt? Fair?.. But what should I be expecting out of him defensively, if anything?

    • anon

      ST ace with upside (aka i won’t cringe automatically if he sees the field). Being around great players he probably has a good work ethic, an understanding of the position and more importantly SEA’s defensive scheme.

      • GEAGLE

        If he is a ST ace, than I would assume he is even better than Colt Anderson which is exciting from a ST stand point..
        .
        But defensively…would he be a,#4 or that Colt Anderson #5

        Malcolm Jenkins versatility allows us to line him up in all traditional safety roles, we can line him up out wide as a CB. For example say we want to match him up against Jordan Reed and they split him out wide.. Jenkins can follow him. Instead of us having to put someone else on Reed….. He also is capable of playing Nickle..so we can go with the 3 safety looks Billy wanted to run last year.. We can use Nate and Wolff as the safeties and move Jenkins downs to the slot…

        Jaylen Watkins is the CB version of Malcolm Jenkins…
        This year I would expect Jaylen to be the dime CB. Down the line I would expect him to win the job on the outside…Jaylen can also play emergency safety which allows he to dress one less DB..
        ..
        Wonder how,the Versatility of Malcolm Jenkins and Jaylen Watkins effect the “numbers game” of roster or wh

        • anon

          agree with all of that. should also help disguise safety blitzes, corner blitzes, etc.

          • GEAGLE

            Absolutely… That isn’t talked about enough but we could develop a nice little feisty unit of defensive Backs…..we went from the prissy NNamdi and the wimpy DRC..undersized Kurt Coleman, and Nate who lacked confidence,…now we have some really nice depth a DB..we have a bunch of fiesty, physical DBs who will come up and tackle….assuming we develop some nice DB blitz packages..

        • TheRogerPodacter

          Re: Dime CB – you expect Jaylen Watkins to beat out Nolan Carroll (sp?) ?
          i would think that Carroll has the head start on that spot based solely on his experience.

          of course, he is probably the first in line to replace Williams/Fletcher at outside CB, so if one of them go down with an injury, he will be outside and then Watkins would be the next in line for the Dime position.

          of course, seeing as how Watkins is sort of a CB/S tweener, i could see Billy coming up with a more flexible package with Jenkins & Watkins out there as half CB, half S.

          • GEAGLE

            Good point. Forgot Nolan..but I’m not 100% sure what we are doing With him. Is he “next man up” outside AND inside? I know he will be the first outside CB off the bench if someone gets hurt, but will he also be used in the slot? Or will they let him focus outside, and Jaylen focus inside?

          • TheRogerPodacter

            yea, i don’t know either. i’m hoping he can push Williams/Fletcher to be a little better just by competing for a job, at the very least.

            i’m just happy that having more depth means that we can likely get rid of Hughes/Carmichael/Marsh

          • GEAGLE

            Marsh is def gone, which will be a joyous occasion. Leadfoot Charmicheal is in trouble… Is Brandon Hughes still on the roster.,

          • D3FB

            Hughes got cut with an injury settlement last summer. Was on the Browns for a minute, currently on the street.

    • Dan

      ST mainly but he is a solid backup as well

  • sprawl

    I think Rivers finished the season with one of the best ‘time-to-release’ QB stat lines in the league. Did it seem like even an average pass rush would’ve helped much given the liabilities in the secondary at that time?

    • Tumtum

      Rivers had a great season in general last year, but came into that game playing out of his mind. He looked just like Peyton Manning has looked every time he has played the Eagles (in his whole career), which is like a HoFer.

  • GEAGLE

    Nice Article Tom… People need to have more faith in our young players. Our coaches and front office people should have earned some of out trust by now, no? well one of the fundamental principles of this new regime is we won’t be paying for other teams superstars. We plan on drafting and developing our own stars..in many cases, superstars don’t look like superstars right away lol
    IDEALLY you draft a kid that just steps on the field and dominates from day one, but unfortunately it doesn’t always work like that lol.
    ..
    Just because we haven’t seen our young players perform like superstars yet oh defense, it doesn’t automatically mean we still need to add our stars. I don’t care how great Boykin looked or how a guy like Curry struggled with his two gapping…our second year defenders were basically rookies last year after asking them in their second year to go from a 4-3?wide 9 to a hurry up, no huddle, Multi front defense with a lot of 3-4′ two gap, and emphasis on disguise…
    ….
    We have so many promising young players, so many candidates to become stars who still haven’t arrived as,the players they will settle into…we see no stars today, but I wouldn’t be shocked if a few defensive players who are currently on this roster grow into star players…

    • Tumtum

      Most likely break-out candidate this year on the entire team??

      M.K 100.

      • GEAGLE

        He would definitely have one of the higher odds… We should handicap the young players.. Set odds for most likely to have a Break out year… Highest odds would have to go to MK,Cox,Ertz, Boykin… Curry would be a good sleeper pick. Wouldn’t be surprised if Vinny make a lot of people look foolish and he develops into a capable two gapper. Curry and Herremans had to make the toughest transition…you don’t have to be 300lbs to play in a 3-4… Justin Smith mind Vinny Curry’s bodies aren’t very different

        • Tumtum

          I feel like Boykin already broke out. Breaking out over what he did last year would put him in elite outside guy status, wouldn’t it?

          • GEAGLE

            Yeah, Boykin broke out already, he now needs to solidify it.. Another season like last year and Boykin becomes official. They will have to vote him to probowl soon

        • Mike Roman

          I’m excited to see what kind of fronts we use in sub packages. If you can get Barwin, Cole, Smith, Cox, Curry, Graham, and Kendricks on the field at the same time, the bullets could be flying past the QB’s head and he won’t know where they’re coming from.

  • eagleyankfan

    3rd down pressure is key to any teams success. Get off the field. I have no idea of Jenkins impact but it’ll be boat loads of an upgrade.
    I think the ST play – specifically the kick off team — HAS to improve. That will give the defense a better chance. Give the defense a long field to start with instead of a short field.

    • GEAGLE

      Jenkins is an upgrade for sure,,, forget his play for a second..his presence alone will cut down on blown coverages that have become too famous for the wrong reasons these past few years with NNamdi and Kurt Coleman pointing at each other… Needing to sign Malcolm to QB them defense, made me stop and wonder who the Hell was QBing the back end these past few year? And no wonder our secondary looked like it never had a chance.

      We run a no huddle, complex Multi front defense strongly emphasizes disguise. Your defensive QBs are important. Recently I found out this defense is all built on a “set of rules” .. Keys our leaders have to read that tell us how to line up and what to run in every situation.. Adding Jenkins is like having DB version of Demeco..Jenkins will make all the right reads and get everyone into the right coverage. I don’t believe we “settled” for Malcolm Jenkins. I believe we got exactly who we wanted. Our coaches knew the other big money safeties..maybe they felt that mentally they weren’t the best fit to QB a secondary in a no huddle defense with complex schemes?

      Jenkins is like the Connar Barwin of the secondary! Jack of all trades, master of none. Barwin is a master of none, but he managed to do a lot of different things pretty damn well.. Jenkins will prove to be a brilliant signing. I also see,why our defense wouldn’t value a 50million dollar centerfielder like Byrd…There is so many different things you can do with a versatile safety like Jenkins. He is really key when we have to try and face a team that tries to use tempo against us like the Patriots because he can line up anywhere from traditional safety duties to outside CB and Nickle… If we can get much improved play out of the other safety position we will be looking good. I believe we will trust our safeties enough to let our big corners do what we signed them to do, get up on the LOS and press and battle WRs knowing we can count on our safety support to be where it’s supposed to be..e
      …..
      Nate and Wolff should be a nice battle. Nate should be able to really push Wolff, and he should play his best football now that we finally let him play the same scheme and he came off a season he can feel good about and have built some confidence. This city really beat up Nate and everything has been stacked against him and he is still here!??tougher than given credit for.. This could be the best Nate Allen, which would provide some really stiff competition for Wolff…if Wolff can take the job from Nate at some point this year, it probabky means that Earl is a helluva safety! The dude is like an inch short of 6 ft, 212-215lbs, runs a 4.4 and jumps out of the stadium…….think having Nate to push Wolff in the competition, AND having Malcolm Jenkins to mentor Wolff, is going to deliver us a really really good safety. Earl has all the ability in the world…if he puts it all together, he will be a stud!!

      • Tumtum

        When I noticed pre-snap communication in the secondary last season C. Dub always seemed to be the guy doing the directing.

        • GEAGLE

          Props on the “c-dub”, you knows I appreciates it :)
          ..
          I bet he was barking at Chung, I’ll never forget the play where Chung hit Cary in back of the head and he was all pissed, turned around like WTF man..Chung channeled his inner Ernie sims..I really really like the way we built this secondary.
          ..
          Malcolm looks huge..not muscular but tall and long.. He looks like he has really long,arms..I don’t know if it’s his posture, but he looks bigger than I would think for a converts CB.. Looks much bigger than Byrd

          • Tumtum

            Haha thanks but I don’t think I can take credit for that. I feel like I heard that elsewhere…. most likely a Ravens fan.

          • GEAGLE

            C Dub is what I always call him :)

      • eagleyankfan

        I expect Wolff to beat out Nate prior to the start of the season…

    • TheRogerPodacter

      i think that is by far the biggest place we can upgrade on defense this year. i don’t know the stats, but just from watching the games, our 3rd down defense felt AWFUL last year. we would be great in getting teams to 3rd & long and then we give up the first down anyway. seemed like every set of downs was the same way.
      heck, i even remember joking with everyone on here “here we go with another 3rd & long… they have us right where they want us” LOL

      if the defense can turn more of those 3rd & longs into 4th downs instead of 1st downs, this could be a very good team.

      • Tumtum

        Just imagine if we get a few touchbacks on K.O.

        I feel like with the kicks being moved up and the rush being much closer to the return man it does give a chance for a quicker tackle, but there is also a greater chance of a big return.

        On a related side note I always hear media types proclaiming how KR has no value anymore. I feel like that couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure he is going to get fewer opportunities, but if your guy is good he can take it to the house. I wonder if there are any stat sights out there that track the rate of big play to return attempts across the league, so that we could cross compare to pre-change stats.

        • GEAGLE

          Writers are tweeting that Alex henrey will be the kicker because murderleg sucks and us hooking/shanking FGs from 20yards today

          • Tumtum

            Wonderful

          • GEAGLE

            Nice kick to my nuts..

            Apparently Momah is making nice catches today,,
            ,,
            Heard FOles looks great
            ..
            Beau Allen blew by a backup center for a would be sack on Barkley

          • George

            always been confused, why do you say FOles? inside joke??

          • GEAGLE

            First time I used my iPad spelled it like that by accident and it’s been autocorrecting me since… But now I spell it that way even when I’m not on iPads lol

          • eagleyankfan

            blame the holder or “laces out”

          • Dominik

            You’re kidding me, right? Cut the guy and sign a kicker of the street. Can’t take that bullshit any longer. How difficult can it be to replace a scrub like Henry?

        • D3FB

          There were 7 Kickoff TD’s last year. Of qualified returners (20 returns) only 3 players (Patterson, Dwayne Harris, Demps) average over 30 yards. Only 9 were over 25. The median for the 23 qualifying returners was 24.55 yards.

          In 2010, the last year before the rule change there were 23 Kickoff’s returned for TD’s. There were 39 qualifying return men. None averaged over 30 ypr and 13 had averages of 25 or higher. The median was 24 yards.

  • 76mustang

    On the topic of regression, will be interesting to see how the Giants, Cowboys, and Skins offenses and defenses fare against Chip, Pat, and Billy in year 2. I could see an offensive regression against the Eagles by both the Giants and Cowboys (Skins are a wildcard with the new Coaching staff/scheme). I also don’t believe they will be prepared defensively to handle Chip and Pat’s year 2 offense (though a lot of conference play occurs at the end of the season, so there will be tape).

    I love that Billy, Pat, and Chip have had all offseason to study and plan – last year they were just getting to know each other – I think the defense takes huge steps forward this season, and the offense will be even more consistent and harder to game plan against.

    • GEAGLE

      Absolutely.. I don’t think I our defense got the credit for the things it manage to accomplish last year. Any time a national dope talks about the defense, all I hear is “32 ranked pass defense”‘ “it needed to improve yet all it added as Malcolm Jenkins”…

      Considering what Billy had to work with, how young we were in terms of age and in the scheme. So many new veterans that hadn’t gelled yet, our defense accomplished some amazing things. Holdinb teams under 24 for two months is no joke! People disrespect our CBs,but with no safety support, not even being able to press which is their game, they held it down against a murderers row of Big WR tandems, and our defense stepped up and did it, down the stretch, in crunch time of an NFL season. Cary may have been getting called for pass interference a Bunch of times in September, but in December with the season on the line he was shutting down Dez bRyant on key two pt conversions…we held our own against Fitzgerald and Floyd, Megatron, Alson and Brandon Marshall, Dez and Terrence/Witten, shut down the saints in playoffs…..
      ..
      CBs did well, considering weak pass rush and no safety support..and if you hear Cary talk the other day, he was extremely critical of himself and the DBs last year, talking about how hungry they are and how hard they are working to improve. Our secondary will be much improved, and so will the pass rush in front of them..

      Expect Cary to he extended for two years… Expect a better season out of him…but he is big game player…you can count on him to play his best ball in playoff hunt time November to febuary

  • Patrick Pauling

    Hey Tommy, nfl.com did a piece on the rookie symposium and there was a part where new chiefs qb Aaron Murray talks about Andy and his sense of humor, apparently, he has one! It’s pretty funny what he has to say, it’s worth checking out.

  • eagleyankfan

    sounds like Mac scared everyone today ….
    Not sure the offense could handle that blow if he was to get hurt…

    • Cafone

      It would certainly be a huge blow, but in the event it happens, I’ll call it now: There will be plenty of comments here talking about how Maclin really didn’t fit the offense and that the Eagles will be better off with a Cooper/Matthews/Huff core, and of course Benn and Brad Smith are prototypical Chip Kelly receivers don’t you know..

      • D3FB

        Mac going down would undoubtedly hurt the team. Would it be a cancel the season, the sky is falling level of injury? No.

        • SteveH

          Hah, try convincing the average Eagles fan of that. They’re already convinced the offense is going to take a huge nosedive without Desean, if we lost Mac they’d be ready to say ‘blow it up, rebuild the team!’

          • D3FB

            The average Eagle fan thinks:
            -Cavlin Pryor is awesome because he “scares people with his super hard hitzzz”
            -Is mad that we didn’t draft Anthony Barr, Kelvin Benjamin, a 700lbs NT that runs a 4.6
            -Thinks a running quarterback is necessary
            -Makes a big deal what “team” players are getting reps with in OTAs
            -Wants 330lbs Offensive linemen “because they are better blockers”
            -Thinks Nate Allen couldn’t play in the CFL
            -Is mad that we didn’t spend $80 million dollars in free agency “because Lurie is cheap”
            -Doesn’t like the Huff or Hart picks because of “duck bias” despite never watching a second of film, or if they have don’t understand what they are watching.
            -Thinks Bryce Brown is more likely than not to become a Pro Bowl back
            -Will be mad if we don’t win a playoff game

            I’m not terribly concerned with what the “average” eagles fan thinks.

          • Mitchell

            Treated.

          • Ben

            I agree with almost everything you said, but truth be told, I will be disappointed if we don’t win two playoff games this season.
            In fact, as a fan, I expect it.
            I think so highly of Chip and all of the new players that I don’t think it’s a reach to expect at least one playoff win this season.
            I also think Nick is going to have another record setting season.
            Will I cry if they don’t make the playoffs this season? Maybe.
            Will I forgive them? Hell yeah.

          • D3FB

            That was more in jest to some of the absolutist. There are just too many people who are out there making claims like “oh if they don’t win the super bowl that’s a major shortcoming and Kelly clearly isn’t getting the job done, they would’ve with Jackson, I’m not getting any younger, blah blah blah”.
            I’m not talking about expectations and disappoints. I’m talking about the people who freak out and get so fixated on results that they don’t enjoy the ride. There are certainly emotions involved, but there are people who are still MAD not upset but MAD about the playoff game.

          • SteveH

            Dirty peasant average fans ;).

          • Insomniac

            Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to show that you’re not an UO student. Everyone knows that players from Oregon turn out to be like Casey Matthews 50% of the time. When you take two players from Oregon, that’s like 100% chance of Casey Matthews. Math is always right.

            And lol Pryor.

          • A_T_G

            The math IS always right, but the math says 75% chance of getting at least one Casey. On the other hand, the 25% chance of getting two Casey’s makes it feel like a 200% chance.

        • Cafone

          I guess it’s a shame we can’t find a Chip Kelly “so awesome he doesn’t need good players to succeed” kind of coach for our defense.

          But at least we have the blueprint from last season’s offensive success: First, fill the defense with awesome players. Then, assume that the quality of the players had little to do with the defenses’ success and it was all coaching. Done! You can now lose or drop any of the defensive starters and assume the backups will perform with no drop off because it was all the coaching!

          • D3FB

            Once again, not at all what I said. You honestly think if we lost Maclin we would suddenly be a sub .500 team?

          • CrackSammich

            “I guess it’s a shame we can’t find a Chip Kelly “so awesome he doesn’t
            need good players to succeed” kind of coach for our defense.”

            He’ll be fired from the Jets soon enough.

          • Sean Stott

            Rex Ryan as DC here would be really awesome.

  • mtn_green

    There were games Fletcher played where defense looked bad. Depth was a huge problem though.

  • TheRogerPodacter

    since i know we have been discussing the possible nickel defense formations, here is a repost from philly.com.
    theyre trying out a 2-4-5, i guess.

    – The Eagles worked on their nickel defense toward the end of the practice. When cornerback Brandon Boykin came on to play the slot, defensive end Cedric Thornton left, leaving Fletcher Cox and Bennie Logan as the two inside down linemen.
    Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/sports/eagles/261560811.html#08XRYmkBqoMwTq7d.99

    • Media Mike

      Interesting.

    • GEAGLE

      They also worked more 4-2-5…. I found the front 7 decisions interesting, Casey Mathews wasn’t on the first or second team nickle(only had two teams). Cedrick was on the first team Nickle, I expected it to be curry. The front 7′s were:
      ..
      1st team:
      Cole, Cox, Thornton, Barwin (MK/Meco as the LB)
      .
      2nd Team:
      BG, Logan, Curry, Travis Long (Phillips and Goode as the LBs)
      ….
      Interesting Long was in Nickle instead of Braman or Marcus. I think Travis Long will be one of the surprises to make this Roster.. Problem is I don’t know how they will pull that off numbers wise since Barwin!Marcus!Cole, Braman are already locks, and there is always BG…

      Wonder if Thornton improved enough of us his pass rush to keep the first team Nickle role…. have a feeling when we get to the regular season, Nickle personel will be different
      ..
      Regular season 1st team Nickle:
      Barwin, Cox, Curry, Cole
      .,
      2nd team:
      Marcus, Logan, Kruger, BG

  • Ben

    Great post Tommy. And here I thought I was all alone with my opinions Fletcher. I think if you put his injuries aside, he is our most underrated player. All he does is hustles no matter what play is called and just makes plays when his number is called. Did he get beat deep a few times? Sure did, but not any more than Williams IMO. I like his skill set and how he plays his position and I am glad that Bill Davis likes him too. I am not saying he’s great but he sure seems solid and dependable most of the time.

    • SteveH

      I’ve felt like he was a criminally underrated for a while now. He doesn’t have huge interception stats, but he has tons of pass breakups and doesn’t let his man run wild. That’s more than enough in a starting corner for me, when you look at some of the dumpster fires some teams are trotting out at corner.

    • A_T_G

      Is he our Sean Lee – a really good player that is important to his defense, but is kept from achieving household name status by an inability to stay healthy?

      • GEAGLE

        Lol cowboys thinking about replacing Lee with Urlacker… Lol love to see him cover Sproles out the backfield lol

        • anon

          yeah i saw that too, please let them do that — he’ll get so exposed he’ll retire again.

          I love how much this scheme is predicated on exploiting LBs, i almost feel bad for that position. Then if you go to nickel / dime we’re running it.

          • A_T_G

            Only if they renegotiate Romo to make him un-cutable for two additional years so they can give Urlacker serious guaranteed money.

    • Maggie

      Liked him from the first pre-season game I saw last year, when he hustled down the field after an opponent who was initially faster, but Fletcher ran him down. Never gave up.

    • GEAGLE

      Both our outside CBs are better than people think…SUSPECT BOTH get extended for two years

      • Cafone

        Lets hope so… Fletcher is a free agent after this season and Cary Williams is an 8.1 million cap hit with 1.6 million dead. Those are “renegotiate or you’re cut” kind of numbers.

        • GEAGLE

          Yeah, Cary won’t get to keep that… But I think they are more valued to our defense than fans and media give them credit for.. Extensions won’t be long, but we keep them ATleast for 2015 since I think we will be taking a run at the Lombardi

          • anon

            I’m not sold on Fletch. Several games missed b/c of injury and an inordinate amount of PIs (especially considering the games he missed). Cary may be less talented but he’s more reliable.

  • austinfan

    Eagles defense struggled the first four games, then played pretty good the rest of the way. FO had them 23 overall, but 15th in weighted (toward the end of the season) defense, which takes into account strength of schedule. So they were already an average defense by season’s end.

    While they didn’t add any “stars,” they did add a lot of depth to the secondary with Jenkins and Carroll, and Maragos, Watkins and Reynolds, as well as Hart and Allen on the DL, Kruger and Phillips off IR, and Long a year away from his ACL. The only guys near their expiration dates are Fletcher, Williams, Cole and Ryans. So it’s not unreasonable for this team to be on the edge of the top ten defenses this year, though I think it’ll take one more talent infusion/player development to become a solid top ten defense and approach the top five.

    • TheRogerPodacter

      that depth will be important…like how we had to play Chung & Carmichael back there last year. ugh.