Eagles secondary struggling
Philly's star-studded secondary has been a major disappointment. Much of the hype surrounding the Eagles in the preseason revolved around going after the best defense that money could buy. Opponents not only were expected to be under constant pressure from a rebuilt defensive line spearheaded by newcomers Jason Babin and Cullen Jenkins, but also be blanketed by Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Asante Samuel.
While the revamped front line has certainly lived up to the hype, the secondary has fallen woefully short of expectations. The unit has surrendered eight touchdowns, tied for the most in the league, and only produced two interceptions. They also have allowed two completions of 40-plus yards and been torched by unheralded receivers.
Asomugha, in particular, has struggled despite being regarded as the premier shutdown corner in the league. He has been caught out of position on deep throws and his inability to snuff out the likes of Victor Cruz and Brandon Gibson is a concern considering the elite receivers remaining on the Eagles' schedule.
Part of Asomugha's woes in coverage could be attributed to transitioning into a scheme vastly different from the one he thrived in as a Raider. He is being asked to play more zone coverage, and isn't completely comfortable playing away from the line of scrimmage. He is also occasionally aligning over the slot receiver, which requires different techniques than he is accustomed. Regardless of the circumstances, Asomugha was expected to raise the level of play in the back end and he has failed to do so thus far.
Rodgers-Cromartie also has been a slight disappointment as a nickel corner. He hasn't been solid as a tackler, and his misses have resulted in big gains. He has also failed to deliver the big plays expected of him when the Eagles traded for him in the offseason. He has no interceptions and just one break-up.
Of the Eagles' star-studded corners, Samuel has played the best to date. He has provided solid coverage on most downs despite rarely seeing a ball head in his direction. His gambling ways, however, will result in a receiver slipping behind him at times. He compensates for his risky play by delivering turnovers. He is responsible for one of the Eagles' two picks and his ability to jump routes dissuades quarterbacks from testing him. While he could certainly become a better tackler, it is hard to nitpick based on his performance compared to his counterparts.
Defensive coordinator Juan Castillo has come under fire for failing to get his unit to perform, and he will continue to feel the heat until his secondary proves its worth.
Re: Eagles secondary struggling
I found this article interesting since it gives some props to Brandon Gibson for playing hard against Nnamdi.