The hot seat—almost synonymous with Philadelphia Eagles right now—is a home not only for Andy Reid and Michael Vick but for Nnamdi Asomugha and the Philadelphia Eagles’ secondary.
The Birds’ backfield wrapped up last season 10th in passing yards allowed, 17th in interceptions and 24th in passing touchdowns allowed. With three pro-bowlers on board, these numbers disappointed everyone but Cowboys’ fans. We’ve all heard the reasons why: Asomugha learning a new scheme, lockout, Dominique Rogers-Cromartie lined up in slot, Asante Samuels did his own plays, inexperienced safeties, the laundry list continues.
But these excuses are garbage. The Eagles enter a potentially apocalyptic season with expectations of Super Bowl or a number of faces might not be returning.
Linebackers got a makeover; defensive line was given more depth. However, the secondary was the least bolstered and potentially most affected; they got a promising 4th round pick but lost the face of our backfield in Samuels. Albeit, in the end it wasn’t a pretty face.
Now except for Desean Jackson playing to his potential and Michael Vick’s health, the secondary’s performance is the question mark that separates 8-8 and no playoffs from 12-4 and Super Bowl appearance.
High power passing offenses run amok in the NFC. Also, teams like San Francisco and Carolina are attempting to reach that status. Thus, top quality cornerbacks and safeties will continuously be valuable.
Defense does start up front, and a great defensive line can cover some of the slack of a mediocre secondary. But that’s not the Birds. We have two corners who have resumes that say “shuts down wide receivers.” I’m confident they’ll get back to that level.
But then we get into the realm of the safeties, the youngest and potentially weakest part of our defense now. Since Brian Dawkins left, we’ve lacked gumption and instinct at this position. Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman are young and still developing. But they’re in two hard positions to wait around on. The free safety is an anchor, and Allen looks good at times but not consistently enough. Coleman had a career day against Washington, and I hope that gave him some confidence for the upcoming year.
They are in the best boat two young safeties could ask for. Our defensive scheme is get to the quarterback, and get to him fast. Thus, receivers don’t have long to get open, and Allen and Coleman can close on them quicker. So I’m sure Juan Castillo has them in the film room.
This season, ‘potential’ is Philadelphia’s buzz word. We have so much of it, we just need it to flow together. What 2011 showed us was it doesn’t matter who you have in your huddle; it matters what team you have lining up. This off-season might be the most crucial in Philadelphia Eagles history. I have confidence in Castillo and Reid, and their direction. But we don’t have any more excuses left. There’s no lockout, no last-minute trades, no new schemes. We just got to get back to playing Philly ball.