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Okay, so admittedly this isn't the most current of news stories, but it should be an interesting topic for debate in these slow times. If you remember back in May, Joselio Hanson spread the word that he was working hard to become the new starting right cornerback opposite Asante Samuel. Then, when OTAs ended last week, was interviewed by the folks at PhiladelphiaEagles.com and reiterated his desire to win the starting position for the 2010 season:
"My goal for 2010 is to be the starting right corner for the Philadelphia Eagles and to get a lot more turnovers for this team. I feel like I left some out there last year and I want to capitalize on all of them...Playing outside feels a lot more natural for me. I've been playing it all my life so I love it out there. And, it seems like the guys outside get a lot more balls thrown at them. So I like that more too."
Ever since the right cornerback position became vacant though Sheldon Brown's trade to the Browns, speculation has swirled as to who might become the new starter. Many considered Ellis Hobbs to be the most likely replacement due to his two years of starting experience with the Patriots, but Hobbs is still recovering from season-ending surgery to repair a herniated disc in his neck.
Since Hobbs sat out OTAs and Macho Harris, and Dimitri Patterson got a significant amount of time to run with the first team defense. However, when the nickel package was on the field, Macho Harris moved outside and Hanson slid over to his familiar nickel position. Now, you could read into this and say that Sean McDermott is leaning towards keeping Hanson at nickel, but training camp hasn't even started yet and, in the words of McDermott himself, every job is up for grabs. The best eleven defensive players are the ones that will be on the field come week one.missed time as well, Hanson,
In the meantime, though, we can take a look at how Hanson has performed when he has started - which has been nine times in his four years as an Eagle. If he's really as comfortable outside as he says he is, that should be reflected in his performance, right? Let's take a look:
2006: Week 4 vs. Green Bay (W 31-9)
6 tackles, 4 passes defended, 0 TDs given up
2007: Week 2 vs. Washington (L 12-20)
6 tackles, 1 pass defended, 0 TDs given up
2007: Week 3 vs. Detroit (W 56-21)
5 tackles, 1 pass defended, 2 TDs given up
2007: Week 12 vs. New England (L 28-31)
9 tackles, 0 passes defended, 0 TDs given up
2007: Week 16 vs. New Orleans (W 38-23)
4 tackles, 1 pass defended, 0 TDs given up
2008: Week 9 vs. Seattle (W 26-7)
2 tackles, 0 passes defended, 0 TDs given up
2008: Week 13 vs. Arizona (W 48-20)
4 tackles, 1 pass defended, 1 INT, 0 TDs given up
2008: Week 16 vs. Washington (L 3-10)
3 tackles, 0 passes defended, 0 TDs given up
2009: Week 15 vs. San Francisco (W 27-13)
5 tackles, 1 pass defended, 0 TDs given up
So what can we take away from that? Well, for one, the Eagles are 6-3 when Hanson has stepped in at RCB - not a bad record for being down at least one defensive starter. Granted, Hanson hasn't wowed with many turnovers or big hits, but his production has been solid. Also, while with the Eagles, he has never missed a game due to injury (not including his ridiculous diuretic suspension) which should be a big factor in a consistently injury-plagued defense. Are these factors enough to propel Hanson to a permanent starting position, assuming his training camp goes well? Hanson certainly thinks so:
"If I make the plays on the ball in training camp, they're not going to have a choice [but to start me]. If I'm playing the best at the right corner, I'll [deserve to be the starter]."