This article was pointed out in the fanshots during the week, but I thought it deserved some extra weekend discussion. Football Outsider's Mike Tanier write a piece on the Eagles historically bad red zone defense last year. He does an interesting drive by drive analysis that I recommend you check out, but I wanted to grab a few thoughts from his conclusion.
Dimitri Patterson is awful. He hustles, and he is not bad in run support, but the guy was overmatched last year. McDermott spent a lot of energy not just hiding Patterson in red zone coverage, but protecting Lindley when Samuel was hurt while making sure the 5-foot-9 Hanson didn't cover any 6-foot-4 receivers.
Clearly the Eagles need to add a corner or two this offseason. Trevard Lindley is young and can improve, but guys like DImitri Patterson and Joselio Hanson are who they are, which are fringe players. Now, onto another obvious area of need that hurt us...
The linebackers didn't show up well in the drives I watched. Sims is a fast, aggressive player, but he is also mistake-prone, and too much was expected of him in coverage. Fokou is a stopgap defender. Chaney appears to have a lot of potential, and he may be the best option for covering backs and tight ends in the red zone. Bradley is a run defender and pass rusher who will get in trouble if asked to cover Arian Foster-types. The Eagles need an upgrade at linebacker, but you can say that every year.
Again, no kidding. The linebackers aren't good enough. If you read his in depth analysis, you'll see Ernie Sims pop up more than anyone else. It wasn't all players though, Tanier did note a lot of scheme problems. Namely some poorly timed blitzes, some really bad zone coverage that put WRs on LBs in the red zone constantly, and the use of a base defense on the goal line(rather than a goal line D).