Previewing the Eagles defense
The eagles made some significant upgrades on the defensive side of the ball as we all know. But is this an elite defense or just a solid defense? Besides the player upgrades they have a rookie coordinator and added legendary defensive line coach Jim Washburn. The biggest signing was obviosuly Nnamdi asomugha and the trade for DRC which will drastically improve the cornerback play and the pass defense which allowed 31 passing TD's last year. On the line Jason Babin another Jim Washburn success story came back for 5 years as a free agent. Assuming he repeats last years performance which i think he will he will be the outside pass rushing complement they need to take attention away from Trent cole. Another big addition is Cullen Jenkins who will provide an inside pass rushing presence to go along with Mike Patterson if healthy and Antonio Dixon who looked like an excellent run stuffer last year. They also made a few more moves to add depth like veteran physical safety jarrod page who i really like and could start. They also added a couple more tackles for depth and could add a veteran MLB which i think would be the final piece to a dominant defense.
Secondary- The cornerback spot is now the biggest strenght on the defense and last year it was the biggest problem. But there is a chance Asante could be dealt with the additions of Nnamdi and DRC. If he stays they would have the best Cb trio in the league. DRC most likely will play in the slot unless they sometimes use Nnamdi in a Charles Woodson like role as a slot corner or blitzer. He could also be matched up against tight ends if hes in the slot. Nnamdi is the best cover corner in the league so i would prefer leaving him on the outside and putting DRC in the slot whihc i think he is suited to doing because his 6'2 192 frame. he also has excellent cover skills and playmaking ability to go along with Samuels playmaking ability and NNamdi's coverage skills make it nearly impossible to throw against them. But tight ends could still be a problem with out an upgrade and MLB. At safety Nate Allen had a solid rookie year until an injury. He also has good cover skills and solid playmaking ability. Jaquawan Jarrett is a rookie saftey with big hitting ability but questionale coverage skill despite good instincts and IQ. Kurt coleman is a solid run stoppign and hard hitting safety who could compete for a starting job along with veteran Jarrod Page. I hope he gets the job as logn as hes healthy because he can play well against run and pass. In 09 he has 4 forced fumbles, 4 ints and 80 tackles. So they have plenty of depth at both CB and safety. If one of 3 ss starters can be a solid starter this could be the best secondary in the league.
Linebackers- This unit is uncertain as of right now. The starters most likely will be Jamar Chaney, Moses Fokou and Casey Matthews as of right now. They are all very young. I think Fokou is a solid starter and good tackler but is not great in coverage. He could develop decent playmaking skill and Jamar Chaney has very good speed and great tackling abaility. I think he could be a very good starter for years to come but the biggest question mark in the middle. Casey Matthews is a 4ht round pick and could be a good player down the road but now he is a question mark. He has excellent instincts and tackling ability but is small for a MLB and inexperienced. I hope they end up going after a veteran like Kirk Morrison or if healthy Lofa Tatupu unless they trade Asante for one. There have been rumors about Patrick Willis but i dont see that happening. If they have the money after signing Jackosn this could be a great move. Kirk Morrison is a veteran MLB who is versatile and could make this a very strong group. They also have good depth with Akeem Jordan and Keenan Clayton. As long as Matthews remains the starter this group is unpredictable and could be the only problem on the team. With Morrison, Chaney and Fokou this could be a very good group. Morrison could also provide the answer to the tight end problems which is the only question about the pass defense and provide a physical run stopper with leadership.
Defensive Line- The additon of Cullen Jenkins in the middle provides a dominant pass rushing threat to go along with Trent Cole and newly acquired Jason Babin. Those three will cause havoc in opposing backfields for 60 minutes making the job for the secondary much easier. Babin and Jenkins will help cole stay fresh. Antonio Dixon is also a great run stuffer who could develop even more under Washburn. Cole and Babin have the potential for 30 sacks with Washburn and Jenkins providing an inside presence. The depth is also very good with Mike Patterson if healthy, Trevor laws, Anthony Hargrove and Derek Landri at tackle and Brandon graham when he returns, Darryl tapp and Juqua Parker. This is a deep and talented front which could dominate almsot any offense for 60 minutes week in and week out. They have 3 dominant every down lineman and very solid depth with a legendary coach.