I have a couple proposed changes that I think would bode well for the Eagles' red zone defense-- or more specifically, when the defense finds its back against the wall in first-and-goal situations.
Pull Asante Samuel for DRC. The Falcons were clearly running to Samuel's side every time in the red zone because of his lack of physicality. DRC isn't the most physical of corners, but he's better equipped than Samuel to take on blockers. Also, at 6'2", he's better able to defend against WR fades and tight end outs. (Why the hell were they still in cover 3 in the redzone vs Falcons and not press-man? Is it because Samuel is incapable of playing press coverage?)
The second thing I propose is using a 5 man line. We have the deepest and most talented D-line in the league, and a very shallow and small linebacking corps. I think our linebackers are athletic and good pass defenders (I'm not going to fault them getting burned by Gonzo... frankly Cheney's coverage on the back-endzone TD catch could not have been better; it was a perfect pass and catch) but all of them have trouble challenging and shedding blockers.
It doesn't make sense to keep running a 4-3 base when the field is compressed. The Packers last year won a Super Bowl using 1 and 2 man lines on some insane percentage of plays because they were stacked at linebacker, and it worked. They tailored their packages around their strengths. I think Juan Castillo needs to get a little more creative with his packages.
For inside-10yd line defense, remove one of the linebackers (probably Matthews), and insert either Dixon or Laws as a nosetackle along with the other 4 regular DL starters.
Having a DL on top of every offensive lineman will free up the 2 remaining linebackers to flow to the ball instead of just getting rolled up and collapsed in the middle by blockers they cannot handle. Even if the 5 man line still plays in the Washburn style-- penetrating instead of occupying blockers-- it would still slow down the OL just enough to give our LBs time to read and react without some interior lineman coming at them off the snap with a full head of steam.
What does everyone think about this?