July 26, 2012;Bethlehem, PA. USA; Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (24) catches the ball during training camp at Lehigh University. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE
If you didn't happen to check out the Mike Tanier article from the Linc this morning, I wanted to point out his support of what Jordan wrote earlier about the performance of the Eagles defense against the Baltimore TEs.
He breaks down several different plays where the Ravens showed a 2 TE set and what the Eagles did to counter, but his second description really stood out to me. And it also might some of the criticism of Nnamdi Asomugha a bit.
Figure 2 shows the Ravens facing third-and-two in the third quarter. Pitta and Dickson are lined up on the left side of the formation, but instead of facing Coleman, Pitta must now deal with physical cornerback Asomugha (24). Dickson is covered by safety Nate Allen (29), but what looks like a cushion before the snap disappears as Allen creeps toward the line.
Asomugha and Allen jam the tight ends. Hard. Asomugha actually knocks Pitta to the ground. Allen nails Dickson and stays tied up with him down the field; in other circumstances (a world with competent referees), Allen might have been flagged for illegal contact, but he gets away with a lot of manhandling on this play. A proper jam at the line both delays and redirects the receiver, throwing off the timing of the passing play. That’s what happens here, as Flacco overthrows the harassed Dickson.
Putting Asomugha on TE threats last season was arguably Juan Castillo's smartest move last season and went a long way toward fixing what has always been a bugaboo for this team. Obviously its still working. However, the difference this season is that he other options as well. Mychal Kendricks has done a great job there as has Nate Allen, as evidenced by the play above.
Overall though, you have to love the very idea of this play. There's no finesse. The Ravens needed 2 yards and Flacco had been looking to his TEs all day, especially Pitta who was targeted 14 times. The Eagles had to get in their face and they did. And for Nnamdi Asomugha, who gives up probably 35 pounds to Pitta, to put him on the ground is enough to make you giddy.