While some think the Philadelphia Eagles have a good chance to repeat as NFC East champions in 2014, New York Giants safety Antrel Rolle is not among them. To no surprise, Rolle thinks his Giants will rebound from a lackluster 2013 performance to take the division crown. Meanwhile, Rolle expects the Eagles to drop all the way to third place with the Washington Redskins jumping up to second. Here's Rolle explanation that he made on ESPN. (Bold emphasis mine)
"I think if you have the right defensive scheme against the Eagles, you can definitely shut them down," he said. "I think we displayed that in the second game we played them. As far as Washington, I think Washington has more weapons, and I think they added more weapons, especially to the offensive system. I think RGIII will definitely bounce back and have a better season this year. And defensively, I think they’ve added a lot of veteran leadership to their defense that’s gonna help them out a whole lot."
Well, Philadelphia, it was a good run. Turn out the lights, the party's over. The Eagles are going to be shut down when they face the Giants' vaunted Right Defensive Scheme (RDS).
Joking aside, the evidence Rolle used to support his claim was a bit strange. Sure, the Eagles looked terrible in their Week 8 match-up against NYG when they lost 15-7 and only scored a fluke special teams touchdown. But let's not forget that an injured Michael Vick started the game at QB since Nick Foles was out with a concussion. Vick, who was battling through an injured hamstring he suffered just a few weeks before, clearly wasn't healthy enough to play. Then Vick was replaced by fourth round rookie QB Matt Barkley and that didn't go much better. The overwhelmed Barkley fumbled in the red zone and also threw an interception. And despite this Eagles incompetence the Giants only managed to beat Philly by one possession.
Rolle wasn't wrong about the Eagles being shut down on that specific day, but it was far from the normal set of circumstances. If all goes according to plan, the Giants 2014 defense will face a healthy Nick Foles and that will be a much greater challenge than injured Vick and/or rookie Barkley. Rolle must be conveniently forgetting that the combination of a healthy Vick and Foles put up a total of 36 points on NYG earlier in the season.
It's misguided for Rolle to say an Eagles offense that set a single season team record in points, net yards, touchdowns, passing yards, and fewest turnovers will be shut down so easily. Good luck with that, though.