The Eagles defense has been terrific over the last eight games of the season. The unit has 29 sacks, 15 interceptions and has forced seven fumbles this season and yet, they still are giving up the most passing yards per game. One would note the absence of Bradley Fletcher for two games, playing the Broncos and Cary Williams' "bend-don't-break" coverage technique as culprits for heavy production by other teams. However, a lot of it can contributed to on-again, off-again starting safety Patrick Chung.
Perhaps Chung's most incredibly obvious coverage blunder came in Week 13's win over the Cardinals. The veteran took himself and a teammate out of a play on Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald that led to a long touchdown. Chung showed little technique and simply pounced in the direction of Fitzgerald with a teammate also gunning with better tackling approach in the way of the lunge. The collision between Chung, Fitzgerald and Brandon Boykin caused the future Hall of Fame wide receiver to bounce of the attack just two yards from the first-down marker. He then ran the ball into the end zone for 43-yard touchdown.
Chung has been criminal in coverage this season and shown very few quality plays to make up for it. At this point, former starter Kurt Coleman is looking like a better option. Coleman is not the best tackler in the world but he at least approaches contact with some sort of educated stance. He also has produced turnovers as a starter, something Chung has not done. In fact, rookie Earl Wolff was essentially promoted over Chung due to the veteran's mediocre play.
Coleman has played along the much-improved Nate Allen his entire career. There is likely chemistry and trust there. If you consider that the fanbase wanted nothing to do with Allen prior to the season and how well he has done throughout the year, perhaps Coleman deserves a bit of the Billy Davis treatment as well. The cornerbacks are significantly better in coverage than the ones that Coleman and Allen worked beside over the last two years, which should help Coleman in coverage. He definitely has his shortcomings as an athlete, but Coleman is not a dumb player.
Chung's inability to play the pass and his mediocre performance against the run have been apparent since he has come back from injury. He is becoming a liability that no one predicted him to be and it is unfortunate. However, it is time for another player to get a try across from Allen. Coleman is the next guy up if Wolff is unable to play down the stretch.