We expected some hiccups along the way, and it’s probably not fair to judge the Philadelphia Eagles secondary after just a few practice games. But we were expecting, as I said, some hiccups. Not a flat out dry heave.
In 2012, the Eagles defense didn’t give up allowing 216.9 YPC, ninth fewest in the league, yet they led the league in passing touchdowns allowed with 33. In addition, just two teams recorded fewer INT’s than the Eagles, who notched just eight, in 2012. So, they severed ties with Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and replenished with free agent cornerbacks Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams. They also brought in a pair of safeties — Kenny Phillips and Patrick Chung — all four of the new players added to the secondary have something to prove this season.
Over the past few days the Eagles new-look secondary got their first taste of competing with someone not dressed in Midnight Green, as they practiced against the New England Patriots, and Philly’s secondary failed to impress anybody as a unit.
CSNPhilly.com’s Jon Gonzalez offered his opinion what he has seen from Philadelphia’s secondary over the past few days.
“Not surprisingly, [Tom] Brady feasted on the Eagles’ suspect secondary over the last two days during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. On Tuesday, he threw several touchdowns during red-zone sessions and went long stretches without an incompletion,” wrote CSNPhilly.com’s Jon Gonzalez. “On Wednesday, Brady once again dissected the Eagles’ defensive backfield with surgical passes. Many of those completions came at the expense of cornerback Curtis Marsh, who was sliced up by various Patriots wideouts.”
Curtis commented on going up against Brady during these practices and offered high praise for the opposing QB.
“He’s one of the best to ever play the game,” Marsh said about Brady following Wednesday’s public bludgeoning. “When you get benchmarks like that, plays like that where everything’s not in sync, then you watch the film, you work on your technique, and the next day you’re better for it.”
Gonzalez’s counterpart at CSNPhilly, Geoff Mosher, said “Tom Brady is giving the entire Eagles team an education out there”. Mosher continued by saying Brady is “carving” the defense apart on a daily basis”. “They’ve got a long way to go”
Although the Eagles secondary looked lost against Brady, a two-time NFL MVP with three Super Bowl rings, Chip Kelly is looking at the bigger picture. Being that he was able to get some good looks at his players up against one of the best in the business, and he has plenty of film to study.
“The learning experience is pretty good,” Kelly said about facing the Patriots offense. “He’s obviously one of the great quarterbacks to ever play the game, not just in the league right now. When you go through the history of the game, his name is right there. You better be where you’re supposed to be when you’re supposed to be.
Per Gonzalez’s article, Kelly continued.
“There are still a lot of position battles going on in the secondary with this being a whole new staff and really a lot of new players back there. I think those guys did a good job on the defensive side of the ball of rotating reps so everyone got a chance to show what they can do over these two days, whether it’s 7-on-7 drills or 11-on-11 against one of the all-time great quarterbacks. It’s still a work in progress.”
But to be completely fair to the Eagles defensive backfield, most are working together for the first time, under new defensive coordinator Billy Davis’ system, and they were facing a future Hall of Fame QB. However, Brady is still figuring out his newly assembled arsenal of receivers and made them look like elites during practice.
But there is not a more obvious question mark surrounding the Eagles right now that the secondary, and if things dong quickly turn around, opposing quarterbacks could have a field day throwing against them early the season.
Quarterbacks like Robert Griffin III (Week 1), Philip Rivers (Week 2), Andy Reid’s newest QB Alex Smith (Week 3), and the Manning brothers in consecutive weeks; Peyton Manning (Week 4) and Eli Manning in weeks five and eight.
But for the immediate future, the Eagles secondary needs to prepare Brady one more time this week for their first preseason game tomorrow night — and now it counts for each player!