With all the talk of the ridiculous numbers Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback Nick Foles is putting up, I feel many are overlooking the recent play of the defense. While many of the numbers may say otherwise, the Eagles’ defense has improved vastly over the past weeks. I believe week five against the New York Giants was the week the Eagles’ defense started getting their act together. Before that the Eagles allowed a gruesome 31.5 points per game. Ever since then, it has dropped to just about 17 points per game. Pretty significant difference, huh? Now, why? Well, I’m no defensive guru by any means but just using the eye test, here are some of the things I saw and have me excited about the future.
First, we’ll start with the defensive line. When looking at the stats the first thing that pops out is who the team sack-leader is. Now I’m willing to bet that most people, including Eagles’ fans, don’t know who it is. Currently leading the team is Philadelphia Eagles’ defensive end Vinny Curry. Shocker right? Coming off the BENCH, Curry not only leads the team in sacks but shows just how impressive the depth and talent Philly has at defensive end truly is. Another D-Line standout is second year player Fletcher Cox. What I noticed most about Fletcher is his hustle. After every play, no matter where it finishes, Cox is in the mix one way or another. And, honestly that goes for everyone on the defensive side of the ball. Now, in the middle of the line is rookie Bennie Logan, who is an absolute beast. The coaching staff liked Bennie so much, they gave him the starting role over veteran Isaac Sopoaga and then proceeded to trade Sopoaga. Not only does this also show their depth and talent, but the young talent being developed.
Second up is the linebacking crew. First and foremost, I’d like to ask you, the reader, to just stop reading and clap it out. Why and for who? DeMeco Ryans and the Pro Bowl season he is having. The last time Eagles fans saw this much production out of the linebacker position very well may have been former Eagle Jeremiah Trotter who retired in 2009. Demeco Ryans has been described by defensive coordinator Bill Davis as the quarterback of the defense. Ryans in a true leader and mentor to the rest of the young guys on the defense, something we needed desperately. I’d even go out on a limb and say the first true leader the Eagles have had on defense since the legend himself, Brian Dawkins.
Finally, the once laughable defensive back squad is turning into a force to be reckoned with. Going into the season, the biggest question mark was without a doubt the defense, specifically the defensive backs. I’d say the player I’m most ecstatic about is second year player Brandon Boykin, who essentially put the nail in the coffin last game versus the Washington Redskins with an outstanding interception. I’ve always been very fond of Boykin, but last year and earlier this year his inexperience showed, and showed often. Now, he is an absolute stud at the nickel corner position and even on the outside when injuries to other players permits. Speaking of injuries… Bradley Fletcher. Fletcher is a lights out lockdown corner when healthy. Unfortunately, he can’t seem to stay healthy and that concerns me regarding his future with the Eagles.
The safety positions have been in quite the state of flux this year. The Eagles basically have three main guys that play, mainly based on the health status of safety Patrick Chung. Nate Allen has seemed to completely turn around his play over the past games (This is where you start knocking on wood), and Earl Wolff is coming along nicely as Chung’s backup. You can really tell he is being taught right under the defensive staff. I can tell he has an exciting future with the Eagles ahead.
I only have one semi-negative thing to say about the Eagles defense. The die-hard fans can attest to this one. There are still those plays in which you really would like to see a stop but one way or another the Eagles find a way to mess up. Whether someone is wide open or there are missed tackles, something goes wrong. For example, the 3rd and 25 that the Redskins converted. All I can say is this Eagles team as a whole is hot, and at the perfect time. Watch out NFL, they’re coming.