The perception of the Philadelphia Eagles secondary situation last year was laughable to some. The group finished nearly dead last in pass yards given up and were extremely thin behind the two starters. This offseason, addressing the secondary problem was the teams top priority. The Eagles went out and signed/drafted multiple players to plug a leaky secondary. If the Philadelphia Eagles want to see their success heighten in 2014, the secondary must step up and play like a cohesive and proficient unit.
The Eagles Corners last season at times were very solid. Starters Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher are bigger Corners who specialize in press man coverage. Nickel Corner Brandon Boykin finished second in the NFL with interceptions with 6. The main issue was the drastic lack of depth behind them. With Boykin having full time slot duty, every time a starter had to leave due to injury it forced the team to put guys like Roc Carmichael and Brandon Hughes on the field. The results weren’t very good. The reserve Corners often got picked on by opposing Quarterbacks. The good news is the team signed Corner Nolan Carroll and drafted Corner Jaylen Watkins in the fourth round of this years draft. The team now has depth and upgraded talent that may even push the current starters for playing time. It wouldn’t shock me if Carroll or Watkins earn a starting spot in training camp. If the Eagles can get greater production out of the Corners in 2014, the entire defense will benefit mightily.
The main reason for the poor play of the entire Secondary was due to the lack of talent at the Safety position. Safeties are in charge of the assignments of the entire secondary. This position is vital to the groups overall success. The talent at the Safety position has remained dormant since the loss of future Hall of Famer Brian Dawkins. Last years starters Patrick Chung, who was released after one season, and Nate Allen played at an almost atrocious level last season. Nate Allen did improve a bit down the stretch, but Chung remained abysmal. The other Safety Earl Wolff actually took over starting duties from Chung, but a knee injury forced him to sit. The Safeties were constantly burned by opposing receivers and gave up big plays. The team signed former New Orleans Saints Safety Malcolm Jenkins this offseason. Jenkins already is a huge level up talent wise from all the Safeties the Eagles currently have, but the most important thing is Jenkins leadership. He has already made his impact felt in OTA’s and showed his terrific work ethic. Earl Wolff has looked to Jenkins as a mentor early on and has copied the determination and study habits of Jenkins. The team also drafted Safety Ed Reynolds in this years draft to bring some much needed competition. If the Safeties can play at an average level this Defense can exceed expectations.
Both the Corners and the Safeties didn’t do much to help the defense last season. The Philadelphia Eagles now have a new and improved Secondary that can play at a high level this season. The team signed the necessary talent and depth that can turn it around. The Players know they can improve their play on the field, and overall confidence in each other. The Eagles secondary needs to step up in 2014, and when they do, the Philadelphia Eagles will become a team that can be very dangerous in January.