After Philadelphia Eagles’ Loss, Unleash Boykin


Oct 26, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Brandon Boykin (22) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Eagles 24-20. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

For nine weeks the Philadelphia Eagles’ motto may as well have been “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.”

After all, the team won seven games and its two losses were by one yard (San Francisco) and one play (Arizona).

But after getting walloped at Green Bay on Sunday by a score so lopsided I shall not repeat it, head coach Chip Kelly and staff now have the cover to make some changes they simply couldn’t make without generating major buzz earlier this season.

If I was Chip Kelly, here are four changes I’d be making immediately in the wake of Sunday’s defeat.

1) More Brandon Boykin

As my Inside the Iggles colleague Giorgos Kassakos pointed out Monday, cornerback Brandon Boykin is playing even less this season than he did a year ago, which makes absolutely no sense considering A) he is probably the Eagles best cover corner and B) Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher are garbage.

We’ve all known for most of the season that Williams and Fletcher are, at their best, sometimes serviceable players. I’ve long held the belief that the reason Boykin hadn’t replaced one of them had less to do with Boykin and more to do with questions about whether Williams or Fletcher could effectively play in the slot.

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I understand Chip Kelly’s “big people beat little people” philosophy, but in order to even have the size advantage work in your favor you need to be in position to make a play. Neither Williams or Fletcher have shown an ability to do that on a consistent basis.

I say move Boykin to a starting corner role, mix and match with Fletcher and Williams on the other side and give Nolan Carroll a shot in the slot. I seriously doubt that could be any worse than what we saw on Sunday, which was really just a three-hour demonstration of what we’ve seen in spurts all season.

2) Shopping for offensive line help

There was a play early in Sunday’s game, when most people were still paying attention, where Mark Sanchez got absolutely destroyed on a sack. On the replay, you saw right guard Matt Tobin in a one-on-one situation and simply whiff on his block. And I mean whiff. The only time he got a hand on the guy was when his hands were knocked to the side on the snap. Sanchez was being obliterated before Tobin even turned around (Tobin walked over to try to help Sanchez up, and Sanchez wanted nothing to do with him).

The offensive line will get better the longer it plays together and the truth is it hasn’t had many snaps together in 2014. All that said, Tobin is proving to be a weak link that opponents will exploit in both the run and pass game.

Imagine the same play on a key third down in January?

There are quality offensive linemen sitting out there as unrestricted free agents, available for any number of reasons. Guys like, for example, Richie Incognito. The Eagles owe it to themselves to at least kick the tires on some of these players. Tobin is not the answer.

3) Zach Ertz

Ertz is a matchup nightmare who the Eagles are not using enough. He’s not seeing field often enough and isn’t being targeted enough to make the kind of difference he’s capable of making.

We’ve seen the kinds of plays he’s capable of making when given the opportunity, but Brent Celek is still eating a majority of the snaps at that position, and for good reason. Celek is an outstanding blocker and the Eagles need all the help they can get in that department.

So, I’m not saying we need less Celek, but we need more Ertz. I’d love to see Chip Kelly sending this guy out there and lining him up in the slot, or out of the backfield. He’s the kind of player Chip should get creative with and force defenses to account for.

4) Darren Sproles/LeSean McCoy

Remember when the Eagles first acquired Sproles and we all imagined the possibilities of the tiny speedster and Shady McCoy on the field together, at the same time, giving defenses fits. Well, for the most part, we’re still imagining. For whatever reason we haven’t seen much of this combination. I recall one play Sunday in which Sanchez faked a pass to one of them before whirling around and slipping the ball off to the other. It resulted in a nice gain and those kinds of plays have big-play potential. I mean, how do you effectively cover both of them if they’re heading in two different directions? You just can’t do it.

This seems to be another area that, for whatever reason, Chip Kelly hasn’t fully explored. I don’t see how this version of the Eagles’ offense can possibly achieve its full potential without putting its best weapons on the field at the same time.