Dec 20, 2014; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins running backAlfred Morris
(46) carries the ball as Philadelphia Eagles outside linebackerConnor Barwin
(98) attempts a tackle in the first quarter at FedEx Field. The Redskins won 27-24. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Philadelphia Eagles Have Some Key Elements Of Defense
"“Success is achieved by developing our strengths, not by eliminating our weaknesses.” – Marilyn vos Savant"
And so it goes, it’s the off-season, and the focus of the fans, the media and even myself is to dissect, analyze, and somehow reverse engineer what went wrong in the 2014 season and then move to fix those problems. But after three seasons, the diagnosis is pretty simple. A large part of the rage, the disbelief, and the ache that double over nearly each and every Philadelphia Eagles fan is that the team seemed to have a major relapse – a flashback – to 2012. Yes, the team moved the ball. Yes, the team won ten games. Yes, the team was in post-season discussions until that fateful untimely loss to the Washington Redskins completed a three game losing streak slide that ended the Eagles dwindling hopes to lengthen their season.
Despite being a four win two loss team in the NFC East, despite having the third best scoring offense in the NFL, despite being six wins and two losses at home, the Eagles regressed. But the problems are fixable, and signing a corner like Byron Maxwell would go a long way to that repair. The addition of a wiley veteran like Maxwell does more than apply pressure to the receiver on running routes. It makes the quarterback hesitate.
Hello pass rush.
The Buffalo Bills led the NFL with 54 sacks. Coupled with that, they had 19 interceptions. In short, they turned 73 pass plays into a very negative play for the offense. Opposing offenses only scored 16 times through the air against the Bills defense. Next up, the Philadelphia Eagles came in with 49 sacks, despite only 12 interceptions. so 61 pass plays became negative for the offenses they faced. But unlike Buffalo’s 22% success, the Eagles gave up 30 touchdowns, for a nearly 50% success rate. Insert Maxwell, and the friendly skies of Philadelphia become a little more hostile.
Lost in the discussion of cornerback is the ability to stop the run. In today’s offense, the ability to shed blockers is EXACTLY what is needed by any future cornerback of the Philadelphia Eagles. We ignored that skill, and loaded up a defensive backfield with Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rogers-Cromartie, and Asante Samuel. The result? Three cornerbacks who were powerless to stop a ball carrier in their vicinity.
No thank you.
While there are MANY NFL teams who need to address their defense, and of that number nearly as many who will give the agent of Byron Maxwell a call, there are few teams who fit as nicely as he would in our defense. The key to a successful season is a successful off-season. The Philadelphia Eagles ended the 2014 season at 10-6 and have yet to resign any of ten free agents. While these is hope that some of those players WILL return, there is also the hope that the team invests in the defensive backfield to find quality players.
Some players will be less costly than Byron Mawell, but few will offer so much upside. He is used to being targeted by the opposing quarterback and making them pay. Despite a scouting report that questioned his ability to maintain coverage in the NFL, his tape speaks otherwise – forcing top quarterbacks into season low performances. At the same time, the Philadelphia Eagles were giving many quarterbacks career highs in passing.
The buck stops here. Maxwell is prepared to start. The Eagles are prepared to upgrade.
Let’s do this.
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