Underrated Players Stepping Up for the Eagles Defense


There is no doubt that sitting on top of first place in the NFC East is where the Philadelphia Eagles wanted to be. The Eagles offense again struggled slightly but had one of their better outings against a division rival. Sam Bradford threw for 280 yards and had three touchdowns. However, he also had three interceptions and those gave the Giants a fighting chance. DeMarco Murray ran for his first 100-yard plus game and had a touchdown.

Yet these offensive gains were small compared to the impact that the Eagles defense had in the Eagles’ win. While big name off-season acquisitions like Byron Maxwell have been under performing, there are some lesser known players that are making big plays for the team.  These players might be the next crop of impact players for defensive coordinator Bill Davis and the Eagles.

DeMeco Ryans

The Giants-Eagles game saw one of the best performances from DeMeco Ryans. With Kiko Alonso and Mychal Kendricks out due to injury, Ryans was seeing much more playing time. He swatted a pass away from Giants tight end Larry Donnell and had his first interception of the year. The result was a touchdown for the Eagles, tying up the score at seven a piece. Ryans again took advantage of the Giants failure on offense by jumping on a fumble from fellow Eagles Malcolm Jenkins.

Unfortunately for Ryans, he wouldn’t see any playing time for the rest of the game as he was out with a hamstring injury. He didn’t practice on Wednesday yet according to CBS Sports.com, Ryans will be back to play against the Carolina Panthers. His ability to read plays and get downfield is a huge asset to an already stellar Eagles defense. He’s been a big impact player and even if Kendricks and Alonsno return in the near future, he’ll likely be a go-to man for Bill Davis.

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  • Nolan Carroll

    Nolan Carroll had a fantastic game against the New York Giants. The cornerback from the University of Maryland has propelled Carroll to being one of the most important members of the secondary and ultimately the defensive line. He brought one of Eli Manning‘s interceptions back for a touchdown. Carroll intercepted a ball intended for Giants’ Dwayne Harris and ran it down field for the first touchdown of his career. Carroll has a bigger role in his second year with the team since the departure of Bradley Fletcher. He wasn’t the favorite to play cornerback alongside Bryon Maxwell but he’s proven that he has what it takes to handle the demands of the job. He has the speed that Kelly wants in his secondary and Carroll reads the field in a way that allows him to make big plays and give a boost to the strong defense.

    Jordan Hicks

    Jordan Hicks was picked up in the 2015 NFL Draft and joined an already crowded linebacker roster.  There wasn’t a huge need for him until now. Alonso, Kendricks and Ryans are all out with injuries and that will allow Hicks to come to the front of the line. He had his big debut against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 2 and was responsible for the hit that took out Tony Romo. Since then he’s has 37 tackles, one sack and a forced fumble. In the Eagles’ win over the Giants, Hicks was responsible for 10 tackles. He’s also had three fumble recoveries and that must be pleasing head coach Chip Kelly. Hicks has been a surprise of the best kind and even when all three injured linebackers are healthy, Hicks has made enough of an impact that he won’t be put on the back burner.

    Next: Eagles Fantasy Football Preview: Week 7

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