Five-Step Drop: Dolphins at Eagles


From June to this month, I covered the Philadelphia Eagles for a website called “The Runner Sports”. I enjoyed my time there, but I am officially moving on and looking forward to my future here. During my stint at TRS, I coined a few weekly series that became signature to my contribution. I want to continue those pieces here, and starting with “Five-Step Drop” I am going to do exactly that! In this series, I examine a combination of five players, coaches and position groups that are essential to the Eagles’ success in their upcoming game. Last week, quarterback Sam Bradford and “the wide receivers” (mainly Jordan Matthews) headlined the list. Pretty accurate, no?

1) Defensive End Fletcher Cox

Cox is a dominant force, as Jason Witten alluded to on Sunday night, and he has to lead the charge in disrupting the Miami Dolphins’ offense. The last time Cox played an afternoon game at Lincoln Financial Field, he recorded one of the greatest performances in his young career. He seems to be hitting his stride as the All-Pro that many predicted he would be this season, and that has elevated the Philadelphia defense to new heights. This will be yet another game for Cox to leave his fingerprints all over.

2) Inside Linebacker Mychal Kendricks

When rookie sensation Jordan Hicks went down in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game at Dallas nobody knew the severity of the injury. It was initially reported that Hicks would only miss a few weeks, but it was later revealed that a torn pectoral would force him to miss the rest of the season. Now, it is Kendricks that will be in the spotlight. With newly acquired linebacker Kiko Alonso working his way back to full strength, and veteran linebacker DeMeco Ryans bothered by a hamstring injury, Kendricks will be the leader of the linebacking corps.

3) The Offensive Line

Franchise left tackle Jason Peters is still struggling with a back injury that led him to an early exit during the game against the Carolina Panthers before the bye, and kept him out of the game against the Dallas Cowboys after the bye. It is alarming that Peters is declining so quickly from a physical standpoint, as he has been in and out of the lineup during games all season, but the offensive line has faired well without him. Last week against Dallas, Lane Johnson played left tackle and is presumed to be the left tackle of the future in Philadelphia. Johnson has emerged as one of the league’s premiere young tackles, and he’s also become quite the leader on the offensive front. He’ll be counted on to lead the group again on Sunday as they face an extremely aggressive Dolphins defensive front.

4) Safety Walter Thurmond

Thurmond has been quiet for the past few weeks now, but he’s been sound in his positioning. He seems to be in the right spot at the right time, yet he has no interceptions to show for it recently. With safety Malcolm Jenkins‘ status up in the air, Thurmond must prepare to be the defensive backfield’s top playmaker. Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is known to throw a few risky balls, and Thurmond seems to take advantage of those often.

5) Quarterback Sam Bradford

Bradford finally gave the city of Philadelphia a promising performance against the hated Cowboys to all but end their season. Although he hasn’t played terribly in his first year with the Eagles, he hasn’t necessarily been “off the charts”. On Sunday night, however, the stage was set for Bradford to go out and gain some of that confidence back that he’s seemingly been missing all year. Now, he is faced with the task of duplicating the showing against a Dolphins team that is hungry for a win. If he can string together a few games similar to what we saw last week, he may be in line for a new contract come February.