Eagles Notebook: Change for the better for Eagles defense

Posted: December 11, 2012

TAMPA - Two significant defensive lineup changes for the Eagles Sunday, neither of them having anything to do with the wide-nine, but both seemingly for the better:

Rookie linebacker Mychal Kendricks, the strongside starter all year, went to the weakside. Jamar Chaney, who hadn't started since the Pittsburgh game Oct. 7, took over the strongside spot.

Then, with Kurt Coleman left home because of a sternum bruise, special-teams ace Colt Anderson got his first safety start since 2010.

The Bucs targeted their tight ends seven times, got one catch, from Dallas Clark, for 19 yards. Just sayin'.

There were no huge, oh-my-god-nobody-is-covering-that-guy mistakes in the secondary, not that Coleman has always been the guy to blame there. But this group actually looked several notches above helpless.

Eagles coach Andy Reid said he thinks weakside might be Kendricks' natural spot.

Asked about that, Kendricks said he played the WIL in college, but he didn't seem overjoyed about the change.

"That's what they felt they needed to do, so I went along with it," Kendricks said. "If coach feels that's my natural position, you know, I guess I got to roll with that, too . . . I'm still playing linebacker, still gotta run, fit gaps, make hits, tackle; it wasn't much different, besides I'm on the opposite side . . . I had fun out there today."

Akeem Jordan, who had been starting at WIL, played only in short yardage and on special teams.

"I waited a long time, and it was kind of hard, just sitting there waiting," Chaney said. He started all 16 games in 2011. Chaney had a key pass breakup Sunday.

Anderson acknowledged he got "a little winded" on a humid, 70-degree day, playing so much more than usual. His special-teams role was scaled back dramatically.

Anderson had five solo tackles.

Foles impresses Bucs

Tampa Bay defensive tackle Gerald McCoy gave credit to Nick Foles after the 6-7 Bucs' third loss in a row.

"It's not easy to keep your poise when you're getting hit all day as a rookie, but he did. All the credit goes to him. Mike [Bennett] got to him early on that last drive, [and Foles] could have gotten nervous, but he didn't. [He] sat in the pocket, made the plays and they got a good win. Came on the road and got a good win," McCoy said.

Birdseed

The Bucs celebrated the 10th anniversary of their Super Bowl team, Jon Gruden holding the Lombardi Trophy aloft at halftime as a special treat for the thousands of Eagles fans who made the trip and ensured the game would be sold out . . . For the first time in the seven-game Todd Bowles era, an opposing quarterback did not post a plus-120 passer rating against the Eagles. Josh Freeman was 14-for-34 for 189 yards and two TDs, which netted him only a 79.2 mark. But of course, he didn't throw an interception; that still hasn't happened to an opposing QB since Bowles took over . . . Brent Celek's concussion was the only injury Andy Reid mentioned postgame . . . Wide receiver Marvin McNutt and linebacker Ryan Rau made their NFL debuts for the Eagles. McNutt drew a pass-interference penalty . . . Of course, Tampa defensive end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, derided as a bust when the Eagles cut him last year, less than two seasons after drafting him in the third round, got a sack against his former team . . . Nick Foles' 381 passing yards were an Eagles rookie record.


On Twitter: @LesBowen

Blog: eagletarian.com

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