October 9, 2011 |
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. - Sad as it is to say, the Eagles defense had its best outing in four games. But even its best is rather poor. And Sunday's 31-24 loss at Buffalo did nothing to ease concerns about the readiness of coordinator Juan Castillo or the effectiveness of his inconsistent defense. The same problems reared their hideous heads yet again. The Eagles couldn't stop the run. They couldn't cover running backs catching passes out of the backfield. They were weak up the middle with linebacker Jamar Chaney and safety Jarrad Page . And they couldn't force turnovers.
November 3, 2011 |
Jamar Chaney said that Matt Forte is "probably the best running back in the league right now. " Putting aside the thought of LeSean McCoy also laying claim to that title - and the Eagles linebacker did later toss his teammate's name into the argument - there is ample evidence that Forte is tops in the NFL. No other running back is as responsible for as much of his team's offense. Forte's 1,091 yards from scrimmage account for 46.2 percent of the Chicago Bears' total yards.
January 7, 2011 |
That spotlight following Green Bay's Clay Matthews around the field Sunday should help illuminate something about the Eagles, as well. Matthews is living, hirsute proof that linebackers still can be disruptive forces in the NFL. That is something you wouldn't know if you only watched the Eagles the last few years. It is almost as if they apply their old (and discarded) philosophy about wide receivers to the position, choosing a group of interchangeable "C" students over flashy, standout playmakers.
November 29, 2011
Everyone agrees the Eagles' 4-7 record is unacceptable, given the expectations and the talent. The question is which is worse, the 4 or the 7? Seven losses in 11 games, and 10 in the last 14 going back to the end of 2010, is obviously not very good. But the Eagles' wins are every bit as aggravating and frustrating - two of them, especially. On Oct. 30, the Eagles stomped the Dallas Cowboys at the Linc for their only home win of the season. On Nov. 20, they went to the Meadowlands and beat the New York Giants physically as well as on the scoreboard.
September 21, 2011 |
The Eagles are nowhere close to a sinking ship, but the waters were rough enough for the team to shuffle their linebackers after two games. No one was benched, however, despite the swelling call for rookie middle linebacker Casey Matthews to be demoted. Instead, Jamar Chaney will move into the middle, where he showed signs of promise late last season. Moise Fokou will replace him at strong-side, and Matthews will slide outside to weak-side in place of Fokou. Apparently, two games of watching running backs gash the middle of Juan Castillo's defense was enough for coach Andy Reid to make the moves with the home opener against the New York Giants looming Sunday.
October 31, 2011 |
Nnamdi Asomugha, using his length and athleticism, lunged to pluck the floating ball out of the air - interception. That's what the Eagles thought they were getting when they signed the prized free agent to a $60 million deal in the summer. Asomugha stood and - in front of the Dallas bench - extended his arms to each side, holding the pose for more than a few moments. That's not what they expected. Asomugha is supposed to be the cool, cerebral complement to the loquacious Asante Samuel.
September 19, 2011
ATLANTA - The Eagles defense was designed for just this situation: second half, double-digit lead provided by that fastbreak offense, opponent forced to throw the ball to catch up. This was why Andy Reid hired Jim Washburn to teach his aggressive style to the defensive linemen. This was why the team loaded up on defensive linemen and cornerbacks in a free-agent shopping spree. It didn't work. Not Sunday night. The defense is clearly a work in progress, but there's no other way to say it: The defense lost this winnable game against the Atlanta Falcons.
February 3, 2011
DALLAS - Me, I would have hired somebody sharp and ambitious, with a Steelers pedigree, to try to fix this defense. But that is not the Eagles' way. Acknowledge that the franchise from across the commonwealth, days away from trying to nail down its seventh Super Bowl title, its third in 5 years, is really the font of NFL wisdom in 2011? Concede that NovaCare's brain trust is in dire need of some fresh ideas? Never, ever. Instead of somebody who has played and coached in the Dick LeBeau-authored scheme that dominates the NFL these days, the defense run by both of this year's Super Bowl teams, the Eagles have thought long and hard and have given us earnest, hard-working, offensive-line coach Juan Castillo.
September 22, 2011 |
A LITTLE less than 2 months ago, Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo sprung a little surprise on his linebackers, and on the fan base. When the 136-day NFL lockout ended and the Birds reported to Lehigh, Castillo moved Jamar Chaney from the middle to the strongside, where Chaney had never practiced as a rookie in 2010, moved Moise Fokou from strongside to weakside, and most surprising, made fourth-round rookie Casey Matthews his starting...
September 14, 2011 |
As the Falcons prepare for Sunday's game against the Eagles, their offensive coaches will scour the Birds defense, looking for weak spots. They will look at two Pro Bowl cornerbacks in Nnamdi Asomugha and Asante Samuel, who helped force Rams quarterbacks into an 18-of-35 performance on Sunday, and at a pass defense that held St. Louis without a touchdown through the air, and they will shake their heads and move on. They will look at...