After last Sunday’s win against the Redskins, due in large part to the Eagles’ defensive efforts, a number of players seem to be proving themselves and stepping up, effectively setting the line-up for at least the next game or two (and ending the circus of missed tackles and misreads that was Jarrod Page and Casey Matthews).
Kurt Coleman’s 3 INT emergence will secure him a starting safety spot. Next to him, Nate Allen has finally rounded into form after his injury, playing much more physically and instinctual the last two games.
At corner: Nnamdi and Asante, with DRC in the slot.
At LB: Brian Rolle has proven to be a burst of energy, powerful off the block and good in pass coverage. He’s taken Casey Matthews starting job and ran with it. Next to him, Jamar Chaney, whom I still believe to be the best LB on the roster. As well, Moises Fokuo as a serviceable 3rd LB.
Our defensive line rotation features a number of studs:
Jason Babin, Cullen Jenkins, Mike Patterson (had his best game of the year last week), and Trent Cole (currently injured, Eagles best player in my opinion). Brandon Graham, 2010 1st round pick, is also slated to return from injury after the bye.
The defense looks and feels a lot better after just one week of dominant play (limiting the Redskins to less than 50 yards rushing–with no single rush longer than 6 yards–should put to rest, for now, assertions that the Eagles can’t stop the run). Really, stopping the run should be the first priority of Juan Castillo’s group…got to force opposing QBs to attempt to throw against our talented secondary.
Also, how long until Domonique Rodgers-Cromartie gets a pick-6? On my count, he’s dropped two of them so far this year. I say he finishes with at least one or two by year’s end.
And on offense, the skill positions are basically set, but the O-line is looking a lot better than it has. Winston Justice looked great after seeing his first NFL action in over 9 months. Evan Mathis and Kyle DeVan have been very solid additions. Danny Watkins is playing like a first round pick. Todd Heremans is playing like a Pro-Bowler. Jason Peters, currently out with an injury, was playing like a Pro-Bowler before he went down.
The pieces truly are in place for the Eagles to go on an 8-2 run, which I think will be necessary to make the playoffs.
It is now up to the coaches to prepare and game-plan each week in order to make it happen on the field.
It all starts with a win against Dallas after the bye. Considering Andy Reid’s unbeaten streak after the bye (12-0), and the Eagles desperate circumstances, I’m predicting a win. If they lose, however, it might show that it’s just not their year. But that won’t happen, I promise.