The Philadelphia Eagles were probably the most over-hyped football team in the NFL this offseason. People looked at all the big names that they added and clung to Vince Young’s misguided comment about the Eagles being a “Dream Team.”
What people overlooked, however, were the large deficiencies in key areas that the team didn’t address properly. We’d say that they didn’t address them at all, but they did. Poorly.
Specifically, the defense has a huge hole with linebackers and safeties. In a Wide 9 situation with the defensive line, you need strong linebackers to make up for the spread out defensive line. They umm….don’t have them.
Casey Matthews was installed as the starting middle linebacker on draft day (smart move) and it was revealed very quickly that he couldn’t play there. However, it took Andy Reid and Juan Castillo two regular-season weeks of football to do anything about it. He was moved to WIL for Week 3, with Jamar Chaney playing the middle spot. It was again revealed that Matthews couldn’t play that spot either, so now he has been benched in favor of fellow rookie Brian Rolle, who was drafted about two rounds later than him.
The safety spot is a huge issue too. Kurt Coleman (possibly the team’s best safety) patrolled the middle through the first three weeks with Jarrad Page, a free agent pickup who was signed when the Eagles realized late in the preseason that their safeties blew goats. Coleman was benched during the loss to the Giants after his ginormous whiff on Victor Cruz led to a 74-yard touchdown that should have been an eight-yard gain. In came second-year man and former second-round pick Nate Allen, who also stunk up the joint.
Well, Allen is your starter now, so have fun with that. He’s recovering from offseason knee surgery and can’t really play yet. Another second-round pick, Jaiquawn Jarrett, hasn’t dressed yet this season, which is an indicator that he’s awesome. He may dress this week, but we aren’t sure.
These moves are basically crap replacing crap. If these guys were any better (Rolle is probably an upgrade over Matthews, we’ll admit) than the guys they are replacing, they’d have been starting to begin with. Don’t expect monumental changes.