The Philadelphia Eagles could have four new starters in the secondary next season. Nnamdi Asomugha, DRC, Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman could, and perhaps should, be gone after this year, albeit for different reasons.
Whether it’s coaching or just a dysfunctional mesh of personalities, these guys can’t communicate on the field with one another and/or they just plain stink.
How many times have we heard about communication issues in the secondary between last year and this year? It’s been a constant issue. Last year, we wrote it off to the fact there were new players, new coaches and a new scheme.
Another year together and it’s the same issues: constant breakdowns in coverage that lead to big plays.
The usual suspects are Nnamdi and Nate Allen. It seems that every time we talk about miscommunications where a CB expected help over the top, it’s been a case where Nnamdi let his man go “thinking he had help.”
But this last instance against Washington, where Redskins receiver Aldrick Robinson was wide open in the end zone for a 49-yard TD, was completely unacceptable.
On the play, Nnamdi was covering but let Robinson go as he slanted back towards the middle. Apparently he was thinking that Allen would pick him up, but Allen had already bitten on receiver up-field and was out of position.
What pissed me off the most about this play is that Nnamdi just stopped running with Robinson. There was nobody coming to the outside that he had to account for but he still let his man go instead of continuing to run with him.
Why do that? Why, as a player, would you just take yourself out of a play altogether? That’s exactly what Nnamdi did because he apparently had the mindset that it wasn’t his job to follow him back inside based on the zone defense that was called.
I don’t care what defense was called, you never take yourself out of a play like that. He had a guy running a deep route and had no other player in his area to account for. I could see him doing that if there was another receiver on the outside, but there wasn’t.
Plus, how did he not notice that nobody was there to pick Robinson up? And what was the worst thing that could happen if he just stayed with him? That Robinson wound up being double-covered?
It was inexcusable by our highly paid “star” cornerback, and it’s something that happens repeatedly.
Then, there is the guy whom Nnamdi was expecting help from…Nate Allen.
Allen showed a couple glimpses of potential in his rookie year before he injured his knee. Since then, he hasn’t shown anything. He is constantly out of position, fails to make any kind of plays and certainly doesn’t strike fear into any receiver who crosses the middle.
Between Allen and Kurt Coleman, they are the worst pair of starting safeties this team has had during the Andy Reid era.
They are so bad that Pro Football Focus has them as the 72nd and 75th-rated safeties in the NFL this year. Let’s see…there are 32 teams in the NFL with each team having two starting safeties. That equals 64 safeties, right?
This must mean PFF rates at least seven backups higher than these guys!
Not that PFF is the end-all, be-all in player ratings, but it seems like a fair rating to me since we’ve been watching these guys for the past two years. Sad to say, but our safeties are just plain horrible.
The last straw for me was watching Kurt Coleman and Brandon Boykin fail to defend the long-ball TD last Sunday against Santana Moss. They let the diminutive Moss out-jump and out-muscle them for the ball, and then bully his way into the end zone.
Sad, just sad.
DRC has been up and down this season. He had an excellent training camp and started the season strong. He’s fallen off as of late, but he is still our best player in the secondary.
PFF has DRC rated as the 97th best overall CB in the NFL. However, that’s mostly due to poor run defense and the amount of penalties on him. If you look at the percentage of passes caught on him in coverage, he ranks 16th with a 51% completion rate.
He also ranks 11th in passes defensed with seven (three interceptions as well). In contrast, Nnamdi ranks 87th overall and just 58th in completion rate at 61.9%.
In any manner, this secondary needs an overhaul and it might just get one for not only reasons of performance, but for monetary reasons as well.
Asomugha is due $15.3 million next year per EaglesCap.com. There is no way on God’s green earth he is getting that money. At the minimum, he will have to restructure his contract. However, it’s quite possible a new coach and/or Eagles management will just cut ties with him after this season.
As far as DRC goes, he will be an unrestricted free agent after this season. The Eagles could franchise tag him, but that seems unlikely. The two sides haven’t been talking contract and a difference in perceived value could very well be in the future (aka, the Eagles won’t want to pay him what he thinks he’ll be worth).
Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman will still be under reasonable contracts, but there is no question in my mind that they should be cut just based on performance. I’d rather start two rookies next season than suffer another season of such inept play with these two guys.
Long gone are the days of Brian Dawkins. Hell, I even miss guys like Quintin Mikell and Michael Lewis. At least they could hit somebody and make some plays.
If everyone agrees that the NFL has become a passing league, which it has, I don’t understand the lack of emphasis at the safety position. Sure, corners are the guys everyone focuses on, but safeties are the guys receivers fear.
I want a safety that is capable of striking fear into the hearts of receivers that dare venture into their domain. I also wouldn’t mind having a corner who can hit as well as cover, ala Sheldon Brown.
This secondary is full of players that don’t do any of that.