THE DEFENSE CAN BE FIXED
TONIGHT on Eagles Extra Ray Didinger ripped the CB's soft coverage, but made mention that it is to cover for the OLB's (but he specifically pointed out Trent Cole's) inability to turn and run with receivers.
At another point (Cordarrelle Patterson's TD catch) Didinger pointed out (and highlighted on the screen) Safety Patrick Chung just standing and staring after the snap of the ball. It looked like he didn't even know his assignment.
We can sit and nitpick players all we like. Every week it'll just result in a new goat. The problem is less with the personnel and more with the scheme and player utilization.
Cole can still play the run and rush the passer, but he cannot cover either well nor consistently. He has the skill set of a DE. So why is he playing OLB?
Mychal Kendricks can often be found covering the flat to his right. Why line him up at ILB and make him use up extra gas REPEATEDLY playing inside-out? Just line him up outside in the first place.
I had my doubts about Bennie Logan but the guy has been a force at NT. The thing is he's got 2-gap quickness inside. I can't even imagine the impact he would have if he didn't have to uncover to make plays first. We've seen what Fletcher Cox looks like at 2-gap DT; wouldn't it be nice to turn them BOTH loose in the "A" gaps, since BOTH guys can beat a double? Cole on the one end and Vinnie Curry on the other.
Connor Barwin is a guy who should be moved around the formation. OLB on downs 1 and 2, and 4-3 DE on 3rd and long.
If you can alleviate strain on the CB's they can stop giving up those cushions, and the territory between them and the Safeties becomes clearer. This is especially important for a guy like Earl Wolff. if reads are confusing to him early in his career, it could lead to bad diagnoses habits later in his career. This is what I think happened to Nate Allen.
Allen was a young guy coming back off injury, and the EAGLES with (Nnamdi and DRC) went to a press coverage scheme. And the veteran Safety bringing Allen along? That would be human battering-ram Kurt Coleman. So now who does Wolf look to? That would be Allen. See my point?
A more basic and straight forward coverage would benefit both Allen and Wolff I think. The demarcations are clearer and they can just allow their instincts to take over. Former DC Todd Bowles tried to oversimplify it for Coleman and Allen last year, but it was still with the same outside concept at CB, so you still got blown assignment after blown assignment down the middle. The truth is if you want to do exotic things with your coverage you need special players to compensate for any shortcomings; and none of our Safeties are special.
Of course to do any of this means scraping this 3-4 (at least until you have genuine 3-4 personnel to run it correctly). Me personally, I'd like to see that 4-3 Under we were hearing about earlier. That, or by god a 46 again.
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