One of the biggest issues surrounding the Philadelphia Eagles for the past three seasons has been the struggles with tackling, particularly out of the secondary.
Cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha, Asante Samuel, and Dominique Rogers-Cromartie were awful tacklers last year, missing on 27 of 119 tackles. That’s 23 percent of all tackles.
Safety Kurt Coleman missed 11 of 73 tackles. Jamar Chaney missed 11 tackles. Brian Rolle led the team with 13 missed tackles in 58 attempts.
As a team, the Eagles missed 108 of 760 tackle attempts (14.2 percent). That’s basically one of out seven tackle attempts that the Eagles missed.
So it’s not surprising that the Eagles ranked as the second worst tackling team in the NFL.
But then they shipped Samuel, one of the most notorious poor tacklers in the league, to Atlanta.
Now they’re clear of tackling issues, right?
Asomugha and Rodgers-Cromartie are still on the team. So are Coleman, Rolle, and Chaney.
Veteran safety OJ Atogwe was a solid tackler last season, but he’s not even a starter, so it really shouldn’t change the defense too much.
The defensive line has always been pretty impressive when it comes to tackling, but that’s not where the problems have occurred. It’s been the defensive backs.
I think Coleman is the key. As a rookie in 2010, he nailed down all 24 of his tackle attempts, the most in the NFL by a player who did not miss any.
But last year, he really regressed, and his 11 missed tackles were huge.
If he can cut those missed tackles in half, down to 5 or 6, the Eagles will be in good shape in 2012.
I like to think that Asomugha and Rodgers-Cromartie will improve on their tackling next season, but I really have no reason to think that. They’ve been brutal tacklers throughout their career, and it’s likely not going to change this year.
I do think Rolle and Chaney will improve. That will really be important, as will the performance of rookie starting linebacker Mychal Kendricks.
But as a whole, I do think the Eagles will have issues with tackling again in 2012. The team has more or less the same players, notably in the defensive backfield.
I think they will be a little better than 2011. Instead of 31st in the league, I’m expecting about 25th.
This article was written by Bryn Swartz, the top writer for the Philadelphia Eagles and a featured NFL columnist on Rant Sports. Bryn has written more than 1000 articles in less than two years as a member of Rant Sports. His blog, Eagles Central, was named the 2010 Ballhyped Sports Blog of the Year. To read a portfolio of Bryn’s best work, click here.