Four games into the 2012 season, it really appeared that the defense for the Philadelphia Eagles may have turned the corner. Three of the four victories came via late-game stops by the defenses, including one against Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens, and the other against Eli Manning and the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants.
You had playmakers everywhere on defense. On the defensive line, veterans ends Trent Cole and Jason Babin were a feared duo, and rookie defensive tackle Fletcher Cox was showing his worth as a first round pick. At linebacker, veteran trade acquisition DeMeco Ryans and rookie Mychal Kendricks were all over the field. And at cornerback, Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie started strong, and rookie Brandon Boykin showed many flashes of potential.
That’s all changed over the past four games. All of it.
The Eagles’ defense is one of the least intimidating in the league, according to Rodgers-Cromartie.
“Everybody looks at us as a pretty defense,” Rodgers-Cromartie said. “They’re just big guys with big talent that don’t really want to hit nobody.”
DRC couldn’t be more correct.
The Eagles’ defense is overrated, aging, and completely soft. It begins with the secondary, where all four starters (Asomugha, Rodgers-Cromartie, Nate Allen, and Kurt Coleman) are poor run defenders and incapable of delivering a big hit on an opposing player.
Kendricks has really tailed off too, and he’s already missed double-digit tackles this season.
In fact, there’s really not a player on the defense who is intimidating. Sure, you’ve got guys like Cole, who picked a fight with Atlanta Falcons’ tight end Tony Gonzalez at the end of the game, or Cox, who was ejected late in the game against the Detroit Lions after starting a fight following an extra point.
The Eagles’ defense has a slew of problems, and it all begins with their lack of toughness. The league’s perception of the Eagles’ defense couldn’t be more accurate.