Tonight the Philadelphia Eagles will go up against the New England Patriots. For Eagles fans, it will give them a glimpse of the new Chip Kelly offense. However, the major concern is how will the defense do against Bill Belichick’s offense.
All week, the hated Patriots stink has been in the Eagles’ nostrils. The team practiced with the birds, and tonight is the time for the Eagles to hit the Patriots. Tom Brady took the majority of the reps with an offense that went through a lot of changes.
Is Billy Davis’ defense ready for them? There are severe doubts about the secondary. The Super Bowl-winning Cary Williams is out with a hamstring injury, so Brandon Boykin gets the nod. Boykin is small and has been only used in the past to cover the inside. Tonight, he will have to cover either Josh Boyce, Aaron Dobson or Kenbrell Thompkins.
This will be quite a task. Boyce is a good route runner, and Dobson and Thompkins tower over the 5-foot-10 corner. Help needs to come from Bradley Fletcher, who was supposed to compete with Boykins, but will work beside him tonight due to injury. These two will have a problem against the veteran leader in Brady.
It doesn’t get any better with the safeties either. There are arguments that because of the wide nine defense last year, that safeties had more pressure to stop the run. This creates more space for the corner to cover, and that is why the corners were humiliated last year. Nate Allen was awful last year, but will have to prove himself as a reliable safety under the 3-4.
There are no excuses left. Hopefully, rookie Earl Wolff can step up and get adjusted to the defense quickly.
The bottom line is that the secondary is going to get crushed tonight. The only thing that Eagles fans can hope for is that some of the linebackers get some violent hits and shake the Patriots up. What is more important to sooth the suffering is to see which young players seem to be adjusting quickly.