The main thing to look at is obviously the defense as a whole since it was horrendous in their first preseason game last week against the New England Patriots. The Patriots marched up and down the field in the air and on the ground, and it was hard to watch.The entire defense needs to get much better and must improve their tackling.
Watching the Eagles try and tackle was embarrassing. This may be because the Eagles simply don’t tackle in practice, but Chip Kelly insists not to expose his players to injury like that, which is debatable. Yet, the Eagles have always seemed to be a bad tackling team, even during the Andy Reid era. This needs to change immediately because once the season starts, the Eagles will need to turn on the switch.
I would definitely recommend keeping a close eye on the secondary. If Cary Williams plays tomorrow, we must watch him and see if he can bring some toughness to that defense. The other corners like Brandon Boykin and Bradley Fletcher should also be on the watch list.
Boykin seemed comfortable playing on the outside, but I would like to see him with the first team and see how he gels. Fletcher, on the other hand, showed good coverage last week, but was not locating the ball quick enough. Since this was happening, Tom Brady was able to put the ball on the money every time.
It’s not just the cornerbacks that need to be on the lookout, but the safeties as well. The safeties had their ups and downs in their first preseason game and showed that they’re still an inconsistent group. Nate Allen and Patrick Chung were the starters and showed little flashes of good play.
Chung, however, has been the more consistent safety and may be the front-runner for the starting job. Allen has made every fan give up hope on him. He just hasn’t adapted to the NFL and has shown that he was a waste of second-round pick. However, Allen could be used as a solid back-up, but that should be it.
Every fan should actually keep a close eye on Allen’s backups, Kenny Phillips and rookie Earl Wolff. These two seems like they can be a great combo at the back end of the defense. Phillips was once a Pro Bowl safety that leaves many fans praying that he can stay healthy, which has been an issue for him. If Phillips can stay healthy, than I think he can be a valuable asset to this defense and can be a mentor to Wolff, who will only get better.
Another area where the Eagles need discipline in is outside linebacker. The reason why fans must watch the OLBs in this game is because the Panthers will most likely run a lot of read-options against the Eagles. It’s no secret that the Panthers love to run this play especially because Cam Newton is behind center.
The OLBs will probably be the guy Newton will read while running the read-option and it will be a great test for them since they will have to go up against Robert Griffin III in Week 1. It also should be interesting to see what kind of game plan new defensive coordinator Billy Davis will have against Newton. Davis definitely needs to bounce back after a horrible start to the preseason last week.
So mainly what we should look at is the secondary and the outside linebackers for tomorrow night. The middle of the defense still might be a concern, however, when we look at how the Panthers play offense, you can tell they like to attack the perimeter with Newton’s speed. This should be a fun game to watch and a great test for the Eagles’ defense.
Sonny Bryan is a Philadelphia Eagles writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter SonnyBryan50