All-22: What’s Going On In Eagles’ Secondary?

Earlier this week, Todd Bowles talked about how the Eagles had problems executing a “high school cover-3″ against the Panthers.

What did he mean? Let’s take a look at a few of the plays to see what exactly is going on with this defense right now.

Play 1: Last week, it was Nate Allen not maintaining his deep responsibility in Cover 3. This time around, it looked to be Kurt Coleman. Cover 3 means three defensive backs split the deep part of the field into thirds. The free safety (in this case, Coleman), is responsible for the middle, while Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie take the outside.


The Panthers only send three receivers into routes. The wide receiver at the top of the screen runs the SLUGGO or the slant-and-go. The two tight ends, who were lined up at the line of scrimmage, release into their routes.

A pump-fake by Cam Newton on the slant moves Coleman to that side of the field, which is a huge problem, because it leaves tight end Gary Barnidge wide-open.


Coleman tries to hustle back, but it’s too late. Newton fires to Barnidge for the 24-yard touchdown.


Play 2: Andy Reid explained what happened on the next touchdown during his Monday news conference.

“From the slot we’ve got people coming off both edges and it was only supposed to be off one edge. That allowed the guy to be free,” he said.

Let’s take a look. The Eagles appear to be going with quarters coverage – defensive backs splitting the deep part of the field into fourths. When the ball is snapped, Coleman blitzes, and Allen rolls over to that side to take his place.


Asomugha (bottom of your screen), Boykin, Allen and Rodgers-Cromartie (top of your screen) are in four-deep coverage. The only problem? Boykin blitzes when he’s not supposed to.


That leaves Brandon LaFell running down the seam all alone for the 43-yard touchdown. No one’s got the “quarter” between Asomugha and Allen.

Play 3: Let’s end on a positive note, shall we? I think Vinny Curry has a chance to become a fan favorite – assuming, of course, that he performs on the field. He got off to a good start in his debut Monday night.

Here, he makes a nice inside move from right defensive end spot and gets to Newton.


But Curry runs into a problem many defensive linemen have against Newton – finishing the job. He ends up on the ground as Newton scrambles away.

The key is what happens next. Curry bounces right back up and hustles to the ballcarrier. By my count, he covered more than 15 yards. And look who eventually makes the tackle 1 yard past the line of scrimmage.


It’s Curry. Good job by the rookie of making the most of his limited opportunities. He figures to be a regular part of the rotation the rest of the way.

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  • morgan c

    Makes total sense it took AR until the season was lost to start one of the few players who actually tries hard. This is the type of stuff that all the Reid-lovers in the national media (Ditka, Carter, Boomer, TJ) need to understand as well when they spout off.

    • Brian

      Was that Andy’s decision, or Washburn’s?

  • daggolden

    I have a QB question. Name me 1 team in the NFL that Nick Foles would start for today. Name me 1 team in the NFL that has a starting QB age 20-30 that thier GTM would say give me Nick Foles he is my starter. Name me one. I will tell you. The Philadelphia Eagles are the only team in the NFL that Nick Foles would start. Thats the guy people are saying is our starting QB next year. unbelievable.

    • Adrian

      Kansas City Chiefs. Give it another week or two and I reckon the Jets too, and possibly even the Cardinals

      • daggolden

        Mark Sanchez would laugh at you and tell you I have led my team to 2 AFC championship games and Nick Foles has done what? thrown for 116 yards and 150 yards with a QB rating of 50. What are we basing Nick Foles potential on? 3 preseason games lmao. Psssst If we went by preseason games Phillip Hunt would have 30 sacks and D Johnson would have 1500 recievibng yards by now.

    • The Guru

      I’m not saying he’s the answer, but how do you know what kind of player he is with that offensive line, the absurd play calling, the franchise back out, and a TE who couldn’t catch VD from a hooker?

      • atlvickfan

        Funny how all those EXACT SAME problems didn’t stop you from pointing the finger at Vick the first half of the season.

        • The Guru

          Funny, I don’t remember Shady being hurt. Vick had 10 seasons to prove he’s a fraud and he’s working on getting his third coach fired. We saw his giant flaws all last year and the end of 2010.

          Foles has had 2 starts. Not the same. At. All.

          • atlvickfan

            No, see, it’s the exact same thing. We DO know what kind of player Vick is with a good offensive line — a Pro Bowl caliber player who gets 8 yards per attempt and leads the offense to a top 10 ranking. The problems that limit Foles are the exact same ones that limit Vick. And by the way, I can assure you I have seen a LOT more of Vick’s career as a Falcon than you have. If you think he “got his coaches fired” in Atlanta as opposed to his coaches holding him back, please describe to me the amazing accomplishments Dan Reeves and Jim Mora have on their ledger after parting ways with Vick. I’ll wait.

          • Vick Supporter

            Lol that’s what I’m talking about atlvickfan!

          • The Guru

            PRO BOWL CALIBER??? Hahahahahahaha That’s the funniest thing I’ve read all week. You must be right. 3 different coaches (all with different styles and game plans) were all “holding him back”. Reeves who went to the Super Bowl with two different teams and Andy Reid who is a boarderline hall of fame coach? You’re really going to lay the blame at their feet instead of Vick? That’s the reason he’s going to go down as the biggest underachieving QB in the history of the league. Or maybe…just maybe…

            He can’t read defenses. He has no idea where the blitz is coming from. He doesn’t know what plays to audible to. He brings half the hits on himself because he holds on to the ball too long….or doesn’t slide. He’s not an accurate QB. He can’t stay healthy. He can’t see over the offensive line. And now he’s 33 with declining speed and mechanics.

            I’d much rather roll the dice with a 23 year old kid who can actually learn all those things. Is he the answer? Probably not. But we KNOW Michael Vick is not…and has never been in his entire career. He is the poster boy for the term: FRAUD.

          • atlvickfan

            He has made 4 Pro Bowls in 7 seasons as a starter. He is Pro Bowl caliber whether you like it or not.

            I never said Andy Reid held him back. You are the one equating Vick with Reid’s inevitable firing. Reid is going to be fired because he made an offensive line coach the defensive coordinator and then scapegoated him for the offensive line’s problems. That has nothing to do with Vick. The truth is, Vick probably extended Reid’s time in Philly by a couple of years. Knowing what we know now about Kevin Kolb, if Vick hadn’t been there to take over in 2010, Kolb’s inevitable failure may very well have cost Reid his job already.

            Reeves was fired because Arthur Blank bought the Falcons and wanted his own guy. Reeves was an OK head coach but an awful personnel guy, and it showed — when he had one dynamic superstar to carry the team (Vick, Jamal Anderson) the Falcons were good; when he didn’t the Falcons sucked. Vick got injured in 2003 and that gave Blank his excuse to fire Reeves.

            Mora is arguably the worst coach the NFL has seen in the last 10 years. His resume speaks for itself.

            Equating the career paths of those three coaches to Vick’s presence is Skip Bayless-caliber logic. But then again, not much of anything you have posted on this blog has much logical merit to it.

          • The Guru

            It’s obvious you’re Marcus Vick. Just come out and say it….

          • atlvickfan

            I’ll admit I’m Marcus Vick if you admit you’re Ingrid Newkirk.

    • Jack

      Narrow minded individuals like yourself would have been calling for Peyton Manning’s head when he was a rookie. Peyton looked just as bad as Foles and tossed 6 picks in his first 2 games. Peyton had a very poor passer rating, a low completion percentage, and many more turnovers than TDs in his first 6 games, and that was after being the #1 all throughout training camp and the offseason. If you were calling the shots, Peyton would have been benched, cut, and the Colts would have never won the Super Bowl.

      • Jack

        I should also add the fact that the Colts weren’t playing with 4 backups on the offensive line and weren’t afraid to run the ball.

        • daggolden

          Not one good thing has been said about Nick Foles. Brian Westbrook, (Foles isnt very good), Brian Baldinger( not very good), Ray Didinger( well he called a nice audible). It is what it is.

      • daggolden

        Your comparing the #1 pick in the draft Peyton Manning to a 3rd round reach who had a 5th round grade in Nick Foles? wow. By your logic every QB drafted should be good. By your logic Bobby Hoying would still be our starting QB.

        • Jack

          All a college QB has coming into the NFL is potential. Once they get there, they are judged on their NFL performance. Foles’ NFL performance was no worse than Peyton’s was when he was a rookie. So yes, I am comparing Peyton to Foles in this regard. Foles is in a worse situation than Peyton was. Sorry but I call it like it is.

  • daggolden

    Do you think Nick Foles 120 yard passing day vs the vaunted Panthers defense was bad. What do you think is in store for Foles next sunday night vs Ware and the Cowboys. You think his performance is gonna improve?lol. I would predict 16-44 for 153 yards 3 ints and sacked 6 times.With a score of 44-6. Its not a good situation hes heading into.

    • atlvickfan

      If they let Foles throw 44 times against the Cowboys after how Bryce Brown played on Monday night they should be fired on the spot.

    • JofreyRice

      Yeah, but you have to figure out exactly what he is because Vick is sucky, too. First of all, he’s got a lot of holes in his game that he’s never been able to correct, and now his head’s been bashed apart. Vick’s gone in 2013, Foles will be here. I definitely agree Foles has looked horrible in these games, and is probably not going to be the answer but can you honestly say a 2 game sample size is enough to make a final judgment on a guy?

      • http://hibernate.org/ Steve Ebersole

        Most eagles fans are far too irrantional at the moment to answer such questions honestly…

    • FMWarner

      Your points are well taken, but you must admit that Foles is much whiter than most of the QBs we’ve had in the last 25 years. That’s an important consideration with this fan base.

      • aub32

        What does that have to do with anything? I wouldn’t care if our QB was purple if he delivered me a superbowl. I am a huge Vick fan and if he is not here I wish him well, but I am an Eagles fan first despite the race of my QB. I don’t think Foles being criticized any more harshly due to him being white. He is not performing well. I get the excuses, but even with Shady out BB still had a great game on the ground. Also, the play calling has been much better for Foles than it was with Vick.

        • FMWarner

          I’m not saying YOU care what color he is. I’m saying that your analysis is correct but that lots of people in this town will bend over backwards to excuse Foles’ performance but not give the same courtesy to Vick.

  • JofreyRice

    Curry was ripping that inside move a lot. Had pretty good results, looked at least as good as Trent Cole.

    Knowing what the defensive responsibilities were on a play makes all the difference, even if the All-22 is at your disposal. I thought Allen was to blame for the TD on Coleman’s blitz, but can see now that Boykin made the error. I still think Allen is a bad safety, but in this case, he was doing his job.

  • 1972

    Foles is a back up, maybe he’ll improve to a game manager ( hopefully) but he has that matt cassell look to him right now.Turnover machine. but about the secondary, no more excuses, no more talking on the side line, get kurt coleman OFF THE FIELD!! AND THEN OFF THE TEAM!!! how bad can the next man up be? if u tell this idiot its cover 3 he should never be looking in the back field.its 8 other guys to make that stop> Allen cant tackle and coleman cant tackle or cover so i get rid of the lesser of two evils. kurt coleman might be one of the worst starting draft picks ever by Reid. Mattthews is Number 1

    • southy

      Understand the sentiment, but KC bit on a pump fake not play action.

  • http://twitter.com/gmaytorena Gilberto Maytorena

    don’t be so desperate, the team is going through a crisis, it’s going to take time to win games again, i say we give Foles a chance to play some games and see if he’s going to be our QB next season ’cause frankly i don’t think Vick is going to be living at Philadelphia much longer, he had a good 2010 season but last season and this one Vick has not performed well and he’s not getting any younger