Offseason Makeover Likely For Eagles’ Secondary

Early on during today’s press conference, defensive coordinator Todd Bowles was asked about potentially making personnel changes in the Eagles’ secondary.

“We have possible lineup changes, and people compete everyday,” Bowles said. “There are no spots set in stone. We’re playing our best guys. If there was somebody that was stepping up to play better, they would be playing.”

Bowles didn’t mean it as a slight on the Eagles’ depth, but his comment spotlights the team’s lack of young talent at cornerback and safety.

You probably know the numbers by now, but just in case you need a refresher, opposing quarterbacks are completing 75.2 percent of their passes and averaging 9.7 yards per attempt against the Eagles in the last five games since Bowles took over. They’ve thrown for 13 touchdowns and no interceptions.

“There’s not one thing to point to,” said safety Kurt Coleman. “Sometimes it’s somebody just thinking somebody’s going to be there, and they’re not. We’re on two different pages. It’s inexcusable at this level.

“Bottom line is it’s players being able to do their job and relying and trusting other guys to be able to do their job. I think the trust factor’s there. It’s just, we’re on two different pages. You saw that in the Washington game and you saw it last week.”

In the summer of 2011, the Eagles looked like they were in good shape in the secondary. They still had Asante Samuel and added Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha. They had just spent a second-round pick on Jaiquawn Jarrett and still had Nate Allen.

But times have changed.

At cornerback, Samuel’s in Atlanta. Rodgers-Cromartie is only 26 and the most talented of any of the Eagles defensive backs. But we’ve seen in the past two seasons why the Cardinals were willing to part with him. To put it bluntly, he’s an inconsistent player and a poor tackler.

As for Asomugha, he’ll be 32 at the start of the 2013 season and has a reported cap hit of $15.3M. The Eagles could restructure his deal or lose $4M and cut him.

Brandon Boykin has been up and down, but he seems to project mostly as a nickel corner. And Curtis Marsh, a 2011 third-round pick, is a complete unknown. He’s played a total of 18 defensive snaps this season.

Safety is a giant question mark as well. In addition to Coleman and Allen, here are the safeties who have seen action the past two seasons: David Sims, Colt Anderson, Jarrett and Jarrad Page. In other words, it’s not like the Eagles have a bunch of young talent they are waiting to develop. Allen and Coleman could be backups in 2013, or they could be gone altogether.

Priority number one this offseason will be finding a coach to replace Andy Reid. Priority two will be deciding on a quarterback. And after that, the Eagles will have to figure out how to fix a secondary that appears to be broken.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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