All-22: More Breakdowns From the Eagles’ Defense

An All-22 look at what we saw from the Eagles’ defense last week against the Cowboys.

Play 1: DeMarco Murray had not touched the ball in seven weeks. But on his first carry against the Eagles, he picked up 14 yards.

Trent Cole is upfield and gets blocked by Tyron Smith. Akeem Jordan gets manhandled by the fullback. Nnamdi Asomugha (not pictured), who actually was pretty active in run support, couldn’t get off of Dez Bryant’s block as Murray bounced it outside.

Play 2: On a day when Tony Romo went 22-for-27 for 303 yards and three touchdowns, he couldn’t have left any big plays on the field, right? Wrong. I have no idea why Romo didn’t pull the trigger on this pass to Jason Witten (red circle), who appeared to be wide open in the first.

Not positive, but it looks like Kurt Coleman needs to drop back deeper in coverage there. Romo scrambled and ended up dumping it off to Murray for a 1-yard loss. The Cowboys missed out on a big play here (although there were obviously opportunities for several more, as you’ll see below).

Play 3: DeMeco Ryans did not have his best game, but here, he puts on a clinic on how to play middle linebacker.

Ryans moves swiftly and decisively towards Murray, who takes the toss left. Ryans doesn’t need to worry about getting off a block, since he doesn’t allow the center to even get a hand on him.

And when he gets to Murray, Ryans executes the tackle flawlessly.

The result? His 15th tackle-for-loss this season, the most of any Eagles defender during the Andy Reid era. Ryans shows up every week.

Play 4: The call from Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth on this play was classic. They couldn’t believe the Eagles would leave Witten so wide open.

Coleman turns his back to the middle of the field and heads towards Dez Bryant on the outside, while Asomugha bails deep. That leaves Witten all alone.

As easy a 28-yard gain as you’ll see all season.

Play 5: I would love to be in the room when a play like Bryant’s 28-yard touchdown is shown to defensive players. It’s one thing to give up the completion, but another to fail in such an epic manner in bringing Bryant down.

Bryant is in a crowd of five defenders around the 8-yard-line. There’s no way he’s scoring here, right?

Wrong. Allen somehow runs right past Bryant, while Coleman and Jordan do the same from the other side. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie doesn’t make much of an effort to get to Bryant, and Mychal Kendricks overruns him too.

Play 6: If you want to identify players who are still hustling and giving full effort, start with Brandon Graham. He’s at his usual spot at left defensive end to start this play.

It’s a handoff to the opposite side, but Graham hustles around Doug Free and chases the ballcarrier.

Look who ends up making the tackle for no gain.

Really nice effort from Graham here.

Play 7: Another bad play for Allen on the 27-yard touchdown to Miles Austin. The Eagles set up in Cover-3, as Asomugha, Allen and Rodgers-Cromartie divide the deep part of the field into thirds.

Allen’s in good position to pop Austin as soon as he catches the ball.

But the wide receiver makes a subtle move, and Allen goes flying by. Rodgers-Cromartie delivered a little swat around the 5-yard-line as Austin scampered into the end zone.

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  • daggolden

    So basically Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman are horrible every week. Every week a reciever is wide open in the middle of the field. Yet Im suppose to believe that Colt Anderson and David Sims would do a worst job? I wouldnt care what the result would be, Nate and Kurt wouldnt start another game for me in the secondary. How can on this level these players not know what they are doing? Its not like this is a part time job for them. This is all they do.

    • airgreen7

      I totally agree. Both are horrible but Kurt is the worst out of the two….

    • EaglefaninAZ

      Agreed. Both should be benched regardless of who the backups are. There is no accountability on this team as long as this coaching staff is here. Oy vey.

      • Johngiam

        accountability is the number one cause of the chaos in Philadelphia. See y below post for details

    • Johngiam

      cheers mate. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Appreciate the fire. If only the plays felt the same

  • Septhinox


    • morgan c

      just disgusting really. i would love to run into these guys in public, on the street somewhere and just give them a piece of my mind. sure i know it’s easy to talk tough, they can kick my ass after i yell at them and make me cry, but i’d feel better letting them know how much the humiliate our city on a weekly basis. they are literally just stealing money. this is a full time job as someone said. how are they this bad?

  • JohnGiam

    sheil…wouldnt it be easier to just copy and paste any of the previous weeks all 22 defensive breakdown articles? some story every week, different opponent/ sad, just joking tho…really appreciate your work

  • 1972

    gotta get nate allen off this team. you have to.

    • JohnGiam

      I’d be ok with keeping Kurt for special teams ONLY..but Nate has got to go! I seen enough opponent Cleat marks on his chest and face mask. Somewhere along the way, to hide its inept inability to evaluate safeties, this organization started trying to brain wash fans into thinking there were two types of safeties: Cover safeties, and HITTERS! What a joke? is it really too much to ask that BOTH my safeties can BOTH COVER AND HIT? Does it really have to be one or the other? ISnt the frigging main prerequisite to being a friggin safety that you can HIT and COVER!!… Let’s see, neither can cover ANYONE, they don’t know the play book after all this time..and ATleast once a game, you can count on both beng TRUCKED or CARRIED into the ends one from 5 yards deep. Completely physically outmatched, yet you never seen them attack the legs or take competent angles. What a joke! These dudes make Demps and Mikkel look like all world safeties!

      • 1972

        lol i was thinking the same thing. i miss quentin mikkel!! is there a issue with the eagles and drafting defense from the s.e.c? i honestly never heard of this guy coming out of college. how can you not cover or hit and be drafted in the 2nd round? safteys from texas, bama, lsu, and georgia will all be on the board.. they have to get at least one right???? i like vaccoro from texas but he’s more of a ss.. but ill take it

        • Bob A

          I’m not sure they have anything against the SEC. Boykin, Chaney, Cox,are all draft picks from the SEC and Ryans , who they acquired in a trade is from Alabama. I’m more worried that they don’t draft players well at all, regardless of conference. Remember , there are plenty of NCAA conferences, the Eagles probably have about the same number of SEC guys ( also some on offense including Dunlap,Cooper,Mathis) as most teams.

          • 1972

            i was thinking more along the lines of linebackers safties and d linemen.And out of all the guys u named only one was in the first or second round.I hope they draft height over speed this year too. tired of high motor fastball guys

          • Johngiam

            Lova vaccarro…

      • Bob A

        While they were never great, there was a time when both safeties were OK; Allen won defensive player of the month in his rookie year and Coleman had 3 picks in a game once, not an easy feat even if Rex Grossman is the starting QB. I’ll be interested to see what they do in the traditional defense they’ll be playing the rest of the month; they seemed confused about their wide 9 assignments. If they’re still bad, then yeah, the Eagles have to release both of them in the offseason.

        • morgan c

          you can also flip around the logic of the safeties making the corners look bad (which is true, definitely), and look at how when we had decent corners here (samuel, for all his faults, could cover *usually* and sheldon brown was a flat-out stud), allen was really good in his rookie year pre-injury. coleman just can’t play. makes allen even worse.

          • Johngiam

            No no no,,,the safeties are the ones blowing coverages

          • Absecon

            Sorry, they blow coverages because the scheme (wide-9 based) is a fraudulent gimmick…then a non-defensive experienced coordinator tried to figure out how to make it work. Why don’t the best teams in the league use it? They would have moved that way by now if it was legit. That’s why BOTH the safeties and corners have looked like idiots out there at different times. Come on, do most of you really think all four of them are this bad?!?!

  • Kimbafuzz

    I wonder how much more effective DRC and Nnamdi would be if they had safety support. :-/

    • JohnGiam

      Yeah, I’m also really starting to wonder about that man. No matter what corners you bring in here, it can’t be easy to play with the worst safety tandem that personally, my eyes have ever seen. I mean there isn’t a thing they do well. Even when they are in perfect position to double team a RECIEVER, the RECIEVER still catches the damn ball, the bite on every single play action fake, blow coverages in every single game (they aren’t rookies, the been seeing playing time for a while now), and ATleast once a game, you can count on both to get TRUCKED or CARRIED into the end zone from 5 yard deep. When will they realize that they are wimps who need to attack the legs of their opponents and take competent angles?…I don’t see how we can replace an entire secondary in a single offseason..I just don’t think it’s possible…so if Management we to tell me, listen, we will renegotiate Nmandi, and sign drc to a one year deal…BUT we will SERIOUSLY UPGRADEand get 2 TAlented, above average safeties for them to play with…I wouldn’t be thrilled, but I would buy it, and be willing to see what they can do.

      Why should Nate and Kurt improve? There is no damn accountability in this organization! They already know there obviously isn’t a damn thing thAt they can do to get themselves BENCHED. One you stop holding players accountable, you lose control! Take Vick and all the early season mistakes. Take the sliding..why should he change, when we continue to allow it. bet your ass he learns how to slide if Reid benches him for the rest of the game when he doesn’t…Had Vick been benched for one game after the lions game and held accountable for the boneheaded mistakes he repeatedly made, maybe the next time he took the field we would have seen cleaner play… how about Celek? How many time do balls have to hit off his hands and into a defenders lap until he is sat for a game, and given harbor his reps? Reid got so afraid of the controversies in this town, when fans see a backup do a good job, that he dropped all accountability…and there was basically nothing a player could do to get himself benched…but if you are late to a team meeting, that’s when he benches you? Lol… Just get me a damn coach who will hold these players feet to the fire!!

      • Kimbafuzz

        I wouldn’t have benched Vick after the Lions game. He gave the Eagles a 10 pt lead with 5:18 left in the game. It should have been done. The defense just totally fell apart.

  • Myke Lowery


  • airgreen7

    It is nice to relive the nightare that is our secondary every week. I love the stamp of approval that I get that they are horrible. DRC…what can I say….PI call every week. Is it just out of frustration?

    • Johngiam

      im starting to think so. Out of all the mutts in our secondary, he is still the player I believe is or ATleast can be much better then he has shown…the for who, for what sort of dynamic looks to have crept in…we can hate it as fans, but they are human, and I don’t know that I can really blame him…I mean it has to be completely demoralizing to play next to tweet le D and tweet le dumb. It’s week 15, and they have no clue what coverages they are even supposed to be in… It has to be completely demoralizing to see the same exact idiotic mistakes happen every single week. I can’t imagine what a nightmare it must be, especially for a player who has actually been successful before

    • morgan c

      kind of cathartic, in a self-hating way, isn’t it?

  • Wood334

    Im really not diggin Bowles cover 3 D

  • Matteuw Hines

    This again is the reason why I am still scratching my head that the Eagles sort of passed on Laron Landry. I know people were concerned about his injury coming into the season but the dude regardless of how people view or viewed his cover skills overall, he is much more physical, bigger, faster, and flat out better than both Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman.

    • Johngiam

      Even friggin yeremiah bell, who we lost, because with 20million dollars of available salary cap, the most out of every single team in the league minus the jaguars…we decided to NOT out bid the jets for him on a one year deal? Wen you have the worst 4 safeties in the league on your roster, and all that money in an “all in, Super Bowl or bust, what a joke” year….ANY FRIGGIN SAFETY on the market is better then these mutts!! What a joke! We have the two worst starting safeties in the nfl, and probably the worst two back up safeties in the nfl….but good ol Jeff got to pocket an EXTRA 20 million, that was allocated to spend ONI talent! The gold standard!

  • Bob A

    What may have been happening is that the gap control that was necessary for the wide 9 had Allen and Coleman in a ‘didn’t know whether to wind their ass or scratch their watch’ situation. I’ll be interested to see what happens when the safeties only have to give the run support any other team does, and they can help the corners on most passes, also see how the LBs play if Ryans can just focus on the run and Kendricks can just worry about the TE, like most teams do. They can blitz and stunt more now too without worrying about 3 receivers being out there with one defender. Brasher’s Narrow 7 ( OK, I made that name up) is back. I think the back 7 will be thrilled, remember they were all perfectly good players until the wide 9 came into their lives.

    • Absecon

      Agreed! It’s amazing to me how fans can know all along what the wide-9 does to the rest of the defense (sets it up for failure), and then is shocked when the ENTIRE secondary has problems! I give those players credit for not throwing their coaches under the bus by now! They suck because the wide-9 sucks!

  • 1972

    why do we always have a guy starting that shouldnt be in the league.Hakeem Jordan has never made a play for the eagle on defense , not one.. he almost made a play on special teams in o.t vs detroit. he stripped the returner and didnt fall on the ball.They ll throw anybody out there at linebacker. Blatant disrespect for the position

    • A_T_G

      True, Hakeem hasn’t made any plays that stand out in my mind. But, to be fair, the Eagles don’t have a Hakeem on the roster.

  • Absecon

    The secondary sucks because the wide-9 sucks! If it was just the safeties, then don’t you think the corners would be a little better, they’ve both been all-pros? They all make the same mistakes because they all play in a system that sucks!

  • Matt Jacobs

    They are only playing this bad because Vick is a FRAUD.