All-22: What the ‘D’ Looked Like Without Washburn

From Mychal Kendricks to Fletcher Cox to Colt Anderson, here’s an All-22 look at what the Eagles’ defense looked like Sunday against the Bucs.

Play 1: Here’s what Jamar Chaney told Tim yesterday about the changes on the defensive line.

“It’s better for the linebackers. If you ask any linebacker what scheme or how they would want to do it, they would want the linemen to hold up the blocks and they go make the plays.”

And here, we see why Chaney said that. First, let’s take a look at the pre-snap alignment.


The Wide-9 lines the defensive end up outside the tight end. Here, you can see that’s not the case with Brandon Graham. Take a look at a photo of Jason Babin from a game earlier this season against the Giants to see the difference.


To be fair, the Eagles had not been lining up in the Wide-9 on every play, even with Jim Washburn still here. And it doesn’t appear to be completely dead, as you’ll see below.

On this play, you can see Chaney has no offensive linemen to deal with as he makes his way towards Doug Martin. Same for DeMeco Ryans.


Chaney does a good job finishing, as he and Nnamdi Asomugha tackle Martin after a 1-yard gain.


It should be noted that the Eagles were not getting gashed against the run this year. They were 13th in the league, allowing 4.1 yards per carry, going into this game. Martin ran for 128 yards in this game, averaging 4.6 yards per carry, although I thought the run defense held up pretty well.

The effect goes beyond the numbers though. The Eagles had been horrible in coverage the previous six games. Blown assignments, safeties with run responsibilities biting on play-action, etc. We’ll see if the change up front improves the pass defense in the final few games.

Play 2: Nice job here by the Eagles’ two second-round picks. Mychal Kendricks was moved to the WILL spot, and Vinny Curry got reps at right defensive end.


Kendricks blows up the play and helps force Martin back inside, while Curry hustles from the back side.


Curry finishes, dropping Martin for a 1-yard loss on 3rd-and-1.


Play 3: A couple things to note on this third-down play in the second. One, the Wide-9 is not completely dead. Look at where Trent Cole is lined up.


And two, there’s been a lot of discussion about what the Eagles’ secondary is going to look like in 2013. One question that needs to be answered: Can Brandon Boykin play outside? The rookie’s been mostly used inside this season. But against Tampa, the Eagles kept Asomugha (and Curtis Marsh when Asomugha was injured) on Vincent Jackson when Jackson moved to the slot.


Boykin fared well on this play (and in this game). A lot of teams are moving their No. 1 receivers inside at times to gain an advantage. We saw it with Calvin Johnson earlier this season. In the offseason, the Eagles have to decide whether Boykin is an every-down player who can play outside, or just a nickel corner.

Overall, the Eagles were much better in coverage, limiting Josh Freeman to 41.2 completions. In the previous six games, opposing quarterbacks were completing 76.3 percent of their passes against the Birds.

Play 4: Fletcher Cox can thank Marsh, Kendricks and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for his second-quarter sack. Cox and Cole ran a stunt up front.


It didn’t result in immediate pressure on Freeman. Here you can see he’s got a pretty nice pocket actually.

But the Eagles’ coverage on the back end was outstanding.


And Cox did away with left tackle Donald Penn.

Play 5: Many of you have asked about Colt Anderson. In coverage, the Eagles parked him deep on many passing plays and didn’t ask him to do too much. Against the run, when he avoided blockers, he showed could make plays at or behind the line of scrimmage. But if an offensive player gets a hand on him, he has to prove he can still be effective.

For example, in the fourth, Anderson made a nice read on a Martin run.


Cullen Jenkins did a nice job disrupting the play, and you’ll notice Graham is not caught upfield. Anderson flies in and stops Martin for no gain.


But later in the game, on Martin’s touchdown run, Jackson gets to Anderson and provides a key block for the score.


Kurt Coleman is unlikely to play Thursday night so Anderson should get another shot.

Other notes:

* Kendricks really played well. He was active throughout, totaling seven tackles (according to team stats) and playing well in coverage too.

* Rodgers-Cromartie played one of his best games in a long time.

* Credit to Asomugha for fighting through the injury, but he gave up too many plays in coverage.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • Sensei

    That’s a good question about Boykin and one I’ve never really thought about until now

    • morgan c

      Until now, I’ve thought it just makes the most sense to keep him at nickel. He excelled there in college and has been playing overall pretty well there this year. Nickel / slot is a special skill and the Eagles have invested all their time and energy on him so far in developing him at that position. So, I think it makes sense to keep him inside, where he can continue to work at his craft, and be one of the best inside cover guys in the league in due time.

      That said, now that I’m realizing DRC and NA could both be gone, we may need him outside. And if he can do it, then we should let him. I’m just conflicted about whether it’s best to keep developing him at the position he is already at.

      • Septhinox

        He also excelled outside in college where he played the majority of the time. He had a lot of time in the slot which is why he is so comfortable there. But make no mistake, he was an outside cb in college.

        • barry_nic

          The problem with Boykin in the slot is his size going against much larger receivers that you find there. He has to have almost perfect coverage to affect the play, and that’s hard to maintain. Also nobody remembers he’s a rookie.

    • BQNinja

      One interesting thing to note is that Boykin is our highest ranked CB according to PFF.

      • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

        A good slot CB is a rare commodity. If he turns out to be half decent I’d prefer to leave him there.

  • theycallmerob

    Please baby jeebus….all I want for (delayed) christmas is to have Kendricks and Te’o learning from DeMeco next year!!!

  • Wilbert M.

    Nnamdi seems to be done. Either his skills were wildly overrated or they eroded quickly. It hurts to eat $4 mil, but I don’t think the Eagles have any choice. He’s a major liability out there.

  • Joephieag

    Did Namdi play bad in the first half as well or just in the second after he was injured? I didnt see much happening on his side in the first half. Maybe the injury was a factor