DB Review: Asomugha Showcases Tackling Skills

Here’s a player-by-player breakdown of how the Eagles defensive backs performed Monday night, after having re-watched the game. Check out the linebacker review here, the defensive line review here and look for write-ups of the rest of the positional groups on Wednesday.

Nnamdi Asomugha – The veteran cornerback deserves some credit here. Last Monday, he was involved in a mid-air collision with Nate Allen, suffering a lip laceration, sore neck and whiplash-type symptoms. He tried to practice on Thursday, but was having trouble with a spasm in his back and had to head inside early. He participated Friday, but could barely talk afterwards as his lip continued to recover. Asomugha probably just as easily could have been cautious and sat out this game, but he thought it was important to be on the field.

And he played well. Asomugha had his share of tackling issues last season, but he was excellent in that aspect Monday night. He lined up inside on one play and tackled Shane Vereen after a 2-yard gain. He made a textbook tackle on Vereen, stopping him after a 1-yard gain on a screen. And he made a nice read and tackle on a wide receiver screen to Jeremy Ebert, dropping him for a 3-yard loss in the second. I believe Asomugha was only targeted once, and it was an incompletion to Deion Branch.

The only downside was a costly holding penalty on a 3rd-and-7 play that negated a Trent Cole sack. But overall, Asomugha played well, and he stayed on the field well into the third quarter with the rest of the starters.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie – It was mostly good for DRC before he left the game in the second quarter because of a shoulder injury. Rodgers-Cromartie made a great break on the ball and nearly came up with an interception while covering Donte’ Stallworth in the first. On an almost identical play later, he came up with the pick, but Fletcher Cox was whistled for roughing the passer. Rodgers-Cromartie also broke up a pass intended for Danny Woodhead in the red zone. The only negative I saw was when he got beat by Branch over the middle for a 20-yard gain on 3rd-and-5.

Joselio Hanson – It looks like the competition between him and Brandon Boykin is still on. Hanson started the game as the nickel corner, but rotated in and out with the rookie the rest of the game. He lost track of Julian Edelman on a quick screen that picked up 16 yards on 3rd-and-8. And he had trouble sticking with Edelman on an 8-yard crossing route in the first. Hanson had good coverage on Ebert, breaking up a pass (albeit with this back) over the middle in the first. He sat out the second and returned in the third.

Curtis Marsh – With Rodgers-Cromartie leaving early, Marsh saw some time at left cornerback. He also played in dime when Rodgers-Cromartie was still in the game. Marsh got targeted fairly often. He broke up a Brian Hoyer pass intended for Stallworth. Along with Nate Allen, he had good coverage on Stallworth on a deep pattern in the second. Marsh was targeted on third down in the third, but had great coverage on Stallworth and forced an incompletion. It looked like he had pretty good coverage on Stallworth down the right sideline on a deep ball that was incomplete in the third. The one time he got beat was on a 20-yard completion to Stallworth on 3rd-and-9 late in the first half. Marsh also did a good job on special teams, downing a Chas Henry punt at the 6 in the fourth.

Brandon Boykin – I believe this was the first time all summer Boykin got a chance to run with the starters. He’ll now have a couple weeks to wrestle the first-team nickel job away from Hanson. Boykin entered the game in the second and came back in late in the third. It didn’t look like he was targeted. It’ll be interesting to see if Boykin mixes in with the first team at practice Wednesday.

Brandon Hughes – He entered the game on defense mid-way through the third quarter, playing right cornerback. Hughes had good coverage on Branch, but Ryan Mallett still made a nice throw for a 14-yard completion in the third. Hughes broke up a deep ball to Stallworth down the left sideline in the third. And on Mat McBriar’s first punt, he was the first man down in coverage, but missed the tackle. Looks like Hughes is facing an uphill battle for a roster spot, unless someone ahead of him gets injured.

Trevard Lindley – He came in to play left cornerback late in the third.

Nate Allen – Encouraging signs all around for Allen (7 tackles, 2 solo). He did a good job against the run, stopping Vereen after a 2-yard gain in the first. Allen dropped Vereen after a 1-yard gain in the red zone in the second. And he flew in to help trip Stevan Ridley up after a 2-yard gain in the third. It’s always tough to judge safety play off of TV, but Allen had good coverage on one deep ball, breaking up a Hoyer attempt intended for Stallworth.

Kurt Coleman – Didn’t notice Coleman much, which sometimes can be a good thing for safeties. Branch found a hole in the Eagles’ zone, in front of Coleman and behind Mychal Kendricks, for a 17-yard gain on 3rd-and-13 in the second. But that very well could have been on the rookie not taking a deep enough drop.

Jaiquawn Jarrett – He didn’t really get a lot of chances to show his progress. Jarrett entered the game mid-way through the third quarter. It looked like he closed on time on a deep incompletion to Stallworth down the left sideline. Still very much on the roster bubble.

Tom Nelson – With Oshiomogho Atogwe sidelined because of a hamstring injury, he ran with the second team. Nelson made a good tackle on a screen to Vereen, limiting him to 4 yards on 3rd-and-10. He also suffered a high ankle sprain during the game.

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