Twitter Mailbag: Dion Lewis On the Move?
Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.
From @hense83: How do you see the Eagles DB’s plan on covering CJ?
As I wrote about here, the Eagles will be using plenty of double teams if history is any indicator. Nnamdi Asomugha gave some further insight on Thursday when talking about the defense’s approach to Calvin Johnson. If you remember, the original plan heading into the Arizona game was to have Asomugha shadow Larry Fitzgerald, but they ultimately decided to have the corners just play their respective sides instead. Fitzgerald ended up with nine grabs for 114 yards and a touchdown.
“I think we learned from that a little bit,” said Asomugha. “There will be different things that we do. It’s not going to be a generic gameplan. You’re talking about one of the best receivers out there. Whatever we didn’t do against Larry, I think we’ve learned from that.”
I wouldn’t expect too much Brandon Boykin on Johnson. Then it’s a matter of whether Asomugha or Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie draws the assignment, or if they split the duties.
From @MrJustinPowell: The RB play throughout the league is weak, why don’t the Eagles consider moving Polk for something? An OL perhaps?
I think your head is in the right place, but maybe focused on the wrong guy. LeSean McCoy is never off the field for long and the Eagles aren’t exactly a ground-and-pound offense, so it was always a bit unnatural to carry four running backs and a fullback on the roster. The problem was, the Eagles saw talent at the running back position and wanted to keep the best players, so they held onto Dion Lewis, Bryce Brown and Chris Polk. Brown has since jumped over Lewis on the depth chart and Polk is a rookie with some upside that can play special teams.
Where does that leave Lewis, exactly? The Pitt product did not fare well as a kick returner last season and otherwise doesn’t play special teams. He was inactive for the first four games and was unspectacular in limited play against the Steelers.
I am not sure you can find a trade partner, but if you can get a low pick for Lewis and free up a roster spot in the process, why not do it? The trade deadline is October 30.
@riggitty: can we just call Brandon Graham Jerome McDougle already?
Riggity, this is the exact wrong time to try and bury Graham. He made the most out of his limited opportunities early in the season, and has jumped Phillip Hunt in the rotation as a result. Graham was the most efficient defensive lineman against the Steelers. As Sheil lays out here, he had 11 pass-rushing opportunities on Sunday and generated a QB hurry on five of those for a rate of 45.4 percent. Consider that Trent Cole and Jason Babin were in a combined 102 plays and had just three hurries between them. Graham was on the field for just 18 snaps.
He will be a bigger factor moving forward, and he’s earned it.
From @KobeThe Boat: is castillo at least discussing more of a blitzing style to create more pressure?
I expect Castillo to dial up a few more blitzes but I wouldn’t anticipate any significant changes. In one respect, they feel like they are at a strategic advantage with opponents keeping in extra guys just to deal with their four-man rush. Maybe the sack totals go down, but they win the numbers game in coverage as a result.
The overall philosophy is somewhat conservative on defense. They want to keep everything in front of them and seem willing to sacrifice making a big play in order to prevent the offense from getting one on them.
“The important thing is that you want to keep the score down,” said Castillo Thursday. “Last year [during] the last four games, we were giving up less than two touchdowns. That’s what we’re trying to get back to. Really, if you can do that, it might not guarantee a win, but you have a chance.”