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Eagles 2013 Roster Preview: Secondary and Linebackers

Well, the current secondary situation can be called “interesting” to say the very least. Yes, the secondary, the part of this Eagles football team that is most responsible for those long touchdowns scored by opposing teams, causing everyone in Philadelphia to scream at their televisions in 2012-2013. So, obviously, the question that is on many of the fans’ minds is how an offensive-focused coach such as Chip Kelly plans to use his defensive knowledge to shape up a part of the team that is in such dire need of improvement.

The secondary looks to rebound from two disastrous years with DRC and Nnamdi (via Lehigh Valley Live).

Lets start at the cornerback position, which has seen perhaps the most change of any position on this entire team during the course of the last two years. Remember all the hype of the “Big 3”? No, not the Miami Heat’s Big 3, but rather the incredible cornerbacks (Nnamdi Asomugha, Domonic Rodgers-Cromartie, and Asante Samuel) that the Eagles had all acquired just two offseason’s ago. In case you didn’t notice, that entire plan was a complete bust.

So, in an effort to bounce back the Eagles traded Samuel and cut DRC and Asomugha. They will most likely start former Ram Bradley Fletcher, a member of this past year’s Super Bowl champion Ravens squad in Cary Williams, along with the only returning starting cornerback to the Eagles, nickel man Brandon Boykin. It is definitely not the group with the most chemistry, but all have some form of experience which leads us to hope that this group of corners will have some success.

Next, we’ll look at the status of outside linebackers, which looks like it’s going to be made up of Connor Barwin, Brandon Graham, Philip Hunt, and returning for his 9th consecutive season with the Birds, none other than Trent Cole. This may actually pan out to be a strong suit for the Eagles defense. All come to the table with experience, as well as none of them being extremely old. They are also balanced in the sense that 3 of the 4 are returning Eagles players, while the 4th (Connor Barwin) came from a very strong Texans defense. Overall, the outside linebackers should be pretty good this season, especially considering Barwin is one of the best OLBs in coverage in the entire NFL.

If healthy, Kenny Phillips would be a huge upgrade at safety (via Blogspot).

The inside linebackers aren’t going to be much better than last year. This is because, well, not much has changed. For the second straight year DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks will assume positions at inside linebacker. For Ryans, this is an attempt at redemption in the 3-4. For Kendricks, it’s a chance to prove he deserves a starting role. Lets just hope they both learned from last year’s mistakes and start this year off by showing signs of a comeback season.

Last, but certainly not least (especially considering it may turn out to be the most important) are the players the Eagles have set up to play the always-critical position of safety. Personnel include Kurt Coleman and Nate Allen (who are both coming back for their 4th seasons with the Eagles) in addition to additions Patrick Chung and Kenny Phillips who are returning for their 4th and 5th NFL seasons respectively. Once again, just like every other position in the secondary, this area clearly needs some work. However, if the work and dedication are put in, the players us fans currently know as players who ruined our recent seasons (Allen, Coleman) will definitely have the potential to unite with the players new to the team to put on better defensive performances.

Fortunately, in the grand scheme of things, I truly do believe that the Eagles secondary has improved. Unfortunately, the question always is, just how much better are they? And that’s when I start to form my doubts. Are they a Top 5 NFL secondary? No. But does this new and improved Eagles secondary have enough potential that they can put the Eagles in a position to win 3-4 more games then they would have with last season’s secondary? Absolutely. It’s just going to have to take one team effort from the head coaches all the way down to the backups.

Follow Khandyman Sports on Twitter (@KhandymanSports).

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Categories: Eagles, Editorial

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