Eagles Secondary Showing PotentialBREAKING NEWS, Eagles, News, Secondary Friday, June 1st, 2012
From the looks of yesterday’s OTA workout, the secondary should be much improved. Both the cornerbacks and safeties seemed to be much more confident and comfortable in their roles.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had the play of the day at the Eagles practice on Thursday. He matched up on wide receiver Riley Cooper in the 7-on-7 drills when Cooper tried to run a comeback route. On a comeback route, the wide receiver tries to come off the line and give the cornerback the impression that he’s going deep.
The wideout takes off and runs about 20 yards as fast as he can run, then he hits the breaks and comes back to 15 to catch the football. Cooper didn’t come out fast enough to get Rodgers-Cromartie out of his back pedal, so when Cooper stopped at 20 and tried to come back to 15, the former Arizona Cardinals cornerback was running with him step for step. In fact he was ahead of him.
When Michael Vick mistakenly let the ball go, Rodgers-Cromartie put his hands up and after a bobble he secured the ball and was gone. It was a touchdown going the other way.
I don’t like Rodgers-Cromartie’s nonchalant attitude at times. I know it was just practice, but he takes his time getting ready before plays and I saw that last year during the season. Sometimes he doesn’t play with a sense of urgency even though the moment in the game requires it.
Nmandi Asomugha is great at jamming you on the line and taking a wide receiver out of the play, but he’s not very comfortable playing off of a receiver and back pedaling when the ball is snapped. After watching the cornerbacks, Rodgers-Cromartie may be the best pure cover guy on the team, when you’re talking about both playing up in press technique and playing back.
Asomugha is so tall and his legs are so long, that stopping and starting aren’t his strength. He stands about 6’3″ or 6’4″ and his arm span is about that of a 6’7″ guy. He’s very adept at coming to the line and jamming a receiver long enough to make the quarterback forget about him. I could see him discouraging a receiver with that ability.
Cornerback Joselio Hanson is still doing a nice job at the nickel position, but he’s got no business outside at the regular cornerback position. Rookie cornerback Brandon Boykin is already well ahead of him there.
Hanson has quite a challenge ahead of him with new secondary coach Todd Bowles saying that every player will have to show him why he belongs here.
I love the way Nate Allen is moving. He’s got tremendous potential for picking passes off with his speed, quickness, and ball skills. I believe Allen could have been a decent cornerback in the right scheme.
I could see Allen having a nice interception total at the end of the season with the team’s pass rush and these cornerbacks. He gets his hands on a lot of passes.
He needs to get in there and build up his confidence to the point where he believes what he sees and jumps on it. I can see why he was a second-round pick, but I can’t say the same about Jaiquawn Jarrett.
I do think Jarrett is improving, but he’s not there yet. Kurt Coleman is clearly ahead of him and I see a nice rapport in the defensive backfield with Allen and Coleman working together. Coleman has a nice command of coverages and does a nice job of anticipating routes.
Backup safety Tom Nelson did a nice job of picking off a Mike Kafka pass. He baited Kafka to throw a crossing route, by making it look like he was dropping into the deep third. Once Kafka let the ball go, Nelson was patting his glove to pick it off.
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