Eagles Secondary Didn’t Focus On Stopping Larry FitzgeraldBREAKING NEWS, Eagles, News, Secondary Monday, September 24th, 2012
For a number of reasons the Eagles were unaware of where he lined up on quite a few plays and each time they paid the price for their ignorance. There are only a handful of players in the league who are deserved of such attention and Fitzgerald is one of them.
The Birds defense should have been yelling out to their teammates before each play about where number 11 was lined up. You can’t treat him like just any other receiver because he’s such a huge part of the Cardinals offense.
The Cardinals moved him around to as they always do and the Birds made the mistake of not keeping track of where he was lining up.
The secondary had considered having cornerback Nmandi Asomugha follow Fitzgerald all over the field, but for some reason they abandoned that plan. Regardless of whether they were going to have Asomugha shadow him or not, they should have identified where Fitzgerald was on each play. Again, he is such a big part of the Cardinals attack that you’ve got to pay special attention to him.
In man-to-man coverages, you want to have a cornerback locked up on him and a safety waiting deep in case he runs a deep route. Both safeties should have been identifying where Fitzgerald was lined up every time the ball was snapped. The safeties should have been told to make him a priority, meaning we’re not going to let Fitzgerald beat us. Somebody else might beat us, but we’re not going to let Fitzgerald beat us.
On zone coverages, all the linebackers must know where he’s lining up in case he runs a crossing route. No one is individually responsible for him in zone coverages, but everybody must know where he lines up, so that you’re ready for him in case he comes in your area. I remember treating guys like Jerry Rice with this respect.
The Eagles got lulled to sleep and forgot to keep track of Fitzgerald. He ran a couple of short crossing routes and made big runs after catching the football because the players on the other side of the zone coverage weren’t ready for him when he came across on the crossing routes.
The Cardinals ran the same crossing routes during the NFC Championship game in 2009 and the Eagles defense was again caught sleeping and it cost the Birds a trip to the Super Bowl.
On the 37-yard touchdown catch, Eagles safety Kurt Coleman made the mistake of biting on a run fake or pump fake by Kevin Kolb and opened up the middle of the field deep when Fitzgerald was running a post route on Asomugha. Before the play, the entire secondary should have been talking about where Fitzgerald was lined up, so Coleman would have realized that there was a good chance that Fitzgerald was coming into his area.
He should have been slow to take any fakes with Fitzgerald in position to get deep. The Cardinals have no problem throwing the ball to him when there’s only one defender running with him. They figure the tall receiver can out jump or out muscle anybody in the league for the football.
You know that the Cardinals were going to try to use fakes to open up that area in order to give Fitzgerald the chance to make a play. Coleman should have been there in the middle of the field deep to help Asomugha defend that pass.
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