I loved what I’ve seen from the Eagles defensive backs so far this Training Camp. They’re competing on every play. They’re getting physical with the receivers. The atmosphere is changing and it’s going to make everybody better.
What chance will Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, Josh Huff and Riley Cooper have if they compete daily with defensive backs, who lett them release all the time without battling them before and during their routes? I enjoyed listening to cornerback Nolan Carroll earlier this week as he talked about the difference in the technique he was utilizing in Miami and what Cory Undlin is demanding that he do here in Philly.
“What I was doing in Miami compared to what Coach is teaching was wrong,” Carroll said. “He wants everything to be lateral, not take a step back and give ground. That’s what I was kind of doing just because I’m a little bit faster, I felt like I could take a step back, and the receiver can do whatever they want and then release. But he wants us to be stout at the line and get physical at the line and not give them (the receivers) that space to move around and run.”
Previously he was letting the receiver release and running with him. Now he’s moving his feet and staying in front of the receiver, so he can jam him and delay his release.
Are they going to be some holding penalties called on the Eagles secondary? Yes, there will be, but once they build a reputation for playing physical, the referees will begin to expect it and eventually they’ll let them play. The offensive players hate it, but it winds up making the offensive players and the defensive players better because they have that competition in practice.
The same is true of the offensive and defensive lines. I haven’t had the chance to focus on the play of the guys up front, but competition between the Eagles offensive and defensive lines will make them better. I was checking out the Dallas Cowboys training camp practice on ESPN and their All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith was battling defensive end Greg Hardy. They were getting after each other pretty good and for the most part Smith was schooling Hardy and showing him, who was boss.
If the Eagles want to be an outstanding team, they must continue to raise the temperature of the competition at practice.
Getting a jam on the receiver at the line creates serious problems for the offense and we saw that in the Seahawks vs. Broncos Super Bowl. Peyton Manning caught the snap and had no where to go with the football because his receivers were being held up and delayed on their releases.
Normally a quarterback has about three seconds to get rid of that football. If a receiver is delayed at the line of scrimmage, it forces the quarterback to abandon that option and look elsewhere. it forces to hold on to the “hot potato”, which is that football. Sometimes all the receivers are delayed in their release and it causes a panic in even the best of quarterbacks.
The tension rises as each second passes and every time the quarterback looks up a receiver and finds out he’s being delayed in his release. The quarterback always knows the clock is ticking and the hunters are coming.
I’ve seen that panic occur a few times in the Eagles practices. It’s a beautiful thing.