EAGLES HAVE NEW PIECES ON DEFENSE WHO CAN HELP IN THE NOW
The foundation of the Eagles defense is the defensive line.
Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz doesn’t believe in depending on blitzes because they can leave the secondary vulnerable to big plays. Therefore the Birds defensive line must put consistent pressure on the opposing quarterback.
Fortunately for Schwartz and Birds fans, the Eagles have added three players, who will improve the Birds pass rush.
First round draft pick defensive end Derek Barnett has the ability to turn the corner with his speed rush at 100 miles per hour, but he can do it while only six inches off the ground. He’s already giving the Eagles offensive tackles fits with his ability to bend and get so low while turning the corner.
Along with Barnett on the D-line, I believe former Ravens defensive tackle Tim Jernigan is going to use his quickness, brute strength and intensity to beat one-on-one blocks and force offenses to single block Fletcher Cox at times. I expect more middle pressure from the Eagles defensive line and that will make life better for Schwartz and the defensive ends as try to hide the team’s sub-par cornerbacks.
Veteran defensive end Chris Long will probably be a backup, but his veteran leadership and intensity will help this defensive line be more consistent than they were a year ago. Long, who won a Super Bowl ring last season with the Patriots, will be a great example for his younger teammates of how to play smart, tough football.
I would like Schwartz to be more conservative with the use of his corners because they’re not capable of living in man-to-man overages. I would like to see them mix things up with more zone coverages to stay away from giving up big pass plays.
At the cornerback position, veteran Patrick Robinson has the speed and quickness to be a solid NFL cornerback, but there’s been something lacking.
Rookie cornerback Rasul Douglas has the size to out physical most NFL wide receivers, but he has his work cut for him as he tries to blanket the speedy wide-outs. He must win with his jam at the line of scrimmage because he’s not fast enough to run with the league’s receivers. He must use his 6-foot-3 frame and reach to stay in position to go after the football when it’s in the air.
Eagles rookie linebacker Nathan Gerry is making a transition from safety to the linebacker position.
He’s already shown us that he can handle the pass coverage at the linebacker position, but his challenge will be in taking on big offensive linemen in run defense.
Rookie defensive tackle Elijah Qualls is fighting to learn the defense because he wasn’t able to attend the OTA’s because of the University of Washington graduation schedule. He played in a two-gapping defense in college, now he must get used to the attacking style of the Schwartz defense. *
Caption: Lots f reviews are in on Eagles first round pick Derek Barnett and they are all good. Photo by T.J. Engler/contrastphotography.com