Sunday, April 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

'D' breakdown: Abiamiri, Fokou, Samuel

Above are photos from yesterday's game.

'D' breakdown: Abiamiri, Fokou, Samuel

Above are photos from yesterday's game.

Just got done re-watching the first three quarters of last night's Eagles-Jaguars game.

And I have more notes and thoughts than I know what to do with. We'll start with the defense and offer up some items on the offense later today or tomorrow.

Here goes:

** If you focused in only on Asante Samuel, you'd have thought it was a playoff game, not a preseason contest. Good to see that kind of intensity and effort from one of the team's leaders, especially after the defense looked suspect in the first two games. I almost wonder if Sean McDermott challenged him this week at practice. Samuel had an interception and laid a big hit on Jaguars wide receiver Nate Hughes to force a fumble at the goal line. Pass breakups, support against the run and even a near-block on a field goal. Samuel did it all last night.

** Better QB pressure from the Eagles yesterday. Their best pass rusher, Trent Cole, was back in the lineup, which had a lot to do with it, but the 'D' seemed to have more success blitzing as well. Victor Abiamiri did a nice job getting a push up the middle, twice getting to the Jaguars' quarterbacks and once beating a double team. The Eagles' coaching staff talks about Abiamiri as a guy who it expects to be a major contributor if he's healthy. Maybe there's something to that.

** I've said it before, but defensive tackle is a major strength for this defense. Mike Patterson and Broderick Bunkley have Pro Bowl potential, and are going to be a handful for offenses in short yardage. Bunkley had a forced fumble, and Patterson had a sack, which was largely due to good coverage. Trevor Laws even made a nice play in the Jaguars' backfield once he got in the game.

** Linebacker continues to be a work in progress. Translation: I'm not sure these guys make enough plays. Joe Mays had his ups and downs. He did get to the quarterback once, but he also missed a tackle on a screen pass to Maurice Jones-Drew, which went for a first down late in the first quarter. Akeem Jordan was probably the best linebacker on the field for the Birds.

** Moise Fokou got a shot at middle linebacker with the first team and was whistled for a couple penalties, including one that gave the Jaguars a first down on 3rd-and-19. But here's an example of why the staff has given Fokou a shot, and why he deserves a spot on this roster. Brian Witherspoon returned a David Akers kickoff 61 yards in the third quarter. Fokou was in on coverage and was passed by Witherspoon at the Jaguars' 25-yard line. However, he never gave up on the play, and guess who finally brought Witherspoon down at the Eagles' 33-yard line? That's right. Fokou. Great hustle by the rookie.

** Macho Harris saw some extended time with the first team at safety opposite Quintin Mikell. But he suffered a sprained ankle and will have an MRI today. Quintin Demps got the start. Which begs the question: What happened to Sean Jones? The Eagles' free-agent addition saw no time with the first-team defense by my count, and it looks like Harris has jumped him on the depth chart.

** Speaking of Demps, good job recovering the fumble in the third quarter. Bad job after he started running. Demps carried the ball loosely in his right hand and tried to lateral it after he was out of bounds. It took Andy Reid about two seconds to find Demps and let him know that was not OK. On another play, Demps missed a tackle on tight end Mercedes Lewis.

** Ellis Hobbs had by far his best performance of the preseason. Good in coverage and good in run support. The Jaguars attacked Hobbs quite a bit early, and he did a nice job. You may have noticed that Hobbs is very demonstrative and celebrates after almost every play. At Lehigh, he explained that he was not allowed to show emotion in New England, so he's making up for lost time now that he's on a new team.

Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
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Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for philly.com. His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at skapadia@philly.com or by clicking here

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Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
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