Friday, February 12, 2016

Eagles LBs and covering the TE

Eagles opponents threw to the tight end 29 percent of the time last year, according to Football Outsiders. That was the highest rate in the NFL.

Eagles LBs and covering the TE

A healthy Stewart Bradley should result in improved coverage from the linebackers. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
A healthy Stewart Bradley should result in improved coverage from the linebackers. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

Eagles opponents threw to the tight end 29 percent of the time last year, according to Football Outsiders. That was the highest rate in the NFL.

And it really comes as no surprise to anyone who watched this team on a weekly basis.

Which brings us to Sunday's tweaking of the LB depth chart by Sean McDermott. Akeem Jordan got the first-team reps at the strong side, and Moise Fokou moved down to the second team.

Jordan was asked after practice about covering opposing tight ends.

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"Most people don't know we can line up over the tight end in the WILL (weak side) so it's not really a  difference," Jordan said. "If the tight end moves and we're not switching, that's what happens. SAM (strong side) can play the WILL, WILL can play the SAM."

It's reasonable to assume that the Eagles linebackers would be significantly better in coverage with Jordan, Ernie Sims and Stewart Bradley on the field together. Sims and Bradley figure to be the team's nickel linebackers, and Jordan  has played in the nickel package plenty in the past.

In terms of size, Fokou is listed at 6-1, 236; Jordan is 6-1, 230. So there's not much of a difference there.

I asked Jordan what it says about his knowledge of the defense that the Eagles have required him to play all three linebacker positions over the past couple of seasons.

"Just playing one position, you're supposed to know the defense," he said. "You're expected to know it. If I was just playing the WILL, I was supposed to know what everybody is supposed to do. So it helps when you're supposed to know what everybody is supposed to do, and then go into the other positions."


The Eagles have already made a roster move - bringing back wide receiver Jared Perry and releasing DE Eric Moncur.

The receivers currently on the Eagles' roster are: DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, Hank Baskett, Riley Cooper, Kelley Washington, Perry, Jordan Norwood, Dobson Collins and Chad Hall.

With Jackson and Norwood dinged up, it's possible the Eagles just needed some camp bodies and will release Perry when the two players return to practice.

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About this blog
Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for 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 or by clicking here

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