Thursday, July 24, 2014
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Man Up: Asomugha, Matthews and the D

Here's a player-by-player breakdown of the Eagles' defensive performance against the Giants after having re-watched the game.

Man Up: Asomugha, Matthews and the D

Victor Cruz catches a touchdown pass in between Nnamdi Asomugha and Jarrad Page. (Clem Murray/Staff Photographer)
Victor Cruz catches a touchdown pass in between Nnamdi Asomugha and Jarrad Page. (Clem Murray/Staff Photographer)

Here's a player-by-player breakdown of the Eagles' defensive performance against the Giants after having re-watched the game.

And if you missed it from Sunday night, here's a detailed breakdown of the five plays of 25+ yards the defense allowed.

Jason Babin - As always, Babin was active, but overall, he played an up-and-down game. Let's start with the good. As a pass rusher, he had his fourth sack of the season and also pressured Eli Manning on the play where Cullen Jenkins picked up a sack. He dropped Ahmad Bradshaw for a loss of 2 after Manning dumped it off to him in the second. He hustled to help bring Bradshaw down on a 6-yard screen on third down in the second. Against the run, teams continue to attack Babin's side. On Bradshaw’s 15-yard run in the first, Babin slipped into the backfield, but couldn’t make a play. Later, he had a chance to bring Bradshaw down for a loss, but couldn’t, and the Giants picked up 4 on 2nd-and-1. Penalties have become an issue with Babin. He was called for offsides on the 40-yard field goal attempt with 3:48 left. The Eagles had to use two more timeouts on defense, the Giants scored a touchdown, and the offense didn’t get the ball back until the 3:32 mark. Babin’s been called for four penalties (three offsides) in two weeks. And he could have been called for a facemask penalty on his sack. Babin played 43 of 49 snaps and moved over to right defensive end when Trent Cole got a breather.

Cullen Jenkins - He had his moments, but overall, this was Jenkins' quietest game as an Eagle. He picked up his fourth sack of the season, getting to Manning at the end of the first half. Against the run, Jenkins did a good job of initially stuffing a Bradshaw run on 2nd-and-1, but the Giants running back bounced it outside for a first down. He missed a tackle on Bradshaw’s 8-yard run in the fourth. Jenkins and Babin stopped Bradshaw for a loss late in the game.

Mike Patterson - Patterson made some nice plays against the run, but was a non-factor as a pass rusher. He and Casey Matthews stopped Brandon Jacobs after a 2-yard gain in the first. He brought Bradshaw down after a 3-yard gain in the third. And he tackled Bradshaw after a gain of 2 in the fourth.

Trent Cole - Not a standout game by Cole's standards, but the Giants gave left tackle Will Beatty help in dealing with him - a smart move. On Bradshaw's 37-yard run, Cole was rushing upfield, as a huge hole opened up between him and Patterson. Cole picked up a sack in the third quarter and got good pressure on Manning on the play where Jenkins sacked him. He also stopped Bradshaw for no gain late in the fourth. He dropped back into coverage once in the third. Cole played about 90 percent of the snaps for the second straight week.

Phillip Hunt - Hunt played 11 snaps and got seven chances to rush the passer. He pressured Manning and grabbed a handful of his jersey before the Giants QB unloaded a deep pass attempt to Hakeem Nicks that fell incomplete.

Trevor Laws - This was probably his most productive game of the season, even though Laws only played 16 snaps. He was in the middle of a tackle on Jacobs after a 1-yard gain in the third. He made a nice play on a 2-yard Giants pickup in the third. And Laws pressured Manning on the touchdown pass to Cruz in the fourth.

Antonio Dixon - Very quiet start to the season for Dixon, who played at a Pro Bowl level at times last year. He helped stop Jacobs after a gain of 2 in the fourth. And he helped stop Bradshaw for no gain in the fourth. Like Laws, he played only 16 snaps. Dixon could have just as easily been flagged for offsides on the field-goal attempt, but the refs charged the penalty to Babin.

Casey Matthews - Some want to blame all the Eagles' defensive problems on Matthews. That's not really fair. He is a problem, but he is one of a few. Matthews bit badly on the early play-fake as Manning hit Jacobs for a 40-yard touchdown in the first. He got blocked by the tight end on the 26-yard catch and run by Bradshaw. Against the run, he stopped Jacobs after a 2-yard gain in the first and made a solo tackle after a 6-yard Jacobs run. Matthews also stopped Jacobs after a 2-yard reception in the second. I have a hard time believing he'll be a starter for much longer. And I wouldn't be shocked if Brian Rolle got a shot to replace him as early as next week.

Jamar Chaney - I'm still looking for the player who was a force against the Giants last season. Has anyone seen him? Chaney had trouble shedding the block of an offensive lineman and getting to Bradshaw on his 15-yard run in the first. The tight end effectively blocked him on the 37-yard Bradshaw run in the second. It looked like he overran the play initially before coming back to tackle Bradshaw after a 9-yard gain in the third. He missed a tackle on the 26-yard catch and run by Bradshaw in the third. And he missed a tackle on Bradshaw’s 8-yard run in the fourth. The good? Chaney teamed up with Rolle to bring Bradshaw down after a 6-yard pickup on a screen in the second. And he stopped Bradshaw for a 1-yard gain in the fourth. If it sounds like I'm being harder on Chaney than Matthews, it's because I've seen Chaney perform. He played well at times last year, but has had a horrendous start to the 2011 season.

Moise Fokou - He really wasn't a factor. Fokou was blocked on Bradshaw’s 15-yard run in the first. He brought Jacobs down after a gain of 3 in the second. Those are about the only times I saw him around the ball.

Brian Rolle - He saw his most extensive action as an Eagle, playing 15 snaps. Rolle played in the nickel and also replaced Matthews at WILL when he left the game due to injury. Rolle's blitz created the Cole sack in the third quarter. And he broke up a pass intended for Giants fullback Henry Hynoski in the fourth. He was the first player to the ball, tackling Bradshaw after a 6-yard gain on a screen at the end of the first half. Rolle dove at Bradshaw’s feet, but wasn’t really close to making a play on the 37-yard run. He wasn't perfect, but at least has shown the ability to be a playmaker, something the Eagles could use at linebacker. Like I said above, I wouldn't be surprised if he got a chance to start against the 49ers.

Keenan Clayton - He was the only linebacker on the field for four snaps in the Eagles’ dime package. But maybe more significantly, did you notice the Birds went with Akeem Jordan over him at SAM when Fokou got injured? Not a good sign for the second-year player.

Akeem Jordan - Like I said, he played a couple snaps in place of Fokou and stopped Jacobs after a 1-yard gain.

Asante Samuel - I'll admit it's strange to see his name second in the box score for tackles. Early on, Samuel got beat deep by Victor Cruz, but Manning overthrew his receiver. I'll double-check and post later this week, but I believe Samuel was targeted four times. He actually made a tackle against the run, bringing Jacobs down after a gain of 3. And then, naturally, Samuel let everyone know about it. He left the game after delivering a hit on the Giants tight end in the fourth. Overall, opposing quarterbacks haven't had much success throwing at him through three games.

Nnamdi Asomugha - Asomugha was targeted four times by my count. One of the plays everyone's talking about today is the Cruz touchdown, where the Giants wide receiver out-leaped Asomugha and Jarrad Page. Asomugha explained after the game that the Eagles were in zone, and he should have been able to make a play, but he didn't. And Cruz did. He played inside at times in nickel and dime packages. Asomugha did not look like a very sound tackler on the play where he whiffed on Cruz and ended up colliding with Kurt Coleman. He had excellent coverage on Nicks on a deep pass attempt that fell incomplete in the second. Some are going overboard with their criticism of Asomugha, but he's been beat for gains of 31 and 28 in three weeks. Asomugha also has a 41-yard pass interference penalty on his resume from Week 1. He should be prepared for more balls to be thrown his way now that teams have had some degree of success going after him.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie - He played 18 snaps, once again lining up in the slot, at right corner and at left corner. Rodgers-Cromartie was originally lined up opposite Cruz in the slot, but blitzed as Manning connected for the 74-yard touchdown. On the Giants’ final scoring drive, Rodgers-Cromartie had a chance to drop Bradshaw for a loss on 3rd-and-1, but missed the tackle.

Joselio Hanson - He entered the game in the Eagles’ dime package and also played some nickel when Samuel went out. Hanson was targeted once and stopped Nicks short of a first down on a third-down completion. Overall, he played five snaps.

Kurt Coleman - Coleman was benched after he did a poor job attempting to tackle Cruz on the 74-yard touchdown. Normally, tackling is one of Coleman’s strengths, but the truth is his benching wasn’t just about that one play. He hasn’t played well all season.

Jarrad Page - For the second consecutive week, it wasn't so much Page's coverage as it was his inability to make a play on the ball. Like Asomugha, he came up empty on the Cruz 28-yard touchdown. Add his name to the list of Eagles who missed a tackle Sunday. Bradshaw’s 37-yard run would have been only a 10-yard run had Page wrapped him up. His bright spot came when Page broke up a pass intended for Brandon Stokley on third down in the first.

Nate Allen - He's obviously not 100 percent healthy or Allen would have started the game, but he replaced Coleman in the second quarter and had issues of his own. He got stiff-armed to the ground on Bradshaw’s 37-yard run in the second. He took a bad angle on Bradshaw’s 26-yard catch and run in the third. And he and Page blitzed on the Bradshaw screen that went for a touchdown late in the fourth. There were a couple bright spots. Allen looked good in coverage on Manning’s deep pass attempt to Nicks in the second. And he made a good play in run support, stopping Bradshaw after a 2-yard gain in the fourth. We'll see if he starts for the first time this season against San Francisco.


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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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