Thursday, November 26, 2015

Man Up: Matthews, Chaney bounce back

Here's the player-by-player breakdown of the Eagles' defensive performance against the Browns after having re-watched the game:

Man Up: Matthews, Chaney bounce back

Eagles linebacker Casey Matthews bounced back this week against the Browns. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)
Eagles linebacker Casey Matthews bounced back this week against the Browns. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)

Here's the player-by-player breakdown of the Eagles' defensive performance against the Browns after having re-watched the game:

Jason Babin - Quiet game for Babin. Didn't have him down for any tackles or QB pressures. He didn't have a lot of opportunities, and Colt McCoy got rid of the ball quickly.

Mike Patterson - Great moment in the first quarter as Patterson, in his return, manhandled the left guard and sacked McCoy. On the Asante Samuel interception, Patterson was on the move, looking to hit anyone who got in his way.

Cullen Jenkins - He twisted outside and got a good hit on McCoy that helped lead to the Samuel interception. On another play, Jenkins got  good pressure on McCoy even though he got rid of the ball for a short completion on third down. I believe Jenkins has crushed the opposing quarterback at least once in each of the Eagles' three preseason games.

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Trent Cole - His pressure off the edge forced McCoy to step up into the Patterson sack. That’s exactly how the Eagles want it to work, and we've seen it play out that way multiple times this preseason.

Anthony Hargrove - The Eagles tried him out at defensive end with Patterson returning. Hargrove had been playing with the first team at defensive tackle. I didn't notice him getting much pressure on McCoy though. The Eagles probably like his versatility, but I'm not sure where in the rotation Hargrove fits in if everyone's healthy.

Derek Landri - I like his effort on every play. Landri had a sack in the third, although it’s worth noting the left guard let him go to help the tackle on the outside. His pressure led to Cole's sack in the second. And Landri even dropped back into coverage once in the third quarter. The Eagles probably have room for two of three among Landri, Hargrove and Trevor Laws, who is still recovering from a hip flexor injury.

Darryl Tapp - He made a nice play against the run on Montario Hardesty's 3-yard carry in the first. Once again, Tapp lined up at defensive end and defensive tackle.. His pressure in the second helped contribute to Phillip Hunt's sack.

Cedric Thornton - He saw extended time at defensive tackle with the second group. Thornton made a nice play against the run on a 3-yard carry in the third. He got some pressure on Jarrett Brown in the fourth, forcing him to scramble. Sounds like a good practice squad candidate.

Phillip Hunt - He lined up at both left and right defensive ends. Hunt helped cause the sack that Brian Rolle got credit for, chasing Brown out of the pocket in the fourth. He made a good inside move in the fourth, forcing Brown to scramble. And Hunt got a couple good pressures at the end of the second quarter, getting a hand on McCoy once and picking up a sack on another play. As press box neighbor Adam Caplan of pointed out, Hunt earned extra points with the Babu Bhatt/Dikembe Mutombo finger wave after getting to the quarterback. Now the question is: Has he done enough to beat out Daniel Te'o-Nesheim for a roster spot?

Marlon Favorite - If this were a year where the Eagles were thin at defensive tackle, Favorite would be worth a longer look, specifically as a run-stopper. He got to Hillis after a 2-yard gain in the second and helped bring down Armond Smith after a 6-yard run in the fourth. There was a hilarious moment in the fourth when Favorite tried to catch up with Brown, who was scrambling. He launched into the air like he was Superman and basically did a belly-flop, landing nowhere near Brown (thanks to @InsultComicDog for link via Twitter).

Casey Matthews - All eyes were on Matthews, and the Eagles' rookie responded nicely. He wasn't perfect, but Matthews delivered an encouraging performance. Against the run, he stuffed Hardesty at the line of scrimmage in what was probably his best play of the preseason. He also brought Hardesty down after a 3-yard gain in the first. And Matthews took a stiff-arm from Hillis, but stuck with him and drove him out of bounds. In the third, while playing second-team nickel with Keenan Clayton, Matthews got off a block and tackled Quinn Porter. In coverage, he made a nice read early on and broke up a pass intended for wide receiver Greg Little. There were still learning moments. Matthews was blocked by an offensive lineman on Hillis’ 8-yard run in the first. And later, he made a good read, but missed a tackle on Porter’s 5-yard run. Overall, though, he held his own. Afterwards, Matthews said the defense approached this week's matchup like a real game in terms of preparation, and that really seemed to help him.

Jamar Chaney - Chaney played well also. Excellent play in coverage on third down early on. Hillis motioned out wide, and Chaney was charged with covering him man-to-man like a cornerback. McCoy recognized what he thought was a mismatch and targeted Hillis in the end zone, but Chaney ran with him and broke up the pass. Very impressive. He later broke up a pass intended for the tight end in the second. And Chaney broke up a pass intended for Hillis at the end of the first half. He was outstanding in coverage. The Eagles gave up 11 touchdowns to tight ends last season, but assuming Chaney stays at SAM, he seems like he will help there. Against the run, he dropped Hardesty after a 3-yard gain in the first.

Moise Fokou - Fokou was the Eagles' best linebacker last week. He had ups and downs against the Browns. He got run over by the fullback on Hillis’ 8-yard run in the first and was later called for pass interference. Fokou made a nice play against the run early on, taking on a block and wrapping up Hardesty.

Akeem Jordan - He played middle linebacker with the second group but did little to stand out. He and Jaiquawn Jarrett gave Seneca Wallace a big window while playing zone on a 25-yard completion in the third.

Brian Rolle - He got a shot with the first-team nickel alongside Chaney and was OK. It looked like Rolle pointed to himself after the Eagles gave up an 11-yard completion in zone in the third. And it looked like there was some confusion between him and Brandon Hughes in zone in the fourth as they gave up a 14-yard completion. But there were some good moments too. Rolle looked like a sound tackler, bringing down Watson after an 8-yard completion in the second. He chased Brown out of bounds and got credit for a sack in the fourth. And Rolle did a good job against the run on 4-yard Smith carry.

Keenan Clayton - He played SAM with the second group and stayed on the field in nickel too. Good hustle by Clayton on the Smith fumble in the third, as he dropped the Browns running back for a 2-yard loss. Clayton later made a good read on a Wallace throw in the third, nearly coming up with an interception. And he showed good speed, chasing down Porter after a 5-yard gain. There are certainly questions with Clayton against the run - he was blocked by a pulling guard on Porter’s 18-yard run - but I'm surprised he's not the one getting a look with the first-team nickel.

Nnamdi Asomugha - There was a lot going on with Asomugha in this one as he lined up in a variety of places. He lined up at right cornerback and was thrown at for 3 yards on the Browns' first offensive play. He later played inside in dime and covered the tight end. On one play in the first, Asomugha showed blitz at the line of scrimmage, but then sprinted to the outside to cover the tight end. The Browns took a shot at him deep when he was playing right cornerback, but Asomugha stuck with the wide receiver and drew offensive pass interference (by the way, I’m not sure Dimitri Patterson gets that call). He started off inside and played at the line of scrimmage (waiting for a running back or tight end to release) on the play where Samuel intercepted McCoy.

Asante Samuel - Even though the Eagles added two Pro Bowl-caliber cornerbacks, Samuel's role doesn't appear to have changed. He lined up at left cornerbackk and intercepted McCoy in the second. Good coverage on Robiskie at the end of the first as McCoy threw the ball away.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie - He also played both inside and outside. Good coverage on Jordan Norwood on third down in the first quarter. It looked like he almost had a pick but was a little late, allowing Brian Robiskie to make an 11-yard reception in the first. And how about the blocked field goal? That's two in two weeks for Eagles cornerbacks. Samuel had one against Pittsburgh.

Joselio Hanson - I don't think he got on the field at all. After the game, Reid said he knows what he has in Hanson and wanted to get reps for the other guys. Makes sense, but still wouldn't be surprised if he were traded.

Brandon Hughes - There was quite a bit of confusion when he entered the game in the dime package in the first, but Hughes covered Hillis out of the backfield on the play, which ended in an incompletion. He lined up in various spots - both inside and outside - throughout the course of the game. Hughes played inside on the Samuel interception. He later assisted on a tackle in run support, bringing down Porter. Hughes got tested deep, and I thought he had pretty good coverage, but the refs whistled him for pass interference.

Trevard Lindley - He rotated in at right cornerback with the second group. Lindley did an excellent job closing and breaking up a pass in the third quarter. But he was beat by 6-5 target Chris Matthews in the end zone in the fourth.

Curtis Marsh - He rotated in at left cornerback with the second team. Not a lot of action went Marsh's way, but he missed a tackle on a 12-yard completion in the third.

Jarrad Page - I encourage you to read an excellent column by Domo on Page's background and how he landed in Philly from today's Daily News. I liked his toughness, meeting Hillis head on after an 8-yard gain in the first. In coverage, he got turned around, but made a play on the ball at the last second while covering the tight end. He looks like a physical player, someone who doesn't shy away from contact.

Kurt Coleman - He seems to clearly be the Eagles' best tackler in the secondary. Coleman did a good job in run support on a Hardesty carry in the first. He took out Little after a WR screen on third down in the second. And he tackled Robiskie short of the first down on a third-down completion in the second.

Nate Allen - He played with the second team and had a couple good moments. Allen tackled Smith in run support in the fourth after a 6-yard gain. He looked quick on another play, bringing the WR down after a 5-yard completion on a screen. We'll see how healthy he is by the time the Eagles start the season.

Jaiquawn Jarrett - We are through three preseason games, and I still don't have much of a feeling for what kind of player Jarrett is going to be. He and Jordan gave Wallace a big window in the middle of the field for a 25-yard completion in the third. But later, Jarrett had good coverage on the flukey third quarter touchdown. It'll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he sees as a rookie.

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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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