Yesterday we went through the offense player-by-player.
Today, it's the defense.
Asante Samuel - A day to forget for Samuel. On TV, it was tough to tell what kind of defense the Eagles were in when Drew Brees hit Marques Colston on the opening touchdown, but he was the closest man to the Saints' WR. It looked like he thought he had safety help from Quintin Mikell. Samuel had a chance to bring down Reggie Bush for a loss on 2nd-and-1 in the first quarter but was the recipient of a stiff-arm. He was matched up one-on-one with Devery Henderson on a 3rd-and-12 in the second quarter and was nowhere near the receiver, who picked up 17 yards. Samuel also gave a big cushion to Colston on a 13-yard gain in the third quarter. If you re-watch the game, you'll notice that Samuel stayed in for the next play but then was replaced by Ellis Hobbs for the remainder of the series. He didn't appear to be injured. This was before he suffered the stinger. Was this Sean McDermott's way of sending a message to Samuel to not give up so much ground? Or was there another reason for his removal? Samuel did bring down TE David Thomas 1 yard short of the marker on third down later in the game. It wasn't exactly a textbook tackle, but it got the job done.
Sheldon Brown - Solid tackle on Colston down near the goal line to save a touchdown and force a Saints field goal. Brown was right on Henderson on a 3rd-and-11 play that went for 38 yards in the second half. I’m still trying to figure out how Brees fit the ball in that space. It looked like the Eagles played Brown at safety at times and had Mikell cover a Saints receiver or tight end. Also, did you notice who was one of the guys most excited for Kevin Kolb after his first touchdown pass? That's right. It was Brown pumping up the young QB on the sidelines.
Joselio Hanson - He brought Bush down for a loss of 4 in the second quarter on a run play. Hanson was right on Colston during his second touchdown, but the wide receiver just made a great play. Sometimes you have to give the opponent credit (only sometimes, though).
Quintin Mikell - As I mentioned above, Samuel was looking to him for help on Colston’s first touchdown. Against the run, Mikell pretty much played like a linebacker since the team's LBs were getting pushed around. He led the Eagles with 11 tackles. Mikell brought down Mike Bell for a loss on the Saints’ third drive. He lined up at cornerback a couple times, like in the second quarter when he found himself on Devery Henderson, who beat him for a 16-yard gain. Mikell missed a tackle on Bush on a 30-yard completion during the Saints’ scoring drive at the end of the first half. He was also unable to bring Bush down on his 19-yard TD run.
Macho Harris - Two games in, and we're not sure what the Eagles have in Harris. He hasn't made many plays, but he doesn't appear to have made many errors either. Harris flipped Jeremy Shockey 2 yards short of a first down to force a first-half punt. He missed a tackle on Heath Evans' TD in the third quarter, but then again, who didn't? Good hit by Harris on a checkdown pass to Evans late in the third quarter. It was initially ruled a fumble but then reversed, which was the right call.
Victor Abiamiri - The Saints ran at him all day. Abiamiri was fooled by a fake handoff on a 15-yard end around to Robert Meachem during the Saints’ first drive. Bell cut back for a 23-yard gain through a hole on the right side later in the game. And Bush gained 7 going right at him. Abiamiri got tossed aside on the third-quarter TD run by Bell and also on a 16-yard run by Bell in the fourth quarter. It seemed like the Saints had less success going at Abiamiri in the second half, but the Eagles' DE, who was likely not 100 percent, had a rough day.
Juqua Parker - He picked up a sack and forced a fumble late in the first half, but the Saints recovered. It really could have been a big play had the Eagles been able to come up with the ball.
Mike Patterson - As stated above, most of the Saints' successful running plays went right at Abiamiri. The tackles did not play as well as last week, but were not bad. Patterson made a nice play on a screen pass to Pierre Thomas, combining with Akeem Jordan to drop him for a 4-yard loss. He also did a nice job bringing down Bell near the line of scrimmage during last play of the third quarter.
Broderick Bunkley - He somehow went untouched on a 2nd-and-goal play, got in Brees’ face quickly and forced an incompletion in the third quarter. Bunkley was double-teamed on a 7-yard run by Bell, which went for a first down. And he got turned around on Bush’s 19-yard touchdown run.
Trevor Laws - He alternated series' with Bunkley early on. Laws' pressure up the middle helped Trent Cole pick up the Eagles’ first sack. Will be interesting to see how Sean McDermott rotates him in going forward.
Trent Cole - As usual, the energy was there from Cole, but the Saints did a good job of keeping him away from Brees. That included reserve left tackle Jermon Bushrod really competing. I thought Cole would eat him up, but it didn't happen. The Saints gave Bushrod help at times, and Brees was a master of getting rid of the ball quickly and feeling the pressure. Cole did sack Brees once during the Saints’ second offensive drive. And he was credited with a tackle for loss.
Akeem Jordan - He had by far the best day of any Eagles linebacker. Jordan made an athletic interception in the third quarter, batting the ball to himself before coming down with it. He had a few nice plays against the run, finishing with nine tackles and three for loss. On the downside, Jordan missed a tackle on the Evans TD in the third quarter.
Chris Gocong - Tough to come up with much on Gocong, and that's a bad thing. He was rarely around the ball and really didn't make a play all day. On Bell's 23-yard run in the first quarter, he was blitzing, which opened up a huge hole. Only two tackles in the game.
Omar Gaither - He got pushed around on most of the Saints' effective run plays. Gaither was nowhere to be found on Bell’s 23-yard run in the first quarter. He just looked to be a step or two behind on several plays and performed poorly against the run.
Chris Clemons - We covered his special teams penalties earlier in the week. Clemons was absolutely mauled by right tackle Jonathan Stinchcomb during the Saints’ scoring drive at the end of the first half, but the refs completely missed what should have been a holding or illegal hands to the face penalty. Like his teammates, Clemons was unable to get to Brees all day.
Some other notes:
** The Eagles had only 10 players on the field during a 3rd-and-goal play in the first quarter. Hanson tried to call timeout but didn’t get the referees’ attention in time. The defense stopped New Orleans short of the end zone anyway.
** Defensive tackle Antonio Dixon got into the game in the third quarter.
** Jason Babin saw his first action as an Eagle in the fourth quarter.