Monday, March 2, 2015

Targeting Asomugha and the Eagles CBs

Perhaps one of the biggest advantages the Eagles have today is their cornerbacks against the Giants wide receivers.

Targeting Asomugha and the Eagles CBs

Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha intercepted his first pass as an Eagle last week. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)
Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha intercepted his first pass as an Eagle last week. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)

Perhaps one of the biggest advantages the Eagles have today is their cornerbacks against the Giants wide receivers.

New York has a great playmaker out wide in Hakeem Nicks, but Mario Manningham and Domenik Hixon both suffered injuries in Week 2 and won't play. That means Victor Cruz (2 career catches for 17 yards) will likely line up opposite Nicks. The Giants also signed veteran Brandon Stokley before Week 2.

The Eagles cornerbacks, meanwhile, are off to a strong start. Matt Ryan threw four touchdowns last week, but much of that damage was done with tight end Tony Gonzalez (7 catches, 73 yards, 2 TDs).

Through two weeks, Asante Samuel has been the Eagles' most-targeted cornerback. The Rams and Falcons have gone 4-for-11 for 29 yards when throwing at Samuel.

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Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie have been targeted six times each. Quarterbacks have gone 2-for-5 for 45 yards when throwing at Asomugha, but he was also whistled for a 41-yard pass interference penalty against the Rams. Last week, Ryan was 1-for-3 for 14 yards when targeting Asomugha.

Quarterbacks are 3-for-6 for 49 yards when throwing at Rodgers-Cromartie.

Where are the three lining up?

Against Atlanta, the Eagles played with three cornerbacks on about 46.7 percent of their snaps. Through two games, they've played with three cornerbacks on 38.1 percent of their defensive snaps. Rodgers-Cromartie has played about 39.7 percent of the time.

Against the Falcons, Juan Castillo moved Asomugha around a little bit. He was lined up at right cornerback about 70 percent of the time. But Asomugha lined up in the slot on seven plays, including the one where he intercepted Ryan. As we've seen since the preseason, when Asomugha doesn't have a wide receiver lined up on his side, he usually drops back like a safety.

Rodgers-Cromartie, meanwhile, played in the slot on 19 of 32 snaps last week. He was at right cornerback for eight snaps. And he filled in for Samuel, who left the game briefly with an injury, at left cornerback for five snaps.

Eli Manning doesn't have many weapons at tight end with Kevin Boss having left town during free agency. Nicks has been targeted 19 times on the season. No other Giants player who will be on the field today has more than seven targets through two games. I'm sure Tom Coughlin plans on using a heavy ground attack, but it will be interesting to see where Manning goes with the ball when he has to pass.

As always, I'll be chatting from the Linc at 1, so be sure to join me.


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Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
About this blog
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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