The Eagles' secondary under Lynn

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The Eagles have fired cornerbacks coach Johnnie Lynn. (Rich Schultz/AP)

Johnnie Lynn lasted only one year before the Eagles announced yesterday that he would no longer be part of Andy Reid's coaching staff.

The move leads to some questions about the rest of the staff, with the possibility of adding Steve Spagnuolo looming. Jeff McLane of the Inquirer does a good job of going over those questions in today's article.

Lynn was handed a talented group of cornerbacks as the Eagles made an offseason splash by signing Nnamdi Asomugha and trading for Dominique Rodgers-Cromaratie. But did the group improve at all from 2010?

Here's a look at where the pass defense ranked in several categories in 2010 and 2011. The first column is pass defense ranking from Football Outsiders. The other columns have rankings in parentheses.

  FO Ranking Opp. QB rating Comp. % YPA TDs INTs
2010 11 80.8 (11th) 57.6 (8th) 7.0 (18th) 31 (29th) 23 (3rd)
2011 11 85.7 (19th) 58.1 (10th) 7.2 (16th) 27 (24th) 15 (17th)

As you can see, it's tough to find an area in which the Eagles' pass defense improved this season. Most of the numbers are similar to 2010. Last year, the defense gave up 54 big pass plays (20 yards or more). This year, it gave up 53. And keep in mind, the 2011 group had a better pass rush and Asomugha replacing Dimitri Patterson at right cornerback.

Last week, I wrote about individual performances of the cornerbacks. Asante Samuel had good numbers, although his tackling was a concern, and he benefited from some miscues by opposing offenses.

Asomugha will be remembered for the big plays he allowed. And Rodgers-Cromartie playing inside didn't work out. Eventually, Joselio Hanson replaced him in the slot, before Rodgers-Cromartie moved over to left cornerback when Samuel was injured.

And finally, a look at how the Eagles fared against specific types of receivers. Here's a look at their rankings the past two seasons, per Football Outsiders.

  No. 1 WR No. 2 WR Other WR TE RB
2010 11 4 9 19 31
2011 12 21 12 3 29

Interestingly enough, No. 2 wide receivers hurt the Eagles more in 2011 than in 2010. But the Birds improved significantly against opposing tight ends. Part of that can be attributed to the way they used Asomugha. Specifically against the Cowboys, he did a good job against Jason Witten.

And the Eagles continued to be terrible at covering opposing running backs, ranking 29th in the NFL. That speaks to linebacker play and scheme.

Personnel in the secondary could look different in 2012. Samuel could get traded. And the Eagles will have to make decisions at safety. Nate Allen came on at the end of the year, and this offseason will be critical for Jaiquawn Jarrett. Kurt Coleman will be in the mix too, and the Eagles could look to add a veteran.

Michael Zordich is still on the staff as secondary/safeties coach. In the coming weeks, we'll find out if he stays, and who replaces Lynn.


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