Man Up: Is Matthews improving?
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Man Up: Is Matthews improving?
Sheil Kapadia, Philly.com
Here's the player-by-player look at the Eagles' defensive performance against the Jets on Sunday, after having re-watched the game:
Jason Babin - Three more sacks put him at 18 on the season; that's tops in the NFL. Babin went right around right tackle Wayne Hunter for his first sack. He lined up as a blitzing linebacker and looped between Mike Patterson (who was at right defensive end) and Kurt Coleman (who was blitzing) for his second sack. Babin looped behind Patterson on a stunt and chased Mark Sanchez out of the pocket in the red zone in the second. He pressured Sanchez again on third down in the third, helping to force an incompletion. Maybe more impressively, he let up on his hit and avoided drawing a penalty (OK, so he made up for it with a personal foul later, but still). It's amazing that in the third quarter, when Babin lined up again as a linebacker, starting in the middle and then rushing outside, the Jets let him go untouched for his third sack. It was a four-man rush. The Eagles had used that formation multiple times earlier in the game. Yet, it was as if the Jets' offensive line was caught completely off-guard.
Cullen Jenkins - Actually a pretty quiet game for Jenkins. Didn't notice him much, but the Jets averaged just 3.5 yards per carry, so it's safe to assume the defensive tackles were doing their jobs. Jenkins only played about 29 snaps.
Mike Patterson - He forced the Sanchez fumble on the broken play in the second, and he helped stop Shonn Greene after a 3-yard gain in the third. With Trevor Laws sidelined, Patterson played more snaps (47) than any other defensive lineman.
Trent Cole - Babin got all the headlines after this one, and rightfully so, but Cole was a beast against the run. He stopped Greene after a 2-yard gain in the first. He made a great play to stuff Greene for no gain on a red-zone run. He dropped Greene after a gain of 2 in the third, and again for no gain in the fourth. As a pass rusher, Cole pressured Sanchez and helped force an incompletion in the fourth. He dropped back into coverage and wound up trying to cover Dustin Keller on a zone blitz, which didn't turn out so well as Sanchez completed a 41-yard pass. Overall, though, a very good game.
Philip Hunt - He played about 28 snaps, exclusively at right defensive end, filling in for an injured Darryl Tapp. Hunt and Brian Rolle combined to stop Greene after a 2-yard gain in the first. And Hunt showed good speed and power on his second-quarter sack, although Sanchez pretty much dove at his feet.
Juqua Parker - He played inside at defensive tackle at times. Parker picked up the Santonio Holmes fumble and rumbled 47 yards to the end zone for the touchdown in the first. Parker's rush led directly to Hunt’s sack in the second. He pressured Sanchez and brought him down after a 2-yard scramble in the third. And he pressured Sanchez again, helping to force an incompletion in the third. Overall, a very good game for Parker, who played about 28 snaps.
Derek Landri - Good pressure on Sanchez in the second on the incompletion to Plaxico Burress in the end zone. Other than that, a fairly quiet game. Landri played about 39 snaps with the Eagles short-handed at defensive tackle.
Brandon Graham - He didn't see much action until the fourth. Graham played about 13 snaps and was credited with one tackle.
Jamar Chaney - The Eagles were in their base defense quite a bit, meaning Chaney played about 40 snaps. He got blocked on Greene’s 13-yard run in the first and again on Tomlinson’s 8-yard run in the second. Chaney came up with the interception in the third on the pass that Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie deflected.
Brian Rolle - He played more snaps (50) than any other linebacker, playing the WILL position in the base defense and also teaming up with Casey Matthews in certain nickel situations. It looked like Rolle was out of position on Greene’s 12-yard run in the first. And he got blocked on Greene’s 13-yard run that followed. There were good moments too though. Rolle tackled Greene after a 3-yard gain in the first. He and Hunt combined to stop Greene after a 2-yard gain. And he forced LaDainian Tomlinson out of bounds for no gain on a 2nd-and-2 flip in the second. Rolle found himself with a difficult matchup, trying to cover Holmes on the 25-yard touchdown in the second. If you’re wondering how that happened, the Jets went with an empty backfield, lining up five receivers who had to be accounted for. That left Matthews and Rolle, the nickel linebackers, in man coverage, and Rolle couldn't keep up with Holmes.
Akeem Jordan - Good game for Jordan, who played about 40 snaps. He got blocked on Tomlinson’s 8-yard run in the second, but was very good the rest of the game. Jordan stopped Greene for no gain on a screen in the second. He dropped Greene for a loss of 1 in the red zone and tackled him after a 2-yard gain in the third. Jordan also stopped Greene after a 3-yard run in the third.
Casey Matthews - This had to be the best game of Matthews' young career. He did a great job of reading the screen and making the tackle in the first, dropping Tomilnson for a 4-yard loss. Matthews did a good job of finishing off Holmes after Kurt Coleman put the initial hit on him that forced the fumble. Matthews and Hunt tackled Greene after a 5-yard gain in the second. And he fought off a stiff-arm to tackle Tomlinson after a 6-yard catch on 3rd-and-12 in the red zone. I still have serious concerns about his ability against the run, but Matthews showed good instincts in coverage on Sunday. He played 24 snaps overall and figures to be one of the Eagles' two nickel linebackers the rest of the way.
Keenan Clayton - He only played about 12 snaps, but looked good. Clayton broke up a third-down pass intended for Patrick Turner, forcing the Jets to settle for a field goal in the second. Clayton also stopped Tomlinson after a 1-yard gain in the fourth.
Asante Samuel - Samuel played about 31 snaps, leaving the game in the second quarter with a hamstring injury. He did not stay exclusively on the left side of the field. Samuel covered Holmes in the slot on the other side in the first half. That’s where he was lined up when he was called for a 7-yard pass interference penalty. Samuel was in the right place at the right time on the interception that bounced off Holmes' hands in the first. Sanchez had thrown 17 touchdowns and one interception in the red zone prior to Sunday. The Jets entered the game as the best red-zone offense in the league, and the Eagles had the 30th-ranked red-zone defense, but New York scored touchdowns on just two of five trips inside the Birds' 20 yard line. Samuel also missed a tackle on Jeremy Kerley on 3rd-and-3 in the second, allowing him to pick up 6 yards.
Nnamdi Asomugha - By my count, he was only targeted twice. On one play, he was called for a 10-yard pass interference penalty in the second, trying to cover Plaxico Burress. And later, Burress made a great play on the ball, beating him for the 9-yard touchdown in the fourth. If you're wondering how Asomugha is being used, he's still moving around to different spots on the defense. He lined up as a safety on multiple occasions when the Eagles put Joselio Hanson at right cornerback.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie - I thought he played very well after coming in to play left cornerback for Samuel. Before that, Rodgers-Cromartie didn't play at all. It was exclusively Hanson on the field in nickel, as far as I could tell. Rodgers-Cromartie made a great break on the ball, helping to tip it up in the air before Chaney came down with the interception in the third. By my count, he was targeted twice, and neither pass was completed.
Joselio Hanson - As I mentioned, he played nickel all game. Hanson recovered the Sanchez fumble in the second. Kerley beat him for 10-yards on 3rd-and-5. And he dropped Tomlinson after a 1-yard gain on a screen in the fourth. Overall, solid performance.
Curtis Marsh - He had a special-teams turnover for the second week in a row. Not good. On defense, Marsh got in the game late at right cornerback for Asomugha.
Nate Allen - Relatively quiet game for Allen. He and Coleman were late to give Rolle help on Holmes on the 25-yard touchdown in the second. Allen had good coverage on Keller in the end zone late in the first half on an incompletion.
Kurt Coleman - Very good game for Coleman. He put the big hit on Holmes to jar the ball loose in the first. Coleman blitzed more times (four) than any other Eagle. He tripped up Tomlinson 5 yards short of a first down on a screen on 3rd-and-14 in the first. He made a nice leap to break up a pass intended for Burress in the end zone in the second. Coleman had good coverage on Burress on a third-down incompletion in the third. And he broke up the pass for Kerley on the failed two-point conversion attempt in the fourth.
Jaiquawn Jarrett - He got in the game late, nearly intercepting a Mark Brunell pass.