Saturday, April 19, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Man Up: Cole, Witherspoon stand out on 'D'

Yesterday, we did the offense.

Man Up: Cole, Witherspoon stand out on 'D'

The Eagles´ defense did a great job against Eli Manning and the Giants. ( Michael S. Wirtz / Staff Photographer )
The Eagles' defense did a great job against Eli Manning and the Giants. ( Michael S. Wirtz / Staff Photographer )

Yesterday, we did the offense.

Today, the defense.

A player-by-player look at the Eagles' defensive performance in their 40-17 win over the Giants on Sunday:

Juqua Parker - OK game from Parker. The Giants definitely preferred running to his side and had some success in spots. He made a couple good plays as a pass rusher, once getting good pressure on Eli Manning to force an incompletion in the third quarter.

Jason Babin - He saw increased playing time with Victor Abiamiri still out of the lineup. Made a couple bad plays - once on the fumbled kickoff return, and later on a horse collar on Manning. Babin did have a sack and made a couple nice plays against the run.

Chris Clemons – He probably should have had half-a-sack after missing Manning the first time but then chasing him down. If my memory serves me correctly, the announcer at the Linc actually did give him credit right after the play.

Mike Patterson - The Eagles' defensive tackles had an excellent showing. Patterson took up space and made some nice plays against the run. He also did a better than normal job as a pass rusher, getting a hit in on Manning in the first quarter.

Broderick Bunkley - He left the game with an injury in the first half, but later returned. Bunkley's been good all season, and Sunday was no exception. He did a great job against the run and got good pressure on Manning before he unleashed a 34-yard completion to Hakeem Nicks in the second quarter.

Antonio Dixon and Trevor Laws - Listing them together because both guys were part of Sean McDermott's defensive tackle rotation. Dixon has been a pleasant surprise. He looked good against the run and even notched a sack on the game's final play. Laws didn't do much to stand out, but was OK.

Trent Cole - For those of you who think the sack stat is overrated, Cole's performance Sunday should be your No. 1 example. He was quite possibly the best player on defense, getting good, consistent pressure on Manning and making some terrific plays against the run. It was Cole's first game of the season without a sack, but that doesn't really matter.

Akeem Jordan - Active and consistent, as usual. Jordan led the Eagles with nine tackles. He was run over by Brandon Jacobs on the Giants' first offensive play but was very good after that. He made some very nice plays against the run and did a good job to blow up a wide receiver screen to Domenik Hixon.

Will Witherspoon - I like doing Man Up every week because I'm able to catch things I miss the first time. One was the play of Witherspoon. After Sunday's game, I thought he had played OK. After re-watching, I think he was outstanding. Some really impressive plays against the run, and an above average job as a blitzer. He batted down a Manning pass on third down on one play and got good pressure on another to force an incompletion. It's only been two games, but it sure looks like the Eagles got themselves quite a player from the Rams.

Chris Gocong - Not much to report. He was in and out of the game with a couple injuries.

Moise Fokou - Replaced Gocong in the second quarter, but I didn't really notice him do much when he was on the field.

Jeremiah Trotter - He barely got on the field. The first time I noticed him was on a first down at the start of the second quarter. Trotter was also in there on a 3rd-and-1 in the third. He did not get on the stat sheet and doesn't appear to have much of a role going forward, barring injuries.

Asante Samuel - We take him to task at times for his tackling, but when Samuel said the Eagles knew what he was about when they signed him, he's right. He's here to create turnovers, and he's done that well. Samuel had a nice interception and 37-yard return in the first quarter, giving him five picks on the season, third in the league. He also put a good hit on Nicks on a wide receiver screen in the fourth quarter.

Sheldon Brown - He got beat by Nicks for a 34-yard catch in the second quarter. Brown's coverage was good. Nicks just made a good play on the ball. He had an interception disallowed because of a holding penalty. Sinorice Moss also beat him for a potential touchdown, but Manning's throw was off. It looked like Brown got turned around on the play. Overall, an OK performance. But not one of Brown's best.

Joselio Hanson - He was on the field quite a bit and was beat by Steve Smith multiple times on third-down conversions.

Quintin Mikell - Not a great performance from Mikell. He dropped a couple interceptions in the second quarter, or Manning's numbers really would have looked bad. Mikell made a good tackle on Smith to stop him short of a first down on a third-down play. The Eagles' defensive backs have done a nice job overall on those plays. Mikell got beat on Kevin Boss' touchdown in the second.

Quintin Demps - The interception was thrown right to him, but hey, Demps still had to make the catch. The Eagles seemed to use three safeties more than usual, possibly as a solution to covering the tight end? Demps seemed pretty active when he was on the field and finished with four tackles.

Sean Jones - Andy Reid announced after the game that Jones was going to start, regardless of Macho Harris' injury. I thought he showed good athleticism on multiple plays against the run. In coverage, I still need to see more of Jones. He was called for a pass interference, trying to cover Nicks in the third. He also had a nice play coming at Manning as a blitzer.

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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