November 27, 2012, 3:20 pm
It’s time to send a message to this secondary, send a message to this team, send a message to the fans, send a message to everybody that what we saw Monday night, what we’ve seen the past couple months, is unacceptable.
It’s one thing to say it. It’s another to do something about it. And it’s time for Andy Reid to make a statement that gross football negligence will no longer be tolerated, that leaving receivers and tight ends criminally wide open snap after snap, game after game, will no longer be tolerated.
This Eagles team certainly has a lot of major issues, a lot of glaring weaknesses. The offensive line is banged up and sputtering along, the defensive line is underachieving, the receivers are struggling, the linebackers have regressed, the quarterbacks haven’t done anything special for weeks.
But nothing has been as embarrassing, as pitiful, as hopeless as the play of the Eagles’ secondary.
They have simply stopped playing.
They have simply stopped covering people.
They have simply stopped competing.
Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are both former Pro Bowl corners. Nate Allen is a second-round pick who had an auspicious rookie year before he got hurt. Kurt Coleman is a late-round effort guy who isn’t the biggest or fastest but brings energy and attitude.
Put ‘em all together and you have a living, breathing defensive backfield catastrophe.
The Eagles are in uncharted waters when it comes to pass coverage.
Five weeks in a row now, a quarterback has done this against the Eagles: Complete at least 64 percent of his passes, throw two or more touchdowns, throw zero interceptions and pass for 200 yards.
Five weeks in a row now, a quarterback has had a passer rating of 120 or higher against the Eagles.
Only one other NFL team in history – the 1984 Vikings – can claim those nightmarish accomplishments.
Five weeks in a row now, the Eagles’ secondary has looked like an unprepared, undisciplined, overmatched, disinterested mess.
Asomugha, who arrived here with such huge expectations, looks lost. Rodgers-Cromartie, so brilliant in the preseason and the first few weeks, has dwindled down into nothingness. Allen seems to have mastered the art of running around in odd, random directions that have little to do with the play the other team has called. And Coleman … he’s trying, but he’s just not good enough.
There’s only one thing Reid and Todd Bowles can do at this point.
Bench the entire secondary.
Make a statement. Send a message. Hold people accountable.
Will it turn the season around? No.
Will it send the Eagles to the playoffs? Of course not.
But at this point, at 3-8 with a seven-game losing streak and grotesque pass defense numbers being generated week after week after week, something has to change or the young guys on this team who are still playing hard, still fighting, the young guys who have to be part of this team’s future, will start believing that ineptitude and incompetence are acceptable around here.
Bench ‘em all.
Nnamdi sits. DRC sits. Allen and Coleman sit.
Let’s get a nice long look at second-year third-round pick Curtis Marsh and rookie Brandon Boykin at corner. Brandon Hughes can play the slot. Somebody. Anybody.
Let’s get Dave Sims on the field at one of the safeties. He might not be Dawk out there, but he’s got some edge to his game, some toughness this defense desperately needs.
And Colt Anderson is best suited to be solely a special teams player – and he’s a terrific one – but he is a safety by trade and although he might be overmatched playing defense coming off an ACL, honestly, at least he’ll go out there and fight and battle.
So there’s your secondary starting Sunday in Dallas.
Nnamdi, DRC, Allen and Coleman sit.
Marsh, Boykin, Sims and Anderson play.
For the record, head coach Andy Reid said at his Tuesday presser that he has no plans at the moment to bench anybody, including his entire starting defensive backfield. He said he’s looked at all that and decided to stick with the status quo.
The status quo that in the last nine games has allowed 19 touchdown passes and intercepted two passes.
The status quo that has allowed five straight quarterbacks fashion a passer rating of 120 or higher.
The status quo that is embarrassing the Eagles' uniform on a daily basis.
Will a mass benching help?
Who knows. At least we’ll see four guys who are hungry, four guys who will play hard for 60 minutes, four guys who will at least try to play the right coverage.
They might make mistakes and get beat and give up touchdowns, but at least we’ll see some young kids who have some fire and energy and desire.
Things the current group just doesn’t have.
E-mail Reuben Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org