The Philadelphia Eagles secondary in 2019 was at best, average. But many poor outings would show the defensive unit was well below average. With an extremely strong defensive line and capable offense, Philly is left to wonder how much better their season could have gone with a better secondary unit.
If you look closely at the stats from 2019, you would see the Eagles struggled the most against teams number one wide receivers.
Philadelphia gave up 167 yards and three touchdowns to Stefon Diggs in their week six matchup, as well as conceding 159 yards and two touchdowns to Davante Parker in week 13. This problem can mostly be attributed to the fact that the Eagles lacked a true number one corner. Sidney Jones and Ronald Darby have both struggled with injuries since college and have shown to be atrocious when lined up against elite receivers. Guys like Crevon Leblanc are serviceable and show flashes at times but are also unable to line up outside against number one receivers.
The Eagles decided was a good time to go out a grab a true number one corner and they did so with the (costly) addition of Darius Slay from the Detroit Lions. Slay, despite being 29 years old has seemingly never missed a beat when it comes to being a teams reliable number one corner and he has shown incredible ability to lock down number one receivers.
In his two career games against Amari Cooper, he has held the Cowboys receiver to four catches on 12 targets for 42 yards and zero touchdowns. With a guy like Slay on the outside able to shadow number one targets, Sidney Jones and co. are able to match up against weaker receivers giving the eagles much better matchups in the secondary.
However, arguably the Eagles secondary most underrated offseason move was the addition of slot corner Nickell Robey-Coleman. Many people would laugh at the notion that Robey-Coleman is an elite slot corner but the stats would back his case up. Coleman was PFF’s 19th ranked corner and the league and gave up the sixth least yards per snap when lined up in the slot. He also had the 13th least passer rating allowed when targeted.
With Darius Slay on the outside locking down number one receivers and Robey-Coleman locking down the slot, the Philly’s secondary will have many less holes in 2020 allowing them to be flexible in where they play their young, developing corners such as Sidney Jones, Avonte Maddox and Crevon Leblanc.
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