The Philadelphia Eagles aren’t living up to the hype, mainly because they haven’t been able to do two things: 1) protect Michael Vick, 2) make tackles.
Regardless of how good you are, you can’t win in this league if you can’t keep your quarterback upright and you can’t wrap opposing players up.
The offensive line is still a work in progress that the team is hoping will come around with more time together. The majority of the league’s o-lines have struggled early this season, so there’s really not much Philly can do to address that weakness aside from working on cohesion and practicing.
But they’re already shaking things up on defense.
It looks as though Andy Reid has benched two starters, linebacker Casey Matthews and safety Kurt Coleman.
Brian Rolle is practicing with the first defensive unit in place of Matthews, according to Jonathan Tamari of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Nate Allen is now starting in place of Coleman, according to Jeff McLane of the same publication (although it’s possible McLane is still a bit groggy from the shot he allegedly took from Les Bowen at the team’s facility).
The undersized Rolle is simply the next guy up. Both players are rookies, and Matthews, who was selected higher in the draft, got shots at middle linebacker and the weak side, failing miserably in both spots. I don’t expect Rolle to perform any better against the run, but he might be better in coverage. It couldn’t get much worse than Matthews, so it couldn’t hurt for Philly to give Rolle, a sixth-round pick out of Ohio State, a chance to step up.
The move from Coleman to Allen is less controversial because Allen started 13 games and put up solid numbers as a rookie in 2010. Coleman stole the starting free safety job from Allen in training camp, but he’s been a disaster three weeks into the year.
It’s safe to say the Eagles are missing Stewart Bradley and Quintin Mikell right about now.