Commentary

Eagles' D is soft up the middle

Philadelphia can defend top receivers, but that might not really matter

Updated: September 27, 2011, 2:56 PM ET
By Vince Verhei | Football Outsiders
Asante SamuelHunter Martin/Getty ImagesAsante Samuel is a star on Philly's defense, but he can't cover everybody.

The Philadelphia Eagles played a real-life version of fantasy football this past offseason, adding big-name talent at quarterback, wide receiver, pass-rusher and cornerback. Unfortunately, the Eagles took the fantasy football theme too far, bringing in plenty of skill-position players but leaving holes in the interior of their defense. Those holes were torn wide-open in their 29-16 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday, and it won't be the last time it costs the Eagles a game.

Philadelphia's biggest offseason pickup gave the Eagles not just the best tandem of cornerbacks in the league but perhaps the two best players at the position, period. Darrelle Revis of the New York Jets receives the most attention as the NFL's best cornerback, but Nnamdi Asomugha was the league's one true shutdown corner during his time with the Oakland Raiders.

According to Football Outsiders' game-charting stats, Revis was the target on 5.2 passes per game during the past four seasons, and he never averaged fewer than the 4.2 passes per game he faced in 2010. In the same time frame, Asomugha averaged only 2.1 targets per game, never more than the 2.5 per game he saw in 2007. The Eagles grabbed Asomugha and paired him with Asante Samuel. It was Samuel, not Revis, who topped all cornerbacks in 2010 in both yards per pass allowed and success rate in FO's game-charting numbers.


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