On Monday night's episode of NFL Total Access on NFL Network, analyst and former linebacker Willie McGinest was asked how the Eagles could improve their defense under head coach Chip Kelly and defensive coordinator Bill Davis in 2013. McGinest acknowledged that, while there is talent on the defense, there is still plenty of work to be done in the secondary.
"I think they have a lot of pieces," McGinest said. "If you look at the defense and the big plays that were given up, I'm going to have to focus on the secondary. Here's a guy you have to sign, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. He's a free agent, and that's your best cornerback on the team. And then Nnamdi (Asomugha), he's going to have to step his game up. He didn't play up to his capabilities; we didn't see what they paid for in Philadelphia."
Rodgers-Cromartie and Asomugha were expected to be a dynamic tandem for the Eagles in 2012, but neither was able to play at a consistently high level. The Eagles finished ninth in passing defense in 2012, giving up 216.9 yards through the air. They also surrendered 52 pass plays of 20 or more yards, as well as 11 pass plays of 40 or more yards.
And though there has been talk of a change in defensive alignment for the Eagles, McGinest pointed out that switching to a variant of the 3-4 doesn't fix the issues on the back end.
"I think up front they got a lot better," McGinest said. "Yes, they got rid of (defensive end Jason) Babin, but they have some young kids who are coming in. Fletcher Cox looked really good. They have some kids down there who can really, really play and they're flirting with that 3-4 system. It looks like there may be a change with the defensive front, but the back end, they have to get better at the back end."
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