Connect with us

Philadelphia Eagles

Maddox and Douglas: The unsung youngsters

Louie DiBiase

Published

on

Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The players you think of when talking about the Philadelphia Eagles, Carson Wentz, Zach Ertz, Fletcher Cox, Malcolm Jenkins, have all produced at the same high level that made them the face of the franchise.

Both sides of the ball haven’t got the same level of consistency from the other starters, such as the early-season struggles of the offensive line and the continued inconsistency of Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills.

Two names in the secondary that have been unsung heroes however for the Eagles, especially last Sunday against the Jaguars have been Avonte Maddox and Rasul Douglas.

Plagued with injuries in the back end, the defense has played musical chairs at corner and safety while trying to replace Rodney McLeod, fill the slot with Sidney Jones week to week, and now Jalen Mills also ruled week to week after his injury in London.

Douglas and Maddox (more so Maddox) have been asked to step up, playing multiple positions throughout the season.

A 4th-round Swiss Army Knife

After McLeod was placed on IR, the Eagles chose to move Maddox at safety.

The fourth-round rookie has had mental lapses, getting lost in coverage on some key red-zone situations but for the most part, he has been a bright spot.

His sub 4.4 speed made him an attractive option to replace the athletic McLeod, quickly getting to each side of the field and having the ability to cover in space. But the 5’9 safety has also surprisingly been a thumper.

Maddox has been solid against the run, finishing with a run-defense grade of 60 or higher in all but one start according to Pro Football Focus.

Unlike Darby, Maddox comes in like a rocket to make tackles, forcing a much-needed turnover against the Jaguars. In a season where the defense has struggled to get turnovers, Maddox has two in five weeks.

Like Malcolm Jenkins, his versatility has made him a favorite of the coaching staff.

Against the Giants on Thursday Night Football, after Sidney Jones went down with an injury, Maddox was forced to move from safety to slot and only allowed 22 yards in coverage.

As a rookie, playing a position he has never played before, a position in free safety that Jim Schwartz puts a lot of responsibility in, Maddox has stepped up.

#FreeSul

Douglas hasn’t made the impact Maddox has but that has more been a product of coaching preference than performance-based.

Schwartz preferred Maddox at safety when McLeod got hurt. He chose to keep Maddox at safety, and Mills on the outside when Sidney Jones got hurt. Pushing Dexter McDougle inside instead of getting Douglas on the field.

That was despite Douglas holding his own at safety against the Giants.

Instead of keeping the 2017 third round pick at safety or outside corner so Mills or Maddox could play slot, Douglas rode the bench as the next man up.

Anytime he has been the next man up, he has made plays.

Week 1, late in the fourth quarter against the Falcons, Douglas came down with an interception while covering Julio Jones.

It was his first snap of the season.

Last week against Jacksonville, Douglas had to relieve an injured Mills on the outside. In the heat of a close game, Douglas made some big plays.

The Jaguars tried to test Douglas early down the field. One on one, Douglas stays right with Donte Moncrief along the sideline.

Jacksonville tried to make it a one-score game with this two-point conversion attempt but Douglas uses his length to close in and make a great pass breakup.

Douglas has really come to play late in the fourth quarter of games. On this 3rd and 1, he uses his instincts to read Bortles going to his check down. Douglas quickly closes in, delivers a big hit to break up the ball and force a fourth down.

Howie Roseman and the front office has done a great job finding secondary talent later in the draft. Douglas, a third-round pick and Maddox, a fourth-round pick have both answered the call when the Eagles have needed them this season.

 

Louie, an Eagles, and NFL enthusiast all his life has finally found his home to share his thousands of takes on the Philadelphia Eagles with Locked on Eagles. Louie also works in Buffalo sports radio as a producer for WGR Sports Radio 550 the official home of the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres, in addition to working as the Sports Director for 91.3 FM WBNY Buffalo. He may be far from the nest, but Louie bleeds green just like the rest of Eagles Nation. Fly Eagles Fly.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Philadelphia Eagles

Who could the Eagles target from 49ers?

Louie DiBiase

Published

on

Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It appears the Eagles could be cooking up another trade. This time with the San Francisco 49ers.

What could Howie Roseman be looking for from San Francisco? The Eagles have already taken care of their DT, WR, and LB needs in free agency by trading for DeSean Jackson, signing Malik Jackson, and L.J. Fort.

They locked up their offensive line core keeping Jason Peters and extending both Jason Kelce and Issac Seumalo.

They even added to the log jam that is the CB position by bringing back Ronald Darby on a one-year deal.

Here are some players the 49ers could be willing to deal to the Eagles that makes sense for Philadelphia.

 

RB Matt Breida

With the signing of RB Tevin Coleman, the 49ers could be looking to shop one of their running backs.

Breida makes the most sense of anyone on the 49ers for the Eagles to have interest in. At just 24, Breida is young, and on an inexpensive contract which are two things Roseman loves to deal for.

After Jerick McKinnon went down last season, Breida carried the 49ers backfield finishing with 814 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns.

He averaged 5.3 YPC and early on in the season, he was averaging over 7.0 YPC.

That fast start included a Week 2 showing against Detroit that resulted in 138 rushing yards on just 12 carries.

Breida is explosive in short areas, and has the receiving skills Doug Pederson’s offense loves to have in the backfield.

The third year running back surpassed 1,000 yards from scrimmage and would be an all-around weapon the Eagles desperately need at RB.

 

RB Jerick McKinnon 

If the 49ers decide to keep Breida as Coleman’s counter-part in the backfield, that could spell the end of Jerick McKinnon in San Francisco before it even got started.

The former Viking signed with the 49ers last offseason and was expected to be Kyle Shanahan’s new version of Coleman but he tore his ACL before the season started.

McKinnon still has three years left on his contract with a $5.7 million cap hit in 2019.

He is only 26 and like Breida, McKinnon can make defenses pay on the ground and through the air.

In 2017 after Dalvin Cook suffered a season-ending injury, McKinnon became an important piece to Minnesota’s offense finishing with 570 rushing yards and 421 receiving yards.

Between 2016 and 2017, McKinnon had 94 receptions. Much like in Shanahan’s offense, Pederson’s offense is better with that kind of RB.

 

DE Solomon Thomas

The former third overall pick in the 2017 draft hasn’t met that potential in his first two years with the 49ers.

Thomas has just four sacks in two seasons but he could be another young (24 years old), buy-low trade target Howie Roseman takes a chance on.

The 49ers would likely be more willing to deal Thomas after trading and extending DE Dee Ford. San Francisco also holds the second overall pick in a draft class that even Roseman labeled “historic” when it comes to pass rushers.

With Chris Long’s future up in the air, Thomas could be someone the Eagles bring in to compete with Josh Sweat and a rookie if Long doesn’t think more playing time is coming his way for the 2019 season.

 

If the Eagles do make a trade with the 49ers, San Francisco’s loaded backfield is likely where Philadelphia would like to grab a play-maker from. Expect a deal to involve a draft pick but don’t be surprised if someone like Jalen Mills is also involved.

The CB group is now six-deep after re-signing Darby. With four other young, promising corners to develop and Mills hitting free agency in 2020, it seems likely Philadelphia could look to get some value for him now.

The 49ers already have Richard Sherman and signed former Chargers CB Jason Verrett this offseason but Mills has the versatility to play outside, in the slot, or even at safety.

Mills or a late pick for McKinnon/Breida could make sense for both sides.

Continue Reading

Philadelphia Eagles

T.J. Yeldon fits in Philadelphia

Louie DiBiase

Published

on

Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

It doesn’t appear the Eagles were in on big names at running back in free agency. Le’Veon Bell signed with the Jets. Tevin Coleman signed with the 49ers. Mark Ingram signed with the Ravens.

Seeing Ingram and Coleman’s deal both in the $5 million a year range has many scratching their heads about why the Eagles potentially didn’t pursue those two on inexpensive contracts.

While Philadelphia could have been in the hunt for both, a lack of interest would certainly concern fans that want to see the organization invest legitimate resources into the position. It is certainly something to keep a closer eye on.

Howie Roseman can be lackadaisical when it comes to RB including last year, failing to replace Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement. However, there is no need to panic just yet. The NFL Draft has talent across all seven rounds.

There are also some intriguing options still out there through trades and free agency that fit what the Eagles want to spend, and how they want to use their backs. Former Jacksonville Jaguars RB T.J. Yeldon is perhaps the most interesting option. And he would be a great fit in Doug Pederson’s offense.

An even cheaper option than Coleman and Ingram

It was a bit surprising seeing Coleman and Ingram get less than expected. If the Eagles weren’t players for either, it could be as a result of their serious interest in the draft class, or their plans to spend even less at the position.

Yeldon could be a cheaper option.

If Coleman and Ingram both got $5 million, it seems evident that Yeldon, a less proven player than the other two, would get less.

The Eagles have not spent significant dollars for a running back since Chip Kelly signed DeMarco Murray in 2015. They have targeted younger, cheaper players.

At 25 years old, Yeldon fits that mold.

 

The perfect complementary RB 

If Yeldon and Corey Clement were the compliments to a rookie the front office invests in, it would be hard to do much better.

The former Alabama prospect has the receiving skills this Eagles offense has valued since the days of Brian Westbrook.

Yeldon has 135 catches in the last three seasons, with a career-high 55 receptions for 487 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns in 2018.

He can make some impressive plays with his hands.

The production is there but he isn’t built like other receiving-backs. At 6’2 218 pounds, Yeldon is a few inches taller, and only two pounds lighter than Jay Ajayi. The majority would agree that Ajayi’s label is that of a power runner.

That allows him to be an option in goal-line and short-yardage situations.

 

Chunk plays are abundant 

Yeldon has the ability to turn a four-yard hole, or a three-yard check down into a 15-30 yard play. He is extremely explosive for his size and he isn’t easy to bring down when he is caught. At Alabama, Yeldon forced 54 tackles in his final collegiate season.

Having that kind of weapon with the five dangerous pass-catchers the Eagles already have could be deadly. Wendell Smallwood isn’t that weapon.

In 2018, Yeldon finished with eight receptions of 15+ yards. Four of which were above 20 yards. Tevin Coleman only had five receptions of 15+ yards.

Compared to Alvin Kamara, an elite pass-catching running back, Yeldon only had seven fewer receptions that went past 15 yards.

 

Moves the chains on third down

In short and long situations on third down, Yeldon was a focal point for the Jaguars.

Whether it was a passing play or a running play, he was effective in moving the chains.

Being capable of converting through the air and ground with just one running back helps make an offense less predictable.

 

The Eagles still have quality options if they want to add an RB before the draft. The Browns and Bears are actively shopping Duke Johnson and Jordan Howard. If the front office wants to keep their draft capital however, T.J. Yeldon could be their guy.

Continue Reading

Philadelphia Eagles

Fort Philadelphia

Louie DiBiase

Published

on

Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

On today’s Locked on Eagles:

Analyzing the Eagles signing LB L.J. Fort

DeSean Jackson’s press conference was encouraging

The Giants continue their blueprint of not having a blueprint signing Golden Tate

Continue Reading

Trending