Trying to figure out what's going on in the secondary is like trying to understand a puzzle that's wrapped inside an enigma that's wrapped inside a mystery. I'm pretty sure I just butchered that line from JFK, but that's the whole point...the secondary situation will mess with your mind.
We don't lack bodies. We've got a ton of pieces. The problem is trying to figure out who goes where. We have young guys that are unproven. We have versatile guys. We have guys coming off injuries. You name it, we got it. Still, I can't come up with a configuration that makes me comfortable.
Let's start with the Safety position. We know Quintin Mikell will be the SS. He's a lock. I think rookie Kurt Coleman will be one of his backups. I'm not sure if there is a clear cut backup to him. The Eagles have talked about Safeties being interchangeable so likely the #3 Safety will backup both spots. Of course, we still don't know who that is.
What about FS? Macho Harris is there now, but we've heard that he's likely to move back to CB. Rookie Nate Allen makes sense, but we need to see him get on the field and practice with the team before we can pencil him in and feel good about it. Free agent Marlin Jackson did some stuff at mini-camp, but isn't yet 100% in his comeback from an ACL tear (or two...or three). What about Quintin Demps? This time last year he was projected to be the starting FS. Last weekend he practiced with the 3rd string at times. Weird.
The LCB will be Asante Samuel. RCB is a major mystery. The team is really talking up Ellis Hobbs. I don't know what to make of this. Are they genuinely optimistic that he can be the answer? Hobbs was a solid starter for the Patriots for a couple of years. Maybe they expect him to play much better in his 2nd season as an Eagle.
The doubting Thomas part of me wonders if all the talk is legit. Could the Eagles be hyping him for some other reason? Maybe we're talking to other teams about veteran CBs, but we need them to think we're comfortable going into the 2010 season with Hobbs as the starter. If teams think you're desperate they will drive up the price in a trade. Unfortunately, I haven't heard any trade talk behind the scenes. There aren't a whole lot of good rumors right now.
Behind Hobbs we have a battle between Macho Harris, Trevard Lindley, and possibly Marlin Jackson. We also have holdovers from last year in Dimitri Patterson and Geoff Pope. This is going to be a battle royale. I just wish it was because we had too many guys that deserved the job. This situation is a little different. Macho lacks ideal speed. Lindley is just a rookie. Marlin isn't healthy. Pick your poison, I guess. Patterson and Pope are both mysteries.
Training Camp is going to be real interesting. We need one of these players to emerge. Normally someone does. Hobbs could be the guy because of his experience. Macho could be the guy because of his ball skills and ability to play physical press coverage. We'll see how Lindley handles NFL competition. He has the best combination of size, speed, and skills. And I don't think we can count Marlin Jackson out. He's been a good starting CB when healthy.
I haven't talked about Joselio "MmmBop" Hanson yet. I've heard from a couple of sources that he is fully healthy now and should be back to his old self. He played well in 2008 and early in '09. I don't think he is capable of starting outside, but if we can get him back to being a good slot corner we'll have a key piece in place for our defense. NFL teams use 3-WR sets a lot of the time these days.
ESPN Insider reported that the Eagles might have some interest in free agent DT John Henderson. He was recently cut by the Jaguars. This would make sense, but I can't confirm that we do have interest in Big John. We didn't come away from the draft with a DT who could provide immediate impact. Henderson has been a good starter for a long time, but he might be ideal as our #3 guy. That would limit his snaps. I'd love to see us have a guy with his size to push the pocket. He goes about 6'6, 330. Have we ever had a guy like that?
Thanks for all the feedback. I'm working on a few things and trying to figure out what's best. I'll keep you guys updated.
I know we're now in a quiet time of the year, but I will be posting as close to every day as possible. There is always something to talk about. We're Eagles fans. Something is very wrong if we don't over-analyze every aspect of the team.