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01-12-2005, 11:41 PM
Dave Carlson
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Originally Posted by JCD
Perhaps you don't get it because you are confusing what I said.

The starting secondary is more than just the Corners. It also includes the safeties. Having two of the best safeties in the league makes up a lot of ground for having two average corners.

Sheppard has shown playmaking ability and has not been burned nearly as much as he was last year. IMO, that is due in no small part to the extra support he has received both from the pass rush up front and havign Dawkins/Lewis helping him out in coverage. Like I said, Sheppard would be great as a #2 CB where he could focus on ball hawking without being left on an island with top talents. Whenever the Eagles did face a top talent, Sheppard had help. While you may feel confident with him 1-on-1 with top receivers, it doesn't seem the Eagles share your enthusism. Brown is solid, but nothing special. I liked him better than Sheppard heading into the year. Compared to other teams around the league, Hood, Wynn and Ware leave much to be desired. Taken as a whole, the corners are not a strong crew.

My criticism is based on watching them play. No CBs have the inside help or pass right up front that the Eagles CBs do. Considering the circumstances, their play has not been anything special. Give any half-decent CB 47 sacks and Dawkins/Lewis helping them and they should be adequate. More to a point, I have not seen Sheppard and Brown in nearly as many man situations as the Eagles used to have. When Taylor and Vincent were starting (not that they should be now), Johnson was more aggressive blitzing. Why? Because Vincent and Taylor were more adept at covering.

Put it this way, if Sheppard and Brown were starting on a team with average safeties and only 35 sacks, would the be even half as effective? Do you think Sheppard would be going to the Pro Bowl if he played for Minnesota instead of Philly?

I should have elaborated more I guess,

While Dawkins provides a level of security for Sheppard and Brown, including Lewis doesn't help your case much as he is only average in coverage. Additionally, the Eagles have been playing Cover 1 consistently, although they of course do play some Cover 2, and probably will begin the game this weekend in that.

While you MIGHT be correct that JJ blitzes less because of the ineptitude of Sheppard and Brown, that is pure conjecture. Put it this way, maybe JJ doesn't blitz as much because he doesn't have to? JJ isn't some pyscho in love with the blitz with no rhyme or reason. He harps on pressuring the QB, and for the large part that has been attained by the front 4 pressure. It would be equally applicable if I were to say JJ only blitzed so much with Vincent and Taylor because he HAD to, not because he was afforded the ability to. Prior to Kearse, the Eagles primary pass rush was from blitzing. I think it would be entirely plausible that if it were the case that the Eagles had Vincent and Taylor in their primes right now, the Eagles would blitz approximately the same amount due to the pressure of the front four.
Maybe they don't play as much man (although you offer no proof of this, you are kind of just throwing that out there an expecting me to blindly believe it as evidence) but that may also be attributed to the reasons I have just discussed. I never said they were equivicobale to Vincent and Taylor in their primes.

I think you are persistently confusing me as pimping Shep and Brown as super stars, which, at least now, they are not. But I DO feel like you are undervalueing them. As I tried to make clear in our earlier debate, my opinion of them is that Lito has outstanding potential, but is currently an average to above average playmaking corner who has yet to reach his potential; while Brown I felt was actually currently the better of the two corners: he has very sound technique, and I can think of few instances this year when he was legitimately beat.

What real criticisms do you have of them by watching them play? I don't think it's fair of you to completely devalue the season they have had simply because the Eagles have good pressure and Dawkins. They have not been abused in a single game all year. Not only that, but many of your criticisms about them earlier in the year have proven to be false, or at least they improved upon them (such as Lito's run support which has been a pleasant suprise)

Additionally, the Eagles don't have a "number 1." They play left and right. I guess you could designate Lito as the number 1 but it seems sort of an arbitrary distinction.

Hood, Wynn and Ware may not be the best tandem the league has ever saw, but in all honesty I feel they are a better group them the majority of the league can field, including your Vikings.

Should Lito be going to the Pro-Bowl? I don't know, honestly his inclusion was a suprise to me. I felt like he had a tremendous year, but not necessarily a Pro-Bowl year. There is much that he can improve on. He probably woulnd't have been selected if he was on the Vikings since the rest of the Vikes D has played so poorly and they are an 8-8 team. With that said, I would be confident in saying he would have played to comprable level. Does it help that they play with a strong supporting staff? Of course it does, but I don't think the reasons you have supplied are reason enough to discredit them as good corners. I only feel they are pertinent in any discussing of Lito's undue Pro-Bowl selection.

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