Analyzing the Philadelphia Eagles' Most Glaring Weakness

John McGonigal@@jmcgonigal9Correspondent IIAugust 19, 2013

Jul 26, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Cary Williams (26) addresses the media after practice during training camp at the Eagles NovaCare Complex. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Since his arrival in Philadelphia, cornerback Cary Williams has talked about everything from sconces to children's dance recitals.

But one thing he harped on is the need for a rejuvenated, more intense attitude on defense.

If getting into fights is his idea of bringing a nastiness to the Eagles defense, then okay.

Outside of that, however, Williams' play in preseason has been as frustrating as the majority of Philadelphia's secondary this offseason.

Williams, Nate Allen and Kenny Phillips—just to name a few—haven't wowed anybody in practice or in the team's two exhibitions so far.

Granted, Williams told reporters after Thursday's game that he was hesitant to go all out with his nagging hamstring injury, but his play was still unimpressive to say the least.

Three of Williams' four tackles against the Panthers were pushing receivers out of bounds after being taken advantage of along the sidelines.

Steve Smith snagged two balls for 25 yards on the outside against Williams, and Brandon LaFell opened the game with a 16-yard grab without much contest by the former Raven.

It hasn't been just Williams that has fallen short, though.

Allen, who will always be remembered as the "McNabb pick," is doing the same thing he did last year: flub tackles.

For a safety to succeed in the NFL, coverage skills are an obvious must-have. It is a pass-first league after all.

But the art of tackling (lowering the shoulder, wrapping up and taking ball-carriers to the ground) cannot be ignored, and that's what the Eagles do when they put Allen out on the field for extended time.

Whether it's taking bad angles or hitting and failing to follow through, Allen has always had problems taking down the opposition and it doesn't look like it's going to improve any time soon.

Cornerback Bradley Fletcher looked more comfortable against the Panthers, but The Philadelphia Inquirer's Jeff McLane pointed out that he's looked "anything but effective" this offseason.

Tom Brady picked on Fletcher in the Eagles' first preseason game, finding a groove by targeting him several times.

However, Bleacher Report's Yueh Ho considers Fletcher an underrated signing, he was a physical presence in 2012 and should rebound.

Not only have players disappointed, but guys have also been hindered by injuries. Philadelphia took a one-year flier on Phillips this offseason after knee problems derailed him in New York.

The former Giant wasn't limited at all in training camp practices up until the past few days. According to David Weinberg of The Press of Atlantic City, Phillips missed Thursday's preseason game with a strained quadricep and was held out at Saturday's practice.

While it isn't related to his troubled knees, any injury to Phillips limits his time on the field and certainly doesn't bode well for his hopes of significant time.

On a more serious injury note, cornerback Curtis Marsh fractured his hand in last week's game.

Marsh, after shaky performances against the Patriots, isn't considered a lock to make the roster and that thought process is further supported following the serious injury.

Regardless, the secondary is an area where depth is crucial and having guys like Marsh and Phillips off the field hurts.

Thankfully, not everything been ho-hum for the Eagles' secondary this offseason.

Brandon Boykin has surprised in a good way, Patrick Chung has all but locked up one of the starting safety spots and Earl Wolff (a rookie fifth-round pick) has rightfully seen time with the first-team.

Signings like Williams and Fletcher haven't panned out early on, though, and injuries only make this secondary weaker.

In comparison, other areas on this Eagles roster seem much stronger.

On offense, whichever quarterback is chosen should be serviceable, LeSean McCoy will carry the running game, the offensive line has improved and Chip Kelly's offense should bode well for wideouts and tight ends.

The linebacking corps has developed rapidly and the defensive front has pleased thus far through camp.

With no serious problems on special teamscombined with the struggles corners and safeties have had over the past couple of yearsthe secondary is easily the glaring issue heading into the season for the Eagles.

It still has time to gel and get healthy, but the clock is ticking with the regular season about three weeks away.

For the sake of the Eagles defense and the sanity of their fans, the secondary needs to pull it together and make the most of this time prior to the season getting underway.


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