Players to Watch Saturday- Defense

The Eagles looked great for the most part on both sides of the ball to start off the 2015 season.  Last week, we covered 3 guys on defense to watch for the Colts game.  Marcus Smith, Jaylen Watkins and Denzel Rice.  Smith played the most snaps out of anyone on the team showing a few small improvements from his awful rookie year.  He still has a long way to go though.  Watkins got the first crack for the starting nickel job and didn’t stand out.  He was not burned for any big plays or blow any major assignments, but rookie Eric Rowe also vying for that job forced a turnover on Sunday.  Rice is a guy who could make this team if a few breaks fall his way, but he will need to have a standout game in my opinion to make the 53 as things currently stand.  Let’s cover some guys to track for this week’s game against the Ravens.

Bennie Logan-

The promising young nose tackle from LSU had a stellar game while only playing 9 snaps on Sunday.  He was constantly knifing his way through the Colts o-line while making a few plays in the backfield.  Logan has grown so much a player since being drafted by Chip in his first season as head coach in the 3rd round.  Many questioned whether he would be able to make the shift to nose tackle or if he would be better suited as a defensive end in the 3-4 scheme.  I think he’s answering those concerns loud and clearly with the way his play improved last year under Bill Davis in his 2nd year as defensive coordinator.  The trio of Logan, Cedric Thornton and soon to be paid Fletcher Cox gives the Eagles one of the best defensive fronts in all of football.  This group is incredibly underrated and that’s not homer talk from me.  Bennie will face a solid Ravens offensive line on Saturday night including a potential matchup with Pro Bowl guard Marshall Yanda.  Logan will also go nose to nose a lot with center Jeremy Zuttah and left guard Kelechi Osemele.

Jordan Hicks-

The rookie inside linebacker from Texas played 40 snaps on Sunday including 11 on special teams where he made a nice block to spring Kenjon Barner for his 92 yard touchdown return.  Hicks rotated with Brad Jones, Najee Goode and Emmanuel Acho throughout the game.  This week should be interesting as the likely three headed monster of Kiko Alonso, Mychal Kendricks and Demeco Ryans should return to game action.  I don’t expect Alonso or Ryans to take a ton of reps, but they will see action.  I’m anxious to see Hicks face the pro style offense that Baltimore runs and potentially how he holds up in the run game with the snaps he gets.  Also, his contributions on special teams cannot be overlooked as well.  Hicks will more than likely be on the field when backup quarterback Matt Schaub is in along with another rookie in running back Buck Allen from USC.  He could be covering fellow rookie tight ends Maxx Williams or Nick Boyle from Delaware.

Ed Reynolds-

Reynolds came out of no where to turn in the defensive performance of the day for the Birds recording his first two interceptions in the NFL albeit in a preseason game.  The Stanford product played the most snaps out of anyone in the secondary with 54.  The continued absence of much maligned safety Earl Wolff certainly helps Reynolds chances of making the 53 man as well.  All indications are pointing towards Wolff getting the boot relatively soon.  Reynolds will need to prove he can put together back to back solid performances or else his first game will be somewhat forgotten.  He is likely batting fellow safety Chris Prosinski for a roster spot.  Prosinski is a very good special teamer which cannot be overlooked on this team.  Reynolds might see the likes of rookie wideout Breshad Perriman or former Redskin speedster Aldrick Robinson for the majority of his reps.  Stay tuned…

h/t @zberm

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