Players to Watch on Defense

The Eagles defense will be facing a subpar Jets offensive unit as a whole on Thursday night at Met Life stadium. Rookie quarterback Bryce Petty should see a lion’s share of the work with Geno Smith still out and starter Ryan Fitzpatrick likely resting. The defense has been solid despite a few big screen plays they let up against the Packers backups. I like the technique new secondary coach Corey Undlin has stressed to the guys. Let’s hope it carries over to the regular season. It would also be nice to see linebacker Kiko Alonso play a snap, but that won’t happen until September 14th at the earliest.


Travis Raciti-

The Eagles will more than likely keep six defensive linemen on the roster. Fletcher Cox, Bennie Logan, Ced Thornton, Taylor Hart, Brandon Bair and Beau Allen. Raciti has drawn praise throughout camp and the preseason from several beat writers. The question is will carrying seven defensive linemen hurt the Eagles in other areas that might be lacking. Personally, I think the starting three are so strong there’s no need to carry Raciti as the seventh guy. He just simply doesn’t give you enough to warrant that yet. I would like for him to get a crack at the practice squad for the year and develop with the coaching staff including d-line coach Jerry Azzinaro. Look for Raciti to play a lot of snaps this week along with Hart, Bair, and Allen.


Najee Goode-

The thumb surgery for inside linebacker Emmanuel Acho definitely boosted Goode’s chances of making the team. He has played very well this preseason also and has experience with the defense in 2013 when he made a few spot starts. The lingering injuries for Alonso, Demeco Ryans, and Mychal Kendricks could also play a role in Chip deciding to stick with Najee. Jordan Hicks and Brad Jones are also locks to make the roster so that leaves Goode in a numbers game. Goode played the second most snaps behind Hicks this past weekend in Lambeau. I expect that trend to remain the same and I’m looking forward to those two playing together again. Goode is a solid NFL linebacker and will land on his feet with another team potentially even as a starter if he fails to stick with the Eagles.

Eric Rowe-

Rowe has shown the ability to stick with plays and a knack for stripping the ball during his first three games in the league. On the downside he seems to be in the trail position an awful lot which can be ordinary for rookie corners. Rowe was featured at the nickel in the first two games along with getting work on the outside. This past weekend starter Nolan Carroll moved inside to play the nickel on third downs while Rowe was used primarily outside. He struggled and was beaten on a handful of occasions. He made a nice play in the first quarter where he knocked the ball loose from Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb who coincidentally injured his shoulder on the play. Rowe also stripped rookie wideout Phillip Dorsett of the Colts in the opener. However, on both these plays Rowe was beaten off the snap. He should see increased playing time Thursday and I could see him going well into the third quarter.



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