The Phillies, a 70 win baseball team, are constantly knit picked apart by the fans. An extra arm is needed. The bench is weak. Ryan Howard isn’t clutch. It is their passion that causes them to do this, but the fact is at the end of the day, the Phillies are just fine.
Now, the Eagles defense is not on the same level as the Phillies. Questions about how this team will gel together are fair. Whether or not Juan Castillo will be able to adjust to making play calls on the fly is a legitimate concern. How the young safeties will play is unknown. And how Casey Matthews, the Eagles rookie linebacker from Oregon, will adjust to one of the most important positions on the defense is a concern that has most fans worried sick.[vimeo 27384137]
But if the Eagles biggest problem it has all season is Casey Matthews, it will be ok.
The rookie middle linebacker is slated to start, much to the shagrin of the local fan base. With Nnamdi Asomugha on board, the feeling is that the team should move Asante Samuel for a middle linebacker. But unless they are able to get a top 5 middle linebacker- which is unlikely- the team should give Matthews a chance.
Matthews has looked good in camp so far, and seems to have done a good job grasping the playbook. Defensive coordinator Juan Castillo has moved players all around, but the one constant has been Matthews in the middle. Castillo has spoke at volume about the leadership Matthew has shown.
If Matthews was going to be expected to be a playmaker on the defense, then concerns would be valid. But by having the Pro-Bowl trio of Nnamdi Asomugha, Asante Samuel & Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on the outside, and having an improved defensive line in front of him, Matthews will only be expected to hold fort in the middle. It will also make Matthews better, something that players on the defense have not done for each other in a long time.
We will find out a lot about Matthews over the next few weeks, as he takes the field for what should be a very interesting pre-season.
But so far, so good for Matthews.