Eagles defense, Boykin stepping up at right time

Trent Cole
The Eagles’ defense has been just good enough this season, fueling the Eagles run to an NFC East title.
Credit: Getty Images

Last season the Eagles were 4-12. Their turnover differential was dead last in the NFC, at -24.

This season, the Eagles are 10-6. They won the NFC East, and they are second in turnover differential at +12.

Even though their offense is ranked second in the entire NFC, the simple fact that Nick Foles and company took care of the ball, and that the defense created 31 takeaways is perhaps the greatest reason for the Eagles’ success.

Brandon Boykin is a key reason for the turnover differential. The second-year cornerback has six interceptions in 2013 and two forced fumbles. And his production on the field has made a major impact.

“Just how hard he works in practice and kind of what you see on Sundays,” Eagles head coach Chip Kelly told the media Wednesday, “is what we see every day in practice.  That’s kind of what we preach around here is that you don’t rise to the occasion; you sink to your level of training, and he trains at a very high level every day he’s out there and that’s evident to us and as a staff.  And what you see on Sundays is what we see every day during the week.”

Boykin had a pick-six on the dominating win against the Bears in week 16, and the game clinching interception against the Cowboys last week.

His ascension into the role of impact cornerback is one the Eagles desperately needed. Prior secondaries have had major problems, with Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie falling well short of expectations.

The Saints come to town Saturday, and a new set of challenges will befall the Eagles secondary, particularly from New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham.

“I think that’s the one thing about Jimmy [Graham] that makes him such a special player is he’s probably too athletic for linebackers to cover,” Kelly said Wednesday, “but he’s too big for defensive backs to cover, and he’s never going to be in the same spot.  He doesn’t line up as a traditional tight end attached to the tackle.  He could be the lone receiver; he could be in the back in the backfield.”

The Saints will also challenge the Eagles’ defense with Marques Colston, Robert Meachem, Lance Moore and Darren Sproles. All dynamic and multi-purpose weapons for Drew Brees’ potent offensive attack.

“There’s a ton of them,” Kelly said of the Saints’ arsenal. ” That’s what [head coach Sean Payton] and Drew [Brees] have a lot of toys with, too, and that’s what makes them such a very difficult team because they stretch you vertically and horizontally, too.”

Safety Earl Wolff can help the secondary, if he is healthy enough to play.

“Earl has to practice if he’s going to play,” Kelly said, seemingly unsure if Wolff would be ready to go Saturday, ” so if that’s your question, yeah, he’s got to get out there at some point in time.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Police seek mother of slain 11-year-old on involuntary…

Police are seeking the mother of an 11-year-old girl who was accidentally shot to death by her 2-year-old brother two weeks ago on involuntary manslaughter…

Local

Chestnut Hill College student found dead Wednesday morning

A 22-year-0ld Chestnut Hill College student was found dead this morning inside a college dormitory, police said.

International

Nearly 300 missing after South Korean ferry capsizes

Almost 300 people were missing after a ferry capsized off South Korea Wednesday, in what could be the country's biggest maritime disaster in over 20 years.

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

Television

Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.

Books

Poems from prison: 'How to Survive a Bullet…

Celebrate National Poetry Month with, "'How to Survive a Bullet to the Heart."

Movies

Review: 'Heaven is for Real' tries to be…

The mega-bestseller "Heaven is for Real" becomes a movie that tries to portray wrestling with faith — or at least it tries to try.

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 16: 'The Americans,'…

'The Americans' Philip and Elizabeth face "painful turns" in their missions. Maybe next week they'll have a nice easy mission with no moral ambiguity? Probably…

U.S. Soccer

Andrew Wenger has big shoes to fill on…

Lancaster County native Andrew Wenger will feel pressure to fill the shoes of departer forward Jack McInerney.

NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?

NBA

Sixers, Michael Carter-Williams give fans a happy ending…

The 2013-14 season for the 76ers has nearly come to a close.

NHL

Flyers must make Rangers feel their presence

Perhaps it’s the proximity of the two biggest cities in the East, because whenever these two square off the intensity seems to rise.

Home

Steal home decorating tips from stylist and creator…

We hit her up for some space-conscious, budget-friendly design tips.

Food

Wahlbergs expanding Wahlburgers fast food joint across North…

Wahlburgers will open new restaurants in Boston, Toronto and Philadelphia.

Wellbeing

Could a facelift give you the edge at…

It's not just women lining up for procedures.

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…