Published January 08, 2015
As Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers repeatedly picked on Bradley Fletcher on Sunday, Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis thought about making a change at cornerback.
He didn't, and Fletcher gave his coach reason to be optimistic.
"I've got a lot of respect for Fletch and how he responded. I was watching him close. 'Wait one more, do I make a move?'" Davis said Tuesday. "And then you watched him come out in the second half, (and) he made those same plays that beat him in the first. He was on it, he played the ball, his press was better. He got better and fought through it. He's a mentally tough human being, and I was very impressed with the way he finished."
Rodgers, who exited the packers' 53-20 win early in the fourth quarter, finished with 341 passing yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Wide receivers Randall Cobb (129) and Jordy Nelson (109) both went over 100 yards.
Davis attributes much of the Eagles' defensive failures to Rogers' success.
"The ball was thrown in a perfect location not sometimes, every time," Davis said. "Fletcher's technique, yeah, everybody out there had bad technique plays, and when a corner makes a mistake in technique, it's a big play."
"As a coach I try to make a fair standard and say the best players who are playing the most consistent technique are out there," Davis said, "and, right now, Fletch had a couple bad plays but he had some good ones, too."
If Davis would have made a move he would have likely gone to Nolan Carroll, who has been a versatile backup corner-slot corner-dime linebacker. The other option would have been Brandon Boykin, but Davis likes the undersized Boykin in the slot rather than on the outside.
But it might not have made much difference who was on the field. Davis' unit is ranked 28th this year in pass defense. They've allowed 22 touchdowns, third-most in the league, and of their seven interceptions, just two are by the corners. Both Fletcher and Cary Williams each had one against Carolina's Cam Newton.
The backfield has also allowed 20 passes of 30 yards or more, and 40 passes of 20 yards or more. Last season they allowed 22 passes of 30 yards or more all season, and 60 of 20 yards or more.
This week the Eagles host Tennessee, with rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger making his fourth career start for the Titans.
And Davis is sticking with Fletcher at cornerback.
"Absolutely," he said.
NOTES: The Eagles placed safety Earl Wolff on injured reserve with a knee injury and signed cornerback Roc Carmichael to take his place on the 53-man roster. Wolff started in place of an injured Nate Allen three weeks ago against Houston, but was inactive the past two weeks against Carolina and Green Bay. Wolff, a fifth-round draft pick in 2013, came to camp with a chance to win a starting job at safety opposite Malcolm Jenkins, but never came close to unseating Allen. ... Carmichael was originally a fourth-round pick of Houston in 2011 out of Virginia Tech. The Eagles signed him last season and he played in 13 games, mostly on special teams, although he did make two starts at cornerback. ... Guard Matt Tobin and linebacker Mychal Kendricks both sat out practice Tuesday.