We're heading into Week 16, but Eagles defensive coordinator Sean McDermott continues to tweak his defense and his scheme.
Yesterday, we saw a couple new schemes that McDermott hadn't unveiled previously. Granted, some of this is due to necessity because of injuries and personnel, but he's never been afraid to try out something new.
The Eagles went with a four-safety, zero-linebacker formation at times. The safeties were Quintin Mikell, Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman and Colt Anderson. The surprise there is Anderson, a guy the Eagles signed earlier this season, who had previously played only on special teams. Yesterday, he was on the field for 12 snaps.
The other formation was a three-safety, one-linebacker look that took Asante Samuel off the field. Samuel was questionable going into yesterday's game, and McDermott likely just wanted to get Coleman on the field in run situations. It was still a risky move though, considering Manning could have audibled to a pass play at any time with Samuel sidelined.
The tweaking will continue in the next two weeks and into the playoffs. Allen is done for the year, meaning Coleman will have to step in.
Plus, the Eagles are still making up for the losses of Stewart Bradley and Brandon Graham. Rookie JaMar Chaney filled in nicely against the Giants, and the Eagles used Juqua Parker, Darryl Tapp and Daniel Te'o-Nesheim to replace Graham.
The defense has shown flashes of being effective, but has yet to put it together. It will need to raise its level of play if the Eagles have Super Bowl aspirations.