Eli Manning, who threw five touchdown passes the last time he saw the Eagles.
That season-ending game at the Meadowlands was the last roundup for a bunch of Eagles defensive backs. GM Howie Roseman retooled that group in the offseason. But the new group, with injuries as a contributing factor, looked every bit as bad in a 33-30 loss to San Diego.
“It seemed like they were on to every play and every check that we made,” cornerback Cary Williams, who was called for three pass interference penalties, said. “They understood what was going on. Sometimes when you play a great quarterback, that happens.”
Rivers is a good quarterback. He completed 36 of 47 passes for 419 yards and three touchdowns. So it’s worrisome to think about what great quarterbacks will do.
“We’ve got to do a lot better,” cornerback Brandon Boykin said. “We can play better.”
Boykin started for Bradley Fletcher, who was out with a concussion. Coordinator Bill Davis juggled personnel, moving different people into Boykin’s usual role in the slot. It didn’t matter. When Boykin and Brandon Hughes missed time with injuries, things really got hectic.
“There was no plan for that,” defensive coordinator Bill Davis said.
Davis also has trouble at safety. Rookie Earl Wolff saw more time and seems poised to replace Nate Allen. For the most part, it didn’t matter who was in there.
“You're not going to find anybody at this point in time that's hanging out on the street corner that's going to be able to play safety for you,” head coach Chip Kelly said. “We've got to coach them better and put them in positions to make plays. We've got to make sure we put a game plan together so they understand it. It's a simple deal.”
Davis said he hoped to have Fletcher back, but concussions are difficult to predict. Otherwise, he will have to pit this group against Smith Thursday night.