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Marquand Manuel is a crucial piece of the Eagles revamped defense

The Eagles have added a lot of new faces to the defense this off-season. From Pro Bowl corner Darius Slay to versatile safety Will Parks, the new-look secondary looks poised to be a strong unit next season. The most intriguing addition, however, is new DB coach Marquand Manuel.

Former Eagles DB coach Cory Undlin had received a good amount of criticism for the struggling secondary in year’s past. Manuel brings a new attitude to a secondary that desperately needs a different approach.

The Philadelphia defense has been ranked near the bottom of the NFL in passing yards per game since 2013:

  • 2013: 287.4 yards (31st)
  • 2014: 264.9 yards (30th)
  • 2015: 267.1 yards (29th)
  • 2016: 239.5 yards (13th)
  • 2017: 241.8 yards (25th)
  • 2018: 271.2 yards (30th)
  • 2019: 246.1 yards (22nd)

That’s 4 times in the last 7 years that the Eagles have ranked in the bottom 4 in passing defense. Things look to be taking a turn for the better in 2020, at least on paper.

Manuel was nothing short of effective in his first season as defensive coordinator in 2017. He had Atlanta’s defense ranked in the top 10 across the board:

  • Total yards allowed/game: 318.4 (9th)
  • Rushing yards/game: 104.1 (9th)
  • Red zone defense: 45.8% (5th)
  • Points allowed/game: 19.7 (8th)

Combine that with his experience of being a defensive assistant in Seattle during the Legion of Boom era, Manuel’s track record speaks for itself. To put it into perspective, former Atlanta CB Desmond Trufant was selected to his only Pro Bowl when playing under Manuel in 2015. With the players he’s inherited in Philadelphia, Manuel has plenty of raw talent to work with.

The most daunting task, however, will be bringing out the dog in Sidney Jones. It’ll be up to Manuel to see if he can return the former Washington standout to his top form.

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Victor Williams is the host/producer of The Philly Pod on iHeartRadio and leads all Eagles coverage as co-founder of The Liberty Line.

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