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Alex Singleton and his decreasing role: Just how bad of a season is he having?

The Eagles messed up big time this offseason by refusing to invest in their linebackers once again. Philadelphia felt they would see more improvements from Alex Singleton while adding Eric Wilson into the mix. Instead of progressing, Alex Singleton has become one of the worst linebackers in football.

I wrote about the problem just over two weeks ago, but believe it or not, Singleton has gotten even worse since then. Against the Panthers and Buccaneers, Singleton did alright in one aspect of his game but was unplayable in the other.

Against Carolina, Singleton had an 83 tackling grade and a 40 in coverage, according to PFF. Meanwhile, he had a 37 tackling and 57 coverage grades against the Buccaneers. Amongst the NFL’s linebackers, Singleton has the third-worst coverage grade (LBs over 200 snaps) with a sickening 34.6. 

Alex Singleton, Eric Wilson, and Davion Taylor snap % over last three weeks

Alex SingletonEric WilsonDavion Taylor
Week 484%73%13%
Week 575%41%34%
Week 663%31%49%

Despite the criticism against Jonathan Gannon, it’s relieving to see that he’s making the right move here. Davion Taylor has played great for what was expected of him and has proven to be worth a starting role. Eric Wilson has taken the biggest hit of lost snaps, but Singleton’s snap count continuously decreases.

Wilson was downright horrid to start the season, primarily against the run. He was okay in pass coverage, averaging a grade in the mid-50s. But with his decreased role, Eric Wilson has been thriving, having his best games of the season by a mile as LB3. For reference, Singleton has averaged a 51 defensive grade the last two games while Wilson averages a 57.

The issue with Alex Singleton is while he is an alright tackler, he is the worst coverage linebacker in football. Over six games, Singleton alone has given up 336 yards receiving on 33 receptions and four touchdowns, the most yards, receptions, or TDs given up by a linebacker in the NFL. 

While Eagles fans thought Nate Gerry was bad, Alex Singleton is on pace for an even worse season. Let’s compare Gerry’s 2020 campaign with Singleton.

Overall Defensive GradeRush DefenseTacklingPass RushCoverage
Alex Singleton (2021)
Nate Gerry (2020)45.758.270.370.938.6

Alex Singleton is worse in every significant PFF grade so far this season than Nate Gerry somehow. To compare passing yards, Nate Gerry allowed just 299 yards on 28 receptions for four touchdowns last season. It has been six weeks, and Alex Singleton has surpassed all three of those stats already.

Every single statistic shows that Alex Singleton is not fit to be a starting NFL linebacker. You cannot succeed in that position by only being good at 1/3 of your responsibilities. Alongside being a liability in coverage Singleton takes too long in reading his keys as a linebacker and is often several seconds late when making a play. Sure, Singleton can be a fine special teamer, but what good does being a tackling linebacker do when the tackles are seven yards downfield? 

Luckily Jonathan Gannon realizes this, and Davion Taylor should soon be the LB1 for the Eagles until they can get the upgrade they need this offseason. Philly has another tough matchup this Sunday against the Las Vegas Raiders and it’ll be interesting to see how they adjust their defense accordingly.

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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Eagles

Writer for The Liberty Line, Host of The Flyover Podcast. You can follow me on Twitter @JackPConnell

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