The Eagles Secondary has come on leaps and bounds since the opening game of the season. With Jenkins and Thurmond ranking among the top 5 in safeties, Carroll yet to concede a touchdown and Byron Maxwell steadily improving, there are a lot of reasons to be excited about the new look Secondary. But there has been one player who has been making a lot of under the radar plays who deserves some credit.
That man is seven year veteran E.J Biggers. Yep, now already a few of you are going to disagree. But Eric Rowe has been almost eased into his role at cornerback. After coming in as a rookie, it rapidly became clear that his adjustment to both his new position and environment is going to be a slow process. But his snaps have either been sensationally high (like 77 in week 4) or minimal. Meaning that he’s not a reliable option at corner. Luckily Biggers has been able to come in and perform in both Nickel and Dime packages.
He’s stepped into the role very well and made some impressive plays along the way. The snap count below is not counting special teams, just the snaps Biggers has taken at cornerback.
E.J Biggers snaps
Rowe has been a little inconsistent and whilst the raw talent is there, it’s evident that he’s still learning. When needed, Biggers has stepped up and made a play and has played in a total of 37% of the teams defensive snaps this season. Not bad for a corner who’s competing for a number 3/4 spot.
In an interview with philly.com Defensive coordinator Billy Davis said the following;
“What E.J. brings is a great quickness and speed, and then his intelligence. We’re doing a great job of bringing guys with high football IQs into the building, and what he allows is he can play corner, nickel or dime for us at any given snap. So in every game plan, we can go into it with him and Malcolm both being able to switch. Malcolm can play anything, but E.J. has got the corner, nickel and dime spots down, which is a little bit different for an offense in their identification and their protection, so that screws with them a little bit.”
It’s that versatility that has made Biggers so dangerous to opposing Offenses. A pass deflection against the Saints now only highlighted his speed when tracking Brandin Cooks, but his athleticism in jumping up and swatting the ball out of harms way. Cooks is a pacey receiver and can run the 40 yard dash in 4.33 seconds. Biggers was next to him on the entire play and was able to come up with a huge deflection on 3rd & 6..Maxwell could certainly take a leaf out of the veterans book!
Biggers has 16 combined tackles on the year and continues to provide excellent cover in both Nickel and Dime packages while the real stars get to work. 8 of those tackles came against Washington where he tied second for the team that week. He may be in the latter stages of his career but the man still has the ability to control a secondary, lead a secondary and put up impressive numbers.
He may not be a highlight reel standout and he may not end up on the back of your jersey next season, but Biggers has been behind the scenes making sure the set looks great for the stars of the Eagles Secondary and without him, the unit would arguably be a lot less efficient.