Bollinger Bowl XV - Eagles at Jets: In-depth analysis (Defense)

We're breaking down every player's performance in the final preseason game against the Eagles. We broke down the offense earlier today.

Let's review the defensive performances in depth:

Defensive Line - Kyledriver

Rookie Kyle Phillips was one of the big stories from last night as he recorded two sacks, added a quarterback hit and was in on three run stops, including one for a loss. Phillips, who also plays on the edge, beat his man around the outside for one sack and then got the other in clean-up:


Cleary Foley Fatukasi deserves the lion's share of the credit for that one though, as he blew up the pocket with a terrific bull rush on the left side. Fatukasi had two other good bull rushes and affected two runs with penetration.

It seems Fatukasi has outplayed Nathan Shepherd in preseason and if there's only one spot available for the two of them, it should go to the later pick. Shepherd didn't make much of an impact last night and was penalized for illegal hands to the face. While the announcers said they are impressed with his strength at the point of attack, this might not be enough to warrant a spot for last year's third-rounder.

With the four top guys rested, rookies Trevon Sanders and MyQuon Stout were the only other linemen to see action. Sanders was driven off the line once. Stout was in on a run stuff and batted a third down pass at the line but was badly driven off the line by a double team to create a hole for a big 18-yard run.

This group as a whole did an excellent job against the run. Other than the 18-yard run mentioned above and a 15-yard gain on an end around, the Jets gave up just six yards on 16 carries.

Edges - Polite's plight

Jordan Jenkins and the suspended Brandon Copeland were the only edge defenders to be rested on Thursday night, as it was open season on the remaining roster spots.

Overall, Tarell Basham had an excellent preseason but was quiet last night. He was in on one stop behind the line though.

Bronson Kaufusi also seems to have done enough to warrant a spot, although he was driven off the line a couple of times. Kaufusi was in on two stops in the backfield and had a pressure that led to an interception.

Frankie Luvu had an active game last night, although he was only credited with one tackle on a play where the quarterback ran for a first down. He had one quarterback hit and a fumble recovery, but recorded pressure three other times and was in on a stop in the backfield.

Harvey Langi was in on a couple of run stops and had one pressure off the edge, but missing time in camp really seems to have hurt his chances.

Rookie Jachai Polite was once again disappointing, recording just one tackle on a run that was stopped for no gain. He also had a really bad missed tackle in space. It wasn't all bad, as he had a couple of pressures and set the edge well on one play where he got upfield to stretch it out to the sideline, leading to a big loss. It was definitely a disappointing preseason for Polite on the whole though and he doesn't look ready to be active on gamedays.

Undrafted rookie Justin Alexandre also saw action and was credited with one quarterback hit as the quarterback stepped up.

Jamey Mosley missed out once again, as he's still dealing with an injury.

Linebackers - Cashing in at the right time

Rookie Blake Cashman got plenty of reps last night and he made the most of them as he was constantly around the football. Cashman had six tackles, mostly in coverage, including one for a loss and two that forced punts. He also forced a fumble with a jarring hit in the hole and stayed with his man well on two incompletions.

Cashman looks ready to go and should contribute right away. However, he wasn't entirely flawless, as he missed one tackle and left a back open in the flat on a mix-up in zone coverage, although the pass was over the intended receiver's head.

James Burgess was in on a run stop and had a pressure on a blitz, but was taken out at the second level on the one long run the Eagles had.

Anthony Wint was in on a run stop, a tackle for loss and a third down stop to force a punt. He was also credited with a pass defensed.

The two recent signings also saw action. Albert McClellan was in on a tackle after a short pass and almost intercepted a risky throw underneath. Stephone Anthony was only in for a few plays and didn't make an impact.

Defensive Backs - Super Cooper

With new acquisition Nate Hairston's move not yet official, the remaining cornerbacks were left to battle it out. Kyron Brown also didn't play, although it's more likely that the team wanted to hold him out because he only recently returned to practice, not because he's earned a spot.

Marcus Cooper really helped his case by jumping in front of a Clayton Thorson pass for an interception. He also closed sharply on an open-field tackle.

If that's enough to get Cooper on the team, and we assume Hairston will also be on it with the the top three guys, who were all rested, that's five spots gone. Whether they opt to carry six or seven, there's not much room for anyone else to get a spot, especially with the looming possibility of another waiver claim.

Maybe Brown showed enough to warrant retaining, but the rest of the cornerbacks were trying to impress last night, albeit perhaps with a practice squad spot rather than a place on the roster at stake.

Tevaughn Campbell, Alex Brown and Arthur Maulet were in the starting lineup, which doesn't bode well for the likes of Parry Nickerson and Mark Myers.

Basically everyone played pretty well as an overmatched Thorson only completed 12 of 26 passes for 84 yards. There was only one completion of over 15 yards all day and that came as Cooper passed his man off to backup safety Santos Ramirez in zone coverage but Ramirez got across too late to prevent the 25-yard gain.

Campbell had good coverage on one downfield throw, Maulet and Brown were in good position on one incompletion each and Nickerson stayed with his man well on a deep throw. Maulet also had a tackle for a short gain on a pass and blitzed for a pressure and Nickerson had a tackle for loss on a running play, although he did give up a 14-yard catch on 2nd-and-15.

Myers suffered a head injury making a play against the run as he stopped the runner in the hole.

Doug Middleton and Derrick Kindred started at safety, although Middleton didn't have much impact as the deep guy. Kindred made a few plays though, as his four tackles included one run stuff and he also drew a hold on another running play.

Other than Ramirez, who also gave up one other first down in coverage, Godwin Igwebuike also saw action off the bench but didn't make much of an impact.

Don't go away because we'll have our special teams review later this afternoon.