A week one disaster for the Philadelphia Eagles against the newly named Washington Football Team was not how any fan pictured the 2020 campaign kicking off. What started as a quick blowout rapidly unraveled into one of the most embarrassing losses in recent franchise history. While a horrid offensive performance is at the front of everyone’s mind, there was, believe it or not, a silver lining to the Sunday catastrophe. That shimmer in the dark came from the defense this week. In almost a backward story from last year, it was the defense that (mostly) held together while the offense fell apart. A few players on the D stood out this week. However, one quietly took over the game. This made him my pick for Defensive Player of the Week. That pick is none other than the new CB Darius Slay.
Philly Finally Has A Corner
What might have seemed like a silent debut for the superstar CB was one of the best scenarios that could have unfolded Sunday. Slay matched up against Washington sophomore Terry McLaurin, who made a name for himself last year as a young Eagle killer. In his two matches against the birds last year, McLaurin put up a whopping 255 yards and 2 TDs on only ten catches. Sunday, Slay lined up with McLaurin 50 times man to man. Of those 50 matchups, Slay held the young receiver to just two catches for 26 yards and 0 TDs. In previous outings, McLaurin had a burner touchdown each game. Slay was the definition of a lockdown corner on Sunday, and was everything the Eagles needed last season and more.
Darius Slay finished Sunday’s game with three tackles and no INTs but fear not. Some may worry about seeing such low numbers for a “star” player brought in to fix the awful secondary of 2019. However, Slay performed flawlessly. Other top corners like Richard Sherman and Jalen Ramsey have games where they put up low tackles, and no picks. They stand out for the same reason Slay did Sunday.
The Eagles got a gem out of Slay for this reason mainly: He shuts down half the field without putting up any stats. Slay locking down McLaurin on 90% of man to man snaps completely took Haskins main target out of the picture. This also gives the defense more time to get into position and rush the QB. Slay’s coverage was a big part of the three sacks Philly secured. Slay’s performance, while not flashy, was effective in shutting down half of the field for the majority of the game. This also greatly assisted the secondary, who only let up 178 yards in the air.
While there were few flashy stats for newly acquired CB Darius Slay, his presence was felt for 60 straight minutes this past Sunday. His lockdown held together the secondary, addressing the most significant problem the birds faced in 2019. His sheer talent and coverage alone turned McLaurin from nuisance to non-factor. This week’s loss was painful for sure, but the defense held firm, thanks to an overall good performance from the secondary. As the Eagles prepare for the LA Rams this week, they will face a more significant challenge in the WR department, but one thing is sure. The Philadelphia Eagles got a stud out of Darius Slay, making him my pick for Week One Defensive Player of the Week.