Wes Welker could be the perfect test for Eagles CB Brandon Boykin on Monday night

Throw him to the wolves!

Wes Welker’s numbers last season were ridiculous: 122 catches, 1569 yards, 9 TD.

Here’s what Welker did against Philly Week 12 last season: 8 catches, 115 yards, 2 TD.  Some of that was on Joselio Hanson, some of it was on Nate Allen and others.

Longtime Eagles slot CB Joselio Hanson is in somewhat of an odd situation as a player trying to make the Eagles’ roster.  Brandon Boykin was a 4th round pick and is almost certainly going to be the opening day kick returner.  Boykin and Hanson are competing to be the starting nickle corner.  There’s no question Boykin is going to make the team.  Joselio Hanson can also make the team, but his spot could be in serious jeopardy depending on exactly how good the Eagles think Brandon Boykin is.  Here are the two scenarios:

  1. Is Boykin so good right away that you trust him to be your primary slot CB from Day 1?  Bye, Jose.
  2. Would you rather give Boykin more time before you throw that kind of responsibility on his shoulders?  Jose survives.

This Monday will be the Eagles’ “dress rehearsal” game, per Andy Reid.  Due to an oddity in the preseason schedule, the Eagles play the Patriots Week 2 of the preseason on a Monday, and then have to play just a few days later on Friday.  Their Friday opponent (the Browns) also just happens to be the team the Eagles will play in Week 1 of the regular season. Therefore, it makes sense for the Eagles to play their starters into the second half of the Week 2 preseason game, as opposed to the more traditional route of giving the starters extended time in Week 3.  The Patriots are in a similar situation.  Their Week 3 preseason game is also next Friday, so they’ll have a short week of preparation as well.  The logical thinking is that the Pats’ will also make Monday their “dress rehearsal,” although that is something I’m still trying to confirm.

What better way to find out if Joselio Hanson is a necessary component on this team than to line up Brandon Boykin against the best slot receiver in football for an entire half and say, “OK kid, let’s see what you got.”

Boykin says that he hasn’t gotten any notification on how much he’ll play, but he did say, “Joselio will be starting it off, but throughout the course of the game we’ll see what happens.”  Boykin also said that heading into this game, Welker is the player he has been focused on in film study. “Great receiver, somebody who’s really tough to guard because being in the slot, he always has two ways to go… he’s so shifty, (I’ve been) watching film on him today and yesterday so I have a better chance (against him).”

Yesterday, Hanson dislocated his pinky finger in practice.  The Eagles already know all there is to know about Joselio Hanson.  They may just be wise to tell Hanson to let that pinky heal up and give him the night off.

18 Comments

  1. Hanson is not competing against Boykin for a roster spot. Their competition is for playing time. Hanson is instead competing with players like Tapp, McNutt, an extra DT or other bubble people for the spot

    1. I agree, but his value will largely be dependent of how much they trust Boykin.

  2. Dave King says:

    Remember that there are a plethora of players who light it up in preseason and do nothing afterwards. Even if Boykin lights it up, don’t take it as a sure thing until he does it in the regular season.

    Plus, who will be the backup? Hanson’s the best guy for the job.

  3. Alex says:

    Jimmy, FYI: it’s “nickel” not “nickle.” Everything else you write is spot on, though. ;)

    Joselio gets a bad rap for what happened against New England last season. Welker did that to everyone. Hanson was, by far, the better choice at nickel CB for the Eagles last season. I think you have to keep him, no matter how promising Boykin is.

    1. Joe D says:

      I thought Hanson had a pretty sub-par year in 2011

      1. Taylor says:

        I don’t think you can really blame him the team cut him in pre-season to have DRC play the slot and we all know how that turned out for the first half of the season.. Hanson recieved his starting slot spot back & the defense starting playing well and looking good.. Not to say it was close to being all him, but what no ones seems to understand besides a few writters and players/coaches is that the slot spot is the hardest spot for a CB to play mentally.. Outside CB lines up and cover one person and shut him down or shed his block to help with the run.. A slot CB has alot of angles and has to support the ran alot more, but its really about the ability of the slot wr really being able to play alot more of the field… Rather then a wideout wr who really only has a certain amount of space to work with.. You have to know what your doing in the slot.. I would much rather have Boykin learn from Hanson and see what made him such a good slot CB over the years… I don’t trust a rookie playing there while we have Hanson who looked good against Pittsburg.

  4. NYG_slater says:

    HOLY SHHTHIIT HANSON HAS A DISLOCATED HIS PINKY FINGER!!!111!!!!

    better get boykin ready!!!!

    really jimmy?

    c’mon man, Wes isn’t an elite slot reciever because of his athleticism….it’s all about his years and knowledge and ability to create separation versus any coverage…..put boykin, hanson or w/e, it won’t matter….welker will get his. be honest now…

    1. icdogg says:

      I think it’s more that we want to get a look at Boykin in action to see how he fares, we already know what we have in Joselio Hanson.

      1. NYG_slater says:

        ya ya…..dammit icdogg I wanted to get a rise out of jimmy! but ya, you are correct :)

  5. SteveH says:

    Also, lets not panic if Welker abuses Boykin, I mean Welker is almost uncoverable 1 on 1 by anyone so… this is really not a battle I would expect him to win.

    1. RogerPodacter says:

      very true. i think we’re just hoping that boykin would just be able to hold his own.

    2. icdogg says:

      I don’t expect him to win but I want to see what kind of a battler he is. Some guys get beat once and they practically roll over, others get back in there and battle hard again.

  6. Todd B. says:

    Even if they think Boykin is read, Hanson should still be on the team because:

    1) He is still one of the top 5 CB on the team.
    2) Other than Boykin, who else can play the slot. As Greg Cosell mentioned prior to the draft, the nickel back is considered a starter because of the pass happy offenses of todays NFL. You can’t just have one nickel CB on the team.

    1. SteveH says:

      I agree with this sentiment, I think its smart to have 2 guys who can play the nickle, Nnamdi can do it but then our quality on the outside CB is likely to suffer greatly.

      Maybe keep 6 CB’s this year?

  7. icdogg says:

    I think Hanson will make the team, but it’s not a lock.

      1. deg0ey says:

        Let’s just hope he doesn’t go on Monday and that Boykin gets 8 PBUs and 2 INTs on 11 targets against Welker ; )

        1. tonan says:

          Two words: Expectation management.

          You’ll want to throw another INT in there.

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