With Eagles’ veterans reporting today it is an exciting time for the organization and its committed fans. Now is the time when starters refine their technique and work the rust off, while younger players look to prove themselves and gain valuable experience.
Second year Utah State cornerback Curtis Marsh is one of those younger players looking to prove himself during camp. After spending much of his rookie season watching the defense from the sidelines, he is expected to contribute to an Eagles’ defense coming off of a disappointing 2011 campaign. The front office and coaching staff demonstrated their confidence in the young cornerback by shipping away heralded Pro Bowl veteran Asante Samuel to Atlanta. Now the depth chart has become increasingly thin at the outside cornerback position. Nhamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are proven studs at their position, but it drops off significantly after that. Joselio Hansen, a veteran corner who has played the nickel corner for the Eagles recently has not solidified himself as a starting corner and may have even fallen out of favor for the nickel spot. Eagles 2012 4th round draft pick Brandon Boykin, out of Georgia, showed promise in the SEC throughout his college career, but appears to destined for the nickel position due to his size and quickness. This leaves only Curtis Marsh to fill in should Nhamdi or DRC need replacement.
Marsh is an athletic specimen who can run with the most elite in the NFL, but he only played two years of cornerback in college at Utah State. He is widely considered to be somewhat of a project or developmental player. The coaching staff through their personal moves has shown confidence that Marsh can step in and play corner this season when the time comes. Second year defensive coordinator Juan Castillo is expected to utilize more bump and run style coverages which plays right into Marsh’s comfort zone. In college he played primarily man press coverage. His six foot one, two hundred pound frame, with long arms is perfectly suited to thrive against bigger receivers on the outside. The mystery surrounding the second year corner is his inexperience and technique. Last year Marsh was rushed into a lockout shortened offseason and did not get to work with the coaching staff as much as this offseason. The increased work and training from a full offseason will prove essential to Marsh and the Eagles if their defense is to rebound and live up to the high expectations set by quarterback Mike Vick’s “dynasty” comments.
The time for Marsh to fulfill his lofty third round draft status may come sooner than anyone would have expected in his second year NFL campaign.
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