Secondary Should Be Able To Handle Brees

Lito Sheppard is out and Rod Hood is in. So, going against Drew Brees, how much of an issue will that be for the Eagles? Hopes are high that all will be well for the secondary.

Rod Hood, the Eagles' veteran nickel corner, will replace Sheppard in the starting lineup Saturday. William James, who has missed six of the last seven games with injuries, will move into Hood's old nickel spot. The Eagles' fourth corner will be Joselio Hanson.

In their 27-24 Week 6 loss to the Saints in the Superdome with Sheppard, Saints quarterback Drew Brees completed 27 of 37 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns. But they didn't have Hood and they didn't have James, who didn't sign with the Eagles until three weeks later.

Reid didn't seem concerned about his secondary's ability to defend the pass Saturday.

"Hanson has played very well for us," he said. He doesn't get a lot of pats on the back, but he's always around the football. Rod, we've always considered him a guy who can go in and start for us and do a good job. He's done that.

"Will James, he hasn't had a chance to play much, but when he did, he's made some big plays."

Meanwhile, one of the hardest things defensive coordinator Jim Johnson has had to do this season was bench Pro Bowl strong safety Mike Lewis and it came after Lewis had a disastrous game against the Saints. Lwwis was burned on a double-move by Joe Horn for a game-tying 48-yard touchdown catch. A week earlier, he also got beat on a double move by the Cowboys' Terry Glenn late in the game and had to commit a pass interference penalty to prevent a touchdown. Johnson replaced Lewis with second-year man Sean Considine.

"Mike is a great safety, but Sean all of a sudden just fit more of what we were doing, the coverage we were playing," he said, referring to the two-deep coverage the Eagles have used a lot this season. "It was a hard thing to do. Mike's a great kid. He's a great team player. He's never said anything about it, but I know it was disappointing. We just were playing more two-deep and that ... Mike's more of a strong safety in the box. He's one of the better ones in the box."

Johnson suggested Lewis was having confidence problems at the time of his demotion. Lewis said that's not true, even though his tentative play in coverage clearly showed that. "As a DB, you're going to give up some plays. Things are going to happen in the game. You've got to put those things behind you as quickly as possible. A lot has been said about me losing confidence. That wasn't the case. It's just one of those things. It happens."


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