Hobbs' Demotion Shows Flaw in Sheldon Brown Trade

Written By Bob Cunningham On Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Brown plays with an attitude the Eagles could use.



While I'm not ready to jump on the "cut Ellis Hobbs" bandwagon that so many Eagles fans have boarded, I am reminded -- and once again annoyed by -- the decision that led to Hobbs becoming the starter.

That decision, of course, was to trade Sheldon Brown, along with Chris Gocong, to the Cleveland Browns for a fourth-and fifth-round pick and OLB/DE Alex Hall.

Hall was a complete disaster from day one and off the top of my head I'm not even sure where he's playing. Last I heard it was in New York with the Giants and I don't find it important enough to even look up.

Either way, he was gone early so we're left with the draft picks.

With those picks, the Eagles drafted cornerback Trevard Lindley and OLB/DE Ricky Sapp.

Both guys have unlimited potential and could make huge impacts for this team down the road, but to this point have been disappointing as rookies.

Sapp was placed (or, more accurately, stashed) on Injured Reserve before the season began and Lindley has spent most of his time as a healthy scratch. He does have one interception, but that was a duck that Andy Reid could have gone out and caught.

So with Brown gone, Hobbs stepped into the starting role. The debacle of Week 7 aside, I think he's been serviceable this season. He has shown that more athletic receivers will beat him, but overall he's done a good job in coverage with help from the rookie safety Nate Allen.

But even still, Brown would have been better. In fact, as it stands right now, Brown doubles Hobbs in tackles (16 to 33) and interceptions (one to two). We can also be relatively certain Brown would not have allowed Kenny Britt to run wild simply by being physical and using his football acumen -- a trait Hobbs seems to be short on.

And now that the team has demoted Hobbs and plans to start reserve corner Dimitri Patterson in his place, I can't help but wonder where this defense would be had they just held on to Brown even for one more year until they found a suitable replacement.

Brown knew this system. He knew how to play in it. In fact, I would say he's the only player who actually got better once Sean McDermott took the reigns.

Brown playing across from Asante Samuel with Nate Allen and Quintin Mikell behind them could have the makings of one of the best secondaries in the league. Add in Joselio Hanson in the nickel and Hobbs as the dime corner and it would have been nearly impossible for opponents to pass the ball.

But instead they're going to see how well a reserve journeyman can handle the starting duties because the guys making the decisions did not have the foresight to see that they were still without a replacement for Brown and should have held onto him until they did.

I'm sure Reggie Wayne is licking his chops at the thought.


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