All eyes are squarely on the Philadelphia Eagles' secondary after nearly losing to the Washington Commanders in Week 8. This group had a number of coverage breakdowns and mishaps that allowed the Commanders to make things much closer than they should've been for the second time this season.
The secondary's performance was especially disappointing after the Eagles just acquired All-Pro safety Kevin Byard, who made his debut against Washington. Suffice it to say, Byard's not happy with how his new unit played.
The veteran was extremely blunt in his postgame remarks, stating that Philadelphia's defensive backs "didn’t live up" to the "certain standard" they hold themselves to. While it's difficult to blame Byard for the troubles since it was just his first week with the team, the fact that he said "we" shows he's putting the heat on himself as well.
This is an incredibly commendable move by the Pro Bowler. He's sending all of his new teammates a message while also holding himself accountable, which is exactly what a leader should do when the group as a whole lets everyone down.
Byard being this strong with his words from the jump shows he's feeling empowered, likely by the coaching staff, to take a leading role already. That makes a ton of sense, especially since there's a lot the 30-year-old can teach the inexperienced Reed Blankenship (2022 undrafted free agent) and Sydney Brown (2023 draft pick).
Sunday's game was a clear learning moment for this safety group. Hopefully the Commanders film, plus Byard getting truly settled in, helps this unit improve after a shaky display.
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