The Eagles’ rash of injuries on defense has been a real problem all season, but it may have introduced a solution among the team’s much-maligned linebacking corps.
Alex Singleton played solely on special teams with the Eagles in 2019 after two years with the CFL Calgary Stampeders. This season, he’s made the most of his limited opportunities on defense earlier this season, and now seems like a lock as a starter for 2021.
His efforts haven’t gone unnoticed by defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.
“He's [a] guy that's been improving… [a] guy that had a hard time starting his career, got cut a bunch of times, had to go to the CFL, came back, earned his way on special teams and then started being able to get a little bit more for us.”
The undrafted 27-year-old scored what ended up being the game-winning touchdown on a 30-yard interception return in Week 4 against the 49ers. He was thrust into a starting role in Week 6 when Duke Riley sat out with a rib injury, and he has not relinquished that spot.
He’s far and away the team’s leader in tackles with 98, and has notched double-digit tackles in five of his last six games missing just three defensive snaps over that span.
For a guy to have almost no defensive snaps for the first five games of the season, and rank eighth in the league in solo tackles on run plays (41), that’s a guy they need to keep around.
Schwartz said today that as his playing time has increased, so has his intelligence on the field.
“There was a lot of things in the pass game that - mistakes that he would make or things that he could do better,” Schwartz said. “But I really see his arrow being up in those categories too, now. He's become a much more consistent, zone player. He's become better at directing traffic back there, making all the calls and being on the field for every snap is a lot different than being a complementary player, so he's grown in all those things, and knowing the kind of guy he is, he'll continue to grow, and that speaks well for him and for us.”
Those comments sound like a player who played himself into a spot in the front 7 for the future.