It's really easy to add continued praise to a team and its players after a game like we saw on Sunday, but Walker Zimmerman stuck out that much to warrant said extra praise this week.
Steady and Sturdy
Walker has been a bit of a misnomer in the past. At times, he's shown that he's a capable starting CB in this league, and at times he's shown that he is still young with much to learn. On Sunday, he looked like a season veteran and at times, it was hard to tell who was the number one guy between he and Matt Hedges.
The majority of Philadelphia's attack came from the outsides with only a few coming from the middle regions where Hedges and Zimmerman camp. Walker did an excellent job of keeping the game in front of him as the Union only completed five of their 20 attempted crosses. The best way to not allow a goal is to keep the ball away from the goal (surprising, right?) and that's exactly what he did.
Strong and Solid
On a more personal level, Walker excelled individually on Sunday accounting for two tackles, two clearances and most importantly, a handful of duels won and interceptions.
Walker stole the ball away six times, really controlling the space in front of him. A sign of growth is the dominance that he has to not just allow the game to come to him, pushing him back, but instead engaging higher up, with each interception happening well away from the box.
Walker also won seven out of nine duels, which isn't a major surprise considering his 6'3" height. That being said, his opponent for most of the afternoon, C.J. Sapong, stands at 6'1" is a respectable attacker to go against. Zimmerman ruled him all afternoon as he won just one duel, took only one shot and completed just one forward pass in the attacking third. This was a nice early test for Zimmerman if he is in fact the regular starter alongside Hedges, as he'll face plenty more target-style forwards in this league.
Walker not only played well defensively Sunday, but did his part to spur the offense forward. He completed 42 of his 50 attempted passes, and had a 73 percent completion rate on passes up the field.
Zimmerman connected with Kellyn Acosta six times and while Acosta wasn't at his best, it's nice to see two young players team up well. The more comfortable the defensive line is getting the ball forward, the faster guys like Michael Barrios and Fabian Castillo can receive the ball upfield to attack.
Zimmerman played an excellent all-around game. It's scary to think how things would be had he not resigned ––albeit it is very early in the season.