Eagles Depth Chart Outlook: Outside Linebackers

Philadelphia Eagles DE Brandon Graham.This is the fourth in a series. Throughout the next week or two, we’ll take a position-by-position look at the Eagles’ roster. What you’ve missed so far:

The story at outside linebacker for the Eagles has more to do with changing roles than new faces.

With the Birds moving to a 3-4, Brandon Graham and Trent Cole are expected to transition from defensive end. The team also added Connor Barwin as a free agent.

A couple other new names who figure to line up at outside linebacker as well in the spring: Everette Brown and Chris McCoy. Brown was originally a second-round pick by the Panthers in 2009. McCoy spent the last two seasons in the CFL with the Calgary Stampeders.

The Eagles also still have Phillip Hunt.

As we mentioned yesterday, on average, 3-4 teams kept 8.1 linebackers last season. Here’s a look at the players on the roster:

Connor Barwin6-4260264/31
Everette Brown6-1263253/3
Trent Cole6-3270308/113
Brandon Graham6-2265253/12
Phillip Hunt6-1254272/0
Chris McCoy6-3261260/0

Pencil ’em in: Barwin, Graham, Cole.

Barwin is the only player on the roster with experience playing outside linebacker in a 3-4 (in the NFL, that is). He had 11.5 sacks in 2011, but Barwin’s production dropped off (3.5 sacks) last year. Howie Roseman has said that had to do with how the Texans used him. We’re in the process of taking a closer look to determine how credible of an excuse that is.

Graham was the Eagles’ most effective pass-rusher last season. As we noted earlier this offseason, he made something happen (sack, hurry, hit, batted pass) on 20.5 percent of his pass-rushing attempts in 2012. Now he’ll look to be productive in a new scheme at a new position.

Billy Davis and company are in the process of evaluating the Eagles’ defensive personnel. In all likelihood, Graham will be used in a role that maximizes his abilities as a pass-rusher. But he’ll have to prove this offseason that he’s capable of dropping back when called upon.

Cole played through an injury in 2012, but has admitted that he had a “bad year.” He’s played eight seasons as a 4-3 defensive end and is now being asked to play rush linebacker for the first time at the age of 30. According to EaglesCap.com, the Eagles would actually take more of a salary cap hit if they cut Cole than if they kept him.

And the word from the team is that they want Cole to be a part of the future. The only question is fit. If Cole returns to being the guy who averaged more than 11 sacks per season from 2009 to 2011, they can probably find a way to limit the number of times he’s asked to drop back.

The other option would be to find a defensive line role that fits his skill set. Cole has always played bigger than his size, and aside from last year, has been excellent against the run. It’s also worth noting that even if the Eagles have a 3-4 base look, the outside linebackers could be true defensive ends in four-man front sub packages.

I don’t think Cole’s going anywhere. But the coaching staff will have to spend the next few months figuring out a way to best utilize his skill set.

Fighting for spots: Hunt, Brown, McCoy.

A couple things are apparent here. Number one, the Eagles do not have a lot of depth at outside linebacker, especially considering that two of the players expected to contribute have never played the position before.

And secondly, their outside linebackers don’t have much experience dropping back into coverage. Even Barwin, who played OLB in the Texans’ 3-4, dropped back only about 13.6 percent of the time on passing plays last year, according to Pro Football Focus.

The Eagles recently worked out Trevor Scott, and it would not surprise me if they added an outside linebacker at some point in the next few months.

As for the players here, Hunt did not play a lot last year and was not really productive, despite a strong preseason. He faces an uphill battle in making the team.

Brown, meanwhile, was out of the league last year and has only played in three games since the end of the 2010 season. Expecting anything out of him would be a mistake, even though he’s only 25.

McCoy was originally a seventh-round pick in 2010, spent two seasons in the CFL and is coming off of a knee injury. In other words, if he surprises, great. But it’s unreasonable to expect anything out of him.

Overall, quite a few question marks with this group. It’s difficult to project starters when the scheme is likely far from finalized. But there should be a way to get Barwin, Graham and Cole plenty of snaps, regardless of who starts (more here on a potential rotation).

The next step for the coaches will be to properly evaluate what the current players are capable of. That process continues at the NovaCare Complex during next week’s OTAs.

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  • Ebrano

    Huge year for Brandon Graham, just enormous… Cole is a beast when healthy, he’ll figure it out. Barwin is great addition… I am ready for huge improvement from last year in this group, should make a huge difference to the D overall.

  • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

    If Barwin dropped into pass coverage less than 14% of the time he was on the field, how credible is the excuse for such a slack in production and why pencil him in as automatic with the Eagles?

    On paper I don’t see Barwin coming into Phila. and sitting down either Graham or Cole if all three are competing for the same position rushing and harassing the QB. Dropping into pass coverage 14% of the time is not at all impressive and is not reason enough for such a slack in rushing production.

    I’d go as far as saying based on the numbers he has to first make the roster or at best provides competition for Curry.

    Somewhere alone the line, Cole and Graham are being discounted more than I believe they should be based on their contributions.

    • illadelphia21

      What are you talking about, competition 4 Curry? Curry weighs 280 right now and is competing for a DE spot. And yes while dropping back less than 14% of the time should not be a good enough excuse for his lack of production he is still by far the most athletic and experienced 3-4 OLB on the roster. Cole had a bum hand last season, other than that, what was his excuse for his lack of production, which I believe was worst than Barwin’s. Meanwhile, Graham is a straight beast. Yet he lacks agility and bend and pretty much only has a bull rush and lacks counter moves, and I’m not trying to be down on him at all. So what I’m saying is that as it stands right now, things at OLB are looking a little suspect. And that’s w/o going into the complete lack of quality depth we have at the position. Hopefully all 3 OLBs (graham, barwin, cole) cuz the others don’t count, have a great season and exceed expectations.

      • nicksaenz1

        Agree with basically everything. The one positive is that the pass-rushing OLB spot is going to be productive. Any one of these three can adequately handle that responsibility, and it’s likely to be Graham and/or Cole with Barwin playing in some more coverage. But overall, yes, the OLBs as a whole are a little suspect.

        • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

          And you base your analysis on what exactly?

          Barwin was not a stand out OLB in 2012 so if you by chance caught Texans game Barwin would not have been a key figure highlighted by his play,and if you had read reviews of his play from 2012 you wouldn’t have read anything glorifying his play,

          so where had you drawn your conclusions of Barwin’s capabilities to be productive at OLB?

          • nicksaenz1

            You must have missed that part where I mentioned three OLBs, not just Barwin, in discussing their pass rushing abilities. In all likelihood, it’s going to be one of the other two who fill the Predator role (weak side OLB). If you want to have a discussion regarding Barwin, I would refer you to your conversation with illadelphia21, above. He hits all the points. Yes he had a bad year. Despite your beliefs to the contrary, he did, in fact, play at a high level in 2011. No one called him a hall of fame player. He also has the most coverage experience of the unit, and isn’t transitioning from a 4-3DE to a 3-4OLB, he already is one. And he’s already proven that he can be a productive player. Sound logic: that’s where I draw my conclusions from.

      • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

        Point blank, Barwin without Williams, Ryan and Crushing is not a double digit sack artist in the AFC South, and he will not be in the NFC East.

        He couldn’t do in 2012 what he did in 2011 without Williams and Crushing and there’s nothing in his tape to suggest he’s coming to Phila to raise hell as a pass rusher.

        You don’t have any evidence Barwin’s a beast rushing the passer

        There’s nothing that exist that says Barwin is a lighting rod or will be in the NFC East. The reality is that Barwin was a bargain basement free agent acquisition that you hope makes the Eagles better.

        At this point you don’t know if Curry is better suited to play that position and be better and more productive than a 3 sack wonder the Texans didn’t want to resign because they were disappointed with his 2012 play.

        • illadelphia21

          What the fuck is the matter w/ some of you on this site??? Do you guys even bother to read what someone types before flying off the handle on your ignorant, unfactual, misguided rants?! When did I ever say Barwin was a ‘beast of a pass rusher!’ When did I ever say anything other than Barwin is our only OLB w/ 3-4 experience and also has athleticism?!

          Other than your supreme skills in the art of the lack of reading comprehension, you could be right about Barwin…or you could be wrong and he just had a down year. I don’t know yet and don’t AND won’t care until he gets out on the field during the season. Never have I defend or promoted anything Connor Barwin!!!

          Also no I don’t know if Curry is better suited for the SAM OLB spot. However, I can come to a reasonable conclusion that if the reports about his current weight are true and the coaching staff keeps him at this weight range though the preseason…then Barwin is better suited.

          Seriously I wish some of you could get your heads out of your asses before you type…then maybe you can respond to what someone actually said.

          • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

            What exactly do you actually know about Barwin and his production, if his production wasn’t good enough for the Texans, why are you so enthused about what he maybe able to do in the NFC East?

            He has no record of accomplishment as a pass rusher. Over a entire season he wasn’t as productive as Graham who was limited by politics in Phila to at best a quarter of a season.

            All evidence points to his signing by Howie is based on him being a cheap addition and nothing more.

            Stop being a tough guy on the internet. It’s impossible for you to drive fear into anyone electronically.

            As I stated, I specifically, initially was commenting to Sheil when you invited your unsolicited response. Stop acting the part of a girl who’s been victimized when you volunteered.

          • http://twitter.com/pjcostello Paul Costello

            That’s just stupid… DeMeco Ryans had a terrific year for the Eagles last season, yet wasn’t “good enough” to play for those same Texans. You have a bee in your bonnet about Barwin, we get it. Maybe you’d be better off ranting about him elsewhere now. We got it.

          • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

            I hope I’m wrong about Barwin, but there’s nothing in his body of work without Ryan, Merio Williams and Crushing that suggest the signing of Barwin was anything more than a bargain basement pick up of an inexpensive Free Agent to fill out the Eagles roster.

            Barwin’s 19 Sacks in a 4 year career in Texas suggest he will do no more than 5 per year.here with the Eagles and that’s not justified with only dropping in pass coverage less than 14% of the time.

    • Fink

      Barwin is in no way competing for a roster spot. He’s a guarantee. I’m sure Sheil and Tim will put out an All-22 on him sometime this summer to shed some light on his lack of production, although I’m not really concerned. He’s going to help this defense no matter what. But let’s also keep in mind the style of offense we will be running. Every offense has 3 and outs, and if we are in NASCAR mode, that doesn’t leave much time for our defense to get rested up for the next series. We are going to need Graham, Cole, Barwin, and at least one more OLB to produce in what is likely going to be a rotational strategy.

      • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

        Why would Barwin not have to challenge for a roster spot? He doesn’t have credentials that suggest he’s any better a defender rushing the passer than what is currently on the Eagles roster.

        Looks like his best year came compliments of Crushing, Ryans and Williams and frankly minus Crushing and Williams, Barwin wasn’t capable of duplicating his play of 2011 last season and in Houston his play is strongly characterized as disappointing.

        So to suggest he’s coming to Phila and the NFC East to do something he couldn’t reproduce with the Texans off of a theory is absolute Bull Crap. It definitely looks to me like Curry could be competition with Barwin at the outside linebacker position. There is nothing in Barwin’s play or on tape that suggest he is capable of sitting down either Cole or Graham.

        I would suggest some research is definitely in order before assuming what kind of play Barwin can deliver. It sure looks to me as if the priorities when playing the Texans in 2011 were first to lay bodies on Williams, Ryan and Crushing first. Barwin seemed to have benefited from lack of attention by Offensive Coordinators playing the Texans.

        When the Attention turned toward him after Williams left, and Crushing was out injured,in 2012 Barwin simply couldn’t duplicate the pace.of the prior season.

        Based on the reversal of his play from 2011 to 2012 it’s not a good idea to place all you eggs in the basket Barwin carries. You’re bound to be as disappointed as the Texans were with Barwin’s performance in 2012.

        He’s not guaranteed nothing, he wasn’t signed for guaranteed money. It’s not a loss if he doesn’t live up to expectation and doesn’t earn a roster spot with his play.

        • Fink

          1) Re-read the last three sentences of my first post. We need the bodies.
          2) He is the only OLB on our roster with experience in the scheme.
          3) No credentials? 11.5 sacks in 2011. 3.5 in 2012, half a sack more than Cole. Is Cole also competing for a spot?
          4) Tough to duplicate 2011 without two star pass rushers helping you out. Graham and Cox could be close to Cushing and Williams if they continue to progress, which would put Barwin in a very similar situation to 2011. Cole could also still contribute at a high level if he can adjust to OLB.
          I’m not saying Barwin is going to be an All-Pro by any means, but to say he is challenging for roster spot is ridiculous. 0% chance he doesn’t make the team.

          • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

            You’ve jumped to conclusions about Barwin that aren’t supported by his body of work. No Credentials, period, he amassed those sacks in 2011 on the backs and play of Williams, Crushing and Ryan who were well established and had built reputations commanding game planning by Offensive Coordinators.

            So no, Barwin has no credentials because he couldn’t reproduce the same productivity in 2012 on his own merit.

            If Kelly tells the story every player at every position is competing for a spot on the roster. Barwin “Ain’t” Cole, a former pro bowler and a double digit sack artist with one down year due to injury, That’s not Barwin’s story or comes close. Cole was doing what he does when there wasn’t much help available in the likes of Cox and Graham.

            Key point is Houston was disappointed in Barwin’s 2012 play and didn’t want to resign him at any price. So the question is what is it that you know that the Texans and Wade Phillips doesn’t?


          • Fink

            Ok, stop referencing Demeco. He is on our team now, so referencing him as a reason Barwin excelled in 2011 is contradicting your argument.
            He has experience at OLB. He’s young, strong, hungry, versatile, has the ability to cover, and he has great character..
            I understand the whole ‘every position is a competition’ idea. I like that. But Barwin will be on this team. And he will be a starter.

          • nicksaenz1

            Not to mention that Demeco allegedly had a bad year in 2011 when he was apparently the true reason for Barwin’s success. Don’t waste your time with this Dutch dude. He’s completely out there and you’ll drive yourself nuts arguing him. You know what they say, “Don’t argue with idiots. They drag you down to their level then beat you with experience.”

          • GEagle

            When you argue with fools….someone watching from a distance, can’t tell who’s who!!!! Hahahah who said that? Brain fart moment

          • nicksaenz1

            Mark Twain. It’s also in Proverbs. Love Google lol

          • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

            Don’t waste your time man, see my posts below. I thoroughly schooled him yet he keeps harping about his new game show he’s got called “The Challenge”.

          • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

            You lied about Barwin beating AFC South Tackles to make yourself appear knowledgeable of his accomplishments, when over his career he has 19 sacks, or an average of 5 per year through his rookie contract….. ROFL

            the Eagles Fletcher Cox a tackle got 5.5 his rookie year in a passive defensive attack and he missed portions of the season.

            You didn’t school me, but you proved yourself to be a fraud and full of Bull Crap when you didn’t have to get in the conversation to begin with. You couldn’t name the tackles he supposed routinely beat then or can you now……..

            19 sacks over 4 years…….. ROFL……. that’s hardly a sack master or even significant production when you’re a pass rusher only dropping back in coverage less than 15% of the time in an attacking defense, thus Houston saying they were strongly disappointed in Barwin’s performance in 2012.

          • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

            Oh stop the madness. Barwin’s lackadaisical 2012 play is in no way a negative reflection on Demeco Ryans.

    • Neil

      On a significant portion of Barwin’s rushing snaps, his assignment was to first bump the TE and then rush the passer. That creates about a 0.5-1 second delay in him getting to the quarterback which as you know can be the difference between a pass attempt and a sack.

      • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

        Close is only counted in a game of horse shoes, not football. Still the Texans were disappointed by Barwin’s play so much so they didn’t want to resign him at any price.

        The decision of the Texans doesn’t jive with excuses for why he didn’t get to the Quarterback in Houston in 2012, and it should not be excuse enough in Phila and frankly with the majority of the Eagles fan it’s not. .

        • http://twitter.com/pjcostello Paul Costello

          Really? What majority? Where?

          • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

            The unspoken conscious majority that realize he brings nothing we don’t have better in house and realizes that a 4 year OLB who exclusively rushed the passer and only amassed 19 tackles over that period probably won’t make much of a difference in Phila.

          • http://twitter.com/pjcostello Paul Costello

            Ohhhhhhhh, the ‘unspoken, conscious majority’. Gotcha. For (JUST) a moment, I thought you might have actually done, or seen the results from, a survey. Mind you, I knew better, but I thought it best to ask directly. LOL.

  • Brent E. Sulecki

    <— Bgraham a beast..love the barwin signing too. huge numbers for him. ready to see Cole and Everette Brown too.. huge prospect out of FSU.

    • GEagle

      I would be thrilled if we never saw Cole or Everette at all…If they are invisible, it means that Graham and Barwin are playing like Beasts that can’t be taken off the field..I don’t expect not to see Cole, but it would be sooo great if Graham and Barwin were so good, and in such great shape that they dominated the playing time..a guy can dream…

  • jsb235

    Kind of funny how anyone would write that the team doesn’t have enough depth at OLB because two of the people slated there don’t have any experience playing the position. Let me clarify something, if Graham and Cole can’t get on the field because they don’t fit the scheme, then this team is screwed. And not in a “hey we can still be okay” kind of way, but in a “Cleveland Browns, start thinking about the 2014 draft by the end of September” kind of way.
    Graham and Cole had better be fits for the 3-4, because if they aren’t, it’s game over before the season even started.

    • illadelphia21

      Although i share your concerns toward the end if your post, I don’t see how it’s kinda funny, It’s the honest truth. When you have no experienced players, or in this case, 1 experienced player. You don’t have depth, and especially not quality depth. What you have right now is just bodies. Plus it’s not just two players w/o experience, but rather it’s 5. W/ Barwin being the only 1 on the team w/ experience and who has played at a high level. Graham is a complete unknown at this point. However I do think he can make the transition but I just don’t think he’ll make the jump, especially in yr 1, to being an elite/premier pass rusher from the OLB position and do worry bout his coverage skills which are a complete mystery. Cole is making the transition well late in his career coming off a horrible season at age 30. He’s had a history of wearing down as the year goes on and a history of not liking to nor having the best ability to drop back in coverage. We all went crazy and were pissed that McDermott made him drop in zone yet he still could not do it well enough to be considered versatile, which only made us more angry and wanting McDermott to just let him rush the passer. I hope all our players play great at their new positions but can’t allow myself to be delusional enough to expect it nor not want justification for why we did not aggressively address the OLB spot though free agency and the draft, combined. The position is easily the most important impact position to a 3-4 D for us not to have been super aggressive.
      And no one said anything bout them not getting on the field. They’ll be on the field regardless. It’s what they do when they are on the field.

      • GEagle


        • illadelphia21

          Dude you can smh all you f’n want no one cares. Just like no one knows what D they’re running yet. Although I agree that it could most likely be a 4-3 under and would prefer that, they worked on the 2 gap 3-4 in mini camp. When posted earlier I was speaking in general, broad, and generic terms of the OLB position not locking in on 1 scheme. So please explain to me what was incorrect in my post? Was it that Cole wears down, or maybe that Graham’s pass coverage skills are a mystery, or maybe that we only have 1 OLB w/ experience in a 3-4…etc!!! Oh you can’t cause none of that is wrong when talking in generics. Now if they do go w/ the 4-3 under then I completely agree that graham will be/should be on the field as a predator and not asked to drop back but just asked to rush.
          Furthermore, If in my post I gave my opinion on something then it’s only my opinion. Just like yours when you say, ‘I think graham will be great as a 4-3under predator.’ That is your opinion. One which I hope turns out correct but do not necessarily share the unabashed optimism. To date graham has not been great at anything and while there are a myriad of reasons and circumstances for that it still remains a fact that he hasn’t.
          So please next time don’t just SMH at me but rather bring a counterpoint, and/or elaborate on your difference of opinion or fact so we can have a discussion like GROWN ASS MEN. And in doing so I’m sure I can learn more, in general, and come to understand your point of view whether or not I fully agree or don’t agree at all.

          • GEagle

            Bgrizzle for the hundredth time, isn’t doing anything soo different that we have to be concerned with….the only thing we need to worry about with Graham is not hurting his knee again…He won’t be dropping back to cover TE’s from the predator spot…and YES, some of us actually do know the defense that we are going to play…Graham is doing exactly what he did last year, beat the Offensive Tackle to get to the QB, and same Gap responsibility against the run that he had when Tommy Brasher came in…the only time you will see Graham in coverage, is taking the flat on a zone blitz, no big deal…the only differences with Graham this year, are positive differences:
            1) He will be on the weak side where it’s very difficult to double team him
            2) He won’t always be in a 3pt stance, and he will get a 1 or 2 step head start to get passed the Tackle….Graham, is NEVER going to cover a TE…..
            So may other spots to be concerned about, how a DE is going to play Predator, should not be one of them

          • illadelphia21

            Could of swore I said, if’ the eagles run a 4-3under then I would expect and prefer Graham to be rushing and not dropping as the predator.’ So that means when you explained it the 1st time I agreed. And now that your essentially saying the same thing, w/ a little more detail here and there, I still agree. Meaning I have no concerns when it comes to Graham as the predator.

          • GEagle

            Dude, to tell you the truth, I actually didn’t mean to write my SMH comment under your posts…I was multitasking and it was meant for Dutch..but when you responded, instead of turning it onto a pissing contest, I just tried to be more clear…my bad for the misunderstanding

    • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

      Brother you’ve said a mouth full. This Barwin guy some of the these participants on this board are building up was a major disappointment at his last stop and to think he’s coming in here to set the Eagles defense on fire is not realistic. That’s built in disappointment based in fantasy. .

      If Graham, Cox and Cole don’t carry the Eagles defense and rush, the Eagles are doomed.

      the Eagles sat back in free agency and allowed credible linebackers to walk through without a buzz. Flat out, Roseman protected the pocket book. There is no way the Eagles were looking to add true quality to the linebacker corp.

      Barwin is not much of an upgrade and I would not be surprised if he wasn’t a primary contributor or even made the team. However I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, because everybody looks like superstars in shorts in the spring, We’ll see where his heart lies in the dog days of august in Training Camp when the boys are separated from the men. But this guy doesn’t have glowing reviews and there should not be any built up of expectation on what he brings to the Eagles.

      Sheil put it mildly when he penned. “. We’re in the process of taking a closer look to determine how credible of an excuse that is.”

      I’ve not found any evidence he’s a fierce rusher that harasses the Quarterback on his own merit. And nobody here representing his talent has any evidence either.

      • illadelphia21

        Funny how you wrongly and ignorantly try to blast me on shit I said but then when replying to jsb235 you echo some of the exact same concerns from my reply to him which came well befor yours. Bi-polar much???
        Your Barwin hate is too much right now, but I have yet to see any of this so called Barwin love that you’re rebelling against. I’ll look thought the post again to make sure cause I could be wrong, but either way you need to get it together and relax man.

        Nope couldn’t find any of the Barwin love. Just u starting off the comment section w/ nothing but Barwin hate. That’s so ridiculous, that I’m laughing. If you don’t like the guy or thought he was a bad pick up then cool, there are plenty of guys on this roster that I feel that way about, but to just go in on a guy, and more importantly, anyone who use his name in their comments is just going full retard. And everybody knows you don’t go full retard. (Just playing w/ you not actually calling you 1) Take a step back away from the keyboard and yourself and relax man.

        • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

          It’s not Barwin hate, I hope he has a stellar season, but there is nothing in his body of work that says he will come into Philly and automatically be placed in a starting position.

          He wasn’t guaranteed a spot with Houston had he not signed with the Eagles.

          My initial post was to Sheil, and you some how brought yourself into the fray.

          All I ask is what is your evidence Barwin is worthy of a staring position or a roster spot. And you’ve not done well with that remedial question that was very sensible. .

          • illadelphia21

            Mostly agree. Nothing but his one good year. Yet if you hold him to that standard then you have to continue it for other players…say Trent Cole. By your reasoning, there is seriously nothing in Trent’s body of work that day’s he should be in a starting position. Never played the position, old, coming off a worse year, statistically than Barwin, etc…etc. So if Barwin’s not good enough by your reasoning and logic, and Cole’s not good enough, once again using your reasoning and logic, who starts opposite of Graham? The 5’11 250+ pound hunt, McCoy, Brown…do you see where I’m going w/ this?

          • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

            You present a sensible argument, However, there’s little difference in a hand in the dirt DE, which Cole has earned a stellar reputation at in the NFC East, and an OLB in a 3-4. Routinely teams draft DE to play OLB in the NFL so the conversion is not out of the ordinary and the task is the same to harass the QB, in some cases hesitate to defend the run, which Cole is also exceptional at doing.

            As an OLB Cole may at time be tasked with dropping into pass coverage, but that’s not to uncommon for some DE, specifically Cole who has dropped into coverage defending a zone.

            At any point a QB notices a Linebacker consistently dropping into coverage to defend say a pass catching running back or tight end, why would he not extend that receivers route and ware that linebacker out at some point of a critical 3rd down? Thats a sad strategy and exactly how Brian Westbrook earned a fantastic living as an Eagle. Here is an example, in the Super Bowl, the Eagle vs the Patriots, Brady every time he saw Trotter in pass defense extended the route and threw for a unmolested completion to the man Trotter was playing and the Eagles could never get off the field. That should be locked in all Eagles fans minds every time we try to justify linebackers playing other than short zones in pass defense.

            A line backers, say Barwin may be able to defend a lower tier Running Back, but he’s not going to stay in pass defense with Reggie Bush, Brian Westbrook among other premium pass catcher out of the backfield, and none of the NFC East Tight Ends except maybe Celek.

          • illadelphia21

            Dude you went way too deep on the Cole thing. I was using Cole as an example of your severely flawed logic. Doesn’t mean I subscribe to it.wont argue your point bout qb’s extending the wr…cause I don’t necessarily disagree but as to your last point name me 1 guy at LB who could stay w/ a Reggie bush or westbrooke type player? I’ll throw in Sproles also. Doesn’t happen in this league. OLB’s, IFC tasked w/ covering them just need to be able to stay w/ them for long enough, which is a short period of time, to make the qb go somewhere else w/ the ball or if he does go to them, then the OLB needs to be able to quickly close and make the tackle for less of a gain as possible. Your just throwing shit at the wall at this point. Can’t compare Trott, cause he was a downhill thumper MLB. And the only thing I remember from the Super Bowl is the eagles D struggling early on but getting it together during the 2nd 1/2 while a fold under pressure, throw up on the field, the moments to big for him, qb couldn’t get his shit together when the time came and got out played by a undersized running back who the Pats had no answer for, and a 1 legged locker room cancer, who the Pats also had no answer for!

      • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

        You’re completely talking out of your arse now. If you studied Barwin’s tape from 2011 you’ll see a guy who got sacks based on his football moves, speed rushing, reading and react and lateral movement. He beat some of the top tier LT’s. They were not luck, they were sacks Barwin created. If you like to put the time in and watch the tape like I did, I’ll be waiting here.

        2012 was a down year. Football players have them. Could be scheme, could be how he was used, or it could be the emergence of other players. If he was north of 30, this may be alarming. The guy is 26 years old. 11.5 sacks in 2011 and in 2009 he led all rookies at his position in sacks.

        Not make the team? Are you smoking crack? You don’t go out and sign a guy for 26 year old guy for 6 years @ 36 mil if you plan on cutting him in training camp. So please, stop with that BS. And as far as your dog days of August crap goes, I’d honestly love for you to find somewhere where anyone questions Barwin’s heart or commitment. He has had nothing but great things said about him in his time in Houston, even his coach went out of his way to say on Twitter that he hoped the team finds a way to resign him. Wade Phillips opinion carries a bit more weight than what you may (and probably have not) read about him online.

        As far as Houston not trying to retain him goes, they had 10 free agents due for contracts this offseason who all played 300+ snaps last year with only 11 mil in cap space. With the emergence of first round draft pick Whitney Mercilus, Barwin became expendable, plain and simple. That’s just how football goes. They weren’t going to big money to 2 OLB’s.

        You don’t have to look very far for a player who had a down year, changing teams and coming back and being successful. We’ve got a Texans linebacker on our team right now who has done the same. Demeco came off to two terrible seasons and everyone went nuts when we traded for what people thought was Houston’s washed up trash. Worked out pretty damn good. It was also another situation where a team had 2 really good players at 1 position (Cushing and Meco) and they let one of them go.

        So please, just stop. You have every right to be cautious but your hate is palpable and unfounded, and some of your claims are just flat out ridiculous. Fact is this is 26 year old player who has solid tape and has been a major contributor on a big time defense, and our only linebacker who has experience in this scheme. Let’s see what he can do in September.

        • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

          Another theorist……. Name 3 of the premiere LT that plays in the AFC South, Barwin beat to the Quarterback. ROFL…… That sound like a bit of Bull Crap……. But funny as hell.

          the Houston Texans and I strongly disagree with your analysis of Barwin’s worth and his abilities. After 2012 and the disappointment of Barwin’s play the Texans chose to move forward in a totally different direction and chose not to resign Barwin.

          That’s not my decision, but I came to the same conclusion based on his mediocre 2012 performance.

          Apparently, you and I, have different standards on talent and worth.
          How much of $36 Mil is guaranteed? Not one Dime to my knowledge. So that’s not going to factor in to whether he earn a spot on the roster or not. But with Howie anything’s possible to save face.

          • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

            Great job editing your response after I reply. As you may or may not know there are 8 other teams Houston plays that are not in the AFC South. Joe Thomas and Jake Long (2011) were premier LTs. Willie Colon was a Super Bowl winning LT. And I’m sure by your arguments you have not watched his tape, so your opinion on his ability to create sacks is meaningless.

            What exactly do you mean by a totally different direction? You mean choosing to go with a 2012 1st round draft pick rather than resigning him? If you want to completely ignore the fact that they were flush against the cap with 9 other guys to resign, please indicate how the fact that he was replaceable by a 1st round pick mean that he is not even going to make the Eagles.

            The Houston Texans are the same team that deemed Demeco Ryans expendable after a mediocore season. This is the benefit of drafting well and having good depth. At some point you have to make tough decisions, and let talented players walk. By no means does this mean the player is crap, it just means they feel they can recoup the lost production with someone else. They felt that way with Mercelius and Cushing. Does not mean Ryans and Barwin cannot play well elsewhere as we’ve seen already.

            And what expectations do you think we have for Barwin? He will not be a premier NFL pass rusher. The Eagles absolutely did not break the bank on him. He is here to be, and paid as, a solid contributor. He does not need to have a 12+ sack season. If he has a 6-8 sack season, with Graham adding 10-12, and a handful from Cole, that would be solid production from our LB’s. Barwin and Paul Kruger came into the NFL in the same year, yet Barwin has more sacks and tackles and he didn’t even play in 2010. Not to mention we’re spending significantly less.

          • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

            Once again your knowledge would be wrong, The Eagles would have to eat 3.7 mil in cap space if Barwin is cut. So no, it won’t happened.

          • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

            I said how much of that $36 Million is guaranteed, to my understanding not a dime.

            I don’t care about the cap hit, and don’t know why you mentioned it, are you trying to change the narrative?

            You are not that smart.

            you’ll come up with all kinds of rhetoric but the straight line question is still Name the Premium Tackles you claimed Barwin beat to the Quarterback.

          • nicksaenz1

            8mil is guaranteed. Are you happy now? It’s called Google. Instead of spitting out unfounded nonsense, give it a whirl to fact check yourself, or just inform yourself. Either one will save everyone on here a lot of time.

          • GEagle

            nick, and Adam…you guys should be deemed SAINTS for the patience you guys are displaying…you are certainly better men, then me!! Fightnthe good fight against the misinformed Infidel!!!! Lol?..”DON’T TALK ABOUT MY MOTHER!!! Lmao, That woman is a saint!!!!” lol some will ferrel ish

          • nicksaenz1

            “Leave the mothers out of this.”


        • http://twitter.com/pjcostello Paul Costello

          Maybe Barwin knocked up Dutch’s sister…? Maybe Barwin simply won’t return Dutch’s calls, emails and Tweets? He does seem like a stalker-type, creepy and overbearing, fixated on one thing to the exclusion of all else. Hmmm…

  • GEagle

    SMH…Brandon Graham IS NOT dropping into coverage, unless he is taking the flat in a zone Blitz…Barwin will be the one that needs to drop back in coverage…Brandon Graham isn’t doing ANYTHING different than what he has been doing since he has been here, trying to beat the offensive Tackle to get to the passer, and same gap responsibility against the run..the ONLY difference is he won’t always be in a 3pt stance, and he will get an extra 1 or 2 step head start before he gets to the OT..If anything, Graham’s job probably just got easier since he will be on the weak side where it’s going to be difficult to double team him….This defense is going to be built around Cox and Graham being very difficult to defend on the weak side of a 4-3under, a scheme that makes it very difficult to double team those players…Graham will be great at Predator, as long as he doesn’t re-injure his knee
    Dutch, saying that Barwin is going to sit for anyone is laughable..we are basically playing the tExans scheme as our defense, a defense that Barwin has ATleast a year of experience in both the weak side, and strong side Role….You don’t have to get a bunch of Sacks to be a great pass rusher. Sometimes, just beating your man, has a trickle down effect and it leads to opening up a teammate to get the sack…Just go back and watch JJ Watt’s 20 sacks, and you will see that more Times than not Barwin was just a split second behind Watt getting to the QB….Im still hoping to get an ALL22 on how Barwin did against TE’s
    I see Trent Cole buried on the Bench…No idea what’s going to happen with Hunt.

    • Fink

      Next year this time we could be saying ‘go back and watch Fletcher Cox’s 20 sacks…’

      • GEagle

        Wouldn’t that be grand!!!!!!!

    • Richard Colton

      A ton of “ifs”
      One thing I know is that Graham can pressure the QB. I’m looking forward to seeing him do it again this year.

    • lozgod

      Sheil himself wrote an article explaining the 4-3 under and how it is not the 3-4. Do not understand why everyone keeps saying the Eagles are going to a 3-4.

      • GEagle

        Drives me crazy….It’s like, what does it cost to put out the right information…not all fans are as knowledgable as the ones you see on this site…so improper irresponsible reporting, leads a legion of dumb birds fans parroting misinformation, then People who do have somewhat of a clue, can’t even listen to talk radio because all you will here is totally false crap that the media irresponsibly instilled in people…I used to love talk radio, but the media is sooo patheticly bad, that you can’t listen to it since chip was hired, because until they see what chips does, they won’t put in the work, to educate themselves to be able to give out proper info to fans…they are more concerned with sensationalized headlines like who is getting more reps in friggin may, then asking how Kenny Phillips, Fletcher and Benn were moving around coming back from injuries, or what has Kendrick’s done to continue to improve…It’s so tough to be such a big fan of a team, knowing that BS intel is being reported to you, then it catches on like fire, and every wye you turn someone is basically telling you that the sky is yellow, when you know it’s blue….I can’t wait til next season, afte the media has gotten to see Chip, in hopes that maybe then, they could d a COMPETANT job, covering this team for fans, and providing them with accurate intel….wtf is the point in projecting what we are going to do, if you are completely off base and barely even know what schemes require to make that projection? Yet it doesn’t stop!!!!

      • GEagle

        Basically, they can get away with saying it because Wade Phillips runs a 4-3under, and he decided to call it a 3-4 single gap…so in theory, Chip was able to tell us they would run a 3-4, because that’s what Phillips calls a 4-3Under…But we are def running a 4-3Under:
        Chip had Ailiotti in College run a 4-3Under
        now he hired Billy Graham, who runs a 4-3Under
        What does our personel fit best? Ding ding ding…4-3Under!!

        1+1+1=3….waiting for the media to catch on…let’s start a pool, on what Date the friggin media figures out that we are plying a 4-3Under, and they are doing a diservice to this fanbase if they are going to continue to mention 3-4, without explaining that it would be a single gap, wade Phillips 3-4, which is DRASTICALLY different than the 3-4 that fans think of

  • morgan c

    Sheil or Tim, Can we get confirmation that Curry is being cast as a lineman, and not as a linebacker??

    • GEagle

      I don’t think anyone can confirm that for you at this point…iTs certainly possible, but I THI k a lot of what happened at pre draft camp was misdirection..yes he put on weight, but we added some Dline bodies in the draft, so I wouldnt be shocked to see Curry back at OLB…I just not sure how you would like anyone to confirm that for you at this point….it would be great if Curry was at camp with the rookies tomorrow, to see if he is still lining up with the Dline…but how could you possibly have that question answered at this point?

      • illadelphia21

        I see what your saying and believe his weight has been confirmed through multiple sites. Position, has most likely been assumed due to the fact of why would we want a 275-280+ OLB and letting graham drop weight to get down to around 260. Unless I’m missing something, which is probably a lot, that just doesn’t make any sense. This does not rule out the fact that come OTAs the team may want Curry to drop back down and try him as an OLB. That would however, be just plain wrong on their part and I would feel for the poor guy, not to mention an absolute waste of precious time for his off seasoning conditioning.

        • GEagle

          I hear you, but Curry didn’t add so much weight that he couldnt easily get back down to 265-270 to play OLB..Heck, I’m sure Curry is gng to have to eat like a pig to keep his weight up through a chip Kelly training camp…Vinny very well could be a Dlineman from here on out, with that said, I would not be the least bit surprised to see him move back to OLB…but I doubt we will know the answer to that anytime soon

  • lozgod

    The Eagles are not going to a 3-4. They are going to a 4-3 under. It was discussed on here very recently. It has 4 down lineman with one having an option for 2 fingers down (Predator). It is simply the front 4 lined up with at different gaps. It only looks similar to the 3-4 due to the fact they have a 1 DT (3-4 has a 0).

    • Nick M

      I think you have to be right on this because there is no outside LB on this roster that can drop back into coverage. If they were moving to a 3-4 I would find it odd that they didn’t address this. Still though, if it is a 4-3 under, who are the three LB’s? Barwin, Ryans, Kendricks? Eh, I still would see Barwin as a DE in that case. Regardless, there aren’t enough linebackers to cover on this team. I am interested to see how this unfolds. (for some reason I see opposing TE killing us again this year)

      • GEagle

        Barwim is going to be our Sam in a 4-3U…
        the interesting question is who is going to win the primary two 3rd down DE spots when we go to our 4-2-5 Nickle packages?

  • mrmanheim

    So some guy named “Dutch” has a personal vendetta against Connor Barwin. Based on this string, I am sure the authorities are monitoring Dutch’s comings and goings.

    • nicksaenz1

      He also has a vendetta against Foles.

      • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

        and a man crush of Revis

        • mrmanheim

          judging from your avatar, we likely wouldn’t agree on one Eagles tightend. :-)

          • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

            I’m not even sure how to change it to be honest, it’s from like 2010.

      • mrmanheim

        OK — I am new to posting here. just was floored by the irrational level of hate, relying on broad generalizations over and over. He must thank god daily for “cut and paste”

        • nicksaenz1

          It’s not from everyone, don’t get overwhelmed. Dutch is one of few who just spew nonsense against a player he doesn’t like simply because he doesn’t like him. Most people on here are happy to engage in logic-based, thoughtful debate.

      • GEagle

        He walked in on Foles, and crazy Barwin with his wife…word on the streets was that it was Not pretty…Barwin, was screaming, acting like he was a madman at a rodeo, while Foles looked like Napoleon Dynamite in a porno…Yikes!!
        I joke, I joke, I kid, I kid…yu get on my nerves Dutch, but no disrespect intended

  • boncho

    hey dutch
    your argument is invalid and stupid. if you think that connor was only good because of ryan and Williams, and you think that trent cole is the best pass rusher in the nfc east, then barwin should have no problem with the trent cole and the fletcher coxs in front of him to produce just as well as he did in the afc south. on top of all that I think that trent cole, and yes I am an eagles fan, is one of the most overrated one dimensional players I have ever seen on the eagles roster. he is the Dwight freeny of the eagles, pass rushes all day but gets the ball shoved down his gap by running backs all day long