Offseason Outlook: Defensive Line

NFL: Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles
This week, we’ll continue to offer offseason outlooks for the Eagles, position-by-position. Each day, we’ll answer a pressing question and rank the position on the priority scale. First up was quarterback. We covered running backswide receiverstight ends and the offensive line. Now onto the defensive line.

PRESSING QUESTION: Will Bennie Logan go into 2014 as the starting nose tackle?

McManus: I believe he will.




Overall, I thought Logan acquitted himself well in his rookie season. The Eagles felt comfortable dealing Isaac Sopoaga and handing the starting job to the LSU product, who finished with two sacks, seven hurries and 43 tackles (two for loss). He took to the techniques taught by Jerry Azzinaro and Billy Davis and was part of a young defensive front that proved to be a strength of this team.

The 6-2, 309-pound Logan may not have a traditional frame for a 3-4 nose tackle but proved capable of occupying defenders and generating a push, though there is room for improvement in both areas. Just 24-years-old, he can add mass and power going forward. Damion Square is the only other player currently listed as a defensive tackle on the roster.

Kapadia: I'll take the other side on this one, T-Mac.

When the Eagles were searching for a nose tackle last offseason, they signed 330-pound Sopoaga. We know Chip Kelly is a measurables guy, and we all are familiar with the "big people" preference. If ever there were a position where that would come into play, my guess is it would be nose tackle.

The problem last year was that Sopoaga flat-out couldn't play. Logan did a nice job, all things considered. But my guess is they'll bring in some competition and likely a guy with more size. If Logan wins the starting job, great. If not, he'll still have a role as a rotational lineman and backup nose tackle.

PRIORITY SCALE: FROM 1 TO 5

* 1 indicates there is no need at all to address the position in free agency or the draft. 5 means it’s of the highest priority that the Eagles focus on the position in the coming months.

McManus: I'm at a two. Logan (24), Fletcher Cox (23) and Cedric Thornton (25) anchored a unit that showed real potential. Vinny Curry (25), despite a position change and limited playing time, finished third on the team in hurries (11) and sacks (4). Chances are he is staying put, and could become an impact player as he grows into his new role.

The 6-6 Joe Kruger spent his rookie year on IR. He is a developmental player with ability. Square will fight for a spot on the d-line this offseason, and Clifton Geathers is a free agent. Oregon product Brandon Bair (6-6, 285) was on the Eagles' practice squad in 2013.

The Eagles will look to add depth but I don't see this as a need position. Lean on the young talent and let them develop.

Kapadia: I go higher. I'm at a three and gave serious consideration to a four.

I think defensive line depth is an underrated need area on this team. I'm with you on Cox and Thornton. They're both excellent 3-4 defensive ends who should only get better in Year 2. And we talked about Logan in the first section. But I think the preference of Azzinaro, Davis and Kelly would be to rotate bodies more in 2014.

Curry had some very nice moments as a pass-rusher, but slowed down the stretch, going without a sack (three hurries) in the team's final seven games. I don't expect Geathers to be back, and Square will have to fight for a roster spot.

I won't be surprised if the Eagles spend an early draft pick on the defensive line. Only three guys start, but to have a really strong unit up front, you need to get contributions from all six.

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  • Chris

    A 3rd is a pretty high pick for this kid and I like his potential, but if we can grab a better replacement/competition I think it would be beneficial. He’ll need to put on some mass, and it’s not like he’d be off the team if we were to upgrade there. It hurt watching the saints pick up every 3rd and short right up the middle. Those are momentum changing plays.

    He made plays in other facets of the game (a batted pass comes to mind) but doesn’t seem like he can take a double team or hold a short yardage situation just yet. Still, great value and play out of a 3rd round rookie, he should be able to make some significant improvements into year 2.

    • Richard Colton

      I really like the versatility Logan brings. We’ve talked about it before but it bares repeating. I think he was good (not great) at NT. And while he can get better, I’d prefer to see him play more snaps as our 2nd line NT and challenge Thornton for a starting spot at DE. Would love to see what the D could do with Louis Nix or a ‘Sheed in there at starting NT.

      • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

        You and Cliff have done too good a job convincing me on the merits of the WR, OLB, ILB, and S in this class. I think NT/DT can be found later- guys like Ellis, Kerr, Reid (from Princeton), Carrethers, DeAndre Coleman (Cal). Not high enough priority with me, if we upgraded everywhere else and went to bat with Logan next year I’d be ok.

        • Andy124

          I think the only way Logan is not our starting NT next year is injury, or someone we grab late(ish) wins the day(s) in TC and PS.

        • Richard Colton

          I think I would too – and (like T-Mac said) the Eagles felt comfortable enough with Logan that they dropped the Sop. There’s only one NT I would feel good enough taking at #22 – Nix. Doubt he’ll be there, but he has to be in the conversation. He’s that good.

          • Andy124

            One (or more) of you draftnickians should build and post your own draft board for the Eagles; take it out to 22 spots. We’re gauranteed to get at least one of those guys.

            Would Nix make the top-22? He might not for some.

          • RIP illa

            Injury concerns (which are very legitimate), drop in production in college, and lack of pass rush makes me not want to take him in the 1st at all. If he slid to the 2nd and his medical situation(s) check out, then there’s a definite convo to be had. If he somehow fell to the 3rd then I think it’s a no brainer that you/we draft him.

            All in all, with guys like Ellis, Jones, Carrethers, Kerr, and even McCullers…I say pass.

          • Richard Colton

            Yeah. But 3rd and 4th round guys go in the 3rd and 4th for a reason. If any of them were surefire plug-and-play they’d go higher.

            If we’re following Tim/Sheil’s system – I’d rate “lack of passrush” as a 5+ on the needs scale. It has to be addressed somehow. Obviously, we’d all like a predator ROLB to solve the problem. But what if the right guy isn’t there in round one or round two? D line is another possibility.

          • RIP illa

            I get it, but that’s not our system. Token and Andy said it best…we’re looking for a good-great push from our DL, not a pass rush. Davis loves to blitz, so the pass rush has to come from the OLB’s (and we know we’re not gonna get much from Barwin) and our MLBs. That’s why I thought, last year and this, that we get a MLB in the mold of Jones (and Alonzo last year) that can have range and athletic ability to cover so Kendricks can blitz more and/or the athletic ability to blitz himself.

            Oh yeah, along w/ the lush from the DL, ideally we’d hope that they get enough push to collapse the pocket all together. But I tend to want to be specific in how that’s different from a straight up pass rush.

          • Richard Colton

            agree with everything you said – especially Kiko. I was banging the drum hard for him last year.

            Still, how good would the entire D look if we had a NT who could consistently draw double teams?

          • RIP illa

            Gawd!!! I would love it. I just keep seeing A-gap (double or single) getting home so much better than last year. I would also hope that a true NT type would give, ideally, Cox the ability to be one on one w/ his man and take him on the inside a lot more. Noticed that Cox had a tendency to try and take his man on the outside sometimes. I just wondered how much that affected Cole, as he was also rushing against the tackle on the outside…too much traffic. I think he did better as the year went on of mixing it up more as the season went on.

          • Richard Colton

            Good stuff. I’m not pulling for Nix by any means. He’s not my ideal choice. But I think we need to resign ourselves to the fact that we may walk away from the draft with something other than WR/OLB in round one. Could be an ILB. Could be O-line. Could be a CB or S.

          • RIP illa

            Yup. We definitely do. But I rank DL right there w/ TE as far as chance of getting drafted in round one, or what I would want. I’d rather see OL…and I hate OL rd 1 picks (w/ the exception of last year). ‘Shede is the only viable rd one DL for us, so maybe a little higher than TE. Donald is really nice, but is way too small and is an attacking 4-3 DL. Jones is my fav ILB right now…so OLB, S, CB, WR, are all possibilities that I think could happen and live w/. I do think there’s enough pass rushers for us to walk away w/ a good one in the 1st tho. Ealy, Ford, and Van Noy (in that order) have a very good chance of being there when we pick.

          • Richard Colton

            …and I would like the Kony pick…love Van Noy and REALLY love Ford.

          • GEAGLE

            Kiko still hurts,,.funny we thought we could get him in round 4 lol pipe dream

          • Richard Colton

            I know it’s early – but this year’s pipe dream is Stanely Jean Baptiste in round 6. Every idiot on every fan site in America has him penciled in late on their team’s board and is calling him “the next Richard Sherman.” At this rate he’ll go in the 2nd.

          • GEAGLE

            Ha round 6? That’s just flat out greedy brother, considering the kid is like my round 4 pipe dream :)

            Think we can get more value in the first 3 rounds, but I would love that kid falling into the Boykin zone

          • Richard Colton

            I love that the 4th round is now “the Boykin Zone.” Sounds so much better than “The caseymatthews Zone” or the “Mike Kafka Zone.”

          • GEAGLE

            Right..can’t believe we drafted Kafka. We could have probably signed him as an UDFA

          • RIP illa

            The kid is already starting to be mocked in the 2nd now. The Senior Bowl paid off for him big time, as he was pretty much the only tall CB that could hold his own in ball skills and hip fluidity on the outside. Everyone else, teams were generally talking converting them to safety. At worst SJB will be a 3rd rounder. At best, a guy like McGill will be a 3rd rounder but could easily end up being a 4th, which I think is his proper place only due to his measurements. If teams don’t follow the wanting to clone Sherman trend, then I think McGill should be a 5th.

          • JBShakes

            I don’t think Baptiste is just a product of internet buzz, though – there were a lot of people who sat up and took notice of him at the Senior Bowl. He’s a climber – very similar to Sherman in the sense that he hasn’t been playing the position as long (started as a S). It’s a copycat league, so tall, physical CBs are going to be on everybody’s radar now.

          • anon

            it’s what people don’t get. our a gap blitzes, which billy d loves, got no where b/c we couldn’t eat blocks.

          • Richard Colton

            yea – it’s not about generating pressure per se…its about being better up front so the linebackers stay clean.

          • RIP illa

            You both are 100% correct.

          • GEAGLE

            Funny how Demeco a former probowler, said to be getting old and that he couldn’t play in this scheme just set a career high in sacks and INTs coming and also faking those A gap blitzes and he should be even better this year. Go watch the bears game and tell me about our A gap blitzes….
            ..
            You aren’t going to get to see the best these players have to offer their first year on a brand new defense. And when you add depth it means you can play to a guy like Demeco’s strength, and get him off the field and not play to his weakness…we need depth. But our starting ILBs should have a better year next year having this year under their belt and having a bunch of kids in front of them who will be a year older,stronger,more experienced

          • Richard Colton

            Did you see Tommy’s piece about the possibility of returning 11 of 11 starters on D next year? Thought provoking.

          • GEAGLE

            It’s what I have been saying, I don’t know about all 11(Nate) but certainly 10 are coming back…I always said the majority of the he veterans and starters are in place, and that we will stick up our depth with young players and hope a few can grow into players who take over for our current starters…I believe it 100%

          • Token

            From ND.

            Big injury.

            No thank you to Nix. Honest to god I wouldnt even pick him in the 2nd round.

          • Richard Colton

            because he’s from ND? granted, they dont play in the SEC – but he faced big time competition there.

          • Token

            Im trying to think of a good ND player. Honestly whenever I think of ND I think of Trevor Laws and throw up.

          • Richard Colton

            hahaha. You sure Ricky Watters and Jerome Bettis didn’t burn you in fantasy one year?

          • GEAGLE

            Wouldn’t be surprised if he isn’t drafted in round 1..feel the same about haha dix

          • Richard Colton

            now that HaHa is the #2 safety – I think you’re right. Could go in the Elam range.

          • GEAGLE

            I could even see Pryor going
            Iike 17 to Dallas, and then Joyner and Ward going 25-30 with haha falling into round 2.. Call me crazy lol its going to be very interesting to see the order safeties are drafted in this year

          • Giorgos Kassakos

            It seems that you don’t value Clinton-Dix too much. In my eyes, he is the no.1 safety, but I can see why Pryor is considered the top guy by some. However, I don’t think any other safety ranks anywhere near those two. Maybe some have more upside, but Dix is already a well-rounded player.

          • GEAGLE

            It’s not about who I value, it’s about how the draft board unfolds, and I simply get an inkling that haha won’t be the first or second safety drafted…certainly could be wrong. I mean I think he gets picked in the top 45, which isn’t exactly chopped liver

          • Giorgos Kassakos

            That’s what I meant “value”. He is much higher in my board and the way I see it, he won’t escape the first round. It only takes one team and chances are Dallas, CIncinnati, Philadelphia and San Francisco will be looking for a safety.

          • Richard Colton

            Boy – I hope the Eagles strategy isn’t putting together a list of their top 22 players and taking the highest one left on their board when their pick comes. So many variables… And of course, what they do in FA is going to change everything.

          • Andy124

            I guess it partially depends on how much you trust what they say. For as long as I can remember everybody associated with any team has always talked about sticking to their board and credited draft successes with doing that.

            In fantasy football you’re looking at how many good WRs are left vs. how many RBs and who’s likely to fall one more round and what do you already have and so on. Every NFL guy I’ve heard swears they don’t do that.

          • Richard Colton

            you know what’s funny? I actually do believe the teams when they say things like “We cant believe we got X in round Y…he was rated so high on our board.” It accounts for the differences in how teams have these guys rated.

          • JofreyRice

            I remember Dallas didn’t even have Brandon Graham as a first rounder. So much depends on scheme fit, individual evaluations, etc. I think there is a lot of variability on player valuation.

          • RIP illa

            I remember when no one but Dallas had Fredricks as a 1st rounder!!! :-) No point to that…just love bringing it up!!!

          • Andy124

            Didn’t they admit they had a 2nd round grade on him? Cherry on top of the Sunday.

          • RIP illa

            Something like that, after trying to justify the 1st. Everyone else had a 3rd on him.

          • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

            I’ll go with a few different position groups, those that are (1) deepest, (2) traditionally go towards the top of the 1st round, and (3) positions of need for the Birds. Just a small picture, but there are about 40 solid players I’d like on the Birds.

            Likely To Go Early In The 1st (Before 22):
            QB- (3) Bridgewater, Manziel, Bortles or Carr
            OT- (4) Matthews, Robinson, Lewan, Martin or Kouandijio
            OG- (1) Yankey
            WR- (3) **too deep to list, but I bet 3 guys are gone by 22
            TE- (1) Amaro or Ebron
            DE- (2) Clowney, Ford or Ealy
            DT- (2) Donald, Nix orHageman
            ILB- (2) Mosley, combine surprise (Borland?)
            OLB- (3) ***some combo of Barr, Mack, KVN, Attaboy, Shazier, Smith, Zumwalt, Jones
            CB- (1) Denard or Gilbert
            S- (1) Pryor or HaHa

            That’s actually 23 picks/players. Without the combine superstar factor

        • Chris

          agreed, for the value and the productivity I wouldn’t argue with starting Logan week 1 assuming we upgraded other positions with that $/draft pick

        • Wilbert M.

          We need a 350 pounder who demands double teams. Daniel McCullers would be a great draft pick.

          • Weapon Y

            He doesn’t look nasty enough. He plays more like a care bear than a grizzly bear on tape. Then again, that’s what I said about Dontari Poe so maybe raw skills are more important than tape. I’d have to bring him to train under Azzinaro. I’d need to see if he can get a fire lit under his ass or if he’s just a soft fat guy. At that point, Azz would have to make a judgment call. “He needs more violence!!!!!!!!”

      • Chris

        He was drafted as a DE correct? My gut still tells me we go into TC with Logan penciled in as the starter, but i feel like they almost have to bring in a guy for competition at a low cost

        • Richard Colton

          I’m OK with it – even at a cost

    • JofreyRice

      After the NO game, it seemed like a necessity to get a guy who wouldn’t get blown off the ball in short yardage. I don’t think he played at 309. He’s got those long arms, but I don’t know he’s got the power or girth to man the nose in a 3-4 NT yet, and seems like a better mover than clogger. I guess the hope would be that he comes into TC around 325 or so, but I think it might be a lot to ask him to put on 25-30 pounds in one offseason.

      • RIP illa

        Agreed! But I got the impression that the team is only expecting him to put on ~10+ lbs and play at around the 315-320 range. Still not big enough for my taste, but it could work. I just don’t see the raw strength, that I think is needed, if he’s going to play the position undersized and be an effective and consistent run stopper. And I don’t think just adding on the poundage is going to automatically translate to strength.

        • GEAGLE

          Yeah I don’t think they want him too big at all. Want him to be versatile to switch to different fronts on the fly, not be a liability on 3rd down while still being able to occupy blockers.
          ..
          With Logan in the lineup we were a top 10 team against the run, and had a pretty nice defense on 1st and 2nd down, only to have our Nickle defense shredded unable to get off the field on 3rd down..but if you draft a 340NT, he will come off the field for Boykin in Nickle anyway, and I think it’s a complete waste when you have 3young kids who were pretty darn good in our base defense, and will only be better next year…this NT talk IMO is a complete waste of time. We could have drafted that instead of Logan if we wanted, knowing we only had a stop gap soap on the roster…

      • Chris

        Yea, and it’s hard for me to overlook the good plays he made; a few batted passes, TFLs, couple of hustle plays chasing down RBs. So I feel like i have to take the bad with the good, but a few pounds, a full offseason and someone to challenge him for his spot i think will do a world of good. I’d be happy with him up to 325

  • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

    I get the conversation about Logan, especially with NO still so fresh in many minds. But he was a great 3rd rd pick (who helped contribute to us upgrading our 6th to a 5th this year). At worst, he’ll be a good rotational DL who can play all positions and with high intangibles/character. At best, he grows into a starting-caliber DL (again, at all 3 spots, but likely NT).

    For my 2014 Outlook, my big question is “Can the Eagles get more of a pass-rush from their DL next year?”. This year was all about learning a new scheme and, for DL, a whole new technique. We had no previous 2gappers on the team, so the DL was learning to slow down while the DEs (Cole and Graham) were learning coverage). Too much learning and thinking for an effective rush.
    What will be Azz’s focus next year, now that the “teaching” phase is done?
    What’s his ideal rotation formula?
    Will we see more of Curry on 3rd down next year? Or more pass-rush subs in general?
    Has Thornton hit his ceiling? He transitioned great, but is this his best? Will they want a bigger guy like Urban in the draft or Kruger to eventually take over?
    Alternatively, will Davis look to build on the DL strength in run stuffing, and focus on improving pass rush in the LBs?
    Does Cox, in a stable environment, grow into the playmaker we need so bad now that he is comfortable with 2gapping?

    • Richard Colton

      Need to get that DL pass rush going, especially with Barwin and Van Noy both dropping back into coverage so much next year.

      • Andy124

        But we’re a traditional 3-4. I don’t really expect pass rush from the DL. You want some push up the middle, but you don’t expect 8-sack guys on the line.

        • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

          I’d say it’s possible from a freak like Cox. Maybe for Thornton, 3-5 sacks in a year. Another 6-8 from a “rush specialist” like Curry. And if they stay with Logan, i.e. The Athletic NT vs a guy like Soap, The Fat Guy NT, I’d expect another 2-3 sacks. Decent contribution, but still more than they got this year.

          • GEAGLE

            We don’t play a 3man two gap front on passing downs. We play a 4-2-5, and count on the Dline getting after it(although OLB often become ends)…Cox,Barwin, Curry are all fine in this role, IF we draft an OLB who as a rookie can ease in as a Nickle pass rusher..once we add safeties and cover LB we can incorporate some 3-3-5 and 4-1-6(Kendrick as the LB)

          • RIP illa

            Could have sworn we played a lot of 3-3-5 already. I’ve been begging for a 4-2-5 nickel w/ Cole – Cox – Curry – and Graham!!!

          • GEAGLE

            Huh? Our Nickle package already was a 4-2-5..
            ..
            You may be counting 3lineman on 3rd down, but Barwin or Cole still also have their hand in the dirt..a few times we would line up in a 3-3-5 but that just meant Barwins hand wasn’t in the dirt. Predominantly we were in a 4 man front on 3rd…..We need a Safety who is exceptional in run support(Ward) if we even want to think about playing Dime..

        • Richard Colton

          Of course that’s true. A little disruption would be nice.

    • Token

      In the current system I dont know that we will ever see a huge rush from the line. Pressure has to get there from the OLBs. I do want to see more push up front tho. Take away that QBs ability to step up in the pocket.

      • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

        thanks, you said what I couldn’t in fewer words. As we saw last night, it’s not necessarily about the sack numbers as much as it is disrupting the pocket and getting QBs out of their lanes. Those things, such as the batted passes, are a combination of coaching and desire. That can definitely be a function of this OL as it grows.

    • RIP illa

      Is their anything wrong, w/ this being Thornton’s ceiling? Not much of a pass rushing option, but a damn fine run run defender and our most consistent DL this past season. And isn’t that what the 5 calls for? Kruger and Urban offer you a couple of inches over him in height, but lack in weight and strength when compared to him.

      Is their such a thing as a 3-4 2 gap DE playmaker? Cox is/was great but being in this system does kinda neuter his play making ability. Will he fix many of his errors that he made this past season now that he should be more comfortable? I hope so.

      • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

        I agree with you. I like Ced a lot. Just wondering what Kelly, Davis, and Azz are thinking. Remember, they inherited the whole line and converted them, while also starting a mashup of converted DEs, free agent OLB, and last years’ 43 Mike and Sam.
        All that aside, I’m not calling for a radical change in scheme or role. But there were plenty of plays left on the field. When learning something new, you’re thinking, and thus you play slower. Plenty of blitzes didn’t get home, stunts were picked up, and 1 on 1 matchups were lost. That kind of stuff can be improved through nothing more than experience, good coaching and hard work.

        • RIP illa

          Yeah I 100% agree w/ that. I think the FO has to provide Azz w/ a drastically better rotation than this year, and I understand how much Davis values versatility. I think getting Azz that rotation should sorta be prioritized over Davis’s want for versatility. Reason being, that on my non existent team, I will always have a spot(s) in my line for a situational pass rusher…Curry and a run stuffer…Thornton. So if we can pick up a run stuffing NT (hopefully Ellis, only cuz he’s the biggest that can really move well and get after the QB), And Kruger comes on or we get An Urban type, then I think we are well ahead of the game rotation wise. Which in turn will give Davis more versatility upfront by way of mix and matching players for situations as opposed to just individual player versatility. Cox-Logan, Curry, on the pass if we stay in a 3 man front. Cox-NT-Thornton, on the run. Krugs or Urban type rotating in for Cox so he doesn’t get over used.

          Sorry for the tangent…was getting distracted so not sure how this is going to tie in to what you said. :-)

      • GEAGLE

        In fairness Ced talked about improving his pass rush this summer, and considering how much he is grown, I kind of believe him

      • JofreyRice

        Ty Warren played a big part in the Pats’ defense, stopping running backs, and being overlooked. I think we’ve already gotten more out of Thornton than I anticipated. The problem was that the entire DLine kind of ebbed down the stretch. Maybe they need more rotation?

        • RIP illa

          Exactly. I said in a long winded post. That if we get Azz a better rotation, it could be better than just getting Davis, versatility in individual players. That’s why I’m for drafting an NT and pick up a DE in FA. Plenty of good ones in FA.

          • JofreyRice

            I think I’d go the other way–sign a FA NT, and draft a DE for the rotation, but I get what you’re saying. I think if you’re looking for an immediate answer at NT, you gotta get a guy who’s got his grown-man strength. Miami’s Paul Soliai, Linval Joseph, and depending on what they think of Arthur Jones, any of those guys could be an answer.

          • RIP illa

            See I’m bullish about drafting one. Only cuz I think Is the only guy w/ size that gives you “pass rush” ability also, throughout both processes. So the best of both worlds, although he does need to sure up his base. But agreed, it could very well go either way.

          • GEAGLE

            Hate Aurthor Jones, and I try to like him considering I’m a huge fan of both his brothers, but I can’t stand him. I would absolutely LOVE to see Soliali or Joseph added to this line, it would make me so happy, but I honestly see practically no chance in that happening. I can see us even using a high pick on a DL, but the FA we sign has to be cheap and able to be cut in case we draft a rookie AND place Kruger on the roster

          • GEAGLE

            We won’t be spending much money at this position in FA. we will sign a back up to replace Gaethers. Our coaches want Logan,Cox and Ced on the field, so you aren’t getting these big names who will come here and share time with Logan or Cedric. Benny saves us from paying RJF type money. We will sign a cheap DT for camp, and in case we don’t add a DL in the draft..while I give 0% chance of signing a starting caliber player for the DL in free agent, we aren’t so set to where we would pass on a Quality DL prospect if he is at the top of our board…but if we were to spend a draft pick it would have to be a guy who is not just a fat space eater. He has to be capable of staying in on Nickle and providing a pass rush if opponent don’t let us sub him out, he would have to be versatile enough to play multiple positions, and he will have long arms…The FA we sign will just be in case we don’t get a DL in the draft..the FA won’t be a name fans are happy with

          • RIP illa

            Sure I would live signing a “big name” DE but there’s plenty of good ones in FA. Doesn’t have to be a big name.

          • GEAGLE

            It’s going to be a backup type, that might not even make the roster if their ends up being a good DT prospect at the top of our board…Only room for 2Dlinemen,replacing Gaethers and Square. If Kruger is someone we like and will make this years roster, then the FA we add wouldn’t even make our roster if we end up with a DL at the top of our board too good to pass up

    • Ark87

      I just want a nice rotation. I don’t mind Cox-Logan-Thornton (I’m actually really excited about them, very versatile and very nice balance) for the majority of snaps. For pass situations, Cox-Logan-Curry provide solid pressure for a 2-gap DL. What we need is some run Role players in our depth at DL. Thornton-big honkin NT- DE that excels against the run (Cox might be the 2nd best run defender and reclaim this role through improvement or failure to find a specialist) for short yardage. Our guys are best suited penetrate and disrupt in short yardage situations, but their roles demand that they anchor down and don’t give an inch. Sprinkle in some role players and we could have one of the better DL’s in the league.

      • Chris

        The age of the line definitely gives us an opportunity to have one of the best DL’s out there

        • Ark87

          Totally agree, 4 years in the nfl, once they get their full grown man strength, these guys could be dominant 3-down (and maybe even that pesky 4th down) linemen, then we can go back to conventional depth concepts.

          • GEAGLE

            When, not if…these kids are legit..gout front 7 is an impact pass rusher away, and a cover ILB away from being big business!!!

    • GEAGLE

      Don’t see why they wouldn’t get more of a pass rush. Not like their development is anywhere close to plateauing. Expect a MONSTER year from Cox. Thornton has already gone on record saying he is committed on improving his pass rush this summer. People will like the pass rush Logan provides while being still able to occupy blockers…and if we add an impact edge rusher, he makes it easier for all those guys to get after it…Plus, I don’t Curry is done improving. Kid don’t even have 20 game under his belt. Another offseason to grow into his new 3-4 Body, and he should be much improved as well. Year two in a successful scheme is everything for promising youngins….I just don’t know that Cole will ever provide more of a rush, and I’m not sure Graham I will even be here…

  • Token

    Somethings gotta give right? Logan at NT with a set of ILBs that can be run over and cant get off blocks isnt a good combo. One or the other has to be upgraded.

    Logan did a fine job. But im more excited about him as a end prospect than I am of shoehorning him in at NT. Regardless of what some think, it just doesnt work. They play a 2 gap 3-4 currently. If they want to change that up next year, then sure maybe Logan is your man. But as it stands they need a bigger presence in there. Leave Logan to focus primarily on his more promising position which is at end.

    • mtn_green

      I have a feeling that Logan will become one of those dancing bear guys, big, fast. He will be the surprise on defense next year. Eagles still need NT for backup, rotation, competition. I think he will be able to clog the middle on one play and then do a stunt to the C gap on the next.

      OLB as we all know needs a lot of help, rolb is a mess and LOLB has no depth. Luckily OLB is deep in draft, LOLB/jack players and rolb pure pass rushers.

      • GEAGLE

        You sir are spot on. Logan will be the starter, and we will be very happy with him. He will have at least 10 more LBs on his frame, and an increase in strength…if a DL is to good to pass up in the draft we will pull the trigger, but we won’t go out an buy free agent starting Quality lineman…Logan’s saves us what did RGF sign for? 25mil?

        • Token

          If thats the way they go I hope you are right. I look at it as Logan has a pretty good chance at being a quality end. NT is much more up in the air to me, at least in the system they ran this year. I guess they could change some things up. Its a lot to ask a guy to add 10-20 pounds while maintaining the skills that make him a good player for his size. It would be nice if Logan emerges as a beast who can push the middle and eat up blockers. Im just not confident that its gonna happen.

          • GEAGLE

            We can agree to disagree, I just think that’s someone we will be very pleased with. Look I’m a fan! I would do a backflip if I hear we signed Soliali and linval Joseph, but I just don’t see any chance it happens. We carry 6 Dlinemen
            1) Cox
            2) Ced
            3) Logan
            4) Curry

            If Kruger is going to make our roster, then the FA we sign has to be very cheap, in case there is a DL too good to pass up when it’s our turn to Draft, because if we draft a DL in the first 5 rounds AND place Kruger on the roster, we will have to cut the FA we just signed!!!!!..so I don’t get what Kapadia is seeing! Would love Him to explain, but he wont

          • GEAGLE

            I just think our coaches and FO see it different

        • captainobvious

          If Logan tries to put ten more linebackers on his frame, then he is going to get injured.

    • dislikedisqus

      I’m with Sheil on this . Logan as NT is one of those “fine” outcomes as opposed to a “dominant” outcome. A team should always draft the biggest upgrade possible. If a stud NT presented himself, I wouldn’t hesitate to pick him.

      • JBShakes

        This is what I’ve been saying all along – if the pick comes up at #22 and Nix and a variety of “OK but not great” prospects at CB, S, and WR are sitting there, they almost HAVE to take Nix. The presence of a guy in the middle of the defense who can actually dominate will upgrade production in every aspect of the game.

  • Jarrod

    I will be very interested to see how the DLine looks next year. I think Logan could be better positioned on the 2nd line at DE or pushing Thornton. But then where do they go at NT? A FA and a rookie? Just a rookie? It’s interesting because typically teams are in nickel 50% and the NT comes off the field. Do they really play/need two lines of their base 3-4 (DE, NT, DE)? So could you go Cox, Logan (DE), rookie NT, Thorton, Curry, Kruger?

  • GEAGLE

    Props to McManus for looking at things the way our coaches do. Kapadia is way off(and I don’t say that often. The lineman we DO ADD will be Square and Gaethers replacements. Coaches want Benny in the lineup..Take that to the bank!

    Logan complicates free agent additions, but his emergence also frees up money because I don’t think we would feel the need to spend RJF money with the way Logan played. If there is a DT who is too good to pass up, we will draft him, but draft picks have to be versatile, it won’t be a traditional NT who is a complete liability in Nickle…Take the quality Linval Joesephy types off your wish list, I think fans will be dissapointed with the players we add because they won’t be sexy, impact names…more like second round bust, Mount Cody, cheap as hell, pray a change of screening helps get his career back on track. basically, this years Gathers type if you wll..we could draft quality here, but Logan ensures we aren’t paying for it…

    • Tikkit

      Terrance Cody is a certified bum. I remember the Baltimore press gushing about his “freak athletic talent” and then watched him get straight dominated. Change of scenery? No, he needs a change in vocation.

      • GEAGLE

        Duh, the FA signing has to be a guy you you can cut if you draft a DL and Kruger makes the team..it’s going to have to be a low quality “bum” you can cut at the end of the summer

        • Tikkit

          But why even invest? I’d rather a UDFA that may flash and went to a small school then a dude that went to a major college, was heaped with praise, and fulfilled 0% of any potential that he may have had.

          • GEAGLE

            You have to sign someone just in case the draft doesn’t fall your way. You don’t want to be forced to reach for a player. We have money, it doesn’t have to be Cody, not like a give a damn about him, but because he is young, going to be very cheap, he is the type of guy who ATleast has some small chance of rebounding his career…how much better was Gaethers? ATleast Murry won’t lower his head and truck a guy like Cody like he did to square…if you are signing someone you might cutl might as well be someone with serious size and hope coach Azz “water boys” him into being violent….

            Big names won’t even want to sign with a team that have 3’quality young linemen…we will still sign UDFAs for,camp bodies, hopefully we get lucky and someone proves to be more

          • Tikkit

            I get what your saying, I’d just rather have just about ANYONE else. He just seems to play with no heart.

          • GEAGLE

            I’m certainly not married to him, I just use him as a proxy for a flier type…The only way we would sign a serious FA lineman is if we fully intend on trading Curry. There just simply isn’t any room because we won’t cut Ced,Cox,Logan..I guess if we don’t think Kruger has any chance to make the roster it would be a possibility. But if we like Kruger! from a numbers standpoint, we don’t even have room for a pricey veteran at that position…it’s a nice problem to have, but you have to potentially keep a spot open for a prospect to good to pass up in the draft, and you need to sign someone to protect yourself from having to reach to fill a spot, so you are basically forced into signing a flier you can possibly cut at the end of the summer. Nice problem to have

  • Rick H

    The general conversation when it comes to the Eagles defense seems to always focus on OLB or Safety and Cornerback but the Nose Tackle in my opinion is a huge need.
    Look at the Eagles/Saints playoff game. The defensive line was getting blown off the ball on almost a regular basis. Especially that last critical drive!
    A big time nose tackle that holds his ground and occupies a center and a guard changes things incredibly. Your linebackers get better instantly. Your linemen like Logan,Cox & Thornton have room to make plays and pressure the QB.
    Is Nix the guy for the position? The game tape I watched on Nix seemed mixed. When he rushed the QB he pushed the pocket and no one could stop him but he was also run out of the play a lot.
    Can the Eagles defensive coaches work with this kid and turn him into an anchor that can’t be moved and a guy that collapses the pocket? I have been watching for five decades but I don’t know that position well enough to say one way or the other.
    Hageman on the other hand is 6’6″ but he is a different body type but impressive player.
    Are there any other legitimate nose tackles that are in the draft?
    I don’t see anyone in free agency but I would be delighted if they could land one.

    • anon

      this is what i’ve been saying.

  • GEAGLE

    fans,are not going to be happy with the FA Dlinemen we sign. If you are someone who really wants that position to be upgraded, then you will have to hope there is a Dlinemen too good to pass up when it’s time for us to draft…The DL we sign in FA, may not even make the roster….

    • anon

      what’s the point of signing them then? Surprised a d-minded guy is fine with our DL. Seattle barely blitzed yesterday (something like 6 of 51 snaps) — makes it a lot easier on their secondary / LBs to cover.

      We blitz all the time and get marginal pressure, why do you think that is (please don’t blame T. Cole)? Don’t you think DL was is key to everything we’re trying to do in this scheme?

      • GEAGLE

        Sorry, I realize youth, inexperience, natural progression of young players in new schemes with new coaches. You are a fool if you think our base defense needs big money additions in the front 7..we need an OLB pass rusher, and he can even need to add weight his first year because you ain’t getting a rookie who will be ready to set the edge better then Cole. The only reason we sign a FA is in case a Dlinemen isnt at the top of our board when we draft. The FA we sign, the coaches would hope gets cut, because it will mean we have players in Kruger and whatever kid we add thru draft or Undrafted signing.. Yeah I’m a defensive guy who would love to see big name talented at any position, but if I don’t think there is any chance of it happening, what’s the point? It’s not what we want, this is about what our coaches want, and they want Benny!Cox and Ced on the field growing in this scheme

        • anon

          that didn’t answer my question. Most of seattle’s D is on rookie deals and theyre pro bowlers. You’d give our guys 3-4 years until their at the top of their game? Then we get one great year before we’ve got to pay them all? What if they don’t take a big step next year? I’m not saying you gotta get every FA but the idea that we’d be happy with what we have is troublesome.

          Plenty of rookies or second year players are crushing it in this league. considering no pro bowlers i’d be willing to look at what’s out there.

          • GEAGLE

            Seattles front is not like ours. They didn’t just win a Super Bowl with getting line pressure, they did it wih guys like Bennett, Avril and Clemons WHO in OUR DEFENSE would be the OLB, NOT the DL, so what you are saying makes no sense to me. If I’m 100% convinced that our front office and coaches won’t spend money on the position! I can’t just throw a temper tantrum because I want a big name..you are welcome to disagree, but this is honestly something I would bet on if Vegas offered odds….it’s not like I’m telling you we won’t try to improve the rotation, I just think it’s NOT being improved in this years FA market…

  • morgan c

    Agree with Sheil. If we learned anything from last night, it’s that a dominant defense can get your really far. We can’t stand pat with an okay Dline – who knows if Thornton takes a step back and proves to be more of a one-year wonder? And Logan (though I still like him) had a rough game against NO and it may be worth drafting a real NT, and moving Logan along the line.

    • anon

      wasn’t just nola where he was bad.

  • Tom W

    I would put the priority of 1.5 — depth concerns

    If we truly rotate, then we need upgrades for Square and Geathers who is a free agent. I would give Curry another year in the rotation although he disappointed the last half the year and get destroyed by being out of position or playing the position incorrectly in the two-gap system in the saints game (see chipwagon article).

    For all the abuse of a couple short yardage plays on the last drive of the saints game, the eagles were mainly in nickel that game without logan on the field and replaced by boykin going against double tight. but the team is still having him put on 15 lbs to get to 320 and a full season of real lifting w Huls and the boyz. we should be happy w his rookie debut and patient

    If you want another nosetackle and more of a fat guy to offer what Logan doesn’t excel at, fine w me. The guy is only getting on the field at certain times or otherwise is typically a liability in passrush (hench why they liked Logan bc he offers a push option). Fat NTs are coming from the later rounds of the draft bc the guy will only be on the field about 30 percent of the time. Maybe a young retread like Cody.

    Another 5 tech to push Krueger/Curry would be fine — like the guys they are looking at — Urban from UVA, etc. in the 4th or 5th rd.

    Only way I could stomach going dline early in draft would be for Sheed bc he could play nose and 5 tech and give you a pass rush. But I am reading to much about his motivation and ups and downs etc so I think we redflag him bc of lack of effort.

    As for 3-4 d ends getting a pass rush — Houston runs in 3-4 through JJ Watt and the pats get a ton of pressure and sacks from Chandler Jones. Now watt is a freak and one gaps on passing downs, but those guys are out there. be nice if cox showed more on obvious passing down when we go to a four man line he is accustomed to.

  • GEAGLE

    Worst case scenario: Kruger sucks, and he can’t replace Gaethers or Square and we need two new DL…

    Best case scenario Kruger is ready to be our 5th, and we only have room for one new DL.. If that were to happen it has to be cheap FA signing who can be cut, if there is a DL too good to pass up in the draft.. I don’t even see,how this is debatable to be honest, but whatever

  • anon

    Eagles ILB Mychal Kendricks said he plans to make film study his priority this offseason. “You can only get so fast and so strong, but you cannot stop developing your mind,” he said. “It’s a more powerful weapon than anything else.”

    • GEAGLE

      Star in the making. He is GEAGLE certified take it to the bank material. Next year you will see more jaw dropping plays where he looks like he was shot out of a cannon, while seeing less mistakes, and year 4, will be his 3rd year in this scheme and I expect him to be one of the best ILB in the NFL in 2015, anything less means he fell short of reaching his potential, and I see too much Charecter,brains,passion to bet against that kid….

      • Richard Colton

        from your mouth to Chris Collingsworth’s ears

      • cliff henny

        unles rihanna get ahold of him. he might be studying a whole different type of film.

        • GEAGLE

          Lol we are fortunate that his current girlfriend is gorgeous!!

      • mksp

        “GEAGLE certified”

      • Token

        Still cant figure out this love affair. What has he done to make you feel like this? I wanted him out of Cal, but he has yet to show me the player it seemed like he could be.

        I do like that quote tho.. That should be the thing hes focusing on. Hes gotta do a better job diagnosing plays. Also has to sure up his tackling. Big year for him. He has to take a step forward.

        • GEAGLE

          Just sit back and watch his development

  • GEAGLE

    Geez the Cowboys have to get Dez Bryant and Tyron Smith signed Longterm? Lol this will be fun

    • cliff henny

      they can. requires extended romo, again, in ’15. smith gets transition tagged and dez get franchised. dallas wont have cap space to sign them till ’16. then have to out bid everyone, while dead money is mounting. it’s why teams cant play cap gymnastics every yr. cowboys cant sign any free agent next 2 off-seasons, they barely have room to sign picks. and ’16 will have to focus on getting these 2. it’s like buying a car on 5yr loan after 4 yr lease, about as expensive as it gets.

      • GEAGLE

        Hahahahah how is there cap situation not a constant national story? I can’t ever recall seeing a cap so screwed up

        • cliff henny

          it’s a trainwreck. hopefully JJ gets really greedy, signs a FA and cuts Ware. then cap is destroyed and they might have to take a 40m+ dead yr just to clean slate in ’16.

          • GEAGLE

            Geez hahaha it’s practically a Cap-acolypse

          • cliff henny

            what will be funnier is romo getting restructured next year after another season ending surgery. herniated disk and dallas is planning on getting 5 more yrs out of the guy.

          • GEAGLE

            Jerry has to live forever. He just has to!!!

  • GEAGLE

    so..we can’t spend money on Dline, because if Kruger makes the team and we draft a player the Dline we sign would have to be cut. So we can’t spend money on Dline. There are simply no realistic options to spend money on at OLB. Meco is our Veteran ILB, so we want to get younger at the position not pay for more veterans, so we can’t seem any real money on LB either. CB is a position we have to get younger at, we already have our starting veterans and we are just waiting to draft and groom their replacements so we can’t spend any real money at CB either….ALL ROADS POINT TO FREE AGENT SAFETY, there just isn’t anything else realistic to do with the money. we are trying to build thru the draft. Chung and Wolff are the only safeties under contract.

    On offense we ain’t paying for anyone else’s number two WR that will get a number 1 WR contract. We retain our guys before they hit the market and then take advantage of a strong draft class and get younger at the position, so there is no serious money being spent on FA WR. You aren’t signing any starting big money OL, it’s a position we have to get younger at in the draft, maybe you sign another Barbre, but there is no real money being spent at that position. Unless we have a shot at Jimmy Graham! we have our veteran TE in place, no money being spent at TE either. We won’t be spending money on a big money RB that’s for sure..

    We are going to have 35mil and nothing to spend money on but a few depth positions…so why in the world wouldn’t we front load the hell out of a contract for Ward or Byrd? It’s the only real opening for an impact veteran starter. We gave Barwin almost 40Mil…why the hell wouldn’t we use our cap space to turn a major weakness into a strength?mLurie doesn’t need to roll over 35mil in cap space.

    • mksp

      Because we can potentially carryover cap savings to the next year to use on our own guys. Though I don’t totally understand the mechanism.

      • GEAGLE

        We can sign our own guys without carrying over ANYTHING, so I’m not sure what your point is

  • GEAGLE

    QUESTION: Howie practically made player for player trades in the NFL famous. Who are the players we have under contract, who probably won’t make the roster next year, eligible to be traded for another teams square peg in the round hole?

  • mksp

    Tim & Sheil,

    Can one of you guys cover the Eagles cap situation in a little more detail? Based on overthecap.com we have nearly $21mm in cap room and an adjusted cap of $143.5mm (salary cap of $126mm plus “carryover” money). I’m having a hard time finding a resource on exactly how carryover works, but in concept it seems like the eagles could declare that they want to carryover, say, $10mm to 2015 (lowering their 2014 cap to $133.5mm and raising their 2015 cap to $153.5mm? Is that how it works?). How does the carryover burn off?

    Its important, because it means that if we don’t like this year’s FA class, we’re not supposed to say “we have a ton of cap room, lets just go after jarius byrd” – it seems like the proper way to manage the cap would be to carryover as much as humanly possible every year so when we have to pay the bill on our own handpicked, drafted guys, we have the cap space. So keep going after mid-market FAs to fill holes, draft well, then be able to pay them when its time to renegotiate?

    What am I missing?

    • IAteLunchToday

      I got curious about this a while ago and I looked it up.

      According to Wikipedia
      ‘The new collective bargaining agreement formulated in 2011 had an initial salary cap of $120 million. While the previous CBA had a salary floor, the new CBA did not have one until 2013. Starting with that season, each team is required to spend a minimum of 88.8% of the cap in cash on player compensation, and 90% in future years. However, the floor is based on total cash spent over each of two four-year periods, the first running from 2013–2016 and the second from 2017–2020. A team can be under the floor in one or more seasons in a cycle without violating the CBA, as long as its total spending during the four-year period reaches the required percentage of the cap.’

      So I hope that that answers some of your question for the time being. Teams can be under ‘the floor’ of the cap for any given year as long as in the four year cycle they spend the cumulative required amount. So in other words I think that it can keep rolling over until the 2016ish season. But I’m sure Tim and Sheil will give a much better and thorough explanation.

  • Token

    Texts from the Martin-Incognito case leaked out.

    Looks like nothing bad at all. Mostly just typical friend stuff. Martin looks like another Shawn Andrews.

    http://thebiglead.com/2014/02/03/here-are-over-1000-text-messages-that-richie-incognito-and-jonathan-martin-allegedly-exchanged/

    • RIP illa

      I’m late but thanx for that link. That’s some F’d up stuff, right there, on Martin’s part!!! SMDH. You don’t roll on a friend like the way he did. Total P move. Seems like he couldn’t things stressing him out and Incognito was his scapegoat. Who would want to sign him ever again. Never thought I’d have sympathy for Richie.

      • Token

        Yea it appears like Martin was looking for a payday without having to play. Him or his agent set up Richie as the fall guy. Tho, maybe stuff happened that we dont know yet. I wouldnt want either guy on my team reading through those texts.

        One interesting thing is they talk about drugs often. Hinting that Pouncy is big into drugs.

        • RIP illa

          RC called it from day one…the whole Andrews thing. Everything that’s been put out from then till now, shows that Incognito’s a douche, but there seems to be something way more wrong w/ Martin and I can’t stand when a man sells out his friends. Just the sheer volume of text, along w/ the content, along w/ Incognito’s interview, as well as other players quotes…show that Martin’s probably the problem. Unless text were left out (which I doubt) Incognito offered that kid mad life lines and an ear/shoulder to talk to and lean on.

          The Pouncey thing is totally believable. Those brothers just seem crazy. Wasn’t shocked by it. Loved how Incognito was all like stay away from that ish, but then had several texts about getting faded. And I totally agree w/ him. Drinking and smoking herb is one thing. But sounded like Pouncey was on a whole other level.

  • Ale (Brazil)

    Logan did a good job in his year 1 and i look forward to major improvement in all aspects of the defense. Not only the players that are already set will have a better grasp of BD’s scheme but they will also benefit of a full off-season in Chip mode. Logan seems like a driven guy. He added 30-plus pounds to his frame coming out of College. He is, according to the Eagles website, at 309lbs, and looks like a guy who can get to 315/320lbs. The tools are all there and i see him turning into a quite good player, either at NT or End.

    I wonder if the Eagles would consider adding Terrance Cody to our roster. Mammoth size: 6’4, 340 pounds…are you kidding me?. And also, the guy was at 375lbs when he was coming out of high school, which means that he could add even more (and quality) weight. He was a beast at Bama and a 2nd round talent that is stuck behind Ngata in the Ravens roster. If he hits Free Agency, i’d pull the trigger on him.