Gameday: Three Eagles Leftovers

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

SAN FRANCISCO — As we count down to kickoff, here are three Eagles leftovers to chew on.

1. Nose tackle Bennie Logan is quietly playing really well and has been a key to the Birds’ sound run defense.

Logan leads all Eagles defensive linemen in tackles (18), according to stats tracked by the coaches. NFL.com stats have Logan down for 16 tackles, which ranks third among all defensive linemen.

I asked Logan what the key has been to improving on his performance from a year ago.

“Being able to read and see offensive linemen, their stance, what they’re trying to get to and keeping our linebacker free,” he said. “Make sure ‘Meco [DeMeco Ryans] stays healthy. That’s my biggest thing. If I never get any more tackles, my biggest thing is making sure ‘Meco stays healthy throughout the whole season. He just puts us in situation to be successful. As long as he stays healthy, our defense will stay strong and remain strong. So that’s my main thing. Make sure he’s taken care of when I’m in the game and don’t let the offensive linemen get up on him.” Read more »

Maclin To Play Vs. Chicago

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

CHICAGO – Jeremy Maclin, who sat out parts of practice this week, will suit up and play tonight in the Eagles’ preseason opener against the Chicago Bears.

This will be Maclin’s first game action since the 2012 season finale. He tore his ACL last July during training camp and was sidelined for the year.

The following Eagles are out: nose tackle Bennie Logan (hamstring), cornerback Nolan Carroll II, wide receiver Riley Cooper (foot), inside linebacker Jake Knott (hamstring), wide receiver Jeff Maehl (ankle), running back Chris Polk (hamstring) and center Julian Vandervelde (back). Read more »

Expect More Base Looks From Eagles ‘D’

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Billy Davis and the Eagles made a decision going into last year’s playoff game against the Saints: Commit resources to stopping Drew Brees,and force New Orleans to move the ball with its ground game.

In the first half, the gameplan worked well as Sean Payton’s offense managed just six points. But in the second half, the Saints got going, scoring on four of five possessions to secure a victory.

In reality, it was a pick-your-poison situation. Against the Saints’ prolific passing attack, Davis wanted Brandon Boykin on the field. But against the Eagles’ nickel package, New Orleans ran 13 times for 84 yards (6.5 YPC).

Fast-forward to 2014, and Davis feels like he has more options – specifically because of the addition of Malcolm Jenkins.

“Absolutely,” Davis said, when asked if Jenkins’ versatility will allow him to stay in base more this season. “I think all of our safeties have the skill set of being able to come down and cover a third wide receiver. I don’t have to put nickel on the field. Read more »

Camp Notes: McCoy/Cole Square Off

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

The first fight of training camp featured a pair of prominent Eagles players.

At the end of the very first play of 7-on-7′s Sunday, a large scrum grew near the left sideline. In the middle LeSean McCoy and Trent Cole were locking horns. Teammates successfully separated the two for a moment until McCoy leaped back into the pile trying to get a shot at the outside linebacker. The two launched words back at one another as they were guided to different areas of the field. Eventually, the scene settled.

What happened? Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: D-Line Training Camp Preview

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Leading up to training camp on July 25, we’ll have a position-by-position preview of the Eagles’ roster. We start with the defensive line.

The pressing question: Can Fletcher Cox make the leap?

Cox has been a productive player and shown off his unique blend of power and athleticism on several occasions. But he’s yet to put it all together. The third-year player has had three different defensive coordinators and three different defensive line coaches in his first two seasons. Now he gets some continuity under position coach Jerry Azzinaro. Cox demonstrated in 2013 that he could indeed play defensive end in a two-gap 3-4 after firing off the ball as a defensive tackle in a 4-3 as a rookie. Read more »

Big People: Eight Potential Eagles DL Targets

NFL: Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens

Defensive line is an under-the-radar need for the Eagles going into free agency and the draft.

Here’s what we know: The team really likes Fletcher Cox and Cedric Thornton as 3-4 defensive ends. It would be a surprise if they’re not two of the three starters going into 2014.

But there’s a lot we don’t know. For example, do the Eagles think Bennie Logan is the answer at nose tackle? There’s no doubt they like Logan, but maybe he’s more of a rotational guy who offers versatility and plays DT in sub packages.

There are more question marks with the backups. The Eagles want to rotate bodies up front, but they just didn’t have enough talent to do a ton of that last season. It’ll be a surprise if free agent Clifton Geathers returns. And Damion Square will have to battle for a roster spot next summer.

As we mentioned yesterday, it’s no guarantee that Vinny Curry returns.

Keeping all that in mind, look for the Eagles to add bodies and competition up front in the coming months. The “big people beat up little people” motto is especially true on the defensive line.

When taking a look at the free agent list, here are eight names that caught my eye: Read more »

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. Read more »

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