Mark J. Rebilas / USA Today
Note: We have started a new thread for Sunday’s buzz.
The legal tampering period is underway. Clubs are permitted to enter into contract negotiations with the representatives of players who will become free agents on March 10. Deals cannot become official until 4 p.m. Tuesday, but there will be plenty of leaks between now and then.
The Eagles are expected to be active. They have needs at the corner, safety and outside linebacker positions, and could bring in a veteran running back after dealing LeSean McCoy to Buffalo this week. There’s also the issue of their own free agents. They have been unable to strike a deal with Jeremy Maclin and now must compete with other teams as they try to negotiate a contract extension. They have decisions to make with players like Mark Sanchez and Brandon Graham as well.
Lots to keep track of. This is the place to keep up with it all. We’ll continue to update this post with all the latest rumors and news. Read more »
Today’s question comes from Silvio on the Birds 24/7 Facebook page:
Two of our best young defenders (Vinny Curry and Brandon Graham) are better fits for a 4-3 scheme, and we are underusing them and risking losing them. Also, Trent Cole and probably Fletcher Cox are more suitable to a 4-3, while only Connor Barwin is a true 3-4 player. If the target is maximizing your talent, does it make any sense keeping this odd front?
Thanks for the question, Silvio. I actually think the job the coaching staff has done with the front seven in the past two years has been the biggest success story on defense. Read more »
Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco
Throughout the next two weeks, we’ll take a position-by-position look at where the Eagles stand going into the offseason. We have covered the quarterbacks, wide receivers, running backs, tight ends and offensive line so far. Now it’s on to the defensive line.
STATE OF THE ROSTER
Five of the six players who were in the Eagles’ rotation last year – Fletcher Cox, Bennie Logan, Brandon Bair, Beau Allen and Vinny Curry - are all under contract for 2015.
The name missing from that list is Cedric Thornton. The starting left defensive end is a restricted free agent, meaning the Eagles can match offers for him.
Another player who figures to be in the mix is Taylor Hart. The Eagles spent a fifth-round pick on Hart last spring, but he was inactive for all 16 games. The expectation for 2015 should be for Hart to earn a backup spot, presumably from Bair, who is 30 years old. Read more »
There’s “V-Doc” (Vinny Curry) and “Fletch” (Fletcher Cox) and “Swamp” (Cedric Thornton, given to him by Jim Washburn who thought he was built like the Swamp Thing). Then there’s “Wado” (Wade Keliikipi) and “B-Bair” (Brandon Bair) and “T-Hart” (Taylor Hart). Those are some of the nicknames you might hear bouncing off the walls inside the defensive line room.
There is also a nickname for the group that the players have embraced in recent weeks.
“We’re ‘The Nobodies,’” said Cox. “That’s us.” Read more »
Here’s a player-by-player breakdown of what we saw from the Eagles’ defense against the Cowboys, after having re-watched. Read more »
Tim Heltman/USA Today
ARLINGTON, Texas — Bennie Logan insists he wasn’t trying to create a stir.
The Eagles’ nose tackle was asked during the week about the Cowboys’ offensive line, and he made it quite clear that he wasn’t impressed. His comments seemed somewhat out of character, but Logan’s fellow defensive linemen Fletcher Cox and Cedric Thornton backed him up. They felt like they were a good group that has been flying the under the radar, and they were not going to be intimidated by the one of the league’s best rushing attacks.
“People had their own opinions about teams and things like that,” Logan said after the Eagles’ 33-10 win. “I’m a nobody. I’m a nobody. We’ve got a lot of nobodies up front. People don’t give us the credit and things like that. We just play football. We have fun when we do it. It wasn’t any big talk or anything, no big pressure or anything like that. We just wanted to go out there and have fun and just play our style of defense.”
The Eagles’ defensive line showed up in a big way, limiting DeMarco Murray to 73 yards and 3.7 YPC. Both numbers were season lows. This was just the second time in 12 games Murray failed to gain at least 100 yards. Read more »
Here’s a player-by-player review of the Eagles’ defense after having re-watched Sunday’s game against the Titans.
Fletcher Cox – Another solid game out of Cox. The coaches credited him with one tackle, one sack and one hurry. Cox stopped Shonn Greene after a 4-yard run in the first. He disrupted a run play that gained 3. Good rush late in the first half, but Zach Mettenberger reset and completed a pass. Got some help from the coverage in the back end, slipped inside the offensive lineman and sacked Mettenberger in the second. Cox batted a pass on the next play. Drew a holding call on a run play in the third. Fought off defenders and stopped Bishop Sankey after a 4-yard run in the third. He played 62 percent of the snaps. Announcers made it a point to mention how much Chip Kelly praised Cox during production meetings. He’s had a great season. The Eagles need him to be disruptive against Dallas. Read more »
Photo Credit: Eric Hartline – USA Today
While talking about Jordan Matthews at his postgame press conference Monday night, Mark Sanchez joked that he didn’t want too pump up the rookie too much because “he’ll get a big head and his hat won’t fit.”
There were no signs of an inflated ego as Matthews faced the large crowd of reporters surrounding his locker stall, though, and his green Eagles cap with the black brim seemed to fit just fine. He had just busted out on Monday Night Football, snaring seven balls for 138 yards and a pair of touchdowns to help his team improve to 7-2. How did it feel?
“I felt like I was Jeremy Maclin,” said Matthews, drawing a big smile out of No. 18 a couple stalls down. “At the same time, you have to put it behind you. Like I said, I have a bunch of great guys ahead of me who show me how to be a professional. If you take too much time looking at the stats and drinking the Kool-Aid, you lose your appetite. I just try to put it behind me and move forward.” Read more »
Photo by: Jeff Fusco.
With eight games down and eight to go, let’s take a position-by-position look at where the Eagles stand. We’ll hand out grades for performances up to this point and project what’s in store for the months ahead.
Here’s the defense. We’ll get to the offense in a later installment. Read more »
Here’s a player-by-player review of how the Eagles’ defense performed against the Texans after having watched the All-22 copy. Read more »