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 »
When Howie Roseman was asked last week whether the team was still in position to be aggressive in free agency given the extensions he handed out to current players, the Eagles’ GM offered a short response.
“Yes,” he said.
But before the next question was asked, Roseman clarified.
“It will affect other things going forward, but yes.”
It doesn’t take a detective to figure out what those other things going forward are. In fact, they have names: Nick Foles, Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks and Brandon Boykin. You’ll notice the common thread among those four players is that they were members of the Eagles’ 2012 draft class. Read more »
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 backs, wide receivers, tight 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 »
Before scaring the hell out of Erin Andrews and setting social media ablaze with his unfiltered thoughts on Michael Crabtree, Richard Sherman made the play of the game. Despite the corner’s assertions, Crabtree is far from mediocre. Yet Sherman stayed stride-for-stride with the receiver down the right sideline, turned his body, leapt into the air and stretched out his left arm to deflect a would-be go-ahead touchdown pass from Colin Kaepernick. Malcolm Smith came up with the interception, securing the Seahawks’ spot in Super Bowl XLVIII.
“There are not many guys who can make a play on this ball,” said Troy Aikman as the Seattle crowd boomed in the background.
Chip Kelly frequently calls the NFL a player’s league, and that sequence with under 30 ticks remaining Sunday night demonstrated his point. The fate of two franchises came down to a one-on-one matchup. If Sherman doesn’t get his paw on that ball, the Niners are playing for the title in New Jersey in two weeks. But he did, so the Seahawks advance. Read more »
Before we get started: DeSean Jackson was named to the Pro Bowl on Friday. He replaces Andre Johnson, who is not participating because of an unspecified injury, according to the league.
Jackson is the fifth Eagle selected to this year’s Pro Bowl, joining LeSean McCoy, Jason Peters, Nick Foles and Evan Mathis. Peters has opted not to play in the game.
Now onto the mailbag: Read more »
For most of the year, we kept track of how productive Eagles defensive players were when rushing the passer.
With all 16 regular-season games and the playoff loss to the Saints in the rear-view mirror, it’s time for one final tally.
Sacks, hurries and batted passes are tracked by the Eagles’ coaches. The Penalties column tracks instances when the defender forces an offensive holding or an intentional grounding call. Chances are tracked by Pro Football Focus. And I calculated the final column as the percentage of times a defender did something (sack, hurry, batted ball, forced penalty) to affect the passer, given the opportunities. Read more »
Here’s a position-by-position review of the Eagles’ defensive performance against Dallas after having watched the coaches tape.
* This group limited DeMarco Murray to 51 yards on 17 carries (3.0 YPC). Cedric Thornton probably had the best game of any of the linemen. He combined with Bennie Logan to stop Murray after a 3-yard run in the first half. In the third, Thornton and Brandon Boykin dropped Murry for a 4-yard loss, putting Dallas in a tough third-down spot. Thornton finished with two tackles.
* Fletcher Cox was quiet – one tackle, no sacks, no hurries. Logan had three tackles. He pressured Kyle Orton and helped force him into a bad throw in the second.
* All three starting defensive linemen jumped early once, drawing flags. Read more »
Here is a complete breakdown of Sunday night’s Eagles-Cowboys matchup.
THE BIG PICTURE
It’s pretty simple: Winner hosts a first-round playoff game next weekend, while the loser goes home.
The Cowboys have been up and down with two losses in their last three games, but they pulled out a 24-23 victory over the Redskins in Week 16.
The Eagles have won six of seven and are averaging 39.3 points per game in their last three. Read more »
Pro Bowl rosters will be announced tonight. With the new format, there is no AFC and NFC designation. The field is chosen, and then there will be a fantasy-style draft to determine the two teams.
I know – try to contain your excitement.
Mocking aside, the honor of being recognized as one of the best in the game is important and meaningful to most players. So below is a look at nine current Eagles who deserve to be mentioned in the conversation. Read more »
Before we get to the predictions, here’s the iTunes link to this week’s podcast. Tim and Sheil talked Eagles-Bears, expectations for the final two weeks and more on 97.5 The Fanatic.
Player I’ll be watching:
McManus: Brandon Boykin
The cornerback returned to practice Thursday after being sidelined earlier in the week with a concussion. The fact that he’ll be able to play in this one is big. The secondary needs all hands on deck to try and slow a dangerous Chicago pass attack. Brandon Marshall will line up inside at times, making Boykin’s role that much more critical. Read more »