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: Kevin Jairaj – USA Today
The dead period of the NFL calendar is almost over with the NFL Combine slated to begin on Wednesday. As free agency and the draft inch closer, here’s what the national media are saying about the Eagles.
Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com identifies Jeremy Maclin as the Eagles top priority this offseason:
Letting DeSean Jackson walk a year ago will probably haunt Chip Kelly for a while. So now Jeremy Maclin has him over a barrel a year after the Eagles were able to re-sign him on the cheap while coming off an ACL injury. With the quarterback position unstable — or at least unproven — this team needs to keep skill players who fit and Maclin is the obvious starting point. If I can find a trade partner for Trent Cole, I’m doing it, and I am releasing Riley Cooper before his salary becomes guaranteed next month.
Read more »
Mark J. Rebilas / USA Today
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, offensive line and defensive line so far. Now it’s onto the outside linebackers.
STATE OF THE ROSTER
There are all kinds of question marks at this spot going into the offseason. The biggest one concerns Brandon Graham, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent.
The second concerns Trent Cole, who is due a base salary of $10 million and carries a cap hit of $11.625 million for 2015.
That means two of the three outside linebackers who were in the rotation last year (Connor Barwin being the third) face uncertain futures. Marcus Smith II, meanwhile, couldn’t get on the field as a rookie and was shuffled back and forth between outside linebacker and inside linebacker. The coaches hope he’ll show progress in Year 2, but that’s certainly not something they can count on. Read more »
Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco
Today’s question comes from reader Andy, via e-mail:
How do you feel about the current state and future of the LB corps? They have two free agents in Brandon Graham and friend of the commenters Casey Matthews. Can they keep Trent Cole at his present price? Will Marcus Smith II ever see the field? Is ‘Meco done-o? The only non-question it seems is Mychal Kyndricks. Is that too many questions for one Wake-Up Call?
If I’m being perfectly honest here, Andy, yes, that’s way too many questions. We’ve got a whole offseason to get through here and need to spread the wealth!
So let’s split it up the topics you mentioned. We wrote about DeMeco Ryans yesterday. And we’re currently rolling out offseason outlook pieces for each position. So today, let’s talk about the outside linebackers and the pass-rush. Read more »
The Eagles seem to have a willing dance partner in Trent Cole.
The 10-year veteran appears comfortable with the idea of moving on if that’s the way things break, but his preference is to finish his career in Philadelphia.
Is he willing to rework his deal so he can come back for another season?
“Yes,” he responded. “I want to do whatever I can to make things work. Hopefully it results in me being here.”
The 32-year old’s base salary jumps from $5 million to $10 million next season and he’s slated to make just shy of $35 million over the final three years of his deal. There’s basically no shot he ends up collecting all that coin. Cole and the Eagles will likely have to find some middle ground to keep the relationship going. Read more »
Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA Today
Player I’ll Be Watching
Kapadia: Trent Cole
The long-time Eagle had some fun with reporters this week, saying he was unlikely to play vs. the Giants. But practice reports showed he was a full participant, and it looks like Cole will give it a go after undergoing hand surgery and missing last week’s game.
The 32-year-old has been one of the most productive Eagles draft picks in recent memory. The team selected him in the fifth round in 2005, and he’s started 144 games. Cole has never missed more than two games in a season and has totaled 85.5 sacks. Read more »
Photo Credit: Jeffrey G. Pittenger-USA TODAY
No current Eagles player has been with the team longer than Trent Cole.
A fifth-round pick back in 2005 (the same year the team drafted Todd Herremans), Cole has logged 154 games in Eagles green over the span of 10 seasons.
Has the 32-year-old thought about the fact that Sunday could be his last opportunity to play for this franchise? Read more »
Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco
Nick Foles continues to work alongside his teammates at practice. He’s ditched the knit cap for a helmet and has ramped up his level of participation of late, signs that his fractured collarbone is on the mend. But it didn’t heal fast enough for Foles to make a return to the lineup this season.
Come Sunday, Mark Sanchez and Foles will have started the same number of games this year. Considering that he hasn’t been in the lineup since November 2 and has yet to play a full season in the NFL, has the coaching seen enough to know what they have in Foles?
“I think we know what we have in Nick,” said Pat Shurmur. “We’ve seen a guy that by last count I think is 14-4 as a starter (under Chip Kelly). So that’s really how you judge a quarterback.” Read more »
The following Eagles are inactive for today’s game against Washington: QB Nick Foles, S Jerome Couplin, OLB Trent Cole, C Julian Vandervelde, OL Dennis Kelly, WR Jeff Maehl and DL Taylor Hart.
The only difference from last week is that Cole is out with a hand injury. He had surgery earlier this week. Taking Cole’s place will be Brandon Graham. If the Eagles go with a rotation, Marcus Smith II or Bryan Braman could get into the mix. But expect Graham and Connor Barwin to play most of the snaps.
DB Jaylen Watkins was inactive last week, but he’ll dress today. Read more »
Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco
Here’s the injury report for Saturday’s game in D.C.: Read more »