Since the start of free agency, the Eagles have added nine new players, but only one true pass-rusher – Connor Barwin.
Much of the offseason focus has been on rebuilding the secondary, but Howie Roseman, Chip Kelly and company still have work to do in bolstering the front seven – specifically, the defensive line.
Before we take a look at what areas still need to be addressed, let’s look at what the Eagles have on their current roster.
The Eagles have dropped not-so-subtle hints about a scheme change all offseason long.
Chip Kelly has talked about preferring a 3-4. And Howie Roseman has discussed the versatility of specific players like Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham.
But one position the Eagles likely will have to address in the coming months is nose tackle.
Here’s a look at what the team might be looking for out of its nose tackle, along with some free-agent options.
As for the details, there’s not a whole lot we know right now. We know Chip Kelly prefers a 3-4. We know defensive coordinator Billy Davis has a background in multiple schemes, including the 4-3 under. Having spoken to Davis and some of the other assistants, I got the impression that pre-snap disguise is going to be a big part of whatever the Eagles do.
As we look ahead to free agency (March 12) and the draft (April 25), now seems like a good time to take stock of the Eagles’ defensive linemen to see how they might fit going forward.
Antonio Dixon is back. The Eagles signed the defensive tackle to a two-year deal and placed Nick Foles on Injured Reserve. Linebacker Marcus Dowtin was also signed to the practice squad.
Dixon played in Philadelphia from 2009-11, compiling 62 tackles and three sacks. He appeared in two games for the Colts this season but was released on October 29.
Dowtin (6-2, 226) recorded four special teams tackles in three games for the New York Jets this season. He was waived by the team on November 20.
For bubble players, cut-down day is all about the phone call. If you go the whole day without one, you have made the 53-man roster. If the phone rings and the incoming call starts with a “215” area code, chances are you are being summoned to gather your things and drop off your playbook.
Just imagine how slowly time ticks by. Or how your stress level shoots through the roof when your cell phone buzzes because a friend or family member is unaware of the circumstances.
“You go about your day. If they call you they call you, if they don’t they don’t,” said cornerback Brandon Hughes. “You get an unknown number, that’s probably them calling you. I can’t be sitting by the phone all day hoping the Philadelphia Eagles don’t call me.”
He was asked whether the Eagles could keep six defensive ends, and the head coach wanted to make clear that he’s not too fond of letting capable pass-rushers walk for nothing.
“There’s a chance,” Reid said. “I’m stingy when it comes to defensive linemen, so we’ve got to work the numbers and just see how all that pans out. There will be some tough decisions all the way around there.”
Asomugha suffered a lip laceration and a sore neck. On Tuesday, Andy Reid said the cornerback had “whiplash-type symptoms.”
Yesterday, Asomugha began practice, but did not finish because of discomfort in his neck. He said today that he couldn’t talk much because his mouth (lip) is still recovering. Asomugha added that his neck is fine.