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Yesterday, we went over how the Eagles’ offensive talent stacks up.
Today, let’s take a look at the defense.
I sometimes wonder if Sean McDermott looks at the moves the Eagles have made on that side of the ball the last two years and thinks: Where was this when I was the defensive coordinator?
This offseason, the Eagles used three picks in the first two rounds on defensive players. They also acquired middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans from the Texans. But is the Birds’ talent where it needs to be on defense?
Everybody gets heir turn, but Fletcher Cox has spent his fair share of time in Jim Washburn’s crosshairs this summer. When the 62-year-old southern flamethrower decides it’s your day, he starts in on you and doesn’t relent. From across the field you’ll hear, “Fletcherrrr!” followed by a series of phrases generally unsuitable for print.
“For one thing, under Wash, you have to have tough skin. If you’re a guy where it’s easy to get under your skin…you’d have a pretty hard time here,” Cox acknowledged.
It makes sense that Washburn would zero in on Cox. After all, the rookie will be thrust into a big role immediately, so it’s important that he is up to snuff. But it’s not all tough love that the defensive line coach is showing the 12th overall pick.
For first-round pick Fletcher Cox, this was just part of the learning process.
With the Eagles in full pads for the first time this summer, Cox participated in one-on-one drills against the offensive linemen. On one rep, last year’s first-round pick, Danny Watkins, stood his ground and got the better of Cox.
Jim Washburn immediately turned his attention to the next defensive lineman up. But Cullen Jenkins, an eight-year veteran, decided it was time to give the rookie some pointers, taking him aside and offering up some instruction.
On one of the first plays today, Nnamdi Asomugha lined up inside against backup tight end Chase Ford. Last year, playing Asmougha inside was simple because the Eagles had Asante Samuel and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on the outside. But Samuel’s gone, and the new wrinkle today was that Curtis Marsh lined up outside at right cornerback.
Marsh, a third-round pick in 2011, played only 13 defensive snaps as a rookie. But with Samuel gone, he’s looking to fill a bigger role in his second season.
“We rotate. We have different guys that do different things well. It’s by gameplan,” Marsh said.