By Kevin K
The Eagles main trouble last season was because they couldn’t stay healthy on defense.
This season the Eagles plan on bringing a change to the defensive scheme. The Eagles have gone young, especially after the 2010 draft, and look to bring that into the defensive scheme this season.
Rumor has it that Defensive Coordinator, Sean McDermott, is testing out the 3-4 defense this season. When asked about how the 3-4 could help the Eagles, Eagles MLB Stewart Bradley said, “We have such a talented group of guys on defense that we’d be strong playing any way. We all play off each other’s strengths”.
DE: Brandon Graham, Trent Cole, Juqua Parker, Victor Abiamiri, Ricky Sapp, Darryl Tapp, Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, Eric Moncur.
DE Was a weak position for the Eagles over the past couple of years, but in 2010 that changes. The Eagles have always had one of the top DE’s in the league in Trent Cole, but they never had someone on the opposite side that could help put the pressure on the QB. In 2010 the Eagles changed that. The Eagles drafted Brandon Graham and Daniel Te’o-Nesheim to help put more pressure on the QB. They also traded for DE Darryl Tapp who can help on the other side. With the depth the Eagles have at DE this season, expect them to use a rotation of DE to try to trick the opposing QB.
With the strength of the DE position, it helps put more pressure on the QB so that he will have to release the ball earlier against our lack luster secondary.
Position Battle: Not all DE’s can make the team this year, which opens up a huge competition in Training Camp. The only true locks for the Eagles at DE are Brandon Graham and Trent Cole. Look for an open competition for at least two other spots at DE. Although Juqua Parker and Victor Abiamiri have played well for the Eagles, they haven’t truly made a great impression and need to fight for a job this season.
DT: Broderick Bunkley, Mike Patterson, Antonio Dixon, Trevor Laws, Jeff Owens, Boo Robinson
Broderick Bunkley and Mike Patterson have continued to play well for the Eagles over the past few years. This season, the Eagles decided that they needed to back them up a little more, enter Boo Robinson and Jeff Owens. They are two big guys that can fill the gaps quickly and stop the run. Trevor Laws can also help in stopping the run and pass.
Position Battle: Look for the Eagles to keep four DT and use them all in a rotation. With six players currently on the roster at this position; look for the Eagles to cut at least two DT. Dixon, Laws, Owens, and Robinson all have to fight to fill two open spots on the roster. Pay close attention to these ffour during Training Camp.
LB: Stewart Bradley, Ernie Sims, Akeem Jordan, Joe Mays, Omar Gaither, Moise Fokou, Jamar Chaney, Keenan Clayton, Simoni Lawrence
One of the strongest positions for the Eagles this season, the LB’s are set to play any defense that Sean McDermott throws at them. Rumor has it that Sean McDermott is working on a 3-4 defense; which of course would mean four linebackers. This would put more elusive pressure on the opposing QB and open up different defensive schemes.
This season the Eagles get their defensive leader back in Stewart Bradley. Bradley has the ability to be one of the best MLBs in the NFL. This season Bradley has a bunch of LBs to help him. With the acquisition of Ernie Sims it gives the Eagles more weapons at the linebacker position. Akeem Jordan has played incredibly well over the last few seasons and looks to continue his success.
Position Battle: With a lot of LBs on the Eagles roster, look for an open competition between Mays, Gaither Fokou, Chaney, Clayton, and Lawrence to make the roster this season. This is another position that you must keep your eyes open on during Training Camp.
CB: Asante Samuel, Ellis Hobbs, Joselio Hanson, Trevard Lindley, Dimitri Patterson, David Pender, Geoff Pope
The CB position is one of weakness for the Eagles this season. Asante Samuel is one of the best CB’s in the NFL, however, as we saw last year he has trouble tackling. The problem is that after the Eagles traded Sheldon Brown they have had trouble filling in his shoes.
Right now the penciled in starters have to be Asante Samuel and Ellis Hobbs. The two former Patriot starters are back together and working with a weak secondary for the Eagles defense. There is definitely and open competition for all of the Eagles CB’s positions. This is the main position to look out for during Training Camp. The good thing about this position battle is that they are all going to have to go against the Eagles strong receiving core during Camp.
Look for Hanson, Lindley, Patterson, and Ellis to have a huge position battle throughout camp this year.
S: Quintin Mikell, Nate Allen, Macho Harris, Quintin Demps, Kurt Coleman, Ryan Hamilton, Brett Johnson
Along with the CB position, the Safety position is just as weak. Leading the Eagles safeties is Pro-Bowl Safety Quintin Mikell. Mikell didn’t deserve the Pro Bowl last season because he didn’t play well, however, two seasons ago he had a career year and looks to get that personality back. This is an open competition at a position that the Eagles expect to rotate throughout the year. Look for four of the seven players to make the team.
The safety position is one to lookout for during Training Camp.
The Eagles defense is filled with its strengths and weaknesses and should be fun to watch grow as the season goes along.