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Defensive Line

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NEWS
April 22, 2012
DT FLETCHER COX, MISSISSIPPI STATE - Tall, athletic and disruptive, some think he could be one of the best defensive players in the draft. His game would fit well with the Eagles. DT DONTARI POE, MEMPHIS - The 346-pound defensive tackle impressed with a stunning 4.98-second 40-yard dash at the combine, but his ability didn't translate into big plays on the field. DT MICHAEL BROCKERS, LSU - Brockers is 6-foot-5 and a powerful force up front but is raw and needs to improve as a pass rusher.
NEWS
May 23, 2013 | By Zach Berman, Inquirer Staff Writer
Part Six of an online-only series. Here is a look at the defensive linemen on the Eagles roster: Projected starters DE: Fletcher Cox (6-4, 300), 22, 2nd season; Cedric Thornton (6-4, 309), 24, 2nd season The Eagles are counting on Cox, the 2012 first-round pick, to become a blue-chip player in the Eagles new defense. He showed flashes of stardom last year, including 4 1/2 of his 5 1/2 sacks after joining the starting lineup seven games into the season.
SPORTS
June 8, 2013 | By Jeff McLane, Inquirer Staff Writer
Of all the changes implemented - or yet to be implemented - under Eagles coach Chip Kelly, the most significant may prove to be the transformation of the defensive line. Not only have the Eagles moved to what will likely be a front of three down-lineman, they have altered the responsibilities of linemen who were previously told to think pass-rush first. Defensive coordinator Bill Davis' scheme is a work in progress, but defensive end Cedric Thornton said that he envisions an Eagles line that will focus on stopping the run first and eating up blockers to free up other pass- rushers.
SPORTS
August 28, 2013 | By John N. Mitchell, Inquirer Staff Writer
When Temple coach Matt Rhule started watching the game film of Notre Dame last week, the play of the Fighting Irish's defensive line was the first thing he noticed. On Monday morning, he was still noticing. The Owls have some depth and considerable size along their offensive line, with Kyle Friend returning at center and the addition of 6-foot-4, 330-pound Maryland transfer Pete White at right guard. But the Fighting Irish went undefeated last season until an Alabama team loaded with future first-round picks across its offensive line destroyed them in the national championship game.
SPORTS
August 12, 2011
JIM WASHBURN, the Eagles' new defensive line coach, had his leg broken in a sideline collision early last season when he worked for the Tennessee Titans. The experience has not appeared to back him off an inch. Late in the fourth quarter of the Eagles' 13-6 exhibition win over the Baltimore Ravens - a time and a place that pretty much defined meaninglessness - there Washburn was, still right in the middle of things, getting himself run over again on the sideline. This time, it was by Ravens receiver Justin Harper, as he was being ridden out of bounds.
SPORTS
May 7, 2014
The Eagles signed Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva on Monday, giving the 6-foot-9, 277-pound defensive lineman his first chance to play football since he was commissioned on May 22, 2010. Villanueva spent the past four years in the Army and served three tours in Afghanistan. He last played football for Army in 2009 and tried out for the Bengals in 2010. The Eagles scouted Villanueva, 25, at the super regional combine in Detroit in April. He will be with the team for the rookie minicamp from May 16-18.
SPORTS
September 5, 2014 | BY JOHN McGONIGAL, Daily News Staff Writer mcgonij@phillynews.com
STATE COLLEGE - Ohio State's defensive line, now coached by former Penn State coach Larry Johnson, is stocked with future NFL talent. Michigan State's stifling unit is headlined by preseason All-America defensive end Shilique Calhoun. But after taking in the opening week of college football, the preseason talk of premier front fours might have unjustly left a Big Ten unit out of the conversation. "I would say that people overlook us," Penn State defensive tackle Austin Johnson said.
SPORTS
April 23, 2012 | By Jonathan Tamari, Inquirer Staff Writer
Love them or hate them, the Eagles' draft picks on the defensive line usually have been memorable. They are rarely boring. They have been stars who set standards of Eagles excellence. They have been colorful. They have been busts of historic proportions. They have been hated and loved and have died tragically early. Start at the top, with Reggie White, who was taken in the 1984 supplemental draft and became one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history. He made seven Pro Bowls with the Eagles and six with the Green Bay Packers after leaving as perhaps the most sought-after free agent in NFL history.
SPORTS
November 27, 2013 | By Jeff McLane, Inquirer Staff Writer
There was a practice earlier this season when Fletcher Cox, just finished with the sled, looked to his left and saw Cedric Thornton still churning his legs, the sweat dripping from his chin. It was only a fleeting moment longer than Cox had driven his body into the blocking dummy. But after a few months of watching his fellow defensive end, Cox had a question for Thornton: "Man, why do you work so hard?" Eagles coaches have praised the work ethic of all their defensive linemen, so it's not as if Cox was slacking.
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SPORTS
April 29, 2015
THE EAGLES protected their 2016 rights to Fletcher Cox yesterday when they picked up the defensive end's fifth-year option under his rookie contract. The option doesn't mean the team can't come to agreement with Cox on a longer-term extension. It does mean Cox can't become a free agent before 2017. Cox, 24, whom the Eagles drafted 12th overall in 2012, led the defensive line with 70 tackles last season. He was the team's most disruptive defensive player in 2014. - Les Bowen  
SPORTS
April 29, 2015 | BY ANDREW ALBERT, Philly.com AAlbert@phillynews.com
EVERY April, there is a buzz in the football world that usually revolves around the NFL draft. This week, Chip Kelly, Marcus Mariota and other prominent names will be hard to avoid until Eagles fans find out just what Kelly has in store for his team. Next year, the focus of the city, aside from Kelly's antics, could be squarely on North Broad Street. The Temple Owls have a cluster of players who could hear their names called from the lectern at the 2016 NFL draft. "I think we'll have a bunch of guys next year that get invited to the combine, a bunch of guys get drafted," coach Matt Rhule said.
SPORTS
April 24, 2015 | BY ANDREW ALBERT, Philly.com AAlbert@phillynews.com
DURING Tyler Matakevich's sophomore year in the Temple football program, newly installed head coach Matt Rhule posed a question to his entire football team. Rhule asked how each player wanted to be remembered at Temple. For Matakevich, the answer back then was simple and has remained the same, as he heads for his last year in cherry and white. "A hardworking, nose-for-the-ball type of football player," the senior linebacker said, describing how he wants to be remembered. "A kid that never stops.
SPORTS
December 26, 2014 | By LES BOWEN, Daily News Staff Writer
ONE REASON the 2013 Eagles improved from 3-5 in the first half of the season to 7-1 in the second half was the progress made by Bill Davis' defense. It still had issues, some of which were exploited in the 26-24 playoff loss to New Orleans, but the trend was positive; most of us thought Davis did an excellent job scheming to hide weaknesses. This season, as the defensive line grew into a dominant group, and the pass rush from the line and the outside linebackers gained consistency, for quite a while it seemed that the unit's overall progress would continue.
SPORTS
December 2, 2014 | By Zach Berman, Inquirer Staff Writer
The most impressive play in the Eagles' Thanksgiving win over the Dallas Cowboys might not make any highlight reels. It was a second-down run stuff by defensive lineman Fletcher Cox, and promotional campaigns are not usually built around second-down run stuffs. But DeMarco Murray's 1-yard loss 4 yards away from the end zone helped limit the Dallas Cowboys to a field goal instead of a touchdown in the third quarter of a 33-10 Eagles win, and it exemplified Cox's level of play all afternoon.
SPORTS
December 1, 2014
I SHOULD have listened. The Eagles' defensive line was trying to tell us something during the week, when it refused to get all gushy over the Cowboys' much-lauded offensive line, the engine driving the NFL's No. 2 rushing attack. "The running back's having a good year running, but I don't see anything spectacular about them," nose tackle Bennie Logan said as the Dallas game approached. "Same offensive line we faced last year, and they have one new guy . . . They're OK linemen.
SPORTS
November 29, 2014 | By Zach Berman, Inquirer Staff Writer
ARLINGTON, Texas - LeSean McCoy did not know what the point spread had been for the Eagles' Thanksgiving Day showdown against the Dallas Cowboys, but he was correct with his presumption that the Eagles entered the game as underdogs. "Were we underdogs today? For sure, right?" McCoy said. "Dallas gets a lot of hype. I'm sure everybody took them in the game. They've got good players. But we've got good players, too. " After the Eagles' 33-10 win, they appeared superior. The gulf between coach Chip Kelly's team and the rest of the NFC East widened in a statement game that could resonate when the playoff bracket is determined next month.
SPORTS
November 29, 2014 | By Jeff McLane, Inquirer Staff Writer
ARLINGTON, Texas - Chip Kelly said the Eagles aren't "into statements. " The coach is always wary of labels, and despite the Eagles' dominating, 33-10 win over the Dallas Cowboys in front of a national audience, he found no reason to support the notion that his team made a statement on Thanksgiving. But some of the Eagles players, particularly on defense, had no trouble taking the bait. The defensive line chirped all week about earning respect. Fletcher Cox, Bennie Logan, and Cedric Thornton said they didn't think the Cowboys' offensive line was as invincible as some have suggested.
SPORTS
November 28, 2014
ARLINGTON, Texas - It is not exactly a thankless job, playing defensive end in a 3-4 defense, but it is not exactly a glamour position, either. You spend much of your life trying to tie a rope around some mammoth guard on the other side of the line of scrimmage so that one of the linebackers can make the tackle. In pass-rushing situations, well, most of the sacks go to the guys on the outside while you attempt to crash the pocket and move the quarterback off his spot and into their waiting hands.
SPORTS
November 28, 2014 | BY AARON CARTER, Daily News Staff Writer cartera@phillynews.com
IF YOU SAW Teair Tart-Spencer play football this season for West Philadelphia High you might not believe last season was his first as a gridder. At 6-4 and 285 pounds, the senior two-way lineman grew up playing basketball. And when asked about the toughest adjustment, the Northern Liberties resident wasn't able to narrow his focus, at all. "I guess it was learning how to do everything because I couldn't even get into the offensive tackle's stance!" he laughed. "It looked terrible, it looked terrible.
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