April 23, 2012 |
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.
November 27, 2013 |
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.
November 3, 2013 |
It happens with increasing regularity in the NFL. A team cuts ties with a veteran and hands his job to a rookie, even if said rookie isn't quite ready to assume the responsibilities of starting. The Eagles trading Isaac Sopoaga to make way for Bennie Logan doesn't quite fit that narrative, but the rookie is expected to take most of the snaps at nose tackle after the 10-year veteran was dealt to the Patriots on Tuesday. "I learned a lot from Isaac. I take nothing away from him. I wish him the best.
October 25, 2013 |
CEDRIC THORNTON doesn't look like a guy you'd peg as a run-stopper of a defensive lineman. At 6-3, 309, he's kind of rangy. If you didn't know his listed weight and someone told you he was a linebacker, you wouldn't look askance. But Thornton, an undrafted second-year man from Southern Arkansas, has a 14.9 "run-stop percentage," according to the Pro Football Focus website, and that happens to be the highest in the NFL, by PFF's reckoning. No. 2 is that J.J. Watt dude, down in Houston.
October 24, 2012
FOR THE FIRST time in more than a year, Mike Patterson pulled a helmet on over his head and buckled the chin strap and ran out on a football field. It was only a practice - and a practice without pads, at that - but everyone on the Eagles recognized the milestone. "Fresh legs, fresh legs," is what they shouted at Patterson, a starter at defensive tackle from 2005 until this offseason, when the brain surgery happened. The seizure that overtook him on the practice field at Lehigh in August of 2011 was frightening.
November 22, 2012 |
Vinny Curry wore a high-top fade two weeks ago. The rookie second-round pick thought he was going to make his debut at defensive end, and wanted the hairstyle for his first appearance in front of Eagles fans. But Curry was a healthy scratch again. So Curry got another haircut last week. His luck still did not change and he did not dress for the 10th consecutive game. Eagles fans finally will get to see Curry in Week 12. He likely will be active for Monday's game against the Carolina Panthers, according to a team source.
February 14, 2013 |
The relish bottle at the opposite end of the table caught Jerry Azzinaro's attention and made him wonder. Are we feeding our players correctly? Is there too much sodium in that 12.7-ounce container? Is the relish filled with sugar? Only with his players' trust, Azzinaro said, will the Eagles' new defensive line coach find success here. He said his unit needs to trust him in the locker room, on the field, and yes, even in the cafeteria. "I've been married for 32 years and I think trust is the most important thing in a marriage," Azzinaro said Monday at the NovaCare Complex.
August 3, 2012 |
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Cullen Jenkins left Wednesday afternoon's practice early with a hamstring injury, the Eagles said. The defensive tackle was scheduled to undergo a magnetic resonance image Wednesday evening. Jenkins pulled up lame early in practice during a team drill. He then headed to the trainer's tent to have his leg examined. After testing out the hamstring, he rejoined the defensive line but did not practice and eventually rode a cart into the locker room. The Eagles' entire projected starting defensive line is currently sidelined.
December 7, 2012 |
'ENORMOUS Changes at the Last Minute" is the title of a very fine short story collection by the late author Grace Paley. The guess here would be that none of the Eagles' defensive linemen has read it, but they probably can relate. A d-line that already has seen coordinator Juan Castillo dispatched in favor of Todd Bowles and 2011 sack leader Jason Babin exiled to the waiver wire (then to an even less desirable locale, Jacksonville), now has a new position coach, Tommy Brasher, who is replacing the fired Jim Washburn.
October 2, 2012 |
THEY NEED a name. Fans of the New York Giants brag about their defensive-end-laden "NASCAR" package. And many NFL anchors, analysts and media members have appropriately defined the personality of the Super Bowl champs through their defensive front. But in a head-to-head comparison Sunday, with a national-television audience watching, it was the Eagles' defensive front that proved more disruptive, the Eagles' defensive front that is quickly defining the personality of this 3-1 team.