Friday, February 1, 2013
The Eagles' switch to 3-4
By Tim Kavanagh
The buzz is that the Philadelphia Eagles are going to be transitioning to a 3-4 defense under Chip Kelly (and whoever winds up getting the DC job), which is a process that can take two seasons to turn around. Here are some more tidbits as we await the start of the league year -- when cuts and signings will pick up.
In the view of Rich Hofmann of the Philadelphia Daily News, the Eagles appear to need seven new starters in order to make this work. That includes the four positions in the secondary, but anyone who watched a significant amount of Eagles games in 2012 knows that the secondary was in need of an overhaul no matter what was going on with the front seven. That could involve spending some money on free agents back there -- there are some enticing FAs hitting the market both at CB (Brent Grimes, Cary Williams, Aqib Talib) and at S (Ed Reed, Jairus Byrd, William Moore, Dashon Goldson) -- or using draft picks to find strong prospects, such as Alabama CB Dee Milliner, who may be available to them at No. 4 overall.
Up front, Fletcher Cox will move to DE, but the other DE slot appears to be open, as does the NT position in the middle. One possibility in free agency for the NT slot is the Steelers' Casey Hampton, who is an impending free agent. That wouldn't be a long-term solution, but Hampton is still a productive player. As for the LBs, Mychal Kendricks played both outside and inside collegiately, so he'll be OK. Brandon Graham and Trent Cole -- who played DE in the Eagles' 4-3 -- may have a tough transition, so they may need to address the OLB spots. The wild card is DeMeco Ryans, who was not a fit for Houston's 3-4 system under Wade Phillips, but may be more of a fit within the scheme employed by the new Eagles DC.
There's a lot of work to be done, so the assumption of a two-year plan is not a farfetched one.