Monday, January 28, 2013
How the 3-4 could work for Philly
By Tim Kavanagh
As we continue to ponder who will be the next defensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles, a common thread amongst a number of the candidates is their experience working with a 3-4 scheme. It's not 100 percent certain that this is what the Eagles will be doing on defense in 2013, but if it is, there are some important decisions they'll have to make with key front-seven defenders.
Two of the rookies from 2012 will likely have an easy transition to the 3-4, according to Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Those two gentleman are Fletcher Cox -- who will slide out to play five-technique DE in the 3-4 -- and LB Mychal Kendricks, who worked as both an OLB and an ILB in a 3-4 scheme in college.
As for the veterans, DEs like Brandon Graham and Trent Cole may have a difficult transition to playing with their hand off the ground. If this is the route that the Eagles take, the early performance of these players will give the team a hint as to whether they'll be retained, or potentially released in the preseason. Meanwhile, MLB DeMeco Ryans proved to be a valuable member of the 2012 Eagles defense, but he was available to Philadelphia in part because he wasn't a good fit in Houston's 3-4 scheme under Wade Phillips. As with Graham and Cole, Ryans' early assimilation into the new defense will help guide the team's decision on him.
Though many believe the Eagles could draft a CB or an OT with their first-round pick (No. 4 overall), securing a front-seven defender that is adept with the 3-4 scheme at that spot may be a wiser move.
As for that big hole in the middle of a three-man defensive line, one option the Eagles could investigate is Steelers NT Casey Hampton. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gerry Dulac writes that Hampton is not expected to be re-signed, and he's proven effective in that role for Dick LeBeau's defense.