Ok, as we all know our Defense is a bit up and down and we're hit or miss from drive to drive, game to game.. I've decided that I'm going to Break down the three units of our Defense. I'm going to begin with our defensive line, move to Linebackers then finally the Defensive backs. Tell me what you think.
Our Defensive line is without a doubt the best unit on our team. We have amazing depth, speed, strength and size. If there is one thing I know I can rely on year to year its that our D-line will tear some people up.. As a unit they have combined for 178 tackles and 26 sacks. The 26 sacks really impresses me.
I feel as if we really have 4 starting caliber defensive ends. The best of which being Trent Cole.
Trent Cole- Trent Cole is a monster. He's good against the run and so far has been a sack artist. He has 52 tackles, 9.0 sacks, and 1 FF. However Trent Cole also ranks 6th in QB hurries/hits with 20.5. My take on Cole is that he is the guy that makes our DL tick, he requires 2 (sometimes 3) people to stop him yet he'll still get pressure, he draws more defenders which allows our DT's and LDE to come and make plays. He's also a force against the run which is what I feel makes him a special DE. Trent Cole raises the play of those around him, and theres no refuting that.
Brandon Graham- The rookie out of Michigan has really impressed me, being a Defensive lineman for years and years I notice that he's really got a knack for the ball. That being said he really does need a productive offseason this year to reach his full potential, he's strong but really needs to get some more strength in order to overpower the more gifted RT's in the NFL. Graham has 13 tackles, 3 sacks and 2 FF's in 12 games with only 6 starts, and for splitting time during every game for the most part that's pretty good. I think Graham is putting together a pretty good rookie season and has really shown some amazing things from what I've seen, he's quick off the ball, he stays low, and he's got the instincts, and for the most part he's stronger than his opponent but when he can sometimes get swallowed up. Graham no doubt benefits from the players around him however at times he can be the one to raise the play of his teammates.
Juqua Parker- Parker lost his staring position early in the year, however his play during the first 4 games really showed he deserved to be the starter opposite of Cole. Parker is in my opinion the best DE we have against the run and he's quick enough to contain and attack. On the year he has 15 tackles, 5.0 sacks, 2 pass defenses, and 1 FF, now keep in mind he splits time with Graham alot with quite a bit of Tapp in there. Parker really impresses me year after year, he's not the best athlete, he's not the best player, he's probably the least talented of Cole, Graham and even Tapp but the man gets the job done. He's also a very underrated pass rusher which is what most of us Eagle fans need to remember, no doubt we've missed him these past few games.
Darryl Tapp- Tapp has really surprised me recently, this kid came from Seattle in exchange for a 4th round pick and a decent role player and at first I though we wasted a decent player and a pick but now he's done alot for us and really has sealed 2 wins so far this year (Giants and Texans), I'm beginning to think he's a clutch type player who's just in the right place at the right time. Tapp has 16 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 pass defenses, and 2 fumble recoveries in very limited time this year. I think Tapp is a very talented player who we need to get on the field more, and I'm actually all for even taking Cole out some to give Tapp some reps and rest Cole.
Daniel Te'o-Nesheim- Te'o really doesn't impress me to much as a DE, I think he'd be better suited as a DT in our system but it's whatever. I know he's a pretty good athlete and the only stat(s) he has is 1 tackle in 4 games played. There's not much to go off of as a pro for Te'o so I'm just going to say the Jury is out on this one.
Ricky Sapp- Know nothing about how this kid will be in the Pro's he was good in college, I believe we tried him at LB early on then moved him back to DE shortly after. Jury is way way way out on this one, he's basically been red-shirted this year.
Our Defensive tackle position is absolutely stacked. We have 4 players who'd probably start for the majority of the other teams.
Brodrick Bunkley- Bunkley is a big strong run stopping Defensive Tackle who's started for us every year since 2007. Bunkley got hurt earlier in the year and if Dixon were not playing like a fatty possessed Bunkley would still be the starter. Bunkley has 13 tackles and has really been a key contributer and not much has been said from his camp about the drop in playing time. I like Bunkley alot but I feel he's more of a run stopper than a pass rusher and his production isnt up to par this year, however due to his injury and only losing his job to a man playing some of the best football at DT I've seen all year I still think he's a starting caliber player.
Antonio Dixon- Dixon came in after Bunkley got hurt and really showed some amazing things. He has 24 tackles, 2 sacks, and 2 pass defenses, he's playing some very good football at this time and has outplayed Bunkley who's been the man at the position for 3-4 years. Dixon is probably the best DT as far as how they're playing at this time. He can rush the passer, and stop the run and what I like the most is the motor, the man just keeps working and working, he's getting 1 on 1 most of the time and he's beating it.
Trevor Laws- Ahh the "Caveman".. The man who was once seen as a bust (even by myself) has thrown everything negative said back into our faces. This kid has come out swinging and has really drawn my eye on many occasions. He's a pretty good run stopper to, and his lateral quickness allows him to contain RB's when they're trying to go up the middle, however my favorite thing is when he breaks away from a lineman and heads for the QB, he's closes fast and gives little time for the QB to get rid of the ball. He's got 12 tackles, 3 sacks, 4 pass defenses and let's not forget that INT he had.
Mike Patterson- Patterson is a big dude, he's a run stopping DT and can occasionally get to the QB, he also collapses the pocket and will force a QB out of the pocket. Patterson is probably our most underrated D-lineman, he has 30 tackles and 2 sacks so far this year and should improve upon those numbers as we go, he's a big reason why we're stopping RB's from topping the 100 yard mark. Patterson will continue to start for us moving forward.
* I have finals this week, I'll work on the LB's beginning tomorrow and I should be done sometime this week. Let me know what you guys think.