If we overspent on big name players two years ago, it seems we’ve gone too far in the other direction here. I understand we’re not going on a spending spree with a first-year coach before his system’s even in place, but I’m concerned about having a defense full of rank-and-file guys.
Following is an overview of the defense’s three units as the roster stands today, along with how I think they should be addressed.
The Line: I see this as the major weak point in the D right now. Oh, how the times have changed. It seems like yesterday we were telling ourselves we had the best d-line in football. Well, the wide-9 collapsed on itself, Babin got (rightfully) cut, and Wash and Andy are gone. Now we have to rebuild the line from the ground up as we switch to a "hybrid" 3-4. Fletch will swing out to end and, I believe, do just fine. Graham and Cole are now standup ‘backers (one may be used as trade bait), and I don’t know what the plan will be for Curry. But we need another end as I don’t see Dixon swinging out. Nose tackle is a real concern too, with Sopoaga being average at best even in his prime. Dixon will fight him for the spot, and we may draft Star to anchor the spot at #4. If it truly will be a hybrid 3-4, then we still have solid 4-3 pieces, but not the size to run a three-man front just yet. BTW – who the hell is Clifton Geathers?!
Linebackers: Again, times have changed. A unit that has been the Achilles heel of Philly defenses for over a decade now looks to be the clear strength. Demeco will transition back to a 3-4 ILB, with the promising Kendricks alongside him. Standup rushers will be Graham and Cole, long as both are still on the roster. Barwin will look to return to double-digit sack form. Jamar Chaney provides depth and versatility. And don’t laugh, but I expect the change in scheme, and playing for a coach he thrived under, to work wonders for Casey Matthews. Seriously, the guy was a stud in college and has put on 15 pounds of muscle since being drafted. I think we’ll finally see some of that potential realized. I leave the linebacking core alone, unless we pick up a 3-4 veteran for depth.
Yeesh. This got ugly quick, huh? Let’s start with the safeties. We still haven’t recovered from losing Dawk or Q, but we may be moving in the right direction, finally. It looks like we’ve accepted that Allen sucks at this point. He’s been outplayed by a guy drafted 5 rounds later than him (Coleman) since they came into the league. I don’t know if that says more about how much Kurt has overachieved (he’s still nothing special), or how disappointing Nate has been. We brought in Kenny Phillips and Pat Chung to hopefully seize the starting jobs. Nate and Kurt will now be very good backups, or surprise and steal their jobs back. In any event, I expect the competition to reap rewards for the D. Colt Anderson will continue to be a ST stud. I leave this position alone and see how the chips fall.
Corner: At corner, we are currently boned. We got Cary Williams (meh), second-year little guy Brandon Boykin, and a bunch of guys not even worth taking the time to type their names. We cut the cord on Nnamdi Asomubrah and Dominique Rodgers-Bromartie after they showed little interest in playing football for two years. Cool, but you also need to bring in people who can play to fill those spots. Crazy idea, I know.
Wrap-up: Draft a stud lineman, either at tackle or end. Trade Cole and a draft pick for a starting-caliber corner. Call it a day.