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Training Camp Key - Defense

Gocong practiced his game face in the offseason
There's several stories/guys worthy of paying attention to in training camp on the defensive side of the ball. Does Jevon Kearse still look like Kevin Garnett? Is he moving well? How fit does Trotter look? Does he look lighter and quicker as promised? Has Sean Considine bulked up? Does Broderick Bunkley look like a real NFL player? Who among Darren Howard, Victor Abiamiri, Juqua Thomas, & yes even Jerome McDougle will step up?

All important stories worthy of paying special attention to. None of the them however, will be the guy I'll be paying the most attention to. Chris Gocong, who could very well end up being the key to this defense. No player on that side of the ball has Gocong's ideal mix of size, speed, youth, and general knack for playmaking(at least at the college level). He could be the guy to turn the Eagles greatest weakness last year, linebacker, into their greatest strength. If Gocong develops into the playmaker the Eagles think he can be he'd not only give the Eagles a weapon they've lacked for years but along with Takeo Spikes on the other side he could lessen the load on Trotter who won't need to pursue to the sidelines as often as he did last year. Trotter could be free to be the battering ram up the middle, where he's at his best. Gocong was on IR all last year and we barely even saw him in the preseason, but according to Eagles' coaches he's "got it."

They were so confident in Gocong that they cut loose veteran Dhani Jones. Now, everyone knows I'm no fan of Dhani Jones... but he does know the position(kinda). Gocong will be taking his first NFL snap this year at a position he's never played. What's more intriguing is that SAM is probably one of only 2 positions on the defense without a solid backup plan.

The defensive line is stocked with depth both on the outside and inside. CB Will James who, despite some injury concerns, probably has more starts under his belt than any other nickel CB in the game. Mikell is a solid, proven backup for Dawkins. Gaither & McCoy are young but have played in the NFL. Only Sean Considine at SS and Gocong at SAM don't have experienced backups. Considine at least has the better part of an NFL season of starting experience under his belt. The only other options at SAM the Eagles have are rookie 3rd round pick Stewart Bradley & Tank Daniels, who  has barely played and only taken snaps at SAM once(last year against ATL.) In other words, Gocong has to work out, which is my eye will be on him.

Up next, the offense.