Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman Bennie Logan can be a shy guy. He admitted as much during the Eagles Insider Podcast (via PhiladelphiaEagles.com). But one thing Logan surely isn't shy about is letting people know where he loves lining up in the Eagles 3-4 defense.
First of all, I love playing nose tackle. I love it. (laughs) The centers, no offense or anything, the centers have those short arms and they're trying to get out to me and stuff. My arms are longer than theirs. It's pretty fun. Just playing nose tackle, just playing in this defense is a great thing. With Fletcher and Cedric there next to me, great leadership with DeMeco behind me, it just makes it so much fun and relaxing. Especially going into my second year, more comfortable, relaxed, I know the defense inside and outside. You tend to pick up things quicker than you did the year before. If you make a mistake you have guys to help cover for you because they also know the defense and we just have fun. Just looser than we were [last year]. More tight, afraid to make mistakes. Now we just make mistakes and run with it.
Logan's 34 inch arms are indeed fairly long for a defensive tackle. Still, at only 6-2, 315 lbs, some still feel that Logan is too small to play nose tackle. Logan is aware of this and he obviously doesn't agree.
I guess everybody in the world has this traditional mindset that a nose tackle has to be 330 plus pounds and this and that. I guess I'm different. I'm only like 315 and I just have fun.
Logan talked more about the weight gain he put on this offseason.
To be honest, I didn't try to intentionally put on weight this offseason. I was just going to class and just working out and things like that. I was working out at LSU with [Browns OLB Barkevious Mingo] and a couple of other guys I used to play with and I somehow just stepped on the scale one day and I was 318 I was like "Whoa...". But I felt good, I couldn't tell the difference with the weight I put on or anything, so I was like "318, that's a little too much for that big jump" so I tried to cut it down to 310. Try to work my way up from there. [...] I think I was at 307 or 305 [in 2013]. I was light. Started the season at like 300, 305. I was light, but not too light. I'm a big guy.
Coach [Jerry Azzinaro] told me he wanted me to get to 310, see how I feel with it, how I look with it. How it would affect my body or anything and go from there. Because I'm playing a lot of snaps this upcoming season, he wanted me to put some weight on and see how it goes from there. So far through OTAs and things like that I've been looking good, I've been running good, everything's been going good. So I feel comfortable at this weight.
While Logan may never be the massive nose tackle that some clamor for, he seems to be the perfect nose tackle for what the Eagles want. Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis tends to value athletic, attacking players at the nose as opposed to a big body run stuffer. The Eagles drafted a situational bigger NT in the former of seventh round rookie Beau Allen, but expect Logan to be the one handling the bulk of the NT snaps.
Logan played fairly well in his rookie year. The defense tended to look better when he took over for an aging and ineffective Isaac Sopoaga in the middle. The idea that Logan is too small to play at the nose doesn't show up in the numbers, either. The Eagles gave up an average of only 3.64 yards per carry against runs up the middle, which was the 5th best in the NFL. The entire team gave up 104.3 rush yards per game (10th best, NFL average was 112.9) and 3.77 rush yards per play (4th best, NFL average was 4.17). The Eagles also only allowed one 100 yard rusher and that was Rashad Jennings in the Raiders game where there were plenty of garbage time yards surrendered.
Some will be quick to point out Logan's lacking performance in the Eagles playoff loss to the Saints. If Bill Davis is to be believed, however, the Eagles sold out to stop the pass and that's why they gave up so many running yards. Again, the numbers don't lie:
Saints runs to the LDE: 8 plays, 5.25 yard avg gain
Saints runs up the middle: 9 plays, 4.67 yard avg gain
Saints runs to the RDE: 12 plays, 4.58 yard avg gain
While there were times Logan was pushed off the ball, it wasn't like he was the only player to struggle against the Saints' rushing attack.
Logan now has had the benefit of a full offseason of adding weight and better learning his position. The Eagles are high on him and it's easy to see why. Not only did he show promise as a rookie, but he's also a charismatic player and seemingly good locker room presence to have around. At LSU, Logan wore #18, which is only given to players who overcome adversity and represent what it means to be a Tiger football player. Logan is also extremely involved in the Eagles charity events on a regular basis. You may not have known this because, unlike some, he doesn't feel the need to constantly post photos of his generosity to his Instagram account to assure everyone he's a good guy. He gives out of kindness, not just to better his image.
You can obtain a better sense of Logan's engaging personality by checking out his appearance on the aforementioned Eagles Insider podcast (Video version | Audio version). It's a good listen. Logan talks about a number of topics including taking classes at LSU, spending time at Mardi Gras, playing on the Eagles basketball team, playing paintball, movies, shyness and more. I dare you to give it a look and tell me you don't love Bennie Logan.