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The Linc - Best Defensive Players in the NFC East

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 6/4/2014.

John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

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Preseason 'All NFC East' team: Defense edition - JimmyK, Philly.com
It would be interesting to see what Cox could do in a full season as a starter as a penetrating 1-gap DT, as opposed to playing the 2-gapping style that Billy Davis favors. Cox is good in both roles, but his numbers would be much better in the former. Either way, Cox is already a very good defensive lineman at the NFL level, and he's still only 23 years old.

Updates on Misc Players - Tommy Lawlor, Iggles Blitz
Casey Matthews – I’ve been wondering if 2014 could be a bounce-back year for Matthews. Last season he was moved to LOLB, a spot that he wasn’t suited for. Matthews played here and there, but failed to show much. The Eagles have better depth at OLB this summer so Matthews could move back to his more natural spot at ILB. Could he become a solid backup? Doesn’t seem likely as of now. Matthews isn’t getting mentioned in the practice reviews at all. You have Ryans/Kendricks, Phillips/Goode and Knott/Acho at ILB right now. You wonder how much longer Matthews will be an Eagle if he can’t even make the 3rd string unit.

Lane Johnson: ‘I’m Trying To Be a Dominant Player’ - Sheil Kapadia, Birds 24/7
Johnson showed steady improvement in the second half of the year as the Eagles won seven of their last eight games. There was never a question about his ability as a run blocker. Aside from the mental mistakes that plague most rookies, Johnson's elite athleticism translated to the field right away. He is a natrural fit at right tackle in Chip Kelly's spread-to-run offense. Where Johnson showed improvement (and the area he'll need to continue to work on) is his pass blocking.

Brad Smith expects benefits from Eagles' OTAs - Reuben Frank, CSN Philly
The Eagles signed him a few days later, and Smith seemed to be a perfect fit for the Chip Kelly offense. Throughout his first seven NFL seasons, first with the Jets and then with the Bills, he was a productive, versatile weapon, just as capable of doing damage running the ball, catching the ball or even throwing the ball. Smith’s 7.3 career rushing average is the highest in NFL history among players with 100 or more carries -- Michael Vick is second at 7.1. Playing a variety of roles, he netted 970 rushing yards, 949 receiving yards, a 25.7 kick return average, four kick returns for touchdowns and 13 total TDs –- plus one passing -- in his first seven seasons.

Birds' Matthews slotted at No. 2 for the time being - Jeff McLane, Inquirer
The slot receiver position - Jason Avant's old spot - is there for Jordan Matthews to take. The rookie has been running with the Eagles' second team behind veteran Brad Smith during organized team activities, but it's really only a matter of time before Matthews either wins the job or it is handed to him.

A Solid Move To Extend OL Barbre - Dave Spadaro, PE.com
This has not been the easiest NFL path for offensive lineman Allen Barbre. From Green Bay to Seattle to Miami and back to Seattle he played, until Barbre found the right fit with the Eagles ...

The 2014 NFL All-Sophomore team - SB Nation NFL
Offensive tackles were selected with the first two picks in the draft last year, but neither made this list. While Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher could still develop into great NFL players, there is work to do. Bakhtiari, a fourth-round pick, was thrust into the Packers' lineup due to injury and more than held his own. He'll remain at left tackle this season. Johnson got better as the season went on and has the athleticism to excel in the Eagles' offense. Warford, Long and Frederick were impressive as rookies, playing their way into the discussion of best interior offensive linemen.