Yet expect the defensive line to be improved this season. Just ask defensive line coach Jim Washburn. He’s so confident that he put his job on the line.
“We have real good talent,” Washburn said, via PhiladelphiaEagles.com. “We started figuring it out at the end and it ought to be a whole lot better. I’d be crushed, hell I’d quit if we’re not a whole lot better. They need to fire my ass if we’re not better. We should be a lot better.”
So what’s the main difference, you might ask? Is it first round draft pick Fletcher Cox, who will likely start for the Eagles at defensive tackle in week 1? Or is it defensive end Vinny Curry, a late second round pick with first round potential?
Well, yes, and no.
According to Washburn, the difference is the understanding for the players.
“No excuses, but they didn’t know my name when we met up here last year,” Washburn said. “Golly, I look at the first couple games, all the plays that we screwed up last year on the run, especially the run. Golly, I looked at Atlanta and St. Louis and it’s painful to watch our technique . . . No excuse, it’s just life. The other teams were in the same situation. . . . We ought to be so much better. There’s no way – we’ve got to be a lot better.”
I personally like Washburn’s comment (this team sure is doing a lot of talking though). It shows that he has complete confidence in his defensive line and it’s not a long shot prediction, like Vick’s dynasty comment from last week.
And I agree. The defensive line will be better.
You have Pro Bowl defensive ends Trent Cole and Jason Babin, both in the prime of their career (in fact Washburn calls Cole the best player he’s ever coached), who will be rotating with stud rookie Vinny Curry, first round draft pick Brandon Graham, who is out to prove that he is not a bust, and former Canadian Football League sack leader Phillip Hunt.
You also have stud rookie Fletcher Cox, pass-rushing specialist Cullen Jenkins, a healthy and motivated Antonio Dixon, last year’s defensive surprise in Derek Landri, and, assuming he can get back on the field after complications from brain surgery, Mike Patterson, a starter for the last half-decade.
That’s a pretty impressive group. I get excited just thinking about it.
This article was written by Bryn Swartz, the top writer for the Philadelphia Eagles and a featured NFL columnist on Rant Sports. Bryn has written more than 1000 articles in less than two years as a member of Rant Sports. His blog, Eagles Central, was named the 2010 Ballhyped Sports Blog of the Year. To read a portfolio of Bryn’s best work, click here.