Little has been covered concerning the Philadelphia Eagles new 3-4 defense due to the drastic time spent on the new high powered spread offense, along with all the injuries that have been sustained during training camp. Many things will change for returning Eagles due to the transformation in defensive philosophy, but none more than eight year veteran Trent Cole.
Cole has been a mainstay in the trenches of the Philadelphia defense since the day he walked through the door. Most of that time was spent putting fear in the minds of quarterbacks across the league and serving nightmares to the offensive linemen responsible for trying to keep him out of the backfield. He ranks third all-time among Eagles in sacks and has reached double digits four times in his career. With all that, how would a move to a new position, under a new coach, be a good thing?
Making the transition to outside linebacker in the new 3-4 system, Cole has a new position to learn but is given the opportunity to rejuvenate himself after his worst NFL season in 2012. Finishing last season with just three sacks, defeated by a 4-12 last place finish, it looked as though he might be on the downswing. But the move provides him a new outlook and a chance to find innovative ways to get to the quarterback. In addition, he has always been a great run defender, and moving into the open space of linebacker should provide him plenty of opportunity to excel in this area.
The downside, if there is one, is that Cole will be required to drop into coverage more often than he was ever expected to at defensive end. This is just another challenge for Trent to meet as the season progresses and the Eagles try to bounce back in the NFC East.
Overall, linebacker is a better fit for Cole, size wise, and will continue to provide him with the opportunity to do what he’s best at — burying the quarterback. Look for Cole to meet the challenges associated with a new position and new defense, as he did with multiple blockers at his previous position, returning to greatness as an Eagle once again in 2013.