Philadelphia Eagles: Outside Linebackers Should Dominate Pass Rush This Season
The Philadelphia Eagles have not shown the pass rush that they have been known for since the 2011 season when they were tied for first in the league in sacks. Also, players like Jason Babin and Cullen Jenkins who helped the Eagles get to that number are no longer with the team and now it’s time to adjust.
The Eagles will have Trent Cole, Connor Barwin, Brandon Graham, and most likely Chris McCoy on their roster at the outside linebacker position. Cole, Barwin, and Graham should be rotating in and out to keep all three guys fresh as McCoy should be served as a reliable back-up. These guys should be able to get back to being a dominating pass rushing team as the season goes on.
Cole is the most talented pass-rusher on this team and he must get back to being relentless about getting to the quarterback. He will switch to a 3-4 outside linebacker this season which will be intriguing to watch and we will have to wait and see if he can adjust to it. Barwin on the other hand is the most experienced outside linebacker who should be versatile and who can rush the passer and provide solid pass coverage. Graham is the young bull-rusher who probably is the most energized of the bunch and is out to prove to the world he was worth that first-round pick in 2010. Graham should be able to get to the quarterback often this season and is the one guy I really cant wait to see once the regular season is under way.
The interior defensive line which will consist mainly of Fletcher Cox, Cedric Thornton, and Isaac Sopoaga should be able to occupy the middle of the run defense as well as getting to the quarterback. I don’t see Sopoaga getting a lot of sacks this season, but Cox and Thornton may be able to have at least 8-10 combined sacks this season.
The pass rush needs to be able to put fear into the quarterback’s eyes like they used too, especially since the secondary will have their struggles this season. If the Eagles can have a dominant pass rush, it will make things easier for the secondary as they try their best to cover the receivers.
So, if the pass rush can be elite this year it may give us a little more faith in the defense.
Sonny Bryan is a Philadelphia Eagles writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @SonnyBryan50
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