The Philadelphia Eagles defense has struggled mightily so far this season. That can’t be debated. Many players young and old are struggling to transition from a wide nine, 4-3 scheme to a pure 3-4 defense. One man who hasn’t been bothered by the transition is Cedric Thornton.
The defensive lineman has been solid in all aspects of his game. He has held his ground two-gapping as a 3-4 defensive end and has also generated pressure from the end position. He has actually outperformed Fletcher Cox, a man expected to be a stud in any scheme, which is certainly a surprising development.
Head Coach Chip Kelly recently said that Thornton was “playing our best defensive football right now.” That’s high praise from the first year head coach. Thornton deserves the accolades. While a majority of his defensive teammates have struggled to adapt to a new scheme he seems to fit right in. It is becoming clear that certain players the Eagles have just don’t fit the 3-4.
That will have to be addressed in the offseason, but Thornton doesn’t fall into that category. He is certainly one of the building blocks the Eagles will count on moving forward while they continue to build this defense by getting the right personnel to fit a true 3-4 scheme.
So far so good for Thornton. He has done everything the coaches have asked of him by staying gap sound, defensively responsible, and even putting pressure on the quarterback. He has been hard to get off the field. In a season of defensive turmoil Thornton has stood out. Get 10 more like him and Philly is in business.