Philadelphia Eagles outside linebacker Trent Cole came off of a down season in the wide 9 4-3 scheme, previously run under Jim Washburn and former defensive coordinator Juan Castillo. Cole said all the right things about transitioning to a 3-4 stand up outside linebacker role.
He thought that he would fit in well standing up and rushing the passer, as well as occasionally dropping back into coverage. So far, however, it has not panned out. Cole is still without a sack on the season six games in, and that gives him three sacks in his last 22 games; that is a staggeringly bad statistic for a man who is used to having double digit sack seasons annually.
Father time may be finally catching up to Cole. He just recently turned 31 years old, and seems to have lost a step or two. The pass rush overall simply has not been getting home for the Eagles. They lack that dominant pass rushing outside linebacker that a successful 3-4 defense craves.
Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis had hopes that Cole would be that fearsome pass rushing presence at outside linebacker. So far, Cole has been shut out in each of the six games and really hasn’t generated a whole lot of pressure on the quarterback.
If Cole’s down year continues, it may be time to cut bait with the veteran pass rusher, who is third all time on the Eagles’ franchise sack list. He has had a wonderful and consistent career as an Eagle, but his time looks to be about up.