Philadelphia Eagles Defensive Coordinator Bill Davis had this to say about the upcoming preseason matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars:
“This preseason game will probably end up settling who our starters are.”
On a team with so much interest in who was named the starting quarterback, perhaps the more important story is yet to come. Chip Kelly is renowned for the creation of high octane offenses. Chip Kelly is renowned for fast moving quick decision formations that give quarterbacks the ability to call the right play from what the defense does. Chip Kelly has demonstrated innovations to the NFL that such bright minds as Bill Belichick have incorporated. Chip Kelly has shown that either quarterback can run his offense.
But the Eagles are innovating at defense as well and that falls solely upon the shoulders of Billy Davis. With the arrival of the 3-4, and in the shadows of the offense, the defense is fighting to find its own identity on this team, and players are being asked to contribute in ways that some have never been asked to before.
In the new Eagles defense, there are plenty of opportunities, but the crash course of conversion has placed some talented players in difficult situations. Game 3, where the starters get the most work in preseason, is vital to the careers of Eagles players on the bubble. The Eagles will need to slim down to 75 players three days after the Jacksonville game.
A move that would not surprise anyone, due to health issues, would be the Eagles cutting of Kenny Phillips. Everyone has agreed that KP would be a keystone in the 3-4 IF HEALTHY. The problem has simply been that he’s not healthy. Another significant injury was the ACL to Phillip Hunt, who was in the process of learning the OLB position in the 3-4. Hunt’s injury happened at one of the worst times, just before roster cuts. While he had shown tremendous upside in a 4-3 as a pass rush defensive end, he may not have shown enough to remain in the 3-4 running.
Some other players who need to have their name announced in game 3 include: DE Eddie McClam, OLB Everrette Brown, and DL Darywell Walker. Another name on the bubble was DL Isaac Remington, at least until they announced moving him to the OL yesterday.
A majority of the cuts to arrive at the 75 man roster will happen on the offensive side of the ball. But with the release of OT Ed Wang, the Eagles are already beginning to trim the team.
“Baby come as you are with just your heart
And I’ll take you in
You’re rejected and hurt
To me you’re worth what you have within
Now I don’t need no superstar
Cause I’ll accept you as you are”
- Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr.