A team notorious for being overly conservative with both personnel and cash, the Eagles have apparently decided to treat managing the team like they’re playing Madden. And it’s awesome.
As if getting a high level corner in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a high pick for their backup quarterback, bringing in a defensive end in Jason Babin who last season with the same line coach put up 12.5 sacks, and signing the top free agent available in cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha wasn’t enough, the Eagles just aggressively addressed one of their biggest weakness areas – defensive tackle.
To start, they just signed Cullen Jenkins from the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers. A seven-year veteran, Jenkins is a legitimate beast. While he played end in the Packers 3-4, with his talent and ability he should be able to easily adjust to the three-technique in the 4-3. And unlike the other undersized defensive tackles the Eagles have, this guy can actually get to the passer and be a general force who asserts his presence in the middle.
With 29 career sacks, Jenkins has more than Mike Patterson, Brodrick Bunkley, Antonio Dixon, and Trevor Laws combined. Not sure if that’s more an indication of Jenkins’ talent or just how pathetic and ineffective the Eagles defensive tackle play has been. Jenkins only played in 11 games last season and still had seven takedowns.
Really the only knock on Jenkins is his injury history. The deal signed by Jenkins is being reported as five year, $25 million, but even then the Eagles found a way to cover themselves. NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi reports the deal is essentially a one-year, $4 million commitment so the Eagles can get out if need be. Joe Banner knows how to balance a checkbook.
Eagles general manager Howie Roseman indicated Jenkins could play end or tackle, but it’s likely they use him as a middle of the line pass rusher who will help collapse the pocket. But he’s not just a pass rushing tackle. Even at around only 300 pounds he’s still stout against the run. Like the anti-Mike Patterson.
Speaking of completely useless defensive tackles, right after announcing the signing of Jenkins, the Eagles disclosed that Brodrick Bunkley had been shipped off to Cleveland Browns for a 2012 fifth-round draft pick. Good riddance. Bunkley has been a pretty big disappointment since being the 14th overall pick in the 2006 draft. In the five years since, Bunkley has six sacks. So much for being that pass rushing manbeast he was billed as coming out of Florida State. Bunkley was never truly horrible, just painfully average. And that’s not good enough.
Speaking of not good enough, the Eagles went against previous reports and actually signed one of their own unrestricted free agents, bringing back linebacker Akeem Jordan on a one-year deal. An underwhelming unit already, it didn’t really get any better. But at least Jordan is good on special teams.
Linebacker situation aside, the Eagles actually have the potential for some solid defensive tackle play right now, with the 330-pound Dixon clogging the line and now Jenkins wreaking havoc up the middle. If they can get consistent performance out of these guys it won’t matter nearly as much that the linebackers can’t play.
PhillySportsCentral.com – Philadelphia sports news, rumors, blogs, & message board discussion forums