Eagles' Top Offseason Priority Must Be Defensive End

Written By Bob Cunningham On Monday, January 11, 2010

Cole can only do so much for the defense by himself.



Juqua Parker has been serviceable, and even better than that at certain points during his Eagles career, but he is not of a starting caliber and must be replaced. His presence on the field does not scare quarterbacks, offensive linemen, or defensive coordinators, and it's hurting the entire unit.

As a backup, I believe Parker can be a huge asset for this team, but he just doesn't make the cut as a starter any longer. If the Eagles want their defense to take the next step in 2010, it will have to start with finding a left defensive end that will scare offensive coordinators.

Right now, all of the attention is put on stopping Cole. There's always the left tackle to deal with, but more times than not teams are also chipping him with the tight end or a running back. Teams feel safe doing this because they know as well as we do that the Eagles have no pass-rush off their left side.

So here's the effect:

1. Teams shut Cole out of the game by virtue of the chipping tight end and running back
2. McDermott blitzes in an effort to regain the pass rush
3. Since the Eagles' linebackers aren't very good blitzers, it gets stuffed
4. The secondary is left hanging out to dry while teams dink and dunk their way down the field

However, with a left defensive end to take the pressure off of Cole and get to the quarterback on his own, blitzing is no longer a necessity; It instead becomes a luxury.

When blitzing becomes a luxury is when it becomes effective, not when it's part of your base package, as it were.

When it comes to getting that pass-rushing defensive end, count me as indifferent. I can't honestly say that I care if the Eagles spend big money on a free agent ala Julius Peppers, or draft a guy in the first round. I'd drop a name here, but I just don't follow college football well enough to make an informed request.

Juqua Parker, Jason Babin, Victor Abiamiri, and Chris Clemons are all very good backup defensive ends, but none of them are starters. One needs to be found or we will once again have a season of ineffective blitzing and watching Trent Cole hit a wall.


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