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The fact that Trent Cole was able to transition to pass-rushing linebacker at this point in his career is a testament to him being a true football player.
Cole began the season with no sacks in his first eight games. He ended with eight sacks in his final eight games, moving into second place on the franchise’s all-time list in sacks.
Only two 3-4 linebackers had more quarterback hits than Cole (14). And he rated as the seventh best overall player at his position, per Pro Football Focus.
The quarterback of the team’s defense, DeMeco Ryans enjoyed a very underrated campaign. He racked up 102 tackles, recorded four sacks and intercepted two passes. He’s just the 10th player since 2000 to accumulate at least 100 tackles, four sacks and two interceptions.
Ryans also led all inside ‘backers in defensive snaps played (1,176). That speaks volumes about his durability and conditioning.
Mychal Kendricks took a major step forward in his 2013 production. He still got beat way too much in coverage and tied for the league lead in missed tackles (21).
But it seemed he was making a big play every single game down the stretch. Kendricks recorded a sack and an interception against the Minnesota Vikings. He had five tackles and two more sacks the next week against the Chicago Bears. And he had an interception, eight tackles and a forced fumble in the division-clinching win against the Dallas Cowboys.
For the season, Kendricks was the first player in 15 years to record at least four sacks, four fumble recoveries, three interceptions and two forced fumbles.
The pure sack totals don’t reflect how good of a player Connor Barwin is. He’s one of the more important players on the Philadelphia Eagles’ defense for his ability to both rush the passer and drop back into coverage.
He finished 2013 with five sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. And it was his huge pass knockdown in Week 17 against the Dallas Cowboys that helped save the Eagles’ season.
The Eagles didn’t get a huge output from Brandon Graham in 2013. By the pure numbers, he was the most effective pass rusher in the league the previous season, per Pro Football Focus.
Graham wasn’t bad this year—he had three sacks and 17 hurries in 331 snaps. It just seemed that he disappeared for long stretches at a time.