The Eagles Current Defense Roster Is One Big Jigsaw Puzzle

Haran KnightCorrespondent IApril 29, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 27:  Stewart Bradley #55 of the Philadelphia Eagles moves on the field during the game against the Arizona Cardinals at Lincoln Financial Field on November 27, 2008 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by: Nick Laham/Getty Images)

When you look at the moves the Eagles made on the defensive side, you can't help but think: Who is going to go where?

Not only will last year's No. 3 ranked unit have a change in leadership, but it's also possible that there will be five different starters from the squad that started the season last year.

One also can't help but wonder about the status of coordinator Jim Johnson. 

Sean McDermott has learned under Johnson and is more than capable of taking over the position, but I'd rather have the blitz master patrolling the sidelines motivating the D. 

Above all else, I pray Jim Johnson recovers his health fully. 

That's way more important than football.

A closer look at the current guys on the team....

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Defensive Tackle

Broderick Bunkley and Mike Patterson have become quite a formidable duo on the interior of the defensive line. 

Bunkley possibly could make a run at the Pro Bowl this year. 

The starters are intact, but I would like to see more of Trevor Laws this year.

Defensive End

Trent Cole is a lock on the right side, no question. 

My concern is left end. 

Victor Abiamiri got off to a rough start in training camp, and I don't think he ever recovered.  He's serviceable, but I'm not big on Jaqua Parker starting.

Let's hope Abiamiri stays healthy this year. 

I also expect a stronger start from Chris Clemons and productivity from 2008 third round pick Bryan Smith.  I'm not sure if Darren Howard can duplicate his 10 sack season of last year. 


Not only has Stewart Bradley cemented his spot in the middle for years to come, he's the guy best suited to be the defensive leader with the departure of Brian Dawkins. 

Chris Gocong had a solid year, but I'd like to see him improve even more. 

The biggest question mark is Omar Gaither.

In 2007, Jeremiah Trotter gets "axed" so Gaither can man the middle. The next year the same thing happens to Takeo Spikes so Omar can slide outside and let Bradley handle the middle. 

After all of that, Gaither loses his spot midseason to undrafted Akeem Jordan(who did a decent job).  Gaither needs to want that starting spot and earn it back. 

If not, he should be preseason trade bait.  The rest of the linebackers are mainly built for special teams.


Normally I would separate these two positions, but the entire Eagles secondary is what sparked me to write this article. 

The only sure spot is where Pro Bowler Asante Samuel will lineup. 

At the other corner position, is it Ellis Hobbs?

How long before Sheldon gets shipped to another team?

Does Sean Jones start at free safety or does Quinten Mikell slide over there and let Jones start?

Is Quinten Demps ready(Don't judge his last sighting! That was Larry Fitzgerald after all!!)? 

The Eagles obtained quite a few defensive backs via draft and undrafted signings as well.  This looks to be a very competitive summer for these guys.


On paper, the Eagles defense has the potential to improve on last year's success. 

The keys are health, leadership, and placement.  If they get those things in order, nobody is going to want to line up across from them.


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