A lot of the focus heading into the Philadelphia Eagles’ season opener against Jacksonville is going to be on how Nick Foles follows up his Pro Bowl season, how the offensive line fares without Lane Johnson, and how the young receiving corps performs. But the Eagles defense is at an interesting point after the 53-man cuts and will provide plenty of intriguing storylines throughout the season as well.
Now seems like a good time to get a baseline reading of where the defense is at that can be re-evaluated as the season progresses.
The defensive line is the strength of this defense. The team returns the same starting lineup who have another year in the 3-4 scheme under their belts as well as most of a regular season and an offseason to establish chemistry. Fletcher Cox should be more comfortable as the 3-tech defensive end and Bennie Logan has added weight to play the nose tackle. Cedric Thornton returns with good run-stopping ability at the 5-tech position.
Also important is the added depth on the line. Vinny Curry returns as a pass rush specialist to spell Cox. Fans have pined for Curry to see more action, but that’s not going to happen so long as he remains unable to play 2-gap schemes. Still, he has value.
The rest of the backups are new: Clifton Geathers and Damion Square have been replaced by Taylor Hart, Brandon Bair, and Beau Allen. Bair is the veteran at age 29 and will provide some insurance as Taylor Hart has looked a bit raw in his first offseason. And Allen has moved well for his size and should be a notable upgrade over Square from a year ago.