Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Focus Must Shift To Pass Rush

Kyle Williams Alex Carrington Pittsburgh Steelers v Buffalo Bills
Carrington has intriguing measurables and potential.
Malcolm Jenkins was a smart signing. His versatility and youth will fit well in the defensive scheme, and his character is perfect for the locker room. Releasing Patrick Chung was necessary and re-signing P Donnie Jones was essential.

The rest of the night was quiet. As of now, no visits are lined up. All rumors seem to be speculative. Rest assured though, the Eagles aren't done yet. However, their focus must shift.

There are only three safeties under contract; Jenkins, Earl Wolff and Keelan Johnson. Another safety will most certainly be added before the draft, maybe re-signing Nate Allen or a depth guy like Darian Stewart from St. Louis. The focus now, however, must be on bolstering the pass-rush.

The Eagles have plenty of cap space available still. With Graham, Cole and Ryans set to be off the books in 2015, along with a bigger cap allowance, they have the ammunition for some impact signings. Outside linebacker must be addressed, but it's not the only position that can help the pass-rush.
I've said it over one hundred times this off-season, Philadelphia's inability to pressure with four was as big an issue as any heading into the new league year.

There are veteran pass-rushers out there who are proven in a 3-4 defense. LaMarr Woodley has experience in a similar scheme and is only 29 years old. Many have suggested he'll head to Tennessee to play under former Steelers coach Ray Horton. If he becomes an option, a three-year deal makes sense. If healthy, he immediately impacts the defense.

DeMarcus Ware become the topic of speculation this evening, but all signs point to him landing in Denver. He's scheduled to visit tomorrow, and John Elway likely won't allow him to leave without a deal.

But if I'm Howie Roseman, which I'm not, my phone battery would be pissed at me tomorrow. I'm not asking him to overpay for anybody, if the asking price is too high, hang up. But it's necessary to make a play.

Mike Neal from Green Bay is a name that has been mentioned. Rob Jackson has came up in a few articles. Are either of these guys going to beat out Trent Cole? That's very debatable. Do these players even provide upgrades over Brandon Graham in pass-rush downs? That's no sure thing either.

With the free agent OLB class thinning out, improving the interior rush could be the next best option. Players like Alex Carrington of Buffalo and Corey Wootton of Chicago offer some pass-rush help, even if it's in a reserve role. A guy like Henry Melton, who accumulated 13 sacks from 2011-2012, could bolster the pass-rush, although he's known as a 4-3 DT. Melton was a franchise player last off-season for Chicago, but his injury will likely lead to a smaller deal (something around $3-5M per year).

The point is, any quarterback will destroy a defense when given a clean pocket all game. The next focus for the Eagles needs to be improving their four-man rush.

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