Trent Cole and has been one of the NFL’s best pass rushers over the course of his career and now he’ll be an outside linebacker in the Eagles new 3-4 defense under new head coach Chip Kelly.
Cole will now have to learn how to drop back into pass coverage and read opposing offenses a lot more. I can’t see this change as a good thing. The same goes for Brandon Graham, who was a first round pick just a few years ago. He’s still looking to solidify himself as an NFL player and this change won’t help as well.
As cover linebackers, Cole and Graham need to “read” more than they ever have. They used to just pin their ears back and rush. They will have to learn to play zone, set the edge, and cover tight ends, running backs, and sometimes even – gulp – wide receivers.
“You might see me in coverage all the way downfield,” Cole said, “but we don’t want that.”
Kelly believes Cole and Graham can get the job done.
“You watch how fast they run, their ability to open their hips, and they just haven’t been asked to do it, I think, because they were brought up as defensive ends,” he said.
Kelly noted that Graham played outside linebacker in college, but Graham said he was asked to drop back “probably three times a game” at Michigan. The 42 times Cole dropped back in 2010 – out of 962 snaps – were the most of his career.
I think both Graham and Cole won’t be with the Eagles in 2014. They’re not going to be effective enough in a 3-4. It won’t be worth it for Philly to keep them.