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Defensive Player to Watch Week 3: Trent Cole

Many analysts had questions to how Jim Washburn’s Wide-9 set-up would affect our ability to rush the passer.  After 2 games the Bird’s defensive line has been nothing short of dominant.   With the new scheme and additions of Jason Babin and Cullen Jenkins the Eagles have been able to consistently get pressure on the quarterback without any of the exotic blitz schemes we saw with the late Jim Johnson.  The Eagles currently have 9 sacks, which puts them 2nd  in the league.  Trent Cole is emerging as one of the best 4-3 defensive ends in the game.  Lining up across from Cole will be 3rd year tackle Will Beatty.  Beatty took the vacant spot at left tackle left when David Diehl was moved to guard.  After two games, Beatty has performed admirably in his first season as starting tackle.  Tomorrow the young tackle’s skill will be put to the test.   If Cole plays anywhere near the level he played last week against the Falcons, Eli Manning and the Giants are in for a rough day.

Kafka Should Get the Nod Over Young (if Vick cannot play)

While there seems to be some optimism that Pro-Bowl quarterback Michael Vick could be cleared to play for Sunday’s game against the New York Giants, it is far from a sure thing.  Concussions are something the league has cracked down on in recent years.  A few years ago it was possible for a player to sustain a mild-concussion during the game and return a few plays/series later.  Now, even if the player feels he is physically able to return to the game (as Vick did this past Sunday), league rules prevent that player from returning.  Returning the next week is not a simple thing either.  A player must go through a variety of tests through a team doctor and an independent physician before being cleared to practice with the team (a detailed look at what Michael Vick must do to play this week is explained here).  If Vick is not cleared for Sunday’s game, former Northwestern star Mike Kafka should get the nod over once Pro-Bowler Vince Young.

Why you ask?
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