Longing for the 4-3

Posted: March 31st, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 51 Comments »

Chris Long loves the 4-3 defense. Even more than I do. He passed up a chance to stay in New England and be part of a title contender because he wanted to get back to playing in an attacking 4-3 scheme. That’s one of the key reasons he chose the Eagles. Fit.

Long explained that in his press conference, which was entertaining and interesting. He talked about playing almost half his snaps in the 3-technique spot last year. That is the DT who rushes the passer, Fletcher Cox’s normal role. Long said he was happy to play inside, but you could tell that he really wants to get back to lining up in the Wide-9 front and firing off the edge. That’s where he’s most comfortable and he can still be effective out there.

Long isn’t here to magically turn into a dominant pass rusher. He is here to help the Eagles have a better rotation than they did last year. As much as everyone loves Connor Barwin off the field, he didn’t play all that well last year. He had 5 sacks in a role where he was asked to get after the QB as his primary function. His run defense was highly inconsistent. Barwin lost contain on a regular basis.

Long shouldn’t have that problem because he played in the Wide-9 front on a regular basis. He understands the rush angles. He understands what his role is in stopping the run.

You can think of this as a trade of Barwin for Long. Barwin is younger (less old?) by a couple of years, but he was more expensive and proved to be an awkward fit. Barwin is at his best in the 3-4. Long had the opposite problem. He played in the 3-4, but is a better fit at 4-3 DE. Scheme does matter.

This move makes total sense to me. I mentioned Long as a possible target in a recent column.

It is possible that a veteran like Chris Long or Mario Williams would be interested in a role as a pass rusher in Schwartz’s scheme. Williams played for him in Buffalo in 2014. Long played in a similar system when he was with the Rams. If the Eagles want a cheaper, younger option, they could go for Devin Taylor or Ryan Davis. Taylor is the big guy at 6-7, while Davis is built more like Graham.

You build a strong DL by continuing to throw a lot of resources at it. Brandon Graham will start at one DE spot. Vinny Curry and Long will battle for the other job. Marcus Smith will try to show that he has taken another step forward and can contribute even more. Steven Means will be fighting to make the team and get regular playing time. Alex McCalister will be fighting to make the team.

The Eagles are checking out all kinds of draft prospects. They are looking at 1st rounders and late rounders. They are checking out sleek rushers and bigger guys. They want to add another body to the mix. A strong DL can make a huge difference in a league that is all about throwing the football.


Smart for both sides. Brooks was effective in the slot last year and the defense struggled when he got hurt. He’s hardly anything special as a player, but is worth bringing back at a cheap rate. And Brooks wasn’t going to be highly sought after so staying put for less money was a wise move.


51 Comments on “Longing for the 4-3”

  1. 1 bushisamoron said at 10:40 PM on March 31st, 2017:

    What are the terms of Long’s deal?

  2. 2 lonfident said at 12:41 AM on April 1st, 2017:


  3. 3 Rellihcs said at 11:10 AM on April 1st, 2017:

    Its more of a LONG TERM deal than originally reported.

  4. 4 增达网 said at 10:59 PM on March 31st, 2017:









    丁酉年(鸡)三月初五 2017-4-1

  5. 5 A_T_G said at 9:03 AM on April 1st, 2017:

    Maybe it is just PR, but I read that Jenkins and Barwin were credited with helping Robinson and Long decide to come to Philly, respectively. That speaks well for their leadership, and the quality of the FO and coaches.

    Contrast that to the likelihood that someone made a call to Gore and told him to look elsewhere a few years ago.

  6. 6 Dave said at 9:15 AM on April 1st, 2017:

    Foles the starter coming off a down year when Gore changed his mind and decided to play with Andrew Luck. The Bradford trade did not happen yet so Gore was most-likely giving himself the best chance of winning by choosing the Colts.

  7. 7 A_T_G said at 7:25 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    Maybe, but all of that was out in the open when Gore agreed to come here. If that were the reason, why agree at all? I think more likely he was okay with that, and then someone told him about Chip.

  8. 8 Dave said at 8:59 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    Or maybe Indy got into the game after the fact. I dunno, but your point is well taken about Philly being seen as a good destination for free agents.

  9. 9 Dave said at 9:08 AM on April 1st, 2017:

    I just watched the Chris Long interview. It’s pretty impressive to hear a guy who was taken #2 overall and has banked over $87M to repeatedly use the word “compete” in his press conference.

  10. 10 ChoTime said at 12:32 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    I see Howie Long occasionally in a nice golf community here in Arizona. The guy looks about 40.

  11. 11 Rambler said at 4:50 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    You in the Phoenix area? Didn’t realize Howie lived out here.

  12. 12 ChoTime said at 6:10 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    I think he snowbirds it up in an exclusive North Scottsdale development.

  13. 13 P_P_K said at 5:31 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    When he first started doing commentary, I thought he was a big knucklehead. He’s turned into a very articulate and intelligent guy.

  14. 14 P_P_K said at 10:10 AM on April 1st, 2017:

    What, no April Fool’s, “The Eagles signed Romo”?

  15. 15 daveH said at 10:34 AM on April 1st, 2017:

    And resigned Sanchez

  16. 16 HawaiianEagle said at 12:15 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    Chip replaces Howie…

  17. 17 P_P_K said at 12:52 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    ‘Bama replaces Tommy.

  18. 18 ChoTime said at 12:30 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    BREAKING NEWS: Ivanka Trump buys the Eagles, appoints Kellyanne Conway as GM, says if she can get that loser elected, getting the Eagles a SB should be easy. TheDonald trumps that any ref making a call against the Eagles is a traitor.

    Overnight, 25 million Cowboys fans buy Eagles jerseys.

  19. 19 Julescat said at 1:24 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    democrats immediately claim that muh Russia hacked the NFL

  20. 20 P_P_K said at 2:12 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    Can Carson Wentz make the Eagles great again?

  21. 21 Rellihcs said at 12:37 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    Marcus Smith named starting QB. Wentz to convert to CB.

  22. 22 Greg Richards said at 1:17 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    No, but they did cut Foles and signed Colin Kaepernick to a 2-year, $16M deal. In an interview with PE.com, Howie said that QB is a very important position so it was his intent to sign each and every available backup QB to a starter level contract at some point this offseason.

  23. 23 nopain23 said at 1:32 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    The more draft info I sift through the more important convinced I am there won’t be a defensive prospect worth the 14th pick. A lot of fans are now pining for Conley now that Jones got hurt and the delusion of lattimore falling to 14 is over. I watched most of OSU games last season and while he’s got solid cover skills Conley couldn’t tackle Stephen Hawkins. I’d rather take Humphrey if we go CB at 14. Problem is while he hits like a mac truck he’ll get beaten deep….alot. I’m betting that undlin can clean up his tendency to ” bite the ” cheese more than teach Conley to tackle. Tackling is more about will than technique.
    Ross, Davis ,williams would be better picks at 14 and I definitely think one of them will be there

  24. 24 Will Ft. Daft Punk said at 5:22 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    I think there will be a defensive player worth the 14 pick. It just may not be one you like. And we wont no for sure until 1,2 or 3 years later anyway.

  25. 25 Media Mike said at 8:40 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    No, if we don’t like the guy, he’s not worth the pick. Duh.

  26. 26 SteveH said at 1:57 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    Dion Jordan cut, the dream is alive.

  27. 27 CrackSammich said at 6:10 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    Like I said in the last thread, if he wants anything more than the equivalent of an UDFA camp tryout contract, fuck no.

  28. 28 Gian GEAGLE said at 2:02 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    I’d go Chris long over Mario Williams any day. I don’t know which has more left in the tank, but I do know Long is a high Charechter guy who will bring everything he has each week, where as Mario Williams has quit on teams when things weren’t going great even tho he was being paid big money.
    for someone who played in a different scheme for the first time last year, long contributed enough to reasonably think he has enough left to be a Solid complimentary contributor back in a role he is most familiar with.
    It’s been too damnnear long since we had an elite game changing edge rusher who could be counted on for 10 plus sacks each year. Adding a rotation player in Long SHOULDNT stop us from trying to find that game changing DE in the draft

  29. 29 bsuperfi said at 3:55 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    When I read the part about developing an elite edge rusher, my first response was to agree completely. Graham, cox, and new guy would be great for a couple years.

    But then I had another thought: what if we had really good but not great rushers down the line and beyond for depth and rotation? Kind of like the Green Bay receiving corps used to be. Would this be as effective given the nature of the defense? Is it any harder to attain that than finding and developing that one dominant player? (I have absolutely no idea.)

  30. 30 Gian GEAGLE said at 4:34 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    I think you can get away with that short term, but eventually one or two of the backups will want a chance at a starting role elsewhere if they are producing as much as the starters ahead of them

  31. 31 Gian GEAGLE said at 2:15 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    How do people feel about the Bobby Wagner comparison being thrown around for Reuban Foster?
    How about Darius Slay as a comparison for the CB Conley from OSU?
    Could a two down Power back like Fournette really end up drafted in the top 10?
    Are we going to see any Offensive Lineman drafted in the top 13?

  32. 32 Media Mike said at 8:39 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    Really don’t like Foreman. On of the draft writers tweeted out a bunch of Foreman’s tape; he seems to run to contact……..and go right down too often.

  33. 33 Insomniac said at 2:27 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    My sources are telling me that Bradley Fletcher wants to come back as a coach here.

  34. 34 Gian GEAGLE said at 3:19 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    Out of curiosity. If the Eagles traded for a true number 1 corner today, how many people would still feel that there is more than 1 CB among the best 15 prospects in this draft?

  35. 35 BobSmith77 said at 3:50 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    Using the word ‘journeyman’ to Long is a kind description. He has no business starting anymore in the NFL and if Curry doesn’t beat him out in camp I will be really disappointed.

  36. 36 P_P_K said at 5:38 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    I agree with you about Long and Curry. Unless MS can demonstrate he can contribute, I’d prefer the team accept he is a bust and keep him off the field.

  37. 37 Will Ft. Daft Punk said at 8:07 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    Curry was outworked by MSII last year. I really hope he turns into the player they paid him to be.

  38. 38 Tdoteaglefan said at 5:48 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    Your score is: 12446 (GRADE: A-)

    Your Picks:
    Round 1 Pick 14: Haason Reddick, OLB/ILB, Temple (A-)
    Round 2 Pick 11: Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado (A-)
    Round 3 Pick 10: Ryan Anderson, OLB/DE, Alabama (B+)
    Round 4 Pick 12: Ryan Glasgow, DT, Michigan (A)
    Round 4 Pick 32 (COMP): D’Onta Foreman, RB, Texas (A)
    Round 5 Pick 11: Julie’n Davenport, OT, Bucknell (A+)
    Round 6 Pick 10: Ryan Switzer, WR, North Carolina (A)
    Round 7 Pick 12: Brendan Langley, CB, Lamar (TX) (C+)

    I’m not even entertaining the Trade scenarios in this game anymore. Picked the Philly kid in the 1st rd and chose to fortify the defense with the first 4 picks.

  39. 39 Sb2bowl said at 8:05 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    I’d be alright with this scenario- wouldn’t wow me, and Reddick isn’t one of my favorites but we need talent overall and if he’s who/what they want then so be it. I like Awuzie a lot, and he would certainly help with the run defense

  40. 40 Will Ft. Daft Punk said at 8:06 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    I like it but hope they double up on CB before the 7th

  41. 41 Media Mike said at 8:40 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    I like it other than Foreman. Not a fan of that dude.

  42. 42 Media Mike said at 8:54 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    Your score is: 12991 (GRADE: A-)

    Your Picks:
    Round 1 Pick 14: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan (B+)
    Round 2 Pick 11: Takkarist McKinley, OLB/DE, UCLA (A)
    Round 3 Pick 10: Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson (A+)
    Round 4 Pick 12: Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma (A)
    Round 4 Pick 32 (COMP): Julie’n Davenport, OT, Bucknell (A)
    Round 5 Pick 11: Corn Elder, CB, Miami (Fla.) (B+)
    Round 6 Pick 10: Matthew Dayes, RB, NC State (A-)
    Round 7 Pick 12: Stevie Tu’ikolovatu, DT, Southern California (A)

    What I like best about this draft is that, except for Perine, I don’t think a single guy I took will actually be available at that spot during the draft……..but I can’t really say no to a guy when he’s sitting there.

  43. 43 eagleyankfan said at 5:56 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    MS and taken another implies he’s taken a step…i must have missed his initial step…im no Einstein with math but ill give it a shot…MS “step” per year prorated out = 2035 until he’ll be actually be effective

  44. 44 ChoTime said at 6:07 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    Hey, give him time, man. You’re jumping the gun.

  45. 45 D3FB said at 9:49 AM on April 2nd, 2017:

    He’s now ok in the run game. His pass rush is still more often than not underwhelming and scattershot but he’s had some nice plays. He beat Tyron Smith for a sack with a nice spin move.

    He’s a bust and not great but he’s at least become a servicable player that isn’t a waste of space on the field.

    He’s become an ok special teamer too.

    He just turned 25. He should be in the league another 4-5 years and could carve himself out a decent role as a depth EDGE player who can play ST and does a little bit of everything.

  46. 46 CrackSammich said at 8:00 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    This slow, prolonged death to the Flyers season is getting old. We’re just going to hang out in the “not mathematically eliminated” spot until we’ve won our way out of the draft spot.

  47. 47 Sb2bowl said at 8:02 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    I call this the pre-pre season for expectations for the Eagles

  48. 48 CrackSammich said at 8:16 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    That’s about my expectation for the season–keep it interesting until the end, but ultimately miss the playoffs. There’s just too many holes in the defense for me to expect more at this point, and I don’t see the draft fixing that.

  49. 49 Sb2bowl said at 9:13 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    Sounds a lot like marriage

  50. 50 Rambler said at 8:34 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    I gave up on them awhile back, and realistically they have been eliminated for awhile. Saw something today that if they only would not have lost to the awful Devils the 3 times they played them, they actually would be in the final playoff spot. Just brutal.

  51. 51 Media Mike said at 8:34 PM on April 1st, 2017:

    Somebody needs to hand some quick death to Dalton Prout for that hit on Gudas. That dude needs to be put into a grave.