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Landri Making A Name For Himself

Posted Jul 28, 2012

Think of a current Eagles defensive lineman.

The odds are good that a name such as Trent Cole, Jason Babin, Fletcher Cox, Cullen Jenkins, Brandon Graham or Mike Patterson pops into your head.

But what about Derek Landri?

Landri has flown under the radar throughout his tenure with the Eagles, so it comes as a surprise to some that he’s been the primary first-team defensive tackle alongside Cullen Jenkins throughout Training Camp thus far. Some people were surprised, but not Landri.

 “I’ve been running with the first team since Training Camp, since early on in (Organized Team Activities), so it was no surprise to me,” Landri said. “I guess it’s a surprise to everybody else.”

As long as the team is winning, he does not seem to mind.

“I just want to win,” he said. “Win games. Win my down. That’s all I care about.”

Coming into last season’s Training Camp, Landri had high hopes about playing his way onto the squad. Despite playing well in the preseason, he was released by the team.

Fortunately for Landri, he was given a second chance after he replaced the injured Antonio Dixon in the fifth week of the season. Landri joined the defensive tackle rotation and quickly made it clear that he was there to stay.

Landri played well. Despite missing the first four games of the season, he led the team in tackles for a loss and ranked fifth among defensive linemen in total tackles. Additionally, he had 2.0 sacks, a fumble recovery and a blocked field goal.

“What I like about him is that he is a tough guy,” defensive coordinator Juan Castillo said. “He’s a guy that people think that he can’t do that but he does do that. He is a professional, a leader and a no-nonsense type of guy, always trying to get better. That is a good example for all of the guys.”

Although he played well, Landri did not receive any substantial offers when he hit free agency in the offseason. Landri settled for a one-year deal, re-signing with the Eagles in April.

This season, as he takes snaps with the first-team defense, it is clear that expectations have been raised.

“(The coaches) expect me to play as hard as I can for as long as I can and compete at the highest level,” Landri said.

He may not be a guy who gives you double-digit sacks like Babin or Cole (his career high is 3.0 in 2010) and, as a former fifth-round pick, Landri is not someone who carries with him the hype of being a first-round pick like Cox, Graham or Patterson. However, Landri is as solid as they come on the defensive line.

“He continued where he left off last year. He makes plays. He’s quick off of the ball,” Castillo said.

He has caught the eye of his coaches. He has played his way into taking snaps with the first-team defense.

Derek Landri.

It might not be the first name you think of on this talented and deep defensive line, but if he keeps it up, it certainly won’t be the last.

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