Although he has the pedigree of a first-round draft pick, Jason Babin isn't taking anything for granted as he fights to make the Eagles roster. He'll get his final opportunity to state his case this Thursday against the New York Jets.
"I think every game is important," Babin said. "Every day in the NFL it's what-have-you-done-for-me-lately, and if you don't do it then they're going to find someone to replace you. They have a whole team of guys upstairs trying to find players to make the team better."
As badly as Babin wants to make the team, he's not a typical athlete. He didn't grow up with the aspirations of being an NFL player.
"No, I never dreamed about it," he said. "I'm kind of the odd one on the team, I don't watch Sportscenter.
"My junior year of college, my head coach called me in and said 'Jason, you're going to sit down and you're going to listen to me.' He said, 'If you really focus up here, you can make this happen.' And I'd never really been like, Oh my god I'm going to play in the NFL, but then when I thought about it, I decided, 'Alright, I'm going to do it.'"
Babin's time in the NFL has been spent mostly as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense, but he's gotten the opportunity with the Eagles to play what he considers his natural position, defensive end in a 4-3. In fact, he's even gotten some looks as an inside pass rusher in certain situations.
"It's kind of a new thing for me as of late, but you have to role with the punches," he said. "When you're inside, you have a guy on your left and a guy on your right. If you don't account for the guy on the other side, you could get hit pretty hard."
But Babin likes the idea of getting four defensive ends on the field at once in those pass-rush situations.
"The biggest premise (behind that) is speed," he said. "They want to get four athletic guys on the field running and chasing the quarterback."
Babin's hoping he's fast enough to outrun the competition and finish with a spot on the Eagles final roster.
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 8:00 p.m., August 31