Rookie third-round pick Bennie Logan had to wait half the season to get his chance to start, but now he is making up for lost time and making an immediate impact. Following an impressive performance against the Oakland Raiders in his debut as a starter, Logan had an even better showing against the Green Bay Packers. He controlled blockers at the point of attack, plugged gaps and was an integral part of an Eagles' stout run defense that held Packers running back Eddie Lacy firmly in check. Still, Logan has every expectation of getting even better as the season progresses.
"I feel like I played pretty well against Green Bay," Logan said. "I made a few mistakes, stuff that I continue to learn from so I can continue making progress, taking strides forward instead of going backwards. There are new mistakes, something for Coach (Azzinaro) to deal with. He just told me to continue making progress, continue taking strides. I have to just continue to study my opponents, know their tendencies. There are just small mistakes that I made, it's something where I knew my mistakes and I corrected them today at practice."
Logan's arrival rounds out the trio of young, promising starters on the Eagles defensive line. He, Fletcher Cox and Cedric Thornton are rapidly becoming foundational pieces for the Eagles defense and forming a front the unit can build around moving forward. Cox and Thornton have taken Logan under their wing, and the three of them together are flourishing.
"It's just a great thing to have those guys next to me," Logan said. "Especially with me being a rookie, just having the leadership beside me, those guys keep me going, just keep my head in the game and make sure I take care of my business and handle everything. I love just playing with them. They bring great energy to the game and practice, and it shows up with the way they play and the way they perform."
When the Eagles and Redskins played in the season opener, Logan played just 29 percent of the defensive snaps. Over the past two weeks, that number has jumped to 49 and 48 percent. This time around, Logan will be a much more instrumental piece in the game plan, and he is ready for a much more dynamic Robert Griffin III.
"The first time we played, he wasn't as mobile," Logan said of Griffin III. "Now he's more healthy, so he brings another threat – his running ability. It's going to be a challenge for us, one we're looking forward to. He throws the ball really well and can also run the ball, so we have to continue focusing on our technique and focus on keeping pressure on him. Also, when we pressure him, we have to make sure we contain him."
In college, Logan frequently went up against read option quarterbacks and became adept at staying disciplined with his assignments instead of falling for the fake. That facet of his skill set makes him even more valuable against a dual-threat like Griffin III. However, now that Logan is playing nose tackle, his read-option responsibilities have changed.
"Now that I'm playing nose tackle, (the read option) won't be a real effect on me, it's more on the ends," Logan said. "I just have to make sure I get pressure and get push in the middle, so that if he gives the ball to the running back, I can be in my gap so the linebackers can make plays or I can make plays. It's going to be key for me make sure I get pressure up the middle and get knock back, get more vertical this week to cut off the zone and make sure everybody's in their lanes and playing their positions."
A week after shutting down one of the NFL's best rushing attacks, the Eagles will try to do so again against Alfred Morris and the Redskins. Logan has already seen enough of Morris to know the Eagles have to be on their game, as it will take multiple tacklers to bring him down.
"He's more shifty than Eddie Lacy, but he's a downhill runner," Logan said. "He'll give you a couple moves. It'll be the same way we approached the Green Bay game. Everybody has to get to the ball, everybody has to make tackles. That's going to be the main thing, shutting him down or at least slowing him down from getting a lot of yards."
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