It was a surprise to not see Stewart Bradley work with the defense on Sunday morning, until we learned that he suffered a hamstring spasm. Alongside Omar Gaither, who was the first-team MIKE linebacker, was another surprise - Akeem Jordan working in on the strong side.
The biggest surprise of all came during the offensive line vs. defensive line one-on-one drills. Moise Fokou, who was the first-team SAM linebacker on Saturday, took one rep against Jeraill McCuller. Coming out of the four-point stance, Fokou showed good leverage and burst as he got by the rookie. The Eagles may try to utilize Fokou as the Joker this season, a role previously played by Chris Clemons. It's not new to Fokou who did it at Maryland.
"At Maryland, I used to rush the passer quite a bit in my last year there," said the 6-1, 236-pound Fokou who had five sacks his senior season. "At the same time, the more you can do here the better. Whether it's third down, first down, second down, whatever you can do. I think Sean's (McDermott) trying to find ways to use me any which way possible. I'm definitely excited about the opportunity. I already know I can do it. I believe in myself. I did it in college and got some sacks, but it'd be good to get some in the NFL, won't it?"
McDermott said they experimented with utilizing Fokou in this role last spring.
"I'm trying to exhaust all the resources to see what he can do and see what value he can bring to the overall defense. If he can rush the passer, then we'll get him on the field in some combination defense," McDermott said. "He rushed the passer quite a bit at Maryland. They moved their guys quite a bit where he was a Joker. He had his hand down quite a bit. He rushed the edge."
McDermott said that he will tinker with the alignment at all levels of the defense in training camp and the preseason to find the best mix for opening day against Green Bay. Nothing here is finalized. When it comes to Jordan, McDermott believes that he can handle the rigors of playing on the strong side.
"He's got a good feel for the game and instincts to go along with it. That's what we're banking on to make the transition," McDermott said. "He's been taking the mental reps at the position even before we made the transition. He loves to play. The guy is a warrior. I feel confident that Akeem at the SAM linebacker can succeed at the point of attack. He's physical. He loves the aggressive part of the game."
Jordan, a rookie free agent addition in 2007, was a middle linebacker in college and that's where he began his NFL career. He became the starter on the weak side before moving back to the middle last season to help when Bradley and Omar Gaither were injured. McDermott agreed with the sentiment that trends across the league on offense can help shape his perception as to where guys can play on defense.
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 11:30 a.m., August 1