In the first year of his second tour of duty with the Eagles, defensive end Jason Babin shattered any claims that his breakout 2010 campaign with the Tennessee Titans was some kind of fluke. Back under the watchful arm of defensive line coach Jim Washburn, Babin led the Eagles with 18.0 sacks, the third best mark in the league and second best among defensive ends. Meanwhile, his position group was as disruptive as Babin promised they would be in training camp as the team tied for the league lead with 50 sacks in all, 46 of which were accounted for by the line.
And as of Monday, that defensive line will have another one of its pieces back as the team announced it had come to terms with defensive tackle Derek Landri, who led the team in tackles for loss in 2011, on a one-year deal.
"I was worried about us losing Derek," Babin said Tuesday with a smile. "I called him yesterday and congratulated him. I was pretty excited about that."
The defense figures to take a step forward this year thanks in part to the import of Pro Bowl middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans. Babin can speak to the impact Ryans will make on the Eagles defense as the two were teammates with the Houston Texans in 2006, when Ryans started all 16 games as a rookie.
"I think he's going to bring a lot of leadership to the team," Babin said. "He's a hard working guy and he's not afraid to take charge."
Meanwhile, as he and his teammate bide their time before the upcoming Organized Team Activities, Babin couldn't help but contrast this offseason to last year's. A year ago, Babin was not only mired in the work stoppage like the rest of the league, but he was stuck in free-agent limbo, unsure of where or with whom he would play in 2011. Now, he and his teammates can move forward with a plan in place.
"You're definitely not climbing the walls at home (like last year)," he said. "Right now, you can come in, you can work out, see everybody and, you know, just get a nice little lift in."
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