Fan-Demonium columnist Tommy Lawlor's latest entry analyzes the Eagles defense and asks the question: Just how good they can be in 2009?
For the Eagles to take the next step and become an elite defense, Lawlor notes that there are several key players who have to take their game to the next level. One of them is middle linebacker Stewart Bradley.
"Bradley is perfect for our defensive system. He made great strides from his rookie year to last season. He made great strides from early in the year to the playoffs. Can he continue to make that kind of progress? If so, he could emerge into a real force in the middle. Bradley was second on the team in tackles and first in tackles for loss last year. That's outstanding for a first-year starter.
"I expect Bradley to improve, but I'm not sure what his ceiling is. Bradley is such a good fit for our system that he can potentially become a special player. He's got the size to take on offensive linemen and shed blocks. Bradley is a good tackler and does a good job of locating the ball on run plays. He's also big enough to attack blockers on pass plays. We like to use the middle linebacker to attack the center so that other pass rushers and/or blitzers will have an easier time getting to the quarterback."
Bradley's performance last season has already started to garner some national headlines. Sports Illustrated's Peter King named Bradley to his All-Pro team last year and NFL.com's Steve Wyche believes that Bradley could become the best 4-3 middle linebacker by the end of this season.
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 11:55 a.m., July 17