Darryl Tapp's role in the defense has increased as the season has gone on. But the five-year veteran could have his biggest role as an Eagle Sunday if starting left defensive end Juqua Parker is unable to play with a hip flexor strain. With Parker listed as questionable, rookie Brandon Graham is in line to start at left defensive end if Parker can't go. The domino effect of that injury would also lead to more playing time for Tapp, a versatile player who can play anywhere along the line.
"Yeah, I expect to play both sides (if Parker doesn't play)," Tapp said.
Tapp's Eagles career began slowly with back-to-back inactives in the first two weeks of the season. But the Virginia Tech product has been active in every game since, providing valuable depth along a defensive line that employs an extensive rotation. And it's not surprising that Tapp would take time to acclimate himself into the defense. Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott often points out that it takes a lot of time for veterans to pick up the defense when they have a base of knowledge from a previous defense.
"My situation coming to the Eagles, I had to relearn everything," Tapp said. "I already had a vast knowledge of the game, but from a different system. Now you have to look at it differently for the system that you're in."
Tapp has also been a helpful consultant to Graham, his roommate on the road. As a rookie, Graham is working just as hard as Tapp to make the defense second nature.
"You have to continue to work on it," Tapp said. "It'll come. My fist year in Seattle, I got to play a lot, get a lot of experience. But I didn't really pick it up until the second year. You're constantly learning what does this mean, what does it call for you to do."
Thus far in 2010, Tapp has 2.0 sacks and two fumble recoveries. He's been employed primarily as a right defensive end to spell Trent Cole and as an inside pass rusher on passing downs. This week, with a expanded role potentially in store, Tapp isn't taking anything for granted.
The Bears "are a dangerous team," Tapp said. "Jay Cutler can make any pass stepping into the throw or falling away from the throw. He can make any play out there.
"They're a dangerous team ... but we have to continue to find a way."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 3:00 p.m., November 27