Number On 53-Man Roster In 2008 Season Opener: 6
What We've Learned So Far: Trent Cole is firmly entrenched at the right defensive end position, and is one of the stars of this defense. On the other side, Juqua Parker, despite his off-the-field incident, seems to be set to start. Victor Abiamiri is expected to be a big contributor as the other left defensive end, but he has spent all of training camp on the Physicall Unable To Perform list rehabbing a pectoral injury. Veterans Darren Howard and Chris Clemons have each had terrific camps, Clemons especially. Howard is also effective moving inside as a defensive tackle on passing downs. Newcomer Jason Babin is physically imposing and has looked to have a fast motor. Bryan Smith has had his moments as a pass rusher, and Josh Gaines has made the most of his reps, including sliding inside to defensive tackle on occasion. Chris Gocong has also seen significant reps at end in the No. 2 nickel package, so there are a lot of possible permutations the coaching staff can come up with at the end position.
Questions Remaining: How healthy is Abiamiri, and how soon will he be able to contribute? Can Jason Babin continue to impress as a pass rusher after he no longer has fresh legs? Will anyone impress enough in the preseason to stake a claim on the sixth defensive end spot?
*-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 7:35 a.m., August 8