Which Version of Kearse Will Colts See?

The Colts are very familiar with defensive end Jevon Kearse from his days with the Titans. But this year he'll visit Indy as a member of the Eagles for Week 12 action. Find out why he could be a force in that game despite his lower production in Philly the past two seasons.

Jevon Kearse's sack numbers haven't been quite as impressive as the Eagles had hoped they'd be when they lured him to Philadelphia in March of 2004 with a $16 million signing bonus.

The Freak has topped out at 7 1/2 sacks in each of his first two seasons with the Eagles -- good, but certainly not $16 million good.

"He's a double-digit sack guy," Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson said. "He's capable of that and he knows that. I think he has the ability to do that."

Kearse did it in each of his first three NFL seasons with Tennessee, notching 14 1/2 sacks as a rookie in 1999, 11 1/2 the next year and 10 the year after.

But he fractured his foot early in the 2002 season, and while he's collected a respectable 24 1/2 sacks the last three seasons, he hasn't been the dominant pass rusher he was early in his career.

Both Kearse and Johnson hope that will change this year. The Eagles have spent the off-season finding Kearse some pass-rushing help. They signed free-agent end Darren Howard and used their first-round pick on a pass-rushing defensive tackle, Brodrick Bunkley.

With the addition of those two, the development of 2005 rookies Trent Cole (five sacks) and Mike Patterson (3 1/2 sacks) and the return of Jerome McDougle, who missed all of last season recovering from a gunshot wound to the abdomen, Johnson thinks it will be much harder for opposing offenses to constantly double-team Kearse. He also plans to move Kearse around a lot more, rather than have him always line up at left end.

"It's my job and (defensive line coach) Pete Jenkins' job to get him moving around a bit more and give him more (sack) opportunities," Johnson said.

"Last year, we brought in Trent Cole (who started seven games at right end). But he was a rookie and we didn't want to flip him too much. But we have to move Jevon around more. He's too good a football player not to take advantage of his ability."

Kearse has spent the off-season working out near his home in south Florida and reported to mini-camp earlier this month in the best shape of his life. He said he's been running on the beach and working with a personal trainer. He weighed in at mini-camp at 245 pounds, which is 15 pounds under his usual playing weight. But he said he'll put it back on by the start of training camp.

"I want to be a little bit more destructive this year," Kearse said.


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