Derrick Burgess should replace Douglas

<B>Since his acquisition five years ago, Hugh Douglas made quite a reputation for himself as an aggressive pass rusher for the Philadelphia Eagles, and his departure via free agency has left a void in the Eagles defensive line. ND. Kalu, Jamaal Green and first round draft choice Jerome McDougle all will compete for the starting role, but the best man suited for the job is Derrick Burgess. He has experience and is a near clone of Douglas's playing style. </B>

Hugh Douglas was a staple in the Eagles defense for the past five years. Every time he lined up at his right end position, the offense was fully aware that if he was not blocked perfectly, a sack or loss of yards was likely to be the result of the play. Douglas struck fear into an offensive coordinator and an offensive line because of his ability to explode up the field and sack the quarterback or take down the running back. These are just some of the reasons why he will be hard to replace, however with the flux of young talent the Eagles now have at the defensive end position, the coaching staff thinks that they have their problem solved.

With the addition of rookies Jerome McDougle and Jamaal Green, teammates at the University of Miami, the Eagles added two young players with star potential to fill the void created by Hugh‘s departure. But they are not alone. Derrick Burgess, who missed all of last season with assorted ankle problems, returns and brings with him the six sacks that he got in his rookie year in limited playing time. All three of these players could be considered worthy candidates to start, as each of them brings youth and talent to the table.

However, someone must be named the starter at Right End, and that person should be Derrick Burgess. If for no other reason than that he has taken a snap in the NFL before. If Burgess is completely healthy and healed from his injuries of last year, he adds the most to the Eagles defense at this point. He has been in the league now for two whole seasons, albeit one of them was spent on Injured Reserve. However, he understands the complicated schemes of Jim Johnson's defense and is not liable to make "rookie mistakes" which McDougle and Green are.

Burgess is still on the lighter side for a starting end, however, and must gain weight if he expects to hold up against a Stephen Davis or a Ricky Williams, both of whom the Eagles play this year. But as of now, Burgess is the most qualified for the starting position. But McDougle and Green will not be ignored by any means. Both bring superb pass-rushing skills to the defense, and combined with Burgess and "Joker" N.D. Kalu, the Eagles very well could have the deepest and best foursome of ends in the league. No matter who starts at the position that Hugh made famous for the Eagles, Andy Reid will be assured that that player can get to the quarterback in a heartbeat, even if that quarterback is named Michael Vick.


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