After shake-up, excuses gone for Eagles defensive line

Jim Washburn is gone. And his failed wide-nine experiment is gone with him.

Now, there are really no more excuses for a defensive line that has totaled just 20.0 sacks (less than 1.7 per game). Adapting to a new coach and new defensive front isn’t going to be easy, but these Eagles don’t have much of a choice.

“It doesn’t matter whether it is hard or not,” defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins said. “We’re expected to do it, learn it [and] adjust. We just have to deal with it.”

Jenkins said he was surprised the team chose to dismiss Washburn following Sunday night’s loss to Dallas. He was even more miffed at the tales being spun about the grizzled coach.

Many had claimed Washburn was running a rogue operation, isolating his defensive line and demeaning other position coaches and coordinators. Last year, Washburn and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg got into a shouting match on the sideline.

“Washburn’s approach to how to get us fired up … some people take it the wrong way or looking from the outside in, might not understand it. He was just all about trying to get us to play hard,” Jenkins said. “For the most part, what I saw, everyone got along pretty well and everybody talked. There were little moments that everyone wants to point to.”

All that’s in the rear-view window. Tommy Brasher takes the reins, the same ones he held in 1985 and again from 1999-2005. He’s regarded as a hands-on coach, more of a professor than a dictator.

“He’s a teacher of the game,” said Trent Cole, who learned under Brasher during his rookie season.

“That’s what he does.”

What the Eagles do over these final four weeks — and looking ahead to 2013 — is anybody’s guess.

Speaking up

With Jim Washburn out, Todd Bowles may have a chance to finally put his stamp on the defense.

“He’s quiet, but he has a strong personality,” head coach Andy Reid said, of Bowles. “Again, it’s too early to tell. But they’ve met and the meetings have been good and open and great communication.”

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