Birds play their hearts out for ‘Coach Wash’

Jim Washburn. The name usually conjures up images of speed-rushing ends attacking quarterbacks — or, at least it should, if his wide-nine scheme is executed properly.

While that scheme became a source of frustration when the Eagles’ defense struggled early in 2011, the defensive line coach is back for more. The Eagles actually tied for the NFL-lead in team sacks with 50. Now, Washburn’s unit has the tools — and the time — to do more damage.

“Thing was, we were just rushing so much, trying to get everything in,” Washburn said, referring to 2011. “It was just frustrating because I wasn’t getting across to them exactly what we wanted. It took awhile. It was the same thing everyone went through last year, learning a new system.”

The catalyst for all of that is Trent Cole. Washburn’s eyes lit up recently when he began describing his stud end. The coach said he’s been enamored with Cole since the two met at the Pro Bowl, some eight years ago.

“We went out to eat and starting talking about hunting and guns and stuff, and we hit it off,” Washburn said. “I love the way he plays.”

Washburn is still mad he didn’t do his homework when Cole entered the NFL Draft.

“I’m sick since he got drafted here that I didn’t study enough film on him,” Washburn said. “He’s really special. My guys in Tennessee got tired of hearing about Trent Cole. I’m really privileged to coach him. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to come here, to get a chance to coach him.”

And their relationship extends off the field, as well. Ask Washburn about Cole’s offseason and he doesn’t point to blitz packages or new workout routines.

“Trent just got back from a hunting trip in British Columbia and he killed a bear,” Washburn said. “It’s a good feeling.”

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