PHILADELPHIA -- An energized Trent Cole was talking excitedly, after the Philadelphia Eagles' minicamp concluded here Thursday afternoon, about the multiple roles he gets to play now in the defense under new head coach Chip Kelly and defensive coordinator Bill Davis. A 4-3 defense end for his entire career, Cole continues to do some lining up on the line but is for the first time playing outside linebacker in 3-4 formations. He likes it.
"I'm very comfortable now when I'm rushing because there's so much space to work with," Cole said. "You're just able to see so much more of what's in front of you and what's around you and where you can and can't go. Plus, I get to rush over tight ends and running backs now, so that's a lot of fun."
I mentioned that I found interesting, due to the nature of my particular job, the difference between Cole's transition and the one that they're making in Dallas, where the 3-4 outside linebackers will have to move up to the line and rush the passer from 4-3 defensive end positions this year. Cole smiled at that.
"So that means DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer, those guys are going to have to line up right up against the tackle and go at tackles and guards all game, right?" he said. "That's a lot tougher way to go."
Remains to be seen, of course, whether either or both of these transitions have much positive or negative effect on the Eagles' pass-rushers or the Cowboys' pass-rushers. It's only June, and come September Cole may well find he doesn't love the additional coverage responsibilities that go along with his 3-4 outside linebacker job. But for now it feels new and liberating to him.
"Playing defensive end, it was always just, 'get past anything and everything in your way,'" Cole said. "Now, I can just play smooth, sound football. Everything feels smoother, more fluid out there. I have to learn what I have to learn with the coverages and those types of things, but it's football, and I think it's going to work out well."