They haven't gone public with it yet, but it's an open secret the Philadelphia Eagles will switch to a 3-4 defense under new head coach Chip Kelly. Their early free agency signings show how that 3-4 defense is taking shape.
Compared with recent seasons, the Eagles have been low-key in free agency. That's certainly a wise policy after being burned by the big spending that produced the so-called "dream team." However, staying below the radar, doesn't means the Eagles haven't been active and Smart.
So far they have added four new pieces to their secondary. Safeties Patrick Chung and Kenny Phillips will compete to start right away. As will new cornerbacks Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams. However, it is up front where the Eagles have made their best moves and have been most revealing about their choice of defensive scheme.
One of Philly's first deals was to secure former San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Isaac Sopoaga. His arrival was the first major hint at a move to a 3-4 front. Sopoaga is a hulking nose tackle, the kind of run-stuffing force every 3-4 needs in the middle.
Signing Steven Jackson gives the Atlanta Falcons the best offense in the NFL. The Falcons have agreed the signing of the star free agent running back, according to NFL.com.
Jackson expands the repertoire and scoring potential of the Falcons attack. He will provide the perfect complement to the league's most dangerous passing game.
Quarterback Matt Ryan already has the perfect blend of pass-catchers. At wide receiver, Julio Jones stretches the field vertically, while Roddy White works the outside.
Veteran tight end Tony Gonzalez, who recently confirmed he will 'return' for another season, works underneath. The only element missing is a dynamic and versatile weapon in the backfield.
Jackson is exactly that. The stellar veteran offers the same level of bruising, power-running that the departed Michael Turner did.
San Francisco 49ers News: Trading For Anquan Boldin Gives Colin Kaepernick The Tools To Succeed In 2013
The San Francisco 49ers have traded a sixth round draft pick to their Super Bowl conquerors, the Baltimore Ravens, for wide receiver Anquan Boldin. That's according to a report from NFL.com's Chris Wesseling, citing a tweet from The Baltimore Sun.
The 49ers were clearly thinking of their young quarterback when they made this deal. The trade gives Colin Kaepernick all the tools he needs to succeed in 2013. Boldin may be ageing, but he is the ultimate quarterback-friendly receiver. He will quickly become the dependable target Kaepernick won't be able to live without.
The youthful and athletic passer took teams by surprise when he replaced Alex Smith for the final seven games of the 2012 season. However, pro defenses have now had ample time to scout the fleet-footed quarterback, particularly thanks to the extra attention Kaepernick garnered taking the Niners to the Super Bowl.
The Seattle Seahawks have traded for Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin. Trading for Harvin makes the Seahawks major NFC contenders in 2013. NFL.com's Marc Sessler cites FoxSports.com's Jay Glazer, who reports the Seahawks swapped first and seventh round picks in April's draft for Harvin.
That gives Seattle's young offense a truly dynamic wide receiver. That's exactly what quarterback Russell Wilson needed to help him succeed in year two. The Seahawks have given Wilson a legitimate vertical threat to complement his arm strength and big play potential.
That big play potential is something that defines Harvin. He is a dynamic and versatile playmaker who excels at stretching defenses deep. The Seahawks needed to expand their offense to tailor things more to Wilson's skills. Those skills include launching vertical salvos and throwing on the run.
The New York Giants have signed defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins, according to USA Today. This smart deal means Big Blue have added a valuable interior pass-rusher to their defense.
The Giants have lacked a defensive tackle who can pressure the pocket, since Justin Tuck moved to end. They have instead relied on road-graders and run-stuffers on early downs.
For nickel and dime packages, the Giants have moved edge-rushers like Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul inside. Signing Jenkins gives the G-men a credible pass-rush from the inside.
It also completes an overhaul of the defensive tackle position for the four-time Super Bowl winners. Since 2010, they have parted ways with veterans like Fred Robbins, Barry Cofield and Chris Canty.
Head coach Tom Coughlin has also introduced younger players such as Linval Joseph and Marvin Austin. Joseph has been solid and certainly showcases the potential to improve.