Logan getting comfortable with Eagles' scheme

Logan getting comfortable with Eagles' scheme

June 2, 2013, 9:00 am
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Still confused about the Eagles' primary defensive front?

Don't worry, Bennie Logan is on the field, and even he can't quite identify it.

Logan, a 6-foot-2, 309-pound defensive tackle out of LSU, was selected 67th overall in the third round of the draft by the Eagles back in April.

He spent his time in college lining up in a 4-3, which he's still doing. Except for when he's a five-technique in a 3-4. Or when the defense switches into a hybrid, and he's a down lineman next to a standing rusher.

"You really can't tell," Logan said with regard to a recognizable base defense. "We do it all. We run a whole different variety of schemes. We go 4-3, 3-4, you never really know how we're going to play. You've just got to go with whatever that game plan calls for."

The game plan during his four years of college was as part of a rotating base of tackles that helped keep opposing offenses out of the endzone.

Logan -- playing beside the No. 6 pick of the 2013 draft, Barkevious Mingo -- led LSU's defensive lineman in 2012 with 45 tackles and two sacks after totaling 57 tackles and three sacks in 2011, his first year as a starter. Over those two seasons, the LSU defense ranked second and 11th in the nation in points allowed per game with 10.5 in 2011 and 16.9 in 2012.

And go figure, in his first game of the 2011 season, it was Chip Kelly standing on the opposite sideline, coaching the No. 3 Oregon Ducks against Logan and No. 4 LSU in a game played at Cowboys Stadium.

LSU won, 40-27, Logan recorded four tackles and knocked down a pass in a precursor to a pro career that would lead him back to Kelly and the NFC East not even two years later.

"I talked to him one time at the Combine," Logan said referencing Kelly. "He told me that they were very interested in me and how I would fit in with their scheme.

"But I never predicted that I'd be playing [for] him."

The Eagles made Logan the second defensive tackle they've drafted out of the SEC in the last two seasons, following first-round pick Fletcher Cox in 2012. Logan just hasn't gotten much attention since being drafted, mostly due to the fact that he was sandwiched between second-round pick Zach Ertz and fourth-round pick Matt Barkley.

Some of it is also because of his college sack totals, which weren't exactly eye-popping; the pass rush is generally considered the area in which he needs to improve the most. Still, the Eagles obviously liked Logan's potential and his ability to control gaps against the run. Kelly called him "a three-down player" following the selection.

Logan now exists as part of a new group of tackles that includes Cox, Cedric Thornton, Antonio Dixon, free-agent signee Isaac Sopoaga and fellow rookie Damion Square from Alabama.

He hasn’t been here all that long, but to hear Logan tell it, last year's fragmented locker room that helped lead to the ouster of head coach Andy Reid seems to have tightened up following the regime change.

"Just to be with the Eagles' organization is a great honor," he said. "The organization is starting to rebuild itself. My first day here, a lot of guys were a little nervous, wondering how it was going to be in the locker room, but the veterans were friendly.

"There's a family bond here, that's what we sensed as rookies. You could really sense the family bond. The older guys took us under their wing like little brothers and showed us how to do things around here."

Now he's just trying to work himself into getting comfortable in the 3-4, which he called "basically the same thing" as playing in a 4-3, except he's playing "more outside than inside."

However and wherever defensive coordinator Billy Davis asks him to line up, it doesn’t seem as if Logan is getting rattled by the team jumping back and forth mixing up its look.

If he can improve as a pass rusher while also picking up his slightly altered position, he could prove valuable in Davis and Kelly’s revamped defense.

"I translate good [to the 3-4]," Logan said. "I'm picking up the scheme good. Fitting good in the defense. Whatever the coach asks me to do, I'm willing to do it. I've been learning the position. It's been a very productive OTAs for me. Players tell me I'm improving -- that's a big comfort for me coming into a new scheme.

"Overall, it's been a real good thing here."