Under former coach Chip Kelly's round-the-clock hurry-up offense, the Eagles defense needed an ample supply of oxygen masks on the sideline. Their units spent the most time on the field the last three years.
So what happened Sunday, courtesy of the Carson Wentz-led offense and the Cleveland Browns being the... Browns, behind a bad (and now injured) Robert Griffin III? They were on the field less than 21 minutes.
Former Lions Head Coach Jim Schwartz took over a unit that ranked 30th in the NFL last season, yet has some very good parts in moving from a 3-4 to a 4-3 and his trademark "Wide 9" setup.
The underrated, overlooked Fletcher Cox was recognized by the team in June to the tune of a $102.6 million payday ($63 million guaranteed) over six years. After collecting just 12.5 sacks his first three seasons, he soared to 9.5 a year ago, and will attack more now as Schwartz moves him from end to tackle alongside athletic run-stuffer Bennie Logan. Schwartz also moves former 3-4 outside linebackers Brandon Graham (6.5 sacks last season) and Connor Barwin (who's posted 11.5- and 14.5-sack seasons) to defensive end. Former first- and second-round picks Marcus Smith and Vinny Curry remain in backup roles.
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Nigel Bradham followed Schwartz from Buffalo to join a speedy group of linebackers, joining Mychal Kendricks around middle man Jordan Hicks, whose great rookie campaign a year ago was cut short by a torn pectoral muscle. He'd otherwise have been in the Defensive Rookie of the Year discussion. Once the Lions finally let veteran Stephen Tullock go, he reunited with Schwartz in a backup role.
Pro Bowl strong safety Malcolm Jenkins has elevated his game since leaving New Orleans a couple of years ago and now teams with small but physical former Ram Rodney McLeod, who signed a five-year, $35 million free agent deal.
One of Schwartz's ex-Bills cornerbacks, starter Leodis McKelvin, will be sidelined Monday night by a hamstring injury sustained versus the Browns. So the decision on who fills in falls between two LSU products, seventh-round rookie Jalen Mills (who delivered the hit that injured RGIII Sunday), or another former Bill, veteran Ron Brooks. Nolan Carroll is physical in man-press on the opposite side and was having a good 2015 before breaking his ankle.
Darren Sproles has gone to the last two Pro Bowls as a returner, and averaged 15 yards on four punts Sunday, so the Bears' coverage units have to be on-point, to say the least. He led the league in punt return average last season and has two return touchdowns each of the past two years, though rookie Wendell Smallwood returned one kick against Cleveland. Kicker Caleb Sturgis started slow but finished strong in 2015, and missed a 46-yard field goal attempt versus the Browns while converting two others. 36-year-old punter Donnie Jones was second in the league a year ago with 23 fair catches, while ranking sixth in net average, seventh in gross.
Join Chris & Dan Jiggetts from Halas Hall at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday on CSN Chicago, for "Bears Huddle" and "Bears Blitz." You'll hear from Bears coaches and players after practice, previewing Monday Night's home opener.