• June 24, 2022

Chip Kelly: “Cedric Thornton is playing our best defensive football right now”

I do a radio show each week at the Chickies and Petes in Drexel Hill or the one in Audobon, Pennsylvania and this week my guest was Eagles defensive tackle Cedric Thornton.  More than any other defensive player on the Eagles roster, Thornton has impressed me with the way he has played.

First of all, I didn’t give him much chance of making the team when they changed to a 3-4 defense.  I was sure he had no chance of starting.  Not only has he made the team, but he’s starting and he’s also outplaying his buddy Fletcher Cox, who was drafted by the Birds in the first round.   Thornton was signed by Eagles as a free agent out of tiny Southern Arkansas.

This past week he made four tackles and a sack against the Broncos.  Birds head coach Chip Kelly singled out number 72,Thornton, for praise earlier in the week.

“I think the one thing you have to realize is Cedric Thornton is playing our best defensive football right now,” Kelly said.

“He’s playing with great effort. I think he’s got a real, real high motor. He’s a real technician. He’s really taken to Azz [D line coach Jerry Azzinaro] and the system that we’re teaching over there on the defensive line. Very rarely is he out of position. …He’s really a byproduct of putting it all together. And that’s what he’s doing.”

The amazing thing about Thornton is his versatility.  He was able to play both defensive end and defensive tackle for former Eagles defensive line coach Jim Washburn in his wide-9 alignment.  That required each defensive lineman to come flying out of his stance and across the line of scrimmage.  That’s the same system he had played in during his collegiate career at

Now that he’s playing for Azzinaro in the 3-4 defense, where he has to stand up the offensive lineman in front of him and be able to make tackles to either side of him.  Two-gaping requires size, strength and technique.

Thornton stands 6’2″ and weighs about 315 pounds, which is small in terms of 3-4 defensive linemen.  Compare for instance with Clifton Geathers, who backs up Thornton.  Gaithers is 6’8″ and weighs 340 with long arms.  Most 3-4 defensive linemen are big with long arms.  That isn’t the case with Thornton, but right now he’s the team’s best defensive player despite being undersized for the defense and not having had any experience playing the defense.

“I just focus on beating the man in front of me because if I don’t beat him, then it doesn’t matter what else I do”, Thornton told me.  “I try to beat him him then get to the football.”

“I’m not great in the weightroom, but I’m strong in my lower body and the key is my leverage.  I use my legs to get under the blockers.”

According to the Eagles, he leads the team’s defensive linemen in tackle with 25.  He got his first sack of the season on Sunday against Denver and what’s most amazing about it is the fact that he did it at nose guard where sacks are very rare..  He made four tackles playing at the nose position.

For the season’s first four game, he’s got one sack, one tackle for a loss, two hurries and one blocked pass.   I know those stats don’t seem like much, but defensive linemen don’t get many stats in the 3-4 defense.  Most of time they’re keeping blockers off the linebackers, who are supposed to be running all over the place wreaking havoc on the offense.

Thornton says he’s capable of playing better and I’m eager to see what he can do.

Don’t be surprised if Thornton starts playing the nose tackle more often.  I hear that nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga is being phased out, unless he starts playing much better.  The veteran nose tackle from San Francisco doesn’t seem to have much left in the engine.

 

GCOBB

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33 Comments

  • **NFL Trade Alert**
    Panthers Trade Former All-Pro LB jon Beason to the NY Giants who are desperate for playmakers on their Defense pensing Beason passing a Team PHysical this Morning.
    Beason was originally a MLB for the Panthers but has been supplanted by All-Pro Luke Kuechley and was moved to the Outside position, Beason has lost a step or two with his multiple Injuries/Surgeries and is just not really needed by the Panthers any longer who have Thomas Davis, Chase Blackburn plating well for this now, amd will receive a Mid-Round Pick in Reutrn (a 5th Rounder it appears)
    Panthers also get rid of his big Contract so an all-around good move by the Panthers since Beason was not contributing much and on the downside of his solid Career… (wish the Eagles would do the same with Herremans,Cole,Ryans,Celek,etc,etc)

  • Major Defensive Disappointments 1/4 thru the 2013 Season

    1) DL Fletcher Cox
    2) DT Issac Soapaga
    3) LB DeMeco Ryans
    4) LB Brandon Graham

    I can’t say that I am disappointed in Trent Cole, Patrick Chung, Nate Allen or any of of the CB’s for I wasn’t expecting much from them to be honest..

    • At least the Giants are still trying to up grade their talent. The Eagles need to try harder.

  • when is anyone going to talk about the incompetence of Howie Roseman?

    The guy is a fraud and talks like a used car salesman…he threw Reid under the bus for the past few drafts, yet, his finger prints are all over them…. now, he gets to run the show and his free agent signings have been abysmal.

    Key Free Agents signed:
    James Casey – can’t even get on the field
    Bradley Fletcher – stinks
    Carey Williams – terrible
    Isaac Sopoaga – backup at best, was predicted to start
    Patrick Chung – stinks
    Kenny Phillips – cut
    Connor Barwin – decent player, nothing spectacular… had one good season at Houston when he played the weakside and was able to rush the passer, now he is back to the strongside and is blockable

    Then you have 5th round pick Wolfe starting at safety and he is way out of his league… he is too slow and doesnt have the recognition skills…yes, he is a rookie, but he looks lost out there… there was a reason he was drafted in the 5th round!

    • I’ve been criticizing Howie for two years now Jott.

      A lot of posters on here want to believe some of these players, draft picks especially are going to solid pro bowl caliber players in the future

      Here is a question, do ANY of them look even close to coming to the brink of that potential. Please no more excuses for Lane Johnson, at 2.5 sacks per game, pre season included it’s obvious he is a project. If that was King Dunlap giving up those sacks, many would be screaming for him to be benched.

      And Zach Ertz is not a solid, potential TE in the NFL. He is a Jordy Nelson Type with less speed. He should be converted to a WR, to replace Riley Cooper. The rest of the picks, I’ll leave to Eagles0Superbowls to rationalize the bright side of their production, and potential. He’s a fool for hitching his wagon to Howie.

      • GM I was hoping you were wrong with your assessments of this team, but man you were dead on. Excuse my language but this team is seriously fucked up. Outside of Shady what do you have, we don’t have one playmaker on defense. We still need a whole new defense, I mean dam we still need everything. This process is really going to take a while now, cause none of the young players are panning out.

        • Some will argue that Connor Barwin is your playmaker, some will say it’s Brandon Graham, and he hasn’t got a fair shot, some say it’s Zach Ertz, and Kelly is holding him back.

          Diddy, its all wishful thinking based upon, their imagination that those guys are more talented than they really are.

      • WHOA! GMCliff — all I wrote was Howie was better than GMCliff. But I do like Lane Johnson, Zach Ertz and Bennie Logan.
        Andrew Whitworth, Joe Staley, Sam Baker, Duane Brown, & Tyron Smith all struggled their rookie year — Lane Johnson 3 years from now will be an excellent tackle. I don’t watch enough college football to compete with Howie. From what I have witnessed I would say the Florida state QB is the best player in the country on offense and the UCLA Linebacker Barr is the best on defense. And if GMCliff starts to try to suggest he could trade Brandon Graham for an extra 2nd rounder in the draft I’m going to jump all over you again and call you a dingbat.

        • That made no sense at all…

          You think Howie is a better judge of talent than myself. You’re entitled to your opinion.

          But keep in mind too, that there is a big difference between a prospect that is starting, and playing for the Eagles, and one that is starting, and playing for a potential, or perennial Playoff team. I say, it’s more than likely how this team is, that those prospects, would likely start, or get plenty of snaps for the EAGLES.

          Lane Johnson, is a mute issue to me. He is proving everything that I claimed. You can come up with every bright side from every direction, and you still will be wrong. He is a project, just like I said. Those players you’ve mentioned have nothing to do with his situation, and lack of talent.

          I screamed for them to trade Brandon Graham, last off season. You ,
          and many others on this site, claimed that he would be one of the sack leaders of 2013-14, and possible pro bowl. You, as well as those individuals, don’t know talent.

          They can’t trade him for anything now except, a possible 4th Round pick, and that’s if the other team is desperate, because he is a free agent after this year, and they WILL NOT RESIGN HIM. You want to tell me again he is a big time talent because of the sack he got in 2012-13, based on his snap count….BULLSHIT!!!

          Oh, and BTW,…….Who gives a flying crap, if jump on me. You have proven yourself to be a NOBODY, who so obsessed with discrediting me that you are in denial that you really have been proven wrong, on many occasions. I NEVER HAVE, NOR WILL I EVER, SWEAT YOUR BAD, SHORTSIGHTED EVALUATIONS, OF TALENT, OR MYSELF.

          You say, The Florida State QB, is better than Bridgewater huh? OK. lol!!

          Barr is one of the top prospects, but there are more. I like Khalil Mack, of Buffalo University, as well. I know you know nothing about him, and would think he is light years behind Barr because he went to a non- major college. But thats you.

          My evaluations are better than yours, and Howie’s, AND THEY ALWAYS WILL BE.

          • I never said Brandon Graham was good or I liked him, I said you are a dingbat especially last spring when you tried to pretend you could trade Brandon Graham amongst others for high draft picks. At one point you had 2 first rounders, 3 2nd rounders and 4 3rd rounders while claiming you were smarter than Howie Roseman.
            The challenge was simple — Cliff Dorsey vs Howie Roseman.
            Then you went on a tirade how Zach Ertz can’t get on the field he stinks. So I proved to you that your 2nd round pick ( Jamie Collins) gets on the field less and is less efficient when he does get on the field. I’m not trying to discredit you just present the facts!

            • What facts ,Ertz plays on a team rebuilding, while Collins plays on a perennial Playoff team. He has the bigger challenge, and nevertheless, will bring the most impact to his team, and would be starting today for the Eagles…….That’s a fact.

              I’m still waiting for you to explain why Trent Richardson was traded, and has shown himself as nothing special, averaging 13-20 carries a game for 50 yards……LIKE i SAID NOTHING SPECIAL…….

              No one else would make such a bold statement, and be correct, including you….Look beyond what you believe is the obvious.

              There were deals that could have been made, if they didn’t think so highly of some players that they held on to like: Graham, Mathis, Herremans, Maclin, and Cole, and signed better Free Agents. Now they are paying for being shortsighted in their evaluations of these scrubs. Don’t hate on me because you, and Howie don’t know what you’re doing.

              • looks like GMCliff’s crew was outperformed by Howie Roseman’s personal again
                c’mon GMCliff — Howie’s better than you
                the proof is on the field

              • HAHHAAHAHAHAHAAAAAA!!!!! uh right…..

          • as the late Rodney King once said ” can’t we all get along”
            and yes I do believe Florida State QB Jameis Winston is the best player in the college football.

            • and thats why you’re an idiot. Just shut up if you don’t have anything insightful to share.

              Only a dingbat, like yourself, would say something stupid like that.

    • jott, you’re a little late to the party. gmc, & I, have been ripping them, since the off-season started!

  • Roseman is a bust as is the Eagles organization. His voice makes me cringe. How can he be taken seriously. Only in Philadelphia.

    • Coach Andy Reid in the early running for Coach of the Year for 2013
      Jelly Kelly probably the most hyped,over-rated NFL Coach since Steve Spurrier… Keep those Letters coming

    • Amen brother!

  • problem with most Philly fans is there was no way they would have the patience to see what a new young coach could do.

    it is 4 games into his NFL coaching career and he is over-rated? Let’s wait a full season before comments like that. That makes no sense.

    Overall the Eagles have one of the least talented teams in the league. Chip Kelly inherited this horrible squad. if you didn’t realize there was no way this team was pulling a one year turn around you do not know anything about talent in the NFL. Andy Reid inherited a team that was filled with proven pro bowlers that needed a few key pieces like a tackle and a QB which equals a quick fix….this Eagles squad needs 4 times that in key positions.

    just remember the old mighty Bill Belicheck was a crappy coach too when his Browns teams lacked talent. then he got some talent in NE and all of a sudden he learned how to coach? no talent makes or breaks a coach.

    as for Howie he is horrible and only good thing I can say about him is he is a fellow alumni from Fordham University, but he has done nothing so far to show he knows football talent. Jeff Lurie needs to fire him and hire anyone who has worked for and learned from Ozzie Newsome who knows talent

    • Yes… Finally…. Truth.

      The simpletons think you can just go and buy a manning or Brady at the store
      …. Plug them in and poof our D looks amazing. They just don’t get the game. Don’t understand how truly bad this d is and how bad Andy and Bowie screwed us.

      This o is good enough to win games. Yes they struggle here and there but 30 points is 30 points and I’ll take that any day of the week.

      Eagles… Stay the course and see what it looks like at the end.

    • joelamar20, I don’t think it’s chip at all a lot of these players just stink.

    • But it was ok for the Median to call home a “Genius” and even G-Man posted an article hoe Kelly was way ahead of NFL Defenses after his 1st Game as a Coach. Can’t have it both ways, I am here to balance things out

    • Tom Gamble from the49ers has been brought in, best believe he will have a lot of input.

  • If. Barwin is your best defensive player then this defense is worse than I thought, barwin , nothing special

    • How can something be ” worse than you thought” when u never think about the d?

    • How many times did I say that this Summer Jake?

  • Your a funny dude stevo, if there’s a Vick comment there’s a stevo comment to follow,

    And big jake has posted on many other topics , including the defense, particularly Barwin , where I stated he’s a manufactured linebacker, naturally more suited to play power forward on a basketball team

    • Um…. how was that a comment about the qb? It was a comment about the d. Again… u flip everything… even MY comments as comments about the qb. U are getting as bad as your idol vinnie.

  • Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman on the sideline at the Temple vs. Louisville game. No doubt checking out Teddy Bridgewater personally.

    • And Louisville Head Coach Curtis Strong as their new HC after Coach Jelly Kelly quits to return to College in 2014.. Lovin it!!!

      • I don’t think either scenario happens paul, but if it did , Why do you think Strong would be a better fit? If he lost a few games in the early part of the season the call for his ouster would come just as quick as it has for Kelly. Who ever inherits this team would need time to build it to be a contender.

        • Being Sarcastic Eagłes,
          Kelly will get at leadt 4 Years before anything happens
          He signed a 5 year Contract and Owner Lurie does not buy-out Contracts for his Top Executives/Front Office Personnel..
          Kelly/Roseman are tied at the zHop for at least the next 3 Years together
          Earlier Post Tom Gamble who I believe is a 1 year Short-Term Director of Pkayer Personnel and will get offers from Clubs to be a GM himself next Pff-Season.. I see the Panthers going after him hard..

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