The success of the defense wasn't so predictable. Juan Castillo was vilified last year in his first season as defensive coordinator after coaching the offensive linemen for 13 years. But Castillo's unit came together down the stretch during a season-ending four-game winning streak that helped the Eagles finish 8-8.
Three significant additions in the offseason bolstered the defense. Rookie defensive tackle Fletcher Cox has been a major contributor in the middle of the line. Veteran middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans and rookie linebacker Mychal Kendricks have solidified a group that was heavily maligned.
"We're really good all-around," Cole said. "It's not about who is the best, it's about who is going to play the best when the moment comes. We're going to show you guys by our actions. That respect stuff, that's old. Everybody knows who the best defense is. We're going to go out there and let our actions speak louder."
The Eagles have a tough matchup Sunday at Pittsburgh. The Steelers (1-2) are coming off a bye and will be desperate not to fall further back in the AFC North standings.
NOTES: LB Akeem Jordan (hamstring) and DT Derek Landri (knee) didn't practice Wednesday. LT King Dunlap returned to practice after missing the last two games with a hamstring injury. Coach Andy Reid wouldn't say whether Dunlap or Demetress Bell will start vs. Pittsburgh on Sunday. "The one positive is that Bell really played well in our game," Reid said. "That bides me a little time to see how King is doing."
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