In Ray Rhodes's three years as coach, the Eagles have relied on toughness and emotion—and defense. A perimeter pass rush is crucial. Last year their top sacking end (four in 15 games) was 36-year-old Richard Dent, who was playing on his fourth team in four years. Now they have Douglas, who will be teamed with another undersized wingman, 252-pound Mike Mamula. This makes you wonder what will happen when teams load up and run at the Eagles, which they did to the tune of 125.6 yards a game last year.
Philly dropped to 6-9-1 in '97 (without a road win) after two 10-6 years under Rhodes. He knows the heat's on. The organization is in a state of flux. In May, Tom Modrak, a veteran of 20 years in the Steelers' front office, was brought in as director of football operations to clean house. Which he did, shaking up the personnel and scouting departments. (Among the changes was the firing of pro-personnel director Mike Lombardi, who had just signed a new contract.) Since 1989 Modrak, as chief scout, has drafted eight Pro Bowl players for the Steelers. In the same period the Eagles have drafted two.
It's not an easy fix. "We're sitting right where I want to be," Rhodes says. "On the bottom. Nobody gives us a chance. I've worked from that angle all my life."
Sorry, Ray, but that's where we have you too—at the bottom of the division.
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