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Mailbag: Progress Of The Young Defensive Ends?


I have been pleasantly impressed with the way Taco Charlton has played as the starting right defensive end. I thought and still think he'd be better on the left side but he's been very solid against both the run and pass. What are your thoughts on his play and do you continue to see him as the starter going forward? - REUBEN JOHNSON / MT JULIET, TN

Bryan: I do like him on that left side as well, but he's shown the ability to have some right side traits as well. Charlton has played well to this point and I see no reason to change that until we see what kind of condition David Irving is in. If he's ready to go after his suspension is up, that likely means that Tyrone Crawford will move back to his spot at end, which means we could see Charlton back on that left side behind Lawrence. Regardless, it's a pretty nice problem to have as part of the rotation.

Rob:I've been impressed with how Taco has handled the extra plays (106 through two games – roughly double his average last year). He had a breakout season when he finally became a full-time starter at Michigan and said he simply played better with more snaps. That seems to be what's happening here. Wouldn't surprise me if he continues starting and Randy Gregory rotates in on clear passing downs for now.


I'm not sure what the stats were, but it looked like Dorance Armstrong was disruptive and had himself a pretty good game. Did he have as good a game as it appeared and will it be enough to earn him more playing time when Randy Gregory returns? - JEFF PARSONS / AMARILLO, TX

Bryan: Armstrong had played well. He's shown me some surprising power. Initially thought of him as a right defensive end type only, but his length and range has really helped in the running game. Like Taco Charlton, he's been a pleasant surprise in these early games.

Rob: Armstrong's quick first step was noticeable in training camp, but he's also making plays against the run, which you have to do on the left side behind DeMarcus Lawrence. With Randy Gregory out, he also got some work at right end in the first two games. Good start for him, and remember, he just turned 21 years old before camp.

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