- John Clayton, NFL senior writer
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Coach Andy Reid moved Jeremiah Trotter back to the middle linebacker post he held from 1999-01 after opponents gashed the Eagles' run defense early this season. In Trotter's five starts, including two against Clinton Portis and one against Ahman Green, he has helped the Eagles allow only 80 yards rushing a game, a 53.3-yard improvement from the previous eight games. At 262 pounds, Trotter has stuffed interior runs, and despite his limited playing time early, he leads the team with nine tackles for losses, five more than the next closest Eagles.
Rod Coleman's interception return for a touchdown off Kerry Collins in Atlanta's victory on Sunday was confirmation of what the Raiders lost when the defensive tackle departed and was replaced with Warren Sapp. Coleman has 8½ sacks compared to just a half of one for Sapp. With Coleman, the Falcons are averaging 3½ sacks a game. In the three games he missed with a knee injury, the Falcons had only one sack. That's impact and why he merited a $10 million signing bonus.
Berry's persistence pays off
His team's game against the Rams this Sunday reminds Cardinals defensive end Bertrand Berry how his career has come full circle. In 2000, Berry was among the Rams' final cuts in training camp, then signed with Edmonton of the CFL and quit after a couple of weeks. Sitting out the 2000 season without suitors, Berry almost went into broadcasting. He eventually parlayed a last chance in 2001 with the Broncos into a $5 million a year contract with the Cardinals. With 12 sacks this season, Berry probably needs just a couple more to secure a spot in the Pro Bowl.
A year ago, the Bills made an innocent move by trying unproven cornerback Terrence McGee in their nickel defense. Now, coach Mike Malarkey can't believe the find. McGee has played so well filling in for the injured Troy Vincent that he has turned Vincent into a playmaking safety. If that weren't enough, McGee tried kickoff returns and is second in the league with a 26.5-yard average and three touchdowns, and is battling Dante Hall, Antwaan Randle El and B.J. Sams for the hotly contest AFC Pro Bowl return specialist.
John Clayton is a senior writer for ESPN.com.
8hBy Dan Graziano
1dMatt Walks, ESPN.com
12hBy Michael DiRocco