May 10, 2024   4 MIN READ

Inside Track?

Fangio: New LB Baun 'Can Play Inside'


Seemingly comfortable and at ease fielding questions from the NovaCare Complex podium for the first time, new Eagles defensive coordinator Vic Fangio eventually raised some antennas during his near 20-minute availability.

While much of the Delaware Valley remains fixated on – and skeptical about – the linebacker position, Fangio revealed he’s happy with the group so far.

Even more noteworthy, however, was the first name Fangio mentioned when discussing the unit.

“We’ve got [Zack] Baun here who’s played a little bit of inside linebacker in New Orleans,” Fangio said. “He really didn’t play a whole lot of defense there, but he was inside some, more outside. We think he can play inside, and I have not seen anything so far that says otherwise.

“Obviously, we got Devin [White] here from Tampa. He had a great career going, had a down year last year for whatever reason. We hope to get him back to where he was. Nakobe [Dean] is on the mend from his injuries last year.”

Fangio also mentioned rookie fifth-rounder Jeremiah Trotter Jr. and veteran free-agent pickup Oren Burks.

“We don’t have anybody established as, per se, an Eagle,” Fangio added, “but we’ve got guys to work with, and we’re happy with the group so far.”

Zack Baun

GETTY IMAGES: Free-agent LB pickup Zack Baun has the body of an outside linebacker but could be moonlighting inside.

That Fangio needed to unfold a roster print-out while attempting to recall the entire inside linebacker depth chart wasn’t nearly as surprising as hearing Baun’s name prominently mentioned.

Baun, 27, was promptly signed at the dawn of free agency. The signing initially appeared to be special teams-driven. Maybe even a look as a situational edge rusher.

Not someone of significant stature, at least as it appeared on the surface.

But judging by Fangio’s comments, it appears that the longtime defensive coordinator’s input likely factored into the Baun signing.

Coming off a career-high in defensive snaps last season – where he accounted for just 27 percent of the Saints’ defensive snaps – Baun’s expectations were tempered in Philly.

Through four seasons, it appeared his limited body of work depicted his ceiling.

At 6 foot 3 and 225 pounds, Baun boasts a lengthy frame and build more typical of an outside linebacker, but Fangio curiously included Baun as an inside linebacker.

Maybe it was simply the first name Fangio thought of; more likely, though, it’s that Baun can factor into Fangio’s defensive equation.

While Baun is a relative unknown, he did – as Fangio noted – play some inside linebacker in New Orleans.

For Fangio, the former Wisconsin product would be the MIKE linebacker, with Devin White presumably handling WILL responsibilities.

 It’s worth noting that OTAs have yet to start and the depth chart is largely fluid as coaches gauge their personnel.

Still, the name-dropping of an expected depth player piece at this stage of the offseason is enough to stir some curiousity.

And if you’re wondering how Fangio’s defense would suit Baun, the veteran coordinator was quick to point of the his scheme’s ability to adapt to accentuate the strengths of his personnel.

“We have a system that is versatile, we like to think,” Fangio said. “It needs to be versatile because every week you’re facing different strengths of an offense, different schemes. So, what you play in one week 10, 15 times, you may not play at all the next week.

“I like to throw a lot at them early because I think one of the worst things you can do is come Week 3, Week 5, [say,] ‘Man, we could really use this scheme,’ but it hadn’t been introduced to the players yet.

Whereas if you introduced it to them in training camp and worked on it, when you pull it back out three, four weeks later, there’s recall. We’ll throw a lot at them in training camp to see what best fits for them, what they’re good at, and then try and whittle it down, but always keeping some stuff in the bank in case we need it at some point during the season.”

– Andrew DiCecco (@AndrewDiCecco) is a Staff Reporter/Content Producer for

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