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Ryans a fan of Malcolm Jenkins addition
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The Eagles' defense certainly experienced growing pains last year in its first season operating in a 3-4 scheme. The unit finished 29th in average yards allowed (394), last in passing yards allowed (289.9) and 24th in opponents' third-down percentage (40.3).

But it also had some bright spots, like its 31 takeaways (T-2nd in NFC), 10th-ranked rushing defense (104.3 yards per game) and nine-game stretch in which it held opponents to 21 or fewer points.

"Consistently we weren't good on first down, that put us behind the ball a lot," DeMeco told a group of reporters Wednesday at the NovaCare Complex. "I look at that, and I look at the film, and I see we can be so much further along on small details [within our scheme] the second time around."

To help address its porous passing defense, the Eagles added former Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins, a staple in New Orleans' secondary for the past four seasons.

"In the offseason you knew they'd make some changes," Ryans said. "I feel like we got another good safety in Jenkins. ... He's a vocal guy and he's a playmaker."

Ryans himself had one of his best seasons in recent memory, with 111 tackles and four sacks (both his best since his rookie 2006 season). He also had two picks in 16 games.

"I felt really good. Health-wise, probably one of the best seasons I've had," he said.

The linebacker, entering his age 30 season, was asked about the possibility of seeing fewer snaps in 2014.

"I'm a competitor," Ryans said. "They'll have to yank me off the field."