But this week, his first as the Eagles’ defensive coordinator, Bowles’ will likely spend some time trying to figure out a way to get the pass-rushers free. That’s going to be a key in the final 10 games. The secondary has played well, and while the defensive line has certainly affected games (everything’s connected, after all), Jim Washburn’s group has not been the dominant presence many were expecting when the season started.
So what’s the answer to jump-starting the pass-rush? During an interview with Mike Missanelli on 97.5 The Fanatic, defensive end Jason Babin was asked if more blitzing could be a possible solution.
“It definitely is something that could be sprinkled in at the appropriate times to help us out,” he said. “And if the quarterback doesn’t know where to throw the ball right away, and if he has to hold the ball for that extra half-second, that extra second, well that gives us that time to sack the quarterback.”
In other words, the changes we may see Sunday could have less to do with blitzing and more to do with coverages. After all, that’s Bowles’ area of expertise. What if when Matt Ryan tries to get rid of the ball quickly there’s an Eagles defender in place to pick him off? Perhaps he’d then think twice about unloading it, and the defensive line would have time to get to him.
“The way I think he’s going to approach it in such a manner where the quarterback’s going to hold the ball,” Babin said. “How he’s going to do that, it doesn’t really tie into what I do, but more so the back end, so it’ll be exciting to see. He knows what he’s doing. Trust me when I say he’s a professional.”
While there have been many reasons for the lack of sacks – teams max-protecting, quarterbacks getting rid of the ball quickly – Babin said he and his teammates are not looking to make excuses.
“We’re owning the fact that we haven’t gotten sacks,” he said. “We put that on ourselves and we’re going to own that like a man…
“We don’t sit around, ‘Oh well, they’re blocking us like this.’ We’re trying to find a solution constantly for that.”
In last year’s meeting, the Eagles sacked Ryan four times and only blitzed twice all game. Whether they can get to him Sunday could be the difference between 4-3 and 3-4 heading into New Orleans.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Think the Eagles drew the short straw this year playing so many teams coming off the bye? You’re not alone. The NFL actually agrees with you an extent. Great job by T-Mac of getting the league to comment on the scheduling.
The Birds made a roster move at center, signing Matt Tennant and releasing Steve Vallos.
From Brandon Graham’s playing time to LeSean McCoy missing Jason Peters, here are five Eagles numbers that matter.
Danny Watkins isn’t talking to the media, but some of his teammates recently commented on how the second-year guard is progressing.
This week’s expanded roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Brian Westbrook offered his take on Watkins. From CSNPhilly.com:
“As an offensive lineman, you can’t go where the linebacker is at right now,” Westbrook said. “You have to understand the scheme first of all, to know where they’re going. You have to go where the linebackers or defensive backs are gonna be. And right now, because he hasn’t had a lot of time on the football field, he doesn’t know. He doesn’t understand the scheme very well, and he doesn’t know where these guys are gonna end up at, so therefore, he’s just guessing.”
The Cowboys were dealt a huge blow yesterday. Sean Lee, one of the top linebackers in the league, is done for the season because of a right toe injury, sources tell ESPNDallas.com. Writes Calvin Watkins:
The Cowboys coach’s one-game-at-a-time mantra is needed at Valley Ranch, and Lee is one of its main disciples.
The young inside linebacker buys into the message and spreads it across the locker room. His play on the field is contagious, too.
If you don’t believe it, check the numbers: He’s third on the team with eight quarterback pressures this season, is tied for second with two tackles for loss, has one of the four forced fumbles, one of the two interceptions and two pass breakups.
The Eagles return to Novacare to prep for Sunday’s game vs. the Falcons. We’ll have everything covered.
Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.