DL Review: Cox In a Pass-Rush Rut
Here’s the weekly breakdown of how the Eagles’ defensive line performed against the Saints.
You should know the deal by now, but just in case, “hurries” are tracked by the coaches. Pass-rushing opportunities are charted by Pro Football Focus. And pressure percentage measures how often a player notches a sack or hurry.
Brandon Graham and Jason Babin both had sacks and forced fumbles. Other than that play, though, Graham was quiet as a pass-rusher with no hurries. Babin had a couple hurries, and Trent Cole had three.
The Eagles got nothing from the interior pass-rush. Rookie Fletcher Cox is in a pass-rushing rut. He had zero hurries and has just two (no sacks) in his last four games. Cox has one sack and 14 hurries on the season. He’s been outstanding against the run; Cox’s 38 tackles are tops on the team among defensive linemen. But the Eagles could really use more production from him against the pass.
No defensive tackle had more than one hurry. That’s a problem.
Mike Patterson saw his first action of the season. Phillip Hunt filled in for Darryl Tapp, who was with his wife, waiting on the birth of their first child.
Below is the player-by-player breakdown.
Jason Babin – He played hard and came away with a sack and three hurries. Babin beat the right tackle one-on-one and forced a Drew Brees fumble in the fourth. He got good pressure on Brees and hit him on a third down near the end of the first half. He did a good job reading screen and tackling Chris Ivory after a 2-yard pickup in the third. Against the run, the Eagles were hurt by counters to the defense’s left side all game long. Babin got caught inside on an 8-yard Ivory run in the second, but to his credit, he hustled to the ball and eventually made the tackle. He also got caught inside on a 7-yard counter by Mark Ingram in the third.
Trent Cole – Cole was active throughout, but as I pointed out with the All-22, he missed opportunities for a monster game. He had a season-high seven tackles to go along with three hurries. Cole dropped Ingram for a 3-yard loss in the first. He had a good bull-rush and hit Brees, helping to force an incompletion late in the first half. Cole tackled Ingram after a 3-yard gain in the third. And he stopped Pierre Thomas after a 2-yard run in the red zone in the third.
Brandon Graham – Tough to evaluate him in this one. Graham had the huge sack/forced fumble, but wasn’t a factor the rest of the time. He failed to recognize a 9-yard screen to Jimmy Graham in the second and got caught inside on Ivory’s 22-yard touchdown run. Later, Graham had a chance to bring Ingram down near the line of scrimmage, but couldn’t make the play on a 7-yard run. He drew a holding penalty in the second. On the sack, he got to Brees in about 2.2 seconds.
Phillip Hunt – After playing zero snaps against the Falcons, Hunt filled in for Tapp. He made a decent inside move to force Brees to his left on an incompletion in the first. Good hustle to bring Thomas down after a 7-yard run on the next play. And Hunt stopped Ivory for no gain in the third.
Cullen Jenkins – One hurry and four tackles. Jenkins got good penetration and helped cause a 3-yard loss on the first defensive play. He got past the guard and knocked Brees down on the next play. Jenkins also played some defensive end. Overall, a pretty quiet game.
Fletcher Cox – A quiet game for Cox too. He had four tackles – dropping Ivory for a 1-yard loss in the fourth and tackling Ingram after a 2-yard run in the fourth.
Mike Patterson – Patterson looked understandably rusty with zero tackles and zero hurries. He got blocked on Thomas’ 9-yard run in the red zone in the second.
Derek Landri – Not much of a factor. He assisted Cole in bringing Thomas down after a 2-yard run in the third. Other than that, didn’t notice him doing much.
Cedric Thornton – Three tackles, but didn’t give the Eagles anything as a pass-rusher with just one hurry.