Eagles DL Production: Graham’s Chance To Replace Babin

With five games to go, the focus for the Eagles is clearly on the offseason and 2013.

Jason Babin was let go this week, meaning guys like Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry should see more snaps. While he had his share of issues, was Babin still an effective pass-rusher? And will the Eagles have a tough time replacing his production?

Let’s take a look at the season totals. A reminder that hurries are tracked by Eagles coaches, and pass-rushing opportunities are tracked by Pro Football Focus. Pressure percentage is the frequency with which each player notches a sack or a hurry.

The breakdown:

 
Pass-Rushing Opportunities
Sacks
Hurries
Pressure Percentage
Trent Cole3011.53311.6%
Jason Babin2825.53012.8%
Cullen Jenkins2752187.3%
Fletcher Cox22632010.2%
Derek Landri1630127.4%
Cedric Thornton136143.7%
Brandon Graham1011.51819.8%
Darryl Tapp950.589.5%
Mike Patterson48126.3%
Phillip Hunt38025.3%
Vinny Curry9000%

* Let’s start with Babin. Based on reaction, he clearly had become public enemy No. 1 among the fan base. And while his numbers were clearly down from last season, he still had his moments as a pass-rusher, leading the team with 5.5 sacks and behind only Trent Cole in hurries. Many have pointed out that he’s a one-trick pony, and while it’s certainly true that he gives you next to nothing against the run, the Eagles knew that when they signed him. They wanted someone who would rush the passer effectively, and Babin did that in 2011. Having said that, he’ll turn 33 before the start of next season, and I don’t have much of an issue with them letting him go at this point.

* Brandon Graham made the most of his opportunities early in the season, but has leveled off with just three hurries and no sacks in his last three games. Graham’s pass-rushing chances have been limited all season because he’s been behind Babin. Now, the former first-round pick will get a chance to start.

“I think he’s gotten better mentally,” Todd Bowles said yesterday. “I think he was a little immature, and then coming back from injury, he was probably a little hesitant. His work ethic has picked up. He is an intelligent football player, and this is kind of learning the tricks of the trade as you go. Brandon, he’s tough, he’s relentless, and the more he plays the better he gets. We’re looking for good things from Brandon as we go forward.”

Graham’s notched a sack or hurry 19.8 percent of the time he’s had a chance to rush the passer. That’s the highest percentage on the team.

* Some have asked whether Cole could be the next veteran to be cut. The answer is no. Per EaglesCap.com, Cole’s cap value is $5.35M in 2013. If they cut him, they owe $6.4M. Cole’s had a disappointing season with just 1.5 sacks. He turned 30 in October, which really isn’t that old. Cole’s best days might be behind him, but it’s reasonable to expect he can still be a productive player in 2013.

* Watching every week, I’ve felt like Fletcher Cox had significant room for improvement as a pass-rusher, but as you can see, he’s still been the most productive defensive tackle. Cox also leads all Eagles defensive linemen with 51 tackles. The future is bright for the rookie, regardless of what scheme is implemented next season.

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  • aub32

    I really hope Vinny Curry works out. He seems like a good guy that the fans would love to support. Also, if Graham can continue to produce, we would have some nice young pieces moving forward with him, Curry, and Cox.

    • JohnGiam

      I have been praising Brandons pressure percentage all season and for making the most of the snaps he was given. He has slowed down in the oast 3 weeks, but now is his time to prove that he can consistently produce pressure playing starters snaps!
      I really do believe in Viiny curry, and have believed in him long before he had that solid game on Monday night! Cox has been a force! He just happens to play the least sexiest position on the stat sheet, and also a position that pretty much gets double teamed on every single snap. That kid is just waiting to BREAK OUT!
      Dameco has been our best player on defense. I hope the tomato cans he is sorrounded with dont keep him from going to the pro bowl. That is a true pro right there, as soon as day one of the regular season rolled around, he turned the switch on and brought it, all while mentoring kendricks who I also believe in. No 1st year in a new scheme excuses for Ryans. Love his game, and because of him, Lurie can NOT hire a coach that will switch us to a 3-4! It would be a collosal mistake! It took a decade to find a middle linebacker, dont hire a damn coach that wont use him to his strengths!

      • JohnGiam

        And another thing…

  • limodriver2750

    if Bowles wants to make a statement on his coaching abilities, finding the right compliment of young and old faces will go a long way against a Boys team that is only a notch up from the Birds in futility. Philly has beaten them on their turf in the last few but im not sure it’ll happen sunday. They’ll benefit more from losing (to keep a firm grip on a top 5 draft pick) than by a shallow meaningless win in Jerry’s palace. Time’s yours, Andy.

    • JohnGiam

      I will be furious if we get these shallow wins and play ourselves out of a chance at drafting Notre Dame Linebacker Manti Teo!

      • JohnGiam

        andy reid can coach this team as long as he keeps losing. If he wins a single game, I cut him IMMEDIATELY! I didnt sit thru 7 straight losses and putrid football to not get a top 5 pick and draft Manti Teo!

        • Wilbert M.

          John – forget about Manti Teo. We can pick up a decent OL later in the draft or through free agency. Luke Joeckel is a franchise offensive tackle that will cure all. Herremanns can move to guard giving you potential pro bowlers at all five OL positions.

          • JohnGiam

            You really see Jake as a Matt Khalil type of top 5 franchise tackle? I dont, and even after the alabama game, I still dont. He is clearly the best, but I dont see any elite tackles that deserve to be picked in the top 5. Ok lets say I am wrong, and he is a top 5 pick, and he is a great player….Wouldnt you think that a true Young leader who would INSTANTLY change the culture of your entire defense be more valuable? Considering the CHUMP of a defense we have watched all season, my number 1 goal in the draft is to bring a player in with those kind of intangibles so that are defense can start building towards something of substance. and considering how bad and just wimpy our defense has been, I would draft that player regardless of what position he played on defense!
            WE have HOLES AND NEEDS EVERYWHERE, but nothing is more important to this Tin Man Defense then getting them a HEART transplant! it just so happens that in this years draft that player is Manti Teo and he plays LB. so go get me Manti Teo!!!
            I dont want to invest major assets in a lineman until I really find out who can play coming back from injury and who cant. If we didnt need heart, and I viewed Jake as a Khalil type, I might be more inclined to agree. But TEO is undoubtably MY number 1 pick, then I get a safety, I find a Big outside reciever to move macklin in the slot, a d tackle to pair with and free up Cox a little..I get better backup Olineman, and a starting stop gap guard for a year to replace watkins until we see who looks like what coming back from injury so we can better evaluate things. when you have these many problems, you cant waste assets, and misfire on any moves. If there is one kid I believe in, in this draft its TEO….so thats my guy!

          • meh1988

            Damn I couldn’t tell…

            You sure you’re not talking about TEBOW?

          • JohnGiam

            Can you really dispute a single word I wrote tho? the kid is the real deal
            hahaha the defensive Tim Tebow..I like it! lol except this kid is a legit baller…he is like Ray Lewis and Martin Luther Tebow all rolled into one angry monster!
            Look its simple. If the Raven want Teo to replace hall of famer Ray Lewis, then I want TEO!!!!
            Drafting TEO is the exact opposite of what andy reid would do.,…so I gots to have him!

    • Sensei

      I don’t give a damn about a draft pick I would take a win over the Cowboys any day

  • Dynamite

    Graham always seems to be trying to go through LTs to me. At least a few of his pressures have been from displacing O-lineman all the way to the QB. The brute strength is impressive, but not always effective. Maybe with increased playing time he can improve some of the mental/subtle skills of pass rushing to keep lineman off balance. Amateur opinion of course, just hoping he could still be a good pick if he matches up more skill and experience with that raw power.

    • JohnGiam

      Its cause his go to move was always the bullrush. Needs to expand his arsenal of pass rushing moves!
      I would love to know what Pierre Pauls pressure percentage is this year and how it compares to Grahams so far! 20% is impressive!

  • BrickSquadMonopoly

    I heard Manti Teo is more of a ILB wondering if anyone could shed some insight on where Teo and Ryans would play in respect to eachother and how that would work.

    • barry_nic

      Teo is an MLB, so the only way they would be on the field together is if we run a 3-4. We would be better served picking up that OL from A&M.

      • southy

        the reason Houston let Ryans go is because he doesn’t fit well in a 3-4. I suppose we could force it and see if it works out, but we don’t exactly have a track record of making players play well at a scheme they’re not used to.

        • JOhnGiam

          EXCUSE me, but TEO is a freak that can play any damn linebacker spot that you desire to play him. He is 255lbs, was a great pass rusher in past years when it was asked of him, and is a FREAK in coverage, so IM TELLING YOU RIGHT NOW, there is no reason why TEO cant excel at the strongside backer, Dameco stays in the middle where he is a BOSS, and Kendricks moves over to the weakside, which is oh by the way the position 29 other NFL coaches would have played Kendricks in!
          TEO is the answer! I dont even care what position he plays. any player that would give our TIN MAN DEFENSE a HEART TRANSPLANT is the player I WANT and DESPERATLY CRAVE! It just so happens that in this years draft, that player is Manti Teo and he plays Linebacker! So go get me MANTI! You draft Manti, and he instantly changes the culture of your defense from day 1. That is the type of player who makes players arouind him better!
          We have to get him! Its an absolute MUST!

          • southy

            sooooo…. how do you REALLY feel about Teo?

          • JohnGiam

            like he HAS to be our PICK! lol…There are alot of great players that we can draft. But none will impact the defense like he will with his intangibles. The Moment we draft him, we are NO LONGER a SOFT defense!
            WITH the 3rd pick in the 1st round, the Philadelphia eagles select: Manti ” THE HEART TRANSPLANT” TEO!!!

  • barry_nic

    Going to the 3-4 won’t kill these guys, the de’s will become olbs because they are really big linebackers anyway, cox and co would become DE’s and they can get a big nose guard, Patterson could rotate in there. I really see if these guys can improve without the wide nine, they may actually be a bit too small, and they didn’t run the wide nine more than 30% percent of their plays 4-3 may have us getting more personnel changes than you would think.

  • JohnGiam

    FOR YEARS I have been told that Linebackers are not important, when I knew that was a lie! I look around at the best defenses and they all seem to future strong LB play…then again, strong defenses have respect for every single position on the defense, understand that any position can be used as a weapon if you have good players who play like a cohesive unit, in a scheme condusive to success…i look around at top defenses and their LB core: niners, bears, ravens, texans, giant even (blackburn comes to play), falcons weatherspoon is a weapon, clevelands Daquel Jackson almost single handedly beat us in weak 1 playing the LB position!
    I need two above average safeties, a beast of a LB to solidify the core, and a tackle!

    • Kimbafuzz

      There is a great linebacker on the team: DeMeco Ryans. He just needs a partner. Hopefully, that’s Kendricks

      • FMWarner

        EXACTLY. Why draft Te’o to replace arguably the best player on the defense?

        • Dynamite

          Te’o love getting a little weird around here… If we’re talking Top 5 guys, I’d rather pair Lotulelei with Big Fletch moving forward. DT depth getting old quick. I actually always liked how Andy built from the lines out in the draft.

          • JOhnGiam

            Just cuz Reid Rarely used 3 LB’s, dont assume the nexct coach will. You think I wouldnt absolutely love the thought of drafting Lotulelei, to free up Cox a lil? I would love to have him. But Star is just ONE great player that will fill 1 need. Thats cool. Def nothing to sneeze at, but whyt settle their when you can draft a DEFENSE Altering player. The day Teo arrives at the nova care complex, our defense INSTANTLY becomesa no longer soft! Teo is more then just a great player to fill a hole..he changes the culture, he will be the HEART that we lack. the heart transplant our defense needs. Drafting him is the Equivalent of the Tin Man getting a heart in the wizard of Oz lol. The intangables that kid would bring to our team, would ensure us fans that we NEVER again have to watch gutless, and heartless defensive play that we watched this year. Instantly he will impact all of that! I dont care what position he plays on defense, thats exactly what we need, and being able to draft that is a RARE opportunity.
            …Didnt the Gmen draft some Linebacker 2nd overall, and it changed their team for the next decade? lol…Im just sayin. Dameco is a boss so he stays in the middle. Teo is a beast with freak cover skills so he will play SAM, allowing Kendricks to go to the position best suited for him which is the WIL> Every other Dcoordinator in the league would have played Kendricks at WIL. Just so happens that Castillo had some cockamamie scheme that switched the sam and the Wil…. Those 3 Linebackers will grow to Rival any LB core.
            The Ravens are drooling over Teo to FRIGGIN replace hall of famer Ray Friggin Lewis. The steelers would give anything to get him, and they pump hall of fame LB like Kurt Coleman blows coverages lol. if he is good enough to replace Ray Friggin Lewis in Baltimore, I think he is someone I desperately WANT!
            after 10 years of the weakest LB crap known to man…I want the EXACT opposite of what we had! Reid told me LB arent important, he is gone, so now I want the Filthiest LB core in the league as the foundation to build our D around!
            Manti has to be the pick. YOu cant pass up on those intangibles and the effect it will have on the rest of the defense! Anyone we draft in the top 5 will be a great player..Manti is a SPECIAL player!
            dont mean to get annoying, I just have to have that kid! He will ensure that for atleast the next 8 years we will never have to watch the heartless and gutless defensive play that we had to suffer thru this year! No other player that you could possibly draft you can say that about, except Manti. Star wont give you that, Kilner wont give you that! If Manti didnt bring the intangables, star would be hands down my number 1 choice!

  • FMWarner

    Dear Eagles: Please don’t draft Manti Te’o.

    • JohnGiam

      thats it! dont draft a player that would instantly give the defense a heart transplant, and change the culture of this team from day 1. why in the world would any team want to draft that player, especially a team already filled with leaders like the eagles!

      • FMWarner

        I’m not saying he’s not a good player. However, he’ll be a reach when the Eagles pick (as a linebacker, he’s probably a reach in the first half of the first round), and linebacker is low on the Eagles’ list of needs in my mind. I understand that lots of people are frustrated with the lack of emphasis Reid placed on linebackers, but I don’t think reaching for a guy is the solution.

        • JohnGiam

          forget the position! Teo is more then a great player who plays Linebacker…he is a franchise player! a franchise changer! Instantly, bet your ass we would No LONGER be a SOFT defense. With a top 5 pick, you need more then just a great player who fills a need. We need a Franchise changing player that will make the entire defense better from day 1. The intangible effects that he would bring tro this defense…no other player that we would possibly draft THIS YEAR can duplicate that! Any other great player that you draft, is a great player filling a need. tEO is so much more!

          • JohnGiam

            you know who is dying to get there hands on TEO? teams like the steelers, the ravens would give anything to have him replace Ray Lewis, bears, texans…all the best defensive teams, that pump out hall of fame steelers would absolutely LOVE to get this kid….good enough to play LB for the Ravens or the steelers , then thats a player I NEED!