Eagles DL Production: Success Without Washburn?

Sunday’s game against the Bucs was the Eagles’ first in two years without defensive line coach Jim Washburn and the wide-nine.

Tommy Brasher was hired on Monday and had three days of practice to switch up the Birds’ scheme up front. The Eagles struggled to get to Josh Freeman for much of the day, although the defense as a whole played better. Below is the player-by-player breakdown of sacks, hurries (tracked by the team’s coaches), opportunities (Pro Football Focus) and pressure percentage (frequency with with which each player notched a sack or hurry).

In the next couple of days, we’ll try to take a look at how the linemen were aligned up front with the All-22.

Pass-Rushing Opportunities
Pressure Percentage
Trent Cole31000%
Cullen Jenkins31116.5%
Fletcher Cox30116.7%
Brandon Graham29000%
Derek Landri10000%
Cedric Thornton100110.0%
Vinny Curry6000%
Darryl Tapp5000%
Phillip Hunt5000%

As you can see, a lot of zeroes on the board. The Eagles’ five defensive ends were shut out completely. Trent Cole, Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry, Darryl Tapp and Phillip Hunt combined for zero sacks and zero hurries.

The defensive tackles had some success. Both Fletcher Cox and Cullen Jenkins notched sacks. No defensive lineman had more than one hurry.

Having said that, the defense shut out the Bucs in the first half and got what turned out to be a big stop at the end of the game. Coming in, the Eagles had allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 76.3 percent of their passes in the previous six games. But Freeman (who is generally not a high-percentage passer) completed just 41.2 percent of his attempts.

Below is the player-by-player breakdown after having re-watched the game.

Trent Cole – He finished with just one tackle, no sacks and no hurries. But I think the coaches were a little harsh in their grading. Cole wasn’t as bad as the numbers indicate. He and Derek Landri brought Doug Martin down after a 1-yard run in the first. Cole later pressured Freeman, hitting his arm and causing the ball to pop in the air for a near-interception. Cox got credit for the sack in the second, but Cole got good pressure inside on the stunt. He pressured Freeman and helped force an incompletion in the red zone in the fourth. Martin’s fourth-quarter touchdown run went right between Cole and Cox. Great hustle by Cole to bring down Martin after a 2-yard run on the final drive.

Brandon Graham – Relatively quiet game for Graham, although he had a few good moments. Two tackles, no sacks and no hurries. He hustled to bring Martin down after a 4-yard gain on a screen. And Graham drew a holding penalty on a screen in the second. Good pressure on Freeman in the second, leading to a Jenkins sack.

Cullen Jenkins – Two tackles, a sack and a hurry. Jenkins hit Freeman on a deep ball in the first quarter that was intended for Vincent Jackson. He picked up a sack on Freeman late in the first half and dropped Martin after a 3-yard run in the fourth.

Fletcher Cox – Ups and downs, but Cox was active. Great read and great job finishing the play, dropping Martin for a 6-yard loss on a screen in the second. Cox ran a stunt with Cole, looped outside and sacked Freeman. Martin ran right through the hole between Cox and Cole for his touchdown in the fourth. He stuffed Martin for no gain on 3rd-and-8 on the final drive, forcing the Bucs to punt.

Vinny Curry – Only had six opportunities to rush the passer and had no sacks or hurries. Ups and downs against the run. Great hustle from the backside, dropping Martin for a 1-yard loss on 3rd-and-1 in the second. But he got caught inside on a toss to Martin that picked up 11 yard in the second half.

Darryl Tapp – No tackles, no sacks, no hurries. I know I sound like a broken record, but not sure why Tapp’s taking snaps away from Curry at this point in the season.

Phillip Hunt – No tackles, no sacks, no hurries. Hunt got pressure off the edge and forced Freeman to step up and take a hit by Cedric Thornton.

Derek Landri – One tackle, no sacks and no hurries. Landri made some nice plays against the run. He and Cole brought Martin down after a 1-yard run in the first. Landri clogged the initial hole on Martin’s 3-yard run in the first. And did so again in the third when Martin bounced it outside for a 9-yard gain.

Cedric Thornton – Two tackles, no sacks and a hurry. Thornton got a hit on Freeman in the third as he was nearly picked off by Mychal Kendricks. He violently brought Martin down after a 5-yard run in the red zone in the fourth.

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  • Corry

    Interesting that Cole was recorded with 0 pressures. We saw him get in Freeman’s face when Freeman threw the lollipop up that was almost picked by Kendricks/Anderson. If that’s not pressure then what exactly is the definition of “pressure?”

    • TXEaglesFan

      Agreed. Maybe the definition of “pressure” changes depending upon who the D-Line coach is?

    • Keith Petres

      Agreed. Dunno what forcing the QB to throw the ball high up in the air should be called, but it’s better than a hurry, and even better than a sack.

  • Jack

    I saw several hurries when I was watching the game…not sure where they contrived these statistics from…

  • dusk2k3

    How is it that Graham pressured Freeman leading to Jenkins sack but he doesn’t get credit for a Hurry? This doesn’t make any sense. You can have more than 1 person pressure the QB on a play regardless if it results in a sack. As a matter of fact, most sacks occur as a result from a “Hurry” from someone else.

  • Johngiam

    Unleash Vinny

  • JofreyRice

    These numbers seem a little stingy. I feel like Graham was more active than what’s shown.

    Despite that one play where he forced a bad throw, IMO, Trent Cole’s not the guy that he was. I saw him get blocked to the ground by TE Luke Stocker once or twice. Oh well, it was a pretty nice run, hopefully Curry turns out decent, and takes some of his snaps next year. Kinda wish Howie hadn’t just signed him to another big-money extension. I don’t think they can afford to spend the pick on another DE–though I do like Werner from FSU.

  • 1972

    why dont the eagles stunt as much as other teams i watch? its always trent cole around the end over running the quarterback.i would like to see cox move around more on the line too. i think on certain downs he should be at D end,im tired of this vanilla go get the qb stuff. we need a great defensive mind in this city A.S.A.P

  • xlGmanlx

    And just like that Landri shows up in the real “stats” again. Wash is looking more and more like a cancer and zealot.

  • xlGmanlx

    And why is it a coach off the street can get production out of the DL, but we need months for a MUDD guy?

  • xlGmanlx

    Yet another nail in Reid’s coffin would be if Wash is the one who influenced the team stats. Could be a way to allow Wash to save face to, we probably will never get the full story. But I would be surprised if our D didn’t tighten up the next couple of games and the back seven be more active.