Eagles Wake-Up Call: Pass-Rusher Rankings

barwin_940_1016

A week after facing a run-focused offense and a rookie quarterback, Billy Davis and company now get Tony Romo and the Cowboys Sunday afternoon at the Linc.

Romo is completing 70.2 percent of his passes and has tossed 14 touchdowns to go along with just three interceptions. At 33-years-old, he’s making the most of the weapons around him and having a career year.

“I think one of the biggest things that Romo does is he extends the play,” Davis said. “If the initial play is not there, like a couple of quarterbacks in the league, the Roethlisbergers, they don’t necessarily run to run, they run to extend the play and the receivers do a great job of, when it breaks down, coming back to the ball, finding the open area.”

That means the defensive backs will have to hold their coverages longer. But just as importantly, the Eagles’ pass-rushers need to finish when they have opportunities.

Below is a look at where the pass-rush stands. Sacks and hurries are tracked by the Eagles’ coaching staff.

Asked to describe hurries, Kelly said: “Didn’t have to get a hand on him [the QB], but if you can make him move and disrupt in terms of where the launch point is and take the quarterback off his set point I think is how we are describing it.”

Pressure percentage is the frequency with which each player notches a sack or a hurry, taking opportunities (courtesy of Pro Football Focus) into account. The table focuses on defensive linemen and outside linebackers, the primary pass-rushers.

 
Sacks
Hurries
Pressure Percentage
Vinny Curry1410.6%
Fletcher Cox2115.8%
Connor Barwin354.6%
Brandon Graham124.3%
Bennie Logan213.4%
Isaac Sopoaga022.5%
Cedric Thornton132.0%
Clifton Geathers012.0%
Trent Cole031.6%
Damion Square000%

Fletcher Cox had his most productive game of the season against Tampa, finishing with five hurries. As a point of reference, only one other Eagle (Connor Barwin) has five hurries on the entire season.

“Fletcher had his best game of the year and we needed it and it showed,” Davis said. “He put a lot of pressure on the quarterback, disrupted the throwing motion of the quarterback often. A lot of those holding calls [occurred] where they couldn’t block Fletch, so we benefited from his game that he had. We get him to play like that every week, we’ll keep moving forward.”

Barwin leads the team with three sacks and is getting pressure 4.6 percent of the time. That’s much better than Trent Cole, whose number is just 1.6 percent.

“Trent has got a lot of pressure on the quarterback,” Davis said. “When you break down the film, he’s getting chips and he’s getting attention and sometimes that opens [things] for other people. But right now, our pass rush ‑ the sacks will come in bunches. I think Trent will have a breakout game and you’ll see the work that he’s put in and I think that will happen with our defensive line in general. I think we are getting close. We’ve had a couple games in a row with intentional groundings and different interceptions.”

Curry has only had 47 opportunities to rush the passer, but he’s getting pressure 10.6 percent of the time. He played a season-high 25 snaps last week vs. the Bucs.

Cedric Thornton has been great against the run, but still has plenty of room for improvement as a pass-rusher.

“The run is what he does the best, stop the run,” Davis said. “He’s a big, solid, square body in there and his pass rush is growing and growing as we continue to move forward. And there’s different kinds of pass rushers. There’s the Vinny Currys that are edges and really get penetration, and the Cedrics that get a little more power and push.”

As for the blitzers, DeMeco Ryans has rushed 69 times and come up with just one sack and no hurries (1.4 percent). Mychal Kendricks has no sacks and three hurries in 53 rushes (5.7 percent). Brandon Boykin has no sacks and no hurries on 30 rushes.

Last week, Mike Glennon was 9-for-16 for 131 yards (8.2 YPA) when blitzed, per PFF. He was 17-for-27 for 142 yards (5.3 YPA) when the Eagles sent three or four rushers.

Overall, the Eagles rank 15th in adjusted sack rate, per Football Outsiders. Last week’s goal was stopping Doug Martin and the run. This week, Davis will need to find some way to pressure Romo and the Cowboys into mistakes.

“When you study him over time, he’s either really hot or really off,” Davis said. “And sometimes it’s through the course of one single game. He may be first-half hot, second half cold and vice versa. You have to play him all the way through four quarters. I think you’ve got to challenge the receivers and challenge him to find the opening and keep moving it on him. I think he’ll make some plays and I think he’ll make some mistakes.”

WHAT YOU MISSED

An All-22 look at what the Eagles’ offense looked like with Nick Foles.

All signs points towards Foles starting vs. Dallas, writes T-Mac.

Pat Shurmur says a QB conversation will take place once Michael Vick is healthy.

Game review of the Eagles’ defense vs. Tampa.

Jeremiah Trotter talks to McManus about the Eagles’ current linebackers.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Les Bowen of the Daily News offers his opinion of where things currently stand with Chip Kelly:

If we’re holding a referendum on Kelly’s offensive ideas – which are why the Eagles hired him – what I see is the second team in NFL history to manage at least 1,500 passing and 1,050 rushing yards through the first six games. (The Eagles, who researched the stat, say the first was the 1954 Rams.) I also see 2,699 net yards after six games, the highest total in franchise history. I see at least 400 yards of offense in each of the first six games, something that only has been done by two other teams, the 2007 Patriots and the 1983 Chargers. The Eagles have never had a stretch of six 400-yard games in a row, at any point in any season. Ever.

For those reasons, when I look at Kelly, I really don’t see Steve Spurrier, or Dennis Erickson, or Butch Davis. Or Schiano, who has now lost 10 of his last 11 games.

Tommy Lawlor of IgglesBlitz.com on what he saw out of Todd Herremans last week:

Another good showing. Had good block on 2nd Qtr screen pass to the right side. Caved in the NT on inside run where Shady got 19 yds up the middle. Called for holding in the mid-3rd. Did have his hand on the back of a LB, but seemed like a ticky-tack call. To be fair, looked like Barbre did hold. Todd got beat by McCoy on the next play. That flushed Foles. Helped keep McCoy under control most of the game. Had some good blocks as the team ran to the right side a lot on the final drive.

COMING UP

We’ll hear from Kelly this morning and the players this afternoon.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.