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 Sacks Hurries Pressure Percentage
Trent Cole 31 0 0 0%
Cullen Jenkins 31 1 1 6.5%
Fletcher Cox 30 1 1 6.7%
Brandon Graham 29 0 0 0%
Derek Landri 10 0 0 0%
Cedric Thornton 10 0 1 10.0%
Vinny Curry 6 0 0 0%
Darryl Tapp 5 0 0 0%
Phillip Hunt 5 0 0 0%
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.