Since the start of free agency, the Eagles have added nine new players, but only one true pass-rusher – Connor Barwin.
Much of the offseason focus has been on rebuilding the secondary, but Howie Roseman, Chip Kelly and company still have work to do in bolstering the front seven – specifically, the defensive line.
Before we take a look at what areas still need to be addressed, let’s look at what the Eagles have on their current roster.
As for the details, there’s not a whole lot we know right now. We know Chip Kelly prefers a 3-4. We know defensive coordinator Billy Davis has a background in multiple schemes, including the 4-3 under. Having spoken to Davis and some of the other assistants, I got the impression that pre-snap disguise is going to be a big part of whatever the Eagles do.
As we look ahead to free agency (March 12) and the draft (April 25), now seems like a good time to take stock of the Eagles’ defensive linemen to see how they might fit going forward.
The D-Line failed to sack Robert Griffin III, although the Eagles certainly pressured him at times. Alfred Morris had 91 yards rushing, but he needed 22 carries (4.1 YPC).
Once again, the defense got no help from the other two phases. Washington’s five scoring drives started at its own 28, its own 41, its own 47, midfield and the Eagles’ 25. This is nothing new. Opponents have dominated the Birds in terms of field position all year long.
Focusing back on the pass-rush, here’s a look at opportunities (from Pro Football Focus), sacks, hurries (as tracked by the coaching staff) and pressure percentage (frequency with which each player notched a sack or hurry).
Brandon Graham had a career game. Trent Cole looked like the old Trent Cole. Fletcher Cox continued an impressive rookie campaign. And guys like Cullen Jenkins and Cedric Thornton contributed as well.
In all, the defensive line combined for six sacks and eight hurries. Andy Dalton was under constant pressure and completed just 13 of 27 passes for 127 yards.
In a future post, we’ll break out the All-22 and look at why the Eagles defensive line was successful. But first, the player-by-player breakdown.
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.
After the game, Andy Reid announced that the team was parting ways with Jim Washburn, although he admitted that the game’s results had little to do with his decision.
Meanwhile, Brandon Graham got the start for Jason Babin, and Vinny Curry was active for the second time this season, as the Eagles went with a 10-man rotation.
Here’s the weekly look at production. Hurries (and tackles) come directly from the Eagles’ coaching staff. Pass-rushing opportunities are tracked by Pro Football Focus. And the last column is from me – a measure of how often each defensive lineman notched either a sack or a hurry.
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