Through nine games, the Eagles’ pass-rush remains a work-in-progress.
Last week against Oakland, Billy Davis’ unit took advantage of a QB in Terrelle Pryor who was anxious to escape the pocket all game long.
Overall, the Eagles rank 22nd in Football Outsiders’ adjusted sack rate, which takes into account pass-rushing opportunities.
Granted, numbers don’t tell the whole story, but here’s a look at pass-rushing production from a statistical standpoint. Sacks and hurries are tracked by Eagles coaches.
Pass-rushing opportunities are courtesy of Pro Football Focus. And I calculated pressure percentage, which is sacks/hurries per opportunity. Read more »
We went over the offense on Tuesday. Now here’s a look at how the defense grades out through the first half of the season.
Defensive line: B-
This group has shown more improvement than any other on the team from Week 1 to Week 8. And defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro deserves credit for that.
Cedric Thornton is playing lights-out on a weekly basis and leads all Eagles D-Linemen with 45 tackles. Fletcher Cox has really come on as of late and has three sacks to go along with a team-high 15 hurries (no other Eagle has more than seven). Isaac Sopoaga was a non-factor, but players like Clifton Geathers on the second team are starting to show flashes.
Opponents are averaging 3.7 YPC vs. the Eagles. Only five teams have posted a lower number. Read more »
Back in the spring, new Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis was asked if he had spent time looking at Jim Johnson’s scheme and concepts.
“He had some great dynamic pressures, and I’ve studied a lot of them,” Davis said. “They were out-of-the-box thinking. But when you really break him down, it was more guys up in the A-gaps with the illusion of pressure than actual [sending] more than four rushers.
“There were times that he brought more. …But he did a great job of keeping offenses off-balance through both pressure, illusion of pressure and non-pressure. And you need all elements to attack an offense because there’s some times you pressure some of the stuff Coach [Chip Kelly] does, you’re going to get eaten alive.”
Davis’ comments serve as a good launching off point to examining what’s working well for the Eagles on defense. Last week, they were able to keep Tony Romo off-balance and free up rushers all game long, both with the blitz and the threat of the blitz. Read more »
Trent Cole used to pace around his locker stall like a mad man leading up to big games. If it was Dallas week or Giants week, the look in his eyes would get a little bit crazier, his voice more animated. One time a couple seasons back he was so hyped that he did an entire interview standing on a chair while talking nonsensically.
He would get wound up and wound up some more until the band was ready to snap, then would unleash it all on Sunday.
The 31-year-old has mellowed some of late. He’ll still get wild but not as often or to the level he used to. On this particular day he did the interview seated on his chair and speaking in a measured tone, even with the New York game fast approaching. Truth be told, his new position doesn’t require the bat-out-of-hell Trent Cole. Seek and destroy has been largely replaced by read and react. Read more »
Since before the season started, Billy Davis has cautioned that his defense would likely be a work-in-progress in Year 1.
A new scheme, a new staff and six new starters. Davis knew there would be hurdles and growing pains along the way. But now that the season is seven weeks old, there are signs of progress. Part of that is due to Davis gaining a better understanding of his players and how he goes about calling a game.
“I think I feel a lot more comfortable,” Davis said. “I think the players feel more comfortable in the calls. All of it is a growth that’s happening. I feel more comfortable. Knowing what the strengths and weaknesses of the individual players are now that we have almost half a season under our belt. So that’s growing. I think more importantly, we as a staff see the players understanding the concepts of the coverage, the techniques within the coverage and how they work with the concept. All of that is growing.” Read more »
Here’s a look at how Chip Kelly and his staff divvied up playing time Sunday against the Cowboys. Read more »
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.
Read more »
If you missed the first game review on the Eagles’ offense, click here.
Now onto the defense. Read more »
TAMPA, Fla. — Here’s a look at how the Eagles divvied up playing time Sunday afternoon against the Bucs. Read more »
If you missed the first cheat sheet, click here.
Now, on to 10 things about how the Eagles’ defense matches up with Tampa’s offense. Read more »