Photo by: Jeff Fusco
There were two key differences between 2014 and 2015 from a pass-rushing perspective, says Connor Barwin.
In ’14, the Eagles played with the lead more — particularly over the first 12 games when they shot out to a 9-3 mark and Barwin racked up 12.5 of his career-high 14.5 sacks. Last season, there were fewer opportunities to just pin the ears back.
The other was depth. The Eagles enjoyed a nice rotation at outside linebacker two seasons ago with Brandon Graham successfully rotating in with Barwin and Trent Cole. This past year, not so much. Where Graham played 499 snaps (43 percent) in the next-man-in role in ’14, Marcus Smith was in for 127 (10.5 percent) largely unproductive snaps, per Football Outsiders.
“If anything, the last year, we just didn’t have a great guy to rotate with me and Brandon Graham,” Barwin told Alex Marvez and Bill Polian during an appearance on SiriusXM Radio. “And that was a problem. Hopefully this year, moving to a 4-3, we’ll have that with Vinny [Curry] — because Vinny can play first and second down at defensive end.” Read more »
Connor Barwin with what could be your future tree, Bud. | Photo via Instagram
You know what’s even better than getting a free yard tree from TreePhilly? Getting a free tree from TreePhilly and having Connor Barwin — you know, from the Eagles — plant it in your backyard for you. And surprisingly, this isn’t totally beyond of the realm of possibility!
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Photo by: Jeff Fusco
This week we’ll continue to take a position-by-position look at where the Eagles stand going into the offseason. In the first five installments, we covered the quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, offensive linemen and safeties. Now, it’s on to the defensive line.
STATE OF THE ROSTER
Asked during an appearance on Daniel Jeremiah’s Move the Sticks podcast to pick one defensive lineman he’d choose to build a defense around, Jim Schwartz offered a response that revealed a little bit about his overall philosophy. Read more »
Fletcher Cox. (Jeff Fusco)
ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz both joined Anthony Gargano on 97.5 the Fanatic on Wednesday to discuss the Eagles.
Schwartz talked about his defensive philosophy and plans at length, while Schefter touched on the Birds’ upcoming offseason and their plans for handling free agency.
Of everything discussed, two points from Schefter stuck out as key holding points for the Eagles going forward.
For one, Schefter said that Fletcher Cox isn’t going anywhere.
“He’s not going anywhere, they’ll never allow him to leave,” Schefter said.
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Photo by: Jeff Fusco
Here’s what they’re saying about the Eagles this week:
How will Connor Barwin fit into Jim Schwartz‘s defense? Dave Spadaro caught up with Barwin to get his thoughts.
One of the players potentially impacted by the addition of Schwartz is linebacker Connor Barwin, who came off the edge mostly as a pass rusher in the team’s 3-4 front. Should the Eagles use more of a four-man front with three linebackers, where would Barwin fit in? Would he put his hand in the dirt and come hard off the edge? Would he use his long arms and frame as a strongside linebacker and cover tight ends at times? Johnson enjoyed some of his greatest success with Carlos Emmons at the SAM position from 2000-03.
“I’m very excited about Jim Schwartz. I remember meeting with him coming out of the (NFL Scouting) Combine. I’ve had plenty of friends who have played for him and obviously I’ve seen the success he’s had in this league, especially the success he’s had as a coordinator,” Barwin said. “I don’t think it will be as different as people think. We ran a 3-4 with (Bill Davis as defensive coordinator) but we were in a 4-3 over 40 percent of the snaps, if not more. I’ll probably be playing defensive end and if I do play linebacker it will probably be up on the line, like I was on first down here.”
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Eagles fans have suffered through an up-and-down season, one that ultimately led to the team missing the playoffs and Chip Kelly getting canned (more here and here). It’s one that many would soon forget.
One of the bright spots for the team has been the work from linebacker Connor Barwin, particularly with his contributions off of the gridiron.
Barwin, who is listed among the nominees for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, was at Smith Playground in South Philadelphia this week to break ground on the next urban park revitalization project he’s spearheading through his foundation, Make the World Better Project, with various partners, including Urban Roots, the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) and local stakeholders.
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Billy Davis. (Jeff Fusco)
It was a laughing matter. Literally.
Tim and I explained in last week’s Press Coverage how the Eagles would need to generate a good pass rush and force turnovers against Tom Brady to pull off the unlikely upset over the Patriots. How unlikely? We treated it more as a joke than as something that could actually happen.
But Billy Davis’ unit, after allowing 90 points in the previous two weeks, helped do just that as their four sacks and two interceptions played a pivotal role in Philadelphia’s 35-28 win.
“It’s a tough place to go in,” Davis said. “First of all, I thought the players did a great job. They showed a lot of character, being in the hole we were in the last two weeks and them fighting through it and having that challenge of going in there to beat Brady and Coach [Bill] Belichick in Foxborough is a big deal.
“A big part of it was the three- and four-man rush winning there and the cover guys just holding. We knew we were going to get our share of their passing game. That’s what they do and that’s what their strength is. In the last couple weeks, we were not having much success in that area and the guys stepped up and made a lot of plays.” Read more »
USA TODAY Sports
FOXBOROUGH, MA — A stunner in New England.
The Eagles used a little special teams magic of old and came up with a pair of huge turnovers on defense — including one that Malcolm Jenkins took to the house — to shock the Patriots, 35-28. Here’s what we saw: Read more »
Malcolm Jenkins. (Jeff Fusco)
After allowing 90 points in five days, Malcolm Jenkins told 94.1 WIP yesterday that the Eagles aren’t held accountable for their mistakes. He elaborated on those comments today after practice.
“From a coaching style, I was brought up a little bit different where most mistakes that teammates or players make were brought up more in a team setting,” Jenkins said. “But the approach here is more in the individual rooms and that’s just by design and that’s on purpose. A lot of the times when things happen on the defensive side of the ball if the secondary isn’t play well, the mistakes aren’t necessarily pointed out in front of the entire defense; it’s dealt with in the DB room and so a d-lineman might not know necessarily what the mistakes are or what it is that we need to get better at.
“For me, I’m a bit of a control freak so I like to know what the mistakes are and what we need to get better at. Obviously, Billy [Davis] and the coaching staff feel — that’s not necessarily my place and they’re right and they handle it a lot different than what I’ve been used to.”
Jenkins added that he has brought up his concerns to the coaching staff. Read more »
Chip Kelly. (Jeff Fusco)
Nolan Carroll stood despondent at his locker after the Eagles’ 45-17 loss to the Buccaneers yesterday. Defensive backs coach Cory Undlin approached his cornerback, put his left hand on Carroll’s shirtless back and asked, “You alright?”
“Yeah,” Carroll responded, as if he was trying to convince himself and not only Undlin.
The scene around the rest of the Eagles locker room was quite similar. Lane Johnson sat in a small black chair in front of his locker looking at the ground, saying the Eagles’ offense “imploded.” Connor Barwin stood with his hands on his hips and added that the defense “sh-t the bed.” Read more »