The much-hyped 2011 Eagles free-agent class has lost another member, as the team released defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins on Monday.
Jenkins was reportedly due a $1 million roster bonus in mid-March, forcing the Eagles to make a call on the veteran.
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).
Through the first 13 games, the Eagles’ defensive line had accounted for 20 sacks, or about 1.5 per contest.
Against the Bengals, Tommy Brasher’s groupsacked Andy Dalton six times and kept him uncomfortable all game long (13-for-27 for 127 yards). So what was different about the performance of the defensive line this time around? Here’s a look at all six sacks, using the All-22 shots.
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.
Cullen Jenkins painted a different picture of Jim Washburn than the one that has been circulating this week. Rather than an out-of-control, divisive figure, Jenkins sees his former defensive line coach as a misunderstood motivator with the best of intentions.
“Wash was a good coach. He just wanted the best for us,” said Jenkins. “People may not agree with his ways or saw what his goals were for us — I’m talking about people from the outside looking in — but Wash was a good coach. He had us motivated and playing hard.”
Brandon Graham said Tuesday’s release of Jason Babin made him realize that in the NFL, “just when you think you’re safe, you’re gone.”
Babin hit the pillow Monday night as the team leader in sacks, and woke up (temporarily) unemployed.
Did his performance against the Panthers weigh into the Eagles’ decision to let him go? We took a look at the All-22 tape to figure it out.
The front office will be evaluating more than talent as they sift through the wreckage of this season. They will be evaluating effort, and resolve, and want-to. And that’s just sad.
“At the end of the day it’s about locker room accountability,” said a fired-up Troy Vincent after his Eagles Hall-of-Fame induction ceremony. “The talent is here. When you hear someone talking about play-calling, just play the call that has been made. I was asked a question about someone hustling; why are we talking about a professional hustling to the football?
“And people know, the third eye in the sky doesn’t lie.”
History will not look favorably on this 2012 team. They will be labeled underachievers and their character will come into question. It already has.
Jeffrey Lurie was banking on a rebound season. He looked at the players on this roster and envisioned a rise in production across the board that would take this team out of mediocrity and back to elite status.
Instead, the output has dipped. Very few on the roster are even flirting with the possibility of having a career year. Some have fallen off dramatically.
To illustrate, we compared individual performances from last season with the projected totals for 2012.
Here’s our weekly look at the Eagles’ defensive line production.
The Eagles had quite a few “close but no sack” moments against Robert Griffin III. In fairness to Jim Washburn’s unit, Griffin makes defensive linemen look silly on a weekly basis.
Here are the numbers. Sacks, hurries (a stat kept by the coaches) and pressure percentage (frequency with with each player notches a sack or hurry, given the opportunities).
Cullen Jenkins always has a light tremble in his voice following a loss, making it so the pain is audible. Reporters gravitate to him because he gives emotional, unfiltered responses and can strike into the core of the issue.
On this night, he spoke of his own personal failings.
“I was brought in here, especially coming from a championship team, to try and help instill [a certain mindset]. Not maybe, I’m not doing a good enough job of it,” said Jenkins.
Cultivating a winning culture has not been a problem for the majority of Andy Reid’s tenure. When you stepped into the Eagles locker room you stepped into a winning locker room. Newcomers adapted and learned and passed it down, and on it went.
Suddenly, the Eagles are faced with a crisis.