What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Here is some pre-game reading before the Eagles take on the Jaguars tonight at 7:30.

We’ll have a live chat with updates and observations during the action, so be sure to stop back.

Until then…

Andy Benoit of TheMMQB.com previews the Eagles. He’s not impressed with the team’s safety situation:

The situation at safety is just as bad. Hard-hitting Patrick Chung has never been a mentally sharp pass defender. His running mate, Kenny Phillips, has scintillating talent but chronic knee problems. If one of these downhill thumpers are unavailable, the Eagles will have to call on either former second-round stiff Nate Allen, the perpetually out of control Kurt Coleman or the athletically limited (but at least more reliable) Colt Anderson. In fact, taking the whole group into consideration, Philadelphia may wind up seriously considering fifth-round rookie Earl Wolff in a starting spot.

According to NFL.com, it looks like Nnamdi Asomugha is going to make the 49ers’ roster:

According to Rapoport, 49ers coaches realize Asomugha no longer is the player he was at age 25. They love the “chip on his shoulder” as he’s out to restore his reputation after two miserable seasons in Philadelphia, but they also plan to limit Asomugha’s snaps and spell him from time to time.

Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times indicates that the Raiders could still have interest in Matt Barkley down the road:

Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com offers a thought on tonight’s game:

Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew revealed this week that coach Gus Bradley wants to run roughly 85 plays per game. That would put them among the league leaders. They face a Chip Kelly-led Philadelphia Eagles squad that should play even faster. Every Eagles game, even in the preseason, is becoming a must-watch affair. Also keep an eye on how Jones-Drew looks in his most extensive action since foot surgery.

Jason Babin chimes in on facing his former teammates, via TheMMQB.com:

I think playing the Eagles, my former team, next week in the preseason, will be more like playing Chip Kelly than playing the Eagles. It’s not the guys that I left. I do have a few players, a few buddies who are still on the team that I talk with. They’re coming to our place, so we’ve got to represent.

Les Bowen of the Daily News identifies 10 Eagles on the roster bubble, including defensive tackle Antonio Dixon:

Everybody pulls for Dixon, in his second tour with the Eagles, who grew up homeless and has made a career for himself, taming a severe stutter in the process. When the Eagles went to a 3-4, he seemed a good fit at nose tackle. But a hamstring problem kept Dixon from making an impact, while rookies such as Bennie Logan and Damion Square forged ahead. Plus, coordinator Bill Davis stresses versatility on his defensive line, and Dixon is strictly a tackle. He needs a big night, and maybe for someone else to get hurt.

Paul Domowitch of the Daily News projects the 53-man roster. He’s got Clay Harbor making it:

Harbor is going to be a TE/WR swingman, which saves Chip Kelly a roster spot to use elsewhere. I think he’ll keep five wideouts in addition to Harbor, but I wouldn’t be totally shocked if he only kept four. If Shepard doesn’t make it and no one else claims him, he’ll likely be on the practice squad.

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Babin: Eagles Leaked False Stories About Washburn

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Jason BabinJason Babin unloaded on the Eagles organization today during a conference call with reporters who cover his old team, the Tennessee Titans.

Now with the Jaguars, the defensive end was asked if he was concerned being waived by the Eagles might mean the end of his football career.

“That was probably their approach because they don’t have amicable splits with people,” Babin said, per Adam Caplan. “You saw how dirty they did [Jim] Washburn with leaking out the false stories and the way they talked about him on the way out. It’s kind of a big socialistic system that they have. I didn’t really care. I’m only going to worry about what I can control, and that’s practicing hard, working hard and playing hard on Sunday.”

It’s no secret that Babin and Washburn are tight. Babin had 12.5 sacks for Washburn in Tennessee and followed that up with an 18.5-sack season last year.

He was asked if the Eagles should have known what they were getting with Washburn when they hired him.

“Yeah, and that’s the surprising part,” Babin said. “You find out the fact that they had a D-line consultant [Tommy Brasher] the whole time they had him. Well, if you don’t trust the guy… it’s kind of like one of those things where they say they trust you, and they want you to do certain things a certain way, but then behind the scenes, they’re monitoring it and second-guessing it. It’s unfortunate because as you guys know, Washburn gives his heart and soul every practice and gets the most out of all of his players.”

Babin has 1.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in four games with the Jaguars.

Click here for more of his comments.

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Graham: Babin’s Release Took Toll On Washburn

After the Eagles released Jason Babin last week, Jim Washburn had a message for his defensive linemen.

Anything can happen, so play the final five games as hard as you can.

At the time, Washburn was unaware that he’d be gone before those final five games played out.

“After Babin left, he said that anything can happen, so let’s just play the hardest five weeks that we can,” said defensive end Brandon Graham Monday morning. “Whatever happens, happens. He said ‘I’m not going to stop being who I am. I’m not going to stop coaching as hard as I do. Whatever happens, happens.'”

Babin and Washburn were close from their Tennessee days. Graham made it sound like the defensive line coach was not consulted before his prize pupil was let go.

“I feel like that hurt him a little bit because from what I heard, he didn’t know that they were releasing him until he was actually gone,” Graham said. “I know that was one of his guys, and we all loved Babin while he was here. But I think it did get to him.”

Graham found out about Washburn’s firing Monday morning, but did not have a chance to talk to him yet. After a 1.5-sack performance Sunday night, he said he was just starting to thrive in Washburn’s system.

“Coach Wash, he was all about trying to help the team win,” Graham said. “He just always coached us so hard, and he cared about his group so hard that he always wanted us to do good and get sacks like we did our first year when he was here. Lead in sacks and win games, because he said if you sack the quarterback a lot, you’re going to win most of those games.”

Going forward, Graham will take his cues from new defensive line coach Tommy Brasher the final four games. He said he met Brasher Monday morning, and the Eagles won’t be using the wide-nine the rest of the way.

“They’re letting people go. It’s a tough season right now. They’re trying to get some W’s,” Graham said. “The people they got here ain’t getting the job done like they want to, so that’s the beast of the business.”

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Eagles Fire Washburn, Bring Brasher Back

The Eagles announced early Monday morning that they’ve fired defensive line coach Jim Washburn and added Tommy Brasher.

“Jim is a fine football coach and we appreciate the efforts he gave to this team over the past two years,” Reid said in a statement. “However, I determined that it was in the team’s best interest that we move in a different direction in terms of trying to maximize the production of that position group. We look forward to having Tommy Brasher back on board to work with the defensive line.”

Washburn was on the staff for 28 games. He implemented the wide-nine up front and had success in his first season, as the Eagles tied for the league lead with 50 sacks, 46 of which were by defensive linemen.

But this year has been a different story. The Eagles added resources to Washburn’s unit – including first-round pick Fletcher Cox and second-round pick Vinny Curry. They also got Brandon Graham back from injury and traded for linebacker DeMeco Ryans to help with problems against the run. But the defense has managed just 20 sacks through 12 games, tied for 27th.

“I’ll be crushed, hell I’ll quit if we ain’t a whole lot better,” Washburn said back in July during Eagles training camp. “They need to fire my ass if we ain’t better. We should be a lot better.”

The move is especially suspicious considering there are only four games left in the season, and the Eagles are 3-9. Last week, the team released defensive end Jason Babin, who was close with Washburn both in Tennessee and in Philadelphia. Tim reported last week that Trent Cole recently walked out of a defensive line meeting.

Washburn was hired in 2011 before the Eagles named a defensive coordinator, which ended up being Juan Castillo. Castillo was fired earlier this year in favor of Todd Bowles. Since that move, opposing quarterbacks have completed 76.3 percent of their passes against the Eagles with 16 touchdowns and no interceptions.

Last year, during a 38-20 loss to the New England Patriots, Washburn and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg reportedly got into a heated exchange on the sidelines.

Washburn is close friends with offensive line coach Howard Mudd, who is expected to retire at the end of the season.

Brasher, meanwhile, coached the defensive line on Reid’s staff from 1999 to 2005. Reid is scheduled to address the media Monday at noon.

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Cheat Sheet: Eagles’ Defense Vs. Cowboys’ Offense

Here are 10 things to know about how the Eagles’ defense matches up with the Cowboys’ offense.

1. Let’s start with what you really care about – draft positioning. The Eagles currently have the fifth pick in the first round. The teams ahead of them are the Chiefs (1-10), Jaguars (2-9), Raiders (3-8) and Browns (3-8). The Chiefs host the Panthers, the Jags travel to Buffalo, and the Raiders and Browns play each other (so one of them’s got to win). Along with your fantasy teams, now you know who to root for during a Sunday afternoon of football-viewing.

2. The numbers just keep getting worse for the Eagles’ defense. They are now allowing 25.6 points per game, which ranks 24th. Football Outsiders has the Eagles’ D at 23rd in the league – 27th against the pass and 10th against the run. The Cowboys are 18th in scoring offense, averaging 22 points per game. Football Outsiders has Dallas’ offense ranked 15th – 12th in passing and 20th in rushing. The Cowboys’ last game was a 38-31 loss to the Redskins on Thanksgiving. The Eagles lost their seventh straight to the Panthers (30-22) on Monday night.

3. Tony Romo is completing 66.2 percent of his passes (seventh). That’s the good news. But he’s been picked off 15 times – second-most in the league behind only Drew Brees (16). He’s been less turnover-prone recently with just two interceptions in the last four games. In the first meeting against the Eagles, Romo completed 19 of 26 passes for 209 yards and a pair of scores. He’ll likely be glad to see Todd Bowles’ defense in Dallas. The Eagles have just seven interceptions on the season (only five teams have fewer). And only the Colts (10) have fewer overall takeaways than the Birds (seven).

4. It’s been truly amazing to see how the Eagles’ pass defense has gone down the tubes since the Juan Castillo/Todd Bowles move. Through the first six games, the Eagles were holding opponents to 52.7 percent completions – the top mark in the league. In the last five, that number is a staggering 75.2 percent, which includes 13 touchdowns and no interceptions. This week, I asked safety Kurt Coleman whether not having Bowles spend as much time with the secondary has hurt the defense.

“He’s still working with the DBs, but obviously he has a more broader range now because he has to take care of all three different groups,” Coleman said. “His job role’s expanded. But he has a great eye, being a DB, and he’s always talking with us and allowing us to see things as he used to. He’s just not always hands-on because we still have Mike Zordich, and now we have Bobby April III to kind of help us out.”

5. The secondary will have to deal with Dez Bryant on Sunday night. The third-year receiver has really come on, averaging 80 yards per game, 10th-best in the league. Bryant has already set a career-high with 65 receptions, and he leads Dallas with six touchdowns. Miles Austin was limited in practice and is questionable with a hip injury. He leads the Cowboys with 12 catches of 20+ yards. Jason Witten has been targeted 114 times, the most of any Dallas receiver. He leads the team with 82 catches (710 yards). The Eagles have not been as good this season at covering opposing tight ends, ranking 17th, according to Football Outsiders.

6. Up front, the Eagles got rid of Jason Babin and will now get a better look at Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry. Bowles was asked this week how much input he had in that decision.

“Not much,” he said. “That’s something handled by management and the head coach. Jason’s a great player for us. He’s been a great player in this league.  I just wish him the best.”

The real question here is: Who is making personnel decisions the rest of the season? Andy Reid is still the head coach, but it’s no secret that he’ll be gone at the end of the season. The Eagles can’t really let him decide who to keep and who to get rid of at this point, can they? If Jeffrey Lurie has decided that Howie Roseman is going to be in his corner, ushering in the new era of Eagles football, my guess is Roseman will be the main decision-maker the rest of the way.

7. Curry had five tackles in his debut last week and was active. If he plays behind Trent Cole at right defensive end, he could match up with former first-round pick Tyron Smith, who is listed as questionable with an ankle injury. Smith got the better of Cole in the first matchup, limiting him to two hurries and no sacks. Graham has gotten to the quarterback with more frequency than any other Eagles defensive lineman this year, although he’s been quiet as of late. He’ll match up with right tackle Doug Free, who owned Babin in the first game, limiting him to one hurry and no sacks. Fletcher Cox had six hurries against Dallas the first time around, but he’s questionable. Cox suffered a tailbone injury last week and also is dealing with a death in the family. He did not participate in any of the team’s practices.

8. DeMarco Murray has been out since Week 6 with a foot injury, but could return Sunday night. He’s averaging 4.4  yards per carry on the season. Felix Jones had one of his better games of the season against the Eagles the first time around, rushing 16 times for 71 yards. He’s averaging 3.6 yards per carry on the season and is questionable with a knee injury. DeMeco Ryans leads the Eagles with 112 tackles (87 solo). He’s got 14 tackles for loss, the most of any Eagle since Reid became head coach. Jeremiah Trotter had 13 in 2005.

9. One rookie who we haven’t written much about lately is Brandon Boykin. The nickel corner has flashed potential, but been up-and-down this season.

“Playing the nickel as a first-time rookie, you’re going to see certain things during the year that you don’t encounter in training camp,” Bowles said. “Different guys play at different speeds and he gets to go against the quick guys, the big guys and the tall guys, and I think he’s handled it well.”

Boykin is probably the only member of the secondary likely to be a part of the next era.

10. Leftovers: The Cowboys are 26th in red-zone offense, scoring touchdowns 44.4 percent of the time. The Eagles are sixth in red-zone defense, allowing touchdowns 43.2 percent of the time. …Dallas is ninth in third-down offense, converting 41.4 percent of the time. The Eagles are 12th in third-down defense, allowing conversions 37.2 percent of the time. …In the first meeting, the Cowboys got touchdowns on defense and special teams.

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Eagles DL Production: Graham’s Chance To Replace Babin

With five games to go, the focus for the Eagles is clearly on the offseason and 2013.

Jason Babin was let go this week, meaning guys like Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry should see more snaps. While he had his share of issues, was Babin still an effective pass-rusher? And will the Eagles have a tough time replacing his production?

Let’s take a look at the season totals. A reminder that hurries are tracked by Eagles coaches, and pass-rushing opportunities are tracked by Pro Football Focus. Pressure percentage is the frequency with which each player notches a sack or a hurry.

The breakdown:

 
Pass-Rushing Opportunities
Sacks
Hurries
Pressure Percentage
Trent Cole3011.53311.6%
Jason Babin2825.53012.8%
Cullen Jenkins2752187.3%
Fletcher Cox22632010.2%
Derek Landri1630127.4%
Cedric Thornton136143.7%
Brandon Graham1011.51819.8%
Darryl Tapp950.589.5%
Mike Patterson48126.3%
Phillip Hunt38025.3%
Vinny Curry9000%

* Let’s start with Babin. Based on reaction, he clearly had become public enemy No. 1 among the fan base. And while his numbers were clearly down from last season, he still had his moments as a pass-rusher, leading the team with 5.5 sacks and behind only Trent Cole in hurries. Many have pointed out that he’s a one-trick pony, and while it’s certainly true that he gives you next to nothing against the run, the Eagles knew that when they signed him. They wanted someone who would rush the passer effectively, and Babin did that in 2011. Having said that, he’ll turn 33 before the start of next season, and I don’t have much of an issue with them letting him go at this point.

* Brandon Graham made the most of his opportunities early in the season, but has leveled off with just three hurries and no sacks in his last three games. Graham’s pass-rushing chances have been limited all season because he’s been behind Babin. Now, the former first-round pick will get a chance to start.

“I think he’s gotten better mentally,” Todd Bowles said yesterday. “I think he was a little immature, and then coming back from injury, he was probably a little hesitant. His work ethic has picked up. He is an intelligent football player, and this is kind of learning the tricks of the trade as you go. Brandon, he’s tough, he’s relentless, and the more he plays the better he gets. We’re looking for good things from Brandon as we go forward.”

Graham’s notched a sack or hurry 19.8 percent of the time he’s had a chance to rush the passer. That’s the highest percentage on the team.

* Some have asked whether Cole could be the next veteran to be cut. The answer is no. Per EaglesCap.com, Cole’s cap value is $5.35M in 2013. If they cut him, they owe $6.4M. Cole’s had a disappointing season with just 1.5 sacks. He turned 30 in October, which really isn’t that old. Cole’s best days might be behind him, but it’s reasonable to expect he can still be a productive player in 2013.

* Watching every week, I’ve felt like Fletcher Cox had significant room for improvement as a pass-rusher, but as you can see, he’s still been the most productive defensive tackle. Cox also leads all Eagles defensive linemen with 51 tackles. The future is bright for the rookie, regardless of what scheme is implemented next season.

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Eagles Wake-Up Call: Babin’s Parting Shots

Jason Babin said he had to peel off the long-sleeve shirt when he hit the field Thursday. The Florida rays were shining strong on those promising Jaguars, who put on an absolute  clinic on what it is to hold a practice.

“The tempo, the urgency, the way the guys went from drill to drill, how they practiced, the way they communicated, how they ran. It was the way practice is supposed to be,” said Babin, a quick smile coming to his face. “It was refreshing.”

The 32-year-old Babin, sent packing by the 3-8 Eagles only to be picked up by the 2-9 Jags, was putting a happy spin on his recent release and subsequent waiver claim by the second-worst team in football.  All while making the Eagles — tied for third-worst in the NFL, thank you very much — sound like the less desirable team to play for.

“It’s definitely good because as you know, things are kind of stagnant there, and they can ultimately get worse before they get better,” said Babin. “So being a part of something that is about to blossom is definitely an exciting feeling.”

Babin even had a positive interpretation of the way he was talked about on his way out of town.

“Well if you don’t know Philly, that’s kind of a sign of endearment. It’s kind of the way they love,” said Babin. “It’s like a backhanded compliment. The non-Philly person would look at it as mean or cruel but it’s a little bit of a sign of endearment.”

So when they say you’re surly and have a bad attitude, that’s their way of complimenting you?

“That’s a little bit of their style I guess.”

Speaking of style…

 

I know people will take that as him not liking the Philly media. But I kind of take it as a sign of endearment.

WHAT YOU MISSED

In the  latest Twitter Mailbag, I talk about the kind of coach the Eagles are looking for, and tackle whether the team will make any more significant cuts before the year is out.

Fletcher Cox is a question mark for Sunday, while Evan Mathis is in line to start at center.

Sheil explains why an offseason makeover is likely in store for the secondary.

Kapadia put that secondary under the All-22 microscope, while I analyze Babin’s last game as an Eagle.

Here’s what the national media are saying about the Eagles.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Dan Graziano gave his thoughts on the end  the Andy Reid era and how these last few weeks should be handled by the fans:

To imagine that he wouldn’t have loved to deliver that championship, to ignore the tireless, grueling, sometimes desperate work he did to try to make it happen, is to shun any kind of realistic perspective. There is a significant segment of the Eagles’ fan population that, even through its present anger, appreciates and always will appreciate what Reid gave to the team and the city. Some of those folks even understand that you can’t will a Super Bowl title — that there’s too much chance and circumstance involved, that worse coaches than Reid have won championships, just as better coaches than Reid have failed to do so. The best you can do is build an organization that finds itself in position to take a run at it every year and hope that it eventually works out. Reid surely did, and many Eagles fans understand that. Those are the voices Reid deserves to hear on his way out the door.

Tony Romo talks about all the breakdowns in the Eagles’ secondary:

“When you look at it, it’s communication that they have had, through motion and different things. We’re going to try and do some of that with the motions and try and get that stuff, but at the same time I don’t know if that’s going to continue, so you can’t rely on that from them. You know, they have good players, they cover well, they have just had a few mistakes here and there that have cost them.”

John Lynch ripped into the Eagles’ defense while on Mike & Mike Thursday:

“Obviously the coach is the one that’s going to take the fall, but I’ve seen a lot of things that disgust me when you turn on the film in terms of players, cornerbacks and what not, not wanting to stick their face in there, not hustling to the football, and when you have that on a team that’s a cancer. You can’t get past that.”

COMING UP

One more practice for the Eagles before heading to Dallas. The Cowboys are a 10-point favorite.

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Twitter Mailbag: Who Will Be the Next Head Coach?

Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From @DaPinoyboy: I think that they will be more cuts coming. Agree or disagree?# 64kquestion

I will disagree. Some think Nnamdi Asomugha will be cut before the season is out, but there is a big difference between his situation and Babin’s: money. The Eagles cut Babin and it didn’t cost them a dime. Asomugha has $4 million guaranteed next year. Maybe he is eventually released this offseason, but it makes sense that they try and restructure his contract before going down that road.

I did find the Babin move interesting, though, because of what it tells us. It is a fairly significant decision to cut someone  who has 23.5 sacks over his last 27 games. It makes sense to part ways, but it’s a pretty big decision nonetheless. To make a personnel call like this before the next head coach is in place makes you think about what the power structure will be like moving forward. And will they wait until the next head coach is here before ruling on the quarterback situation?

From @ssteiner13:  If Bryce Brown has a strong rest of the season and fixes the fumbling, would you consider trading Shady? (I would.)

Pump the breaks, steiner. McCoy is 24 and one of the best backs in the league. Plus, think of the possibilities.

Let’s daydream for a second and run with the notion that the next head coach of the Eagles is a far bigger fan of the run game than Andy Reid. And what if the offense was built around a pair of marquee backs, running behind an improved line thanks to the return of Jason Peters, Jason Kelce and Todd Herremans, and the addition of a high draft pick. The quarterback, whoever that might be, would be more of a game manager, living off play-action.

Sounds pretty good, right? If Brown continues to show what he did Monday night, I don’t know why that can’t be the Eagles’ reality.

From @AdamHunke: My position needs list (in order) QB, S, CB, WR. Yours?

I’ll flop safety ahead of quarterback for the simple fact that the Eagles probably need to upgrade both safety positions. At least there is a modicum of hope that the solution at quarterback is in-house. Sheil addresses the potential overhaul at the corner and safety positions here. I agree with you on receiver.

I’ll add tight end to the equation as well. Brent Celek plays through a lot of pain and it’s going to catch up with him (maybe it already has?). And Clay Harbor hasn’t shown enough. Offensive line depth is a need as well.

OK, everywhere. They need help everywhere.

 From @yogirlchoseme24: who will be our next coach?

Like the handle, by the way.

One thing I keep going back to is Joe Banner‘s comments to the Cleveland Plain Dealer about what he looks for in a head coach.

When we hired Andy Reid in Philadelphia we did a study on every coach who had led a team to two Super Bowls (appearances) to find the common denominator. We went in looking for things like offensive philosophy, did they come from defense, did they come from college? Had they been a coordinator? We found nothing. Then we accidentally realized they were all exactly the same when we took football out of the equation — they were all incredibly strong leaders, they all had hired great staffs, they managed them well and were all very detail-oriented.

Jeffrey Lurie was part of that search and Howie Roseman studied under Banner, so expect them to use a similar method of thinking.

Finding someone who can win games and help run an organization is obviously priority number one, but they will also be looking  for someone that the city can identify with. The Eagles are aware of the divide that a lot of the fan base feels when it comes to their team, and are determined to rekindle the love affair. Nothing is more important in that effort than finding a (winning) head coach whose philosophies on the field and temperament off it mesh with the spirit of the city.

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All-22: Babin’s Last Game In Green

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.

One thing you can’t knock the 32-year old for is his effort. On Wednesday his old teammates talked about how Babin would always bust it, and the following play from the second quarter Monday is a good example. Cam Newton pitches to Jonathan Stewart, who takes off to his left. Babin is lined up wide on the other side of the field.

But it’s Babin who tracks Stewart down.

Babin was able to generate some pressure in this one. He played 40 snaps against the Panthers and finished with a sack and a pair of quarterback hits. On the play below he shakes free and is able to get a shot on Cam Newton. The quarterback is unable to follow through, and his pass intended for Steve Smith falls incomplete. (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie can be credited with his solid coverage on Smith as well.)

Now onto the not-so-good.

The following play is a good example of the burden Jim Washburn‘s Wide-9 can put on the rest of defense, particularly the linebackers. Here the Panthers run a draw to DeAngelo Williams.

Babin’s positioning and aggressive approach has opened up a gaping hole. It is up to Mychal Kendricks to read the play properly, avoid big ‘ol number 61, and make an open-field tackle. Fortunately for the Eagles, he did.

Next up you will see Babin rushing off the edge as Newton surveys the field.

In his quest to get to the quarterback, he continues to push his way inside. In the process he loses the edge, and the fleet-footed Newton scrambles loose.

With nothing but daylight, Newton is able to pick up the first down.

Finally, take a look at this third-down play with two minutes remaining in the game. Carolina has an eight-point lead and is already in field goal range, but this is the defense’s last chance to try and get the ball back in the offense’s hands. The pass rush starts off well for the Eagles, as both Cullen Jenkins and Babin spring free.

Babin will attack a little too sharply to the inside, however. In the next frame, you can actually see him push off Jenkins as Newton rolls out beyond the pressure.

Haven broken the contain, Newton flicks one to Mike Tolbert for an 11-yard gain and a first down. After the play, Babin slaps his chest twice as if to suggest, “My bad.”

That was his last meaningful play in an Eagles uniform, as Newton took a couple knees to run the clock out.

Overall, you can’t call it a poor performance from Babin. He made a few plays, got some pressure. He was also out of position a few times, though that has some to do with Washburn’s design as well. The decision to release him couldn’t have been made off this game, in other words. This was a big-picture move, and a sign that a philosophy shift is right around the corner.

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