It’s true that sacks aren’t everything, and that the front four can affect the game in other ways. We’ve shown that with the All-22 on several occasions. But Jim Washburn’s group just hasn’t been good enough, and the lack of production has been stunning when you consider pretty much the entire organizational philosophy was built around getting pressure from the defensive line.
Here’s a look at snap counts for the Eagles during their Week 8 loss against the Falcons. We’ll go position-by-position.
But this week, his first as the Eagles’ defensive coordinator, Bowles’ will likely spend some time trying to figure out a way to get the pass-rushers free. That’s going to be a key in the final 10 games. The secondary has played well, and while the defensive line has certainly affected games (everything’s connected, after all), Jim Washburn’s group has not been the dominant presence many were expecting when the season started.
So what’s the answer to jump-starting the pass-rush? During an interview with Mike Missanelli on 97.5 The Fanatic, defensive end Jason Babin was asked if more blitzing could be a possible solution.
When asked last week why the Eagles’ defense has been unable to come up with more sacks, Todd Bowles pointed to four specific things.
“Part of the time, the ball is coming out quick,” he said. “Part of the time they’re max protecting. Part of the time we have to beat one-on-ones. Part of the time, coaching-wise, we have to scheme it better and help those guys get free.”
Today, let’s take a look at those four things individually.
According to the stat sheet, they finished with four quarterback hits. Trent Cole had one of them, but the veteran defensive end finished with zero tackles.
Asked by a reporter after the game why the line wasn’t able to generate more pressure, Cole seemed surprised by the question.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about man because you saw the game, and it was there,” Cole said. “I can’t believe you’re saying that. It was there. It was there. You know it was there.”
But when the teams actually played, Jim Washburn’s group didn’t have much of an impact, failing to get to Ben Roethlisberger and giving up big plays in the run game all day long.
So what happened? Here’s the weekly review of the Eagles defensive line.
On Sunday against the Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger did not go down once. The Eagles certainly aren’t accustomed to coming up empty, especially since defensive line coach Jim Washburn joined the staff. At least not until the last two weeks.
The numbers are down across the board. Juan Castillo‘s defense is on pace for 28 sacks, while last year’s unit amassed 50. Against the Giants, the Eagles failed to register a single quarterback hit on Eli Manning. The difference is the way the front four is being attacked.
As a point of comparison, the defensive line had 19 hurries against Joe Flacco and 24 against Brandon Weeden.
Here’s the player-by-player breakdown.