Wake-Up Call: Barwin And the Sack Surge

NFL: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles

Following the 27-0 demolition of the Giants Sunday night — in which Eli Manning was pressured on nearly half of his dropbacks –Brandon Boykin offered the following analysis:

“I felt like at one point [Manning] was more concerned with the pass rush than he was looking at his receivers,” said Boykin.

Consider that statement for a moment. Heading into the season, the pass rush was one of the biggest concerns surrounding this team. The early portion of the schedule did little to alleviate those worries, as the Eagles were blanked in the sack department in two of their first three games. Since then, an out-and-out explosion. The Eagles have generated 16 sacks in their last three games, including eight  during their shutout win over the Giants on Sunday night. Suddenly, they rank second in the NFL with 19 takedowns.

Leading the charge is Connor Barwin, who is celebrating his 28th birthday today. The five-year pro has a team-leading six sacks — all of which have come over the last three games. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: A Giant Statement

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA Today

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA Today

The Giants waited until the home team was off the field before gathering at the 50-yard line at the conclusion of warm-ups, their cleats digging into the Eagles’ logo. Led by Jason Pierre-Paul, a handful of players began stomping up and down on the emblem in a clear sign of defiance.

When Chip Kelly‘s crew returned and the game began, not a sliver more of disrespect was permitted. And it was the Eagles that did the stompin’ on their way to a 27-0 win and a 5-1 record.

“They can do all that,” said Lane Johnson, “but it’s basically whatever happens between the whistles that counts. We did that tonight; they didn’t.” Read more »

Game Review: Eagles Defense Vs. Rams

NFL: St. Louis Rams at Philadelphia Eagles

Here’s a player-by-player breakdown of what we saw from the Eagles’ defense after having watched the All-22 tape.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Fletcher Cox – He was outstanding as a pass-rusher. Cox beat his man cleanly and forced Austin Davis into the Connor Barwin sack in the first. His pass-rush forced Davis out of the pocket on third down later in the quarter. Cox got pressure on third down in the second, but Davis completed a pass to Jared Cook. Cox hit Davis on third down in the fourth, but he completed the pass anyway. For the most part, he was solid against the run also. Cox got blocked on Zac Stacy’s 14-yard run in the first. He and Bennie Logan tackled Trey Watts after a 4-yard run in the first. And Cox blew up a run that gained 1 in the second. Overall, two tackles and two hurries, but he played better than those numbers indicate. Read more »

Zone Read: Eagles-Rams, the Day After

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline-USA Today

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline-USA Today

In the final 18 minutes of Sunday’s win over the Rams, the Eagles’ defense gave up touchdown drives of 79, 62 and 75 yards.

Billy Davis’ unit was a complete mess. The only thing saving this performance from total meltdown status was a stop late in the fourth quarter that ensured a 34-28 victory.

Yet, when Chip Kelly stepped up to the podium for his post-game press conference, he pointed the finger at the guys on the other side of the ball. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Outside Help

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at San Francisco 49ers

The Eagles forced three fumbles against the Rams and in each instance, an outside linebacker was prominently involved.

Trent Cole‘s caused the biggest boom. He burst past tackle Jake Long with an inside move early in the third quarter and crushed quarterback Austin Davis, forcing the ball loose. Cedric Thornton recovered it in the end zone for his first-ever touchdown. That’s 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles through five games for Cole, who was celebrating his 32nd birthday Sunday. Reports of his demise may have been exaggerated. He has 10.5 sacks over his last 12 games.

“Hey, I’m the type of guy that’s going to make my actions speak. I kind of laugh every time you hear somebody say [my best days are behind me],” said Cole. “I just laugh, and smile and [say], ‘Here you go. Take that one.’ I hear about the heat that y’all bring to me. You’re bad-mouthing me and the next thing you know you’re like, oh s—, you back up. You back up. But that’s alright. That’s what you’re supposed to do.  I love it. It’s all part of it. I’ve been doing this for 10 years and I laugh about it because it’s all fun.

“I’m not done. I got some years left in me. I’m not going to say how many but I’ve got some years left in me.” Read more »

All-22: Strong Start For Eagles Defense

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Billy Davis is expecting improvement on the defense to come from two separate areas.

One is that players from last year are more comfortable in the Eagles’ 3-4. And two is that he’s now able to add more layers to the scheme.

“Looking at last year, a lot of things we did, we were growing into this,” Davis said. “And it’s nothing more than a progression of growth from the end of last year to again a couple pieces we added and a couple schematic things we added to it and just threw it all at them. We will continue to grow that and hopefully continue to grow that way with both the understanding they have in our scheme and the scheme itself.”

Sunday’s Week 1 win against the Jaguars was a good start. It must be noted that Jacksonville could end up being one of the five worst offenses in the league. But after a couple lapses early, the Eagles’ defense dominated in the second half. Jacksonville was held scoreless on eight second-half possessions: five punts, a turnover on downs, a fumble and the end of the game.

The pass-rush, a question mark going into the season, looked like a strength against the Jaguars’ below-average offensive line. And players like Fletcher Cox and Mychal Kendricks turned in outstanding individual performances. Below is a look at what we saw in Week 1. Read more »

Season Predictions: The Pass Rush

NFL: NFC Wildcard Playoff-New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles
As we count down to the start of the regular season, Tim and Sheil try to answer some of the big questions facing the Eagles. On Sunday, they discussed life without DeSean Jackson. On Monday, they predicted what’s next for Nick Foles. Tuesday was a look at the offensive line, which faces an early challenge as Lane Johnson serves his four-game suspension. And they checked in on the secondary yesterday. Today, they take a look at the pass rush. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Cole In Year 10

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Trent Cole is well aware that this is his 10th season in the NFL. He is at the point in his career where there is some inner-dialogue going on about how much longer he will be able to play this game.

“You kind of [ask] yourself, ‘When is that time going to come when you say, ‘It’s time to put ‘em up, Trent. You’re done. It’s your time,’ ” he said.

One thing that the 31-year-old knows for sure is he hasn’t hit that point yet.

“I don’t know what it is, man, but I feel good,” said Cole, rolling into a half-crazed laugh, “and I’m ready to [expletive] rock-‘n’-roll.” Read more »

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