Eagles Wake-Up Call: Pass-Rusher Rankings

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A week after facing a run-focused offense and a rookie quarterback, Billy Davis and company now get Tony Romo and the Cowboys Sunday afternoon at the Linc.

Romo is completing 70.2 percent of his passes and has tossed 14 touchdowns to go along with just three interceptions. At 33-years-old, he’s making the most of the weapons around him and having a career year.

“I think one of the biggest things that Romo does is he extends the play,” Davis said. “If the initial play is not there, like a couple of quarterbacks in the league, the Roethlisbergers, they don’t necessarily run to run, they run to extend the play and the receivers do a great job of, when it breaks down, coming back to the ball, finding the open area.”

That means the defensive backs will have to hold their coverages longer. But just as importantly, the Eagles’ pass-rushers need to finish when they have opportunities.

Below is a look at where the pass-rush stands. Sacks and hurries are tracked by the Eagles’ coaching staff.
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Davis And the Commitment To the 3-4

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Billy Davis was asked on Tuesday if his personnel is better suited for a 3-4 or a 4-3 scheme.

“I believe we’re a 3-4,” he replied. “We’re moving in a direction. Right now, I stand in front of you and I’ve got the 3-4 that we’ve installed, we’re taking some punches on it right now as we push through to the other side. We just have to get through the transition part and the hard part that we’re living right now. The 3-4 is definitely who we have decided to be.”

Chip Kelly and Davis have both spoken of tailoring their schemes to fit the strengths of the players. The goal was to transition from a Wide-9 4-3 to a two-gap 3-4, with the idea that they would stop at the appropriate in-between point in Year One. Go as far as the personnel allowed them, in other words.

There are elements of the 4-3 still present, as Davis pointed out. But to say the scheme is catering to the players’ strengths would be a big leap from reality. Read more »

Twitter Mailbag: On Curry, Receivers and the Fatigue Factor

Riley Cooper 1On Thursdays 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 @LardMuffin: Assuming the Eagles have their offense in high gear – Who will the altitude affect more? Eagles offense or Broncos D?

Altitude will affect the Eagles more. The Broncos are acclimated to the environment, the Eagles are not.  Plus, the Broncos are used to going up-tempo. They are averaging 71 plays per game on offense, which is just four less than league-leading New England, and five plays more than Chip Kelly‘s Eagles.

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Week 3: Eagles Snap Count Analysis

Here’s a look at how Chip Kelly divvied up playing time against the Kansas City Chiefs.

 
Overall Snaps
Snap %
LeSean McCoy5279%
Bryce Brown1421%

LeSean McCoy was once again the Eagles’ best offensive player. He carried 20 times for 158 yards and played 52 snaps (79 percent). McCoy suffered an ankle injury late in the first half, but returned on the first possession of the third quarter and played lights-out.

Bryce Brown had three carries for 7 yards. Chris Polk did not play.

 
Overall Snaps
Snap %
DeSean Jackson6598%
Riley Cooper6294%
Brent Celek6091%
Jason Avant5583%
Zach Ertz1523%
Jeff Maehl35%
James Casey12%

DeSean Jackson played all but one snap (pretty sure that was the failed two-point conversion). The Chiefs played a lot of man coverage, but used a safety to help on Jackson, Kelly said. He got loose for one big 40-yard gain, but ended with just three catches for 62 yards on seven targets.

As many pointed out during the game, the Eagles’ other receivers were unable to threaten KC’s defense. Riley Cooper played 92 percent of the snaps, but had just two catches for 29 yards on seven targets. The Eagles once again used a lot of ’11′ personnel with one RB and one WR. Jason Avant played 83 percent of the snaps and was the team’s leading receiver with five grabs for 87 yards.

Brent Celek played 91 percent of the offensive snaps, but had just two catches for 18 yards. Zach Ertz played 23 percent of the snaps and was targeted once for 5  yards. James Casey played just one snap.

Damaris Johnson did not play any offensive snaps.

 
Overall Snaps
Snap %
Fletcher Cox6174%
Cedric Thornton5770%
Isaac Sopoaga3745%
Bennie Logan2632%
Vinny Curry1215%
Clifton Geathers810%

The Eagles’ defensive line probably played its best game of the season. Fletcher Cox played 74 percent of the snaps; Cedric Thornton 70 percent. Both guys played well.

Vinny Curry played for the first time all season and was productive. He had a sack, a hurry and drew a holding penalty on 12 snaps.

 
Overall Snaps
Snap %
DeMeco Ryans82100%
Mychal Kendricks8199%
Connor Barwin7591%
Trent Cole6579%
Brandon Graham1721%
Casey Matthews79%
Jake Knott11%

Connor Barwin played 91 percent of the snaps; Trent Cole 79 percent. Brandon Graham was productive with his 17 snaps. Both Graham and Cole had sacks. And Barwin had several standout plays.

Casey Matthews played seven snaps behind Barwin.

DeMeco Ryans played 100 percent of the snaps; Mychal Kendricks 99 percent.

 
Overall Snaps
Snap %
Cary Williams82100%
Bradley Fletcher82100%
Patrick Chung6174%
Nate Allen6073%
Brandon Boykin4555%
Earl Wolff4352%

Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams played the whole game. Nickel corner Brandon Boykin was on the field for 55 percent of the snaps.

At safety, Nate Allen and Earl Wolff rotated again. Allen played 73 percent of the snaps; Wolff 52 percent. Late in the game, Patrick Chung suffered a shoulder injury, so Wolff and Allen played together.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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