This week, we’ll continue to offer offseason outlooks for the Eagles, position-by-position. Each day, we’ll answer a pressing question and rank the position on the priority scale. First up was quarterback. We covered running backs, wide receivers, tight ends and the offensive line. Now onto the defensive line.
PRESSING QUESTION: Will Bennie Logan go into 2014 as the starting nose tackle?
McManus: I believe he will.
Overall, I thought Logan acquitted himself well in his rookie season. The Eagles felt comfortable dealing Isaac Sopoaga and handing the starting job to the LSU product, who finished with two sacks, seven hurries and 43 tackles (two for loss). He took to the techniques taught by Jerry Azzinaro and Billy Davis and was part of a young defensive front that proved to be a strength of this team. Read more »
Brandon Graham knows exactly how much playing time he received in 2013.
“Twenty seven percent [of the snaps], right?”
Right. Or 353 of a possible 1,307 defensive plays. That’s obviously not the kind of workload the former No. 13 overall pick envisioned for himself.
“It’s one of them things where you can’t control it, but I tried to make the best out of the opportunities I got, and I guess we’ll see about my future whenever things start to happen,” he said.
Vinny Curry, similarly, is out for a bigger role. He played 337 snaps, or 26 percent of the time. He started off the season as an inactive on game day. His agent was open to a trade. There were reports that the Eagles were listening to offers for him.
“I think I shut all that up,” said Curry. Read more »
Here is a position-by-position review of the Eagles’ defense after having reviewed the All-22 tape.
* This group led the charge. Joique Bell needed 23 carries to gain 69 yards (3.0 YPC). And the Lions failed to gain more than 8 yards on any single run. Cedric Thornton was outstanding, leading all defensive linemen with six tackles (per team stats) and a forced fumble, which the Eagles turned into a takeaway. Thornton helped blow up a Bell run that gained 3 in the second and was disruptive throughout. Read more »
Asked why the Eagles’ pass-rush has seen a boost in recent weeks, defensive coordinator Billy Davis pointed to continuity.
“I think the guys just keep getting better and better as the weeks go on,” he said. “The guys, they are fresh, they are rolling them in, so everybody gets the different one‑on‑ones. I think the stunts are being executed at a higher level right now because the guys have been with each other and doing it at full speed for awhile. We have been healthy, so the same guys are lining up next to the same guys and that helps continuity.”
According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Eagles have pressured opposing QBs on 15 dropbacks per game since Week 6, the second-highest total in the NFL.
Pressuring Carson Palmer was critical in last week’s 24-21 victory over the Cardinals. The Eagles came up with five sacks, four QB hits and created disruption throughout that led to turnovers and other negative plays. Those things will factor in heavily once again this week against Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions.
Below is our weekly look at how the team’s pass-rushers are performing. Read more »
As Connor Barwin finished up with the media last Sunday and got ready to head for the showers, he noticed his teammate Trent Cole had a crowd of reporters around him.
“Hey Trent, say the Bearcats played really good today,” Barwin yelled to a grinning Cole, his fellow Cincinnati alum. “Say that. Tell ‘em how the Bearcats showed up.”
Against the Redskins, Barwin and Cole both set season-highs in tackles. They combined for 21 total, along with three sacks, a batted pass and a forced fumble. All in all, a pretty good day at the office for the Eagles’ starting outside linebackers. Read more »
There is a portion of Chip Kelly‘s practice called “Clutch Period.”
The music gets turned up as loud as it can go, x-amount of time is put up on the clock, and the first team offense is pitted against the first-team defense. Kelly’s group is trying to score before time expires. Billy Davis‘ unit is trying to get off the field.
It was a familiar feeling, then, when the defense was called on with 3:26 remaining and given the task of keeping RGIII and the Redskins out of the end zone.
“Honestly, Coach Kelly puts us in situations like that every day,” said Vinny Curry. “We’ve been prepared for situations like that, and that’s why you never see anyone on the defense panicking.” Read more »
In the last six weeks, the Eagles are allowing just 17.7 points per game.
Before the season started, a stretch like that seemed unlikely. After the team gave up 33 to the Chargers in Week 2 and 52 to the Broncos in Week 4, it seemed even more unlikely.
But Billy Davis, his assistants and the players have turned things around. Overall, the defensive is allowing 24.4 points per game (20th) and 5.6 yards per play (22nd). Football Outsiders still has the Eagles’ D ranked 28th overall.
So while no one would deny that there have been massive improvements from the beginning of the season, the question is: With six games left, where is this defense?
As always, we go to the tape for answers, breaking it down category-by-category. Read more »
Through nine games, the Eagles’ pass-rush remains a work-in-progress.
Last week against Oakland, Billy Davis’ unit took advantage of a QB in Terrelle Pryor who was anxious to escape the pocket all game long.
Overall, the Eagles rank 22nd in Football Outsiders’ adjusted sack rate, which takes into account pass-rushing opportunities.
Granted, numbers don’t tell the whole story, but here’s a look at pass-rushing production from a statistical standpoint. Sacks and hurries are tracked by Eagles coaches.
Pass-rushing opportunities are courtesy of Pro Football Focus. And I calculated pressure percentage, which is sacks/hurries per opportunity. Read more »
Casey Matthews was asked: What’s the angriest you’ve ever seen Chip Kelly? He smiled immediately as the answer popped right to the front of his brain.
The offseason heading into Matthews’ senior year, Kelly’s players kept showing up in the news for all the wrong reasons. Running back LaMichael James was arrested on domestic violence charges. Place-kicker Rob Beard and defensive end Matt Simms were charged with misdemeanor assault for their involvement in a street fight. Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli was identified as a suspect in a theft.
Kelly called a team meeting to express his disappointment. That night linebacker Kiko Alonso was cited for driving under the influence.
“He told us the guy was off the team. He was mad,” said Matthews. “We were in the team meeting room. He rips us for the offseason — everyone is getting in trouble, the star quarterback was stealing from a frat, domestic violence charge, a bunch of little stuff — finally he calls a team meeting, rips us — get it together — and then that night [the DUI]. It was bad.
“He couldn’t breathe. That was the worst I’ve seen.” Read more »
Here’s what we saw during today’s Eagles-Cowboys game. Read more »