DL, KOR, & Fumbling

Posted: October 9th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 52 Comments »

I’m still working through the game, but wanted to touch on some hot topics.  First up, the DL.  The group has gone back to back weeks without a sack.  Not good.  However, this is not the problem that some make it out to be.  I remember us playing Dallas back in either 2007 or 2009. Tony Romo literally didn’t need to have his jersey washed.  The guy sat in the pocket and picked apart the defense.  That was a case of the pass rush being completely ineffective.

In the last 2 weeks, the Giants and Steelers combined to score 33 points.  There were 2 TD passes.  Neither QB completed 60 percent of his throws.  Both QBs did get hit.  Big Ben took a nasty hit to his hand by our rookie DT, which bugged him for a few minutes.  The teams combined to go 3 of 8 in the Red Zone.  They were 8 of 24 on 3rd downs.  You don’t have this kind of defensive success unless the DL is getting pressure.

We all want sacks.  That is the goal for the DL.  If they can’t get sacks, you at least want pressure.  That affects the QB and limits his ability to do what he wants and lead the offense to points.

EaglesJake has posted a couple of videos on his site.  He did one for Jason Babin and one for Brandon Graham.  They total about 9 minutes.  He’s what I want you to do.  Watch the videos twice.  The first time, watch them and focus on Big Ben.  The second time through, watch our DL.  You’ll be surprised at how different the game seems.  The Steelers ran a ton of draw plays.  They threw a lot of quick passes.  Oddly, Jimmy Bama and I discussed that on a show last night and I didn’t think the Steelers did make quick throws.  I was wrong on that.  You’ll see chip blocks and double teams mixed in.  Big Ben did not drop back and have 5 seconds to throw.  That’s simply not what happened.  There were only a couple of troubling plays on those clips.  The DL got solid pressure and forced him to move around in the pocket on a regular basis.

Is the DL good enough right now?  No.  These guys do need to play better.  They do need to make plays.  That said, they are not struggling as some people think.  Sacks can be misleading.  Last year the Vikings tied us for the league lead in sacks (50).  Great.  Opposing QBs had a passer rating of 107.6 against them, the worst figure in the entire league.  QBs held the ball looking for big plays.  That meant taking some sacks, but it also led to 34 TD passes.  And the Vikings had just 8 INTs all year.

The Eagles sacks are down, but not because the DL is ineffective.  Teams fear the pass rush and are gameplanning accordingly.  The Eagles are 4th in the league in opposing QB rating (67.6).  Teams are on pace to throw for 16 TDs against us, while giving up 19 INTs.  And remember that we’ve faced Flacco, Eli, and Big Ben.  That’s good competition.

* * * * *

People are still complaining about KO coverage.  Don’t.  David Wilson had 5 returns in the Giants game that all went for 35 or more yards.  Go re-watch those returns.  He was running free up the middle of the field.  It was literally as if we were missing guys on the coverage unit.  Are 11 guys really out there?

This week we had 3 KOs.  One was a touchback.  Nice to see.  Colt Anderson made a sensational play on another.  He tripped up the KOR inside the 10-yd line.  Amazing hustle on his part.  The other return did go for 44 yards.  That’s not good, but it still was very different than Wilson.  Rainey was almost tackled by new LB Adrian Moten.  He got his hands on Rainey, but couldn’t really get hold of him.  There was another Eagle in the area, but Rainey got by  him as well.  The result was still bad, but nothing like last week when Wilson ran free up the middle of the field.  We are making progress.  Should be even better when Akeem Jordan returns.

* * * * *

One thing I haven’t noted, but several people have brought up to me is that the conditions were somewhat slick on Sunday.  The Steelers had 2 errant snaps.  Rashard Mendenhall dropped the ball without getting hit while running out in space.  A couple of Steelers WRs dropped passes that hit them in the hands.  DeSean Jackson had a ball come loose after he was tackled.  And I think you might recall Vick having a fumble or two.  Or three.

It is possible that moist conditions affected ball handling by the players and played a part in the mistakes above.  That is a lot of balls not being secured or handled properly by various players on both teams.  I know Vick fumbled the ball in Arizona.  That was totally on him.  He didn’t fumble once on Sunday night.  Let’s see what happens next week vs the Lions.   It will be interesting to see if he has any issues or is fine.

* * * * *

Our buddy NFL Gimpy has a new MAQB column posted.  He’s got some interesting stuff on the Vikings.  I’m not sure I buy them, but he makes a good case.  Did you know how good a year Percy Harvin was having?  Good column.  Check it out.

Matt Alkire posted some draft notes at Scouts Notebook.

* * * * *

As I mentioned earlier, Jimmy Bama and I did record a podcast covering the Steelers game.  We cover the normal topics and all kinds of oddball stuff.  That’s what happens when you get 2 great minds feeding off each other.  I compare favorably to Albert Einstein.  Jimmy is more the Albert Haynesworth type.  Geniusness at its most finestness.

_


  • Mac

    My dad and I had a disagreement about Big Ben’s time… he was thinking that Ben had played a fairly normal game as far as holding the ball goes. Now… I hate to admit this on here, but for awhile I dated a girl who is a Raven’s fan. During that time I had to watch Steeler’s football when they played the Raven’s. I thought it was absurd how long he would hold the ball, pat the ball, move around, avoid sacks and pressure and make amazing plays. The dude is a gamer.

    Having said all that… that is NOT the QB I saw on Sunday. Big Ben did that less than a handful of times to us (from what I saw). That is amazing, and the fact that we don’t play the Steeler’s more often is the reason most of our Eagle fans don’t understand just how good this performance was.

    There are a lot of football commentators (read: punks) who are willing to anoint Eli Manning the current #1 QB in the league. Well… Juan Castillo and his “D” played a pretty solid game against ole’ pouty face.

    I for one am pretty psyched about our D-line. I was hopeful that we’d notch a few sacks vs Ben because he tends to hold the ball too long, but well… I’ll take wins over stats. And it’s pretty cool being able to drop 7 guys into coverage ;)

  • Mac

    Oh and because I haven’t said so yet…

    COLT ANDERSON!!!

    haha Love that guy

  • poetx99

    good stuff. i’ll take another look at the DL. i got the feel that we were too either/or with our DL pressure (wide OR up the middle, never both), and that resulted in ben being able to step up and make throws. it may have only been on a couple key plays, however. i’ll watch the eaglesjake clips and rethink.

    great points (and not just b/c i also made them) re: the sloppiness in general with ball handling on sunday. i’m not happy at all w/ the two fumbles lost on sunday, but it would be much worse if they were the result of vick doing the loaf of bread thing. ball was secured in both instances, just not enough to counter good defensive plays. the diving headfirst thing… i think mv is still stung from the criticism of his injuries in pre-season. that IS his qb slide. there’s a downside to that, obviously. its probably a lesser evil to him fighting for an extra yard and exposing himself to cheap shots. *shrug*.

    he’s never going to do a regular slide. his momentum and body lean is forward when he runs. not gonna happen.

    • Mac

      problem with the head first slide may be sore ribs… it looks like he is trying to avoid contact, but also avoid landing on the ball, which can be painful (especially if his ribs aren’t healed up yet)

  • austinfan

    I think the older guys on the line are starting to show decline, Babin is not as explosive, but 30 sacks in two years, was that sustainable? Jenkins hasn’t played as well since his hot start last year, and Cole isn’t making as many plays as his norm. Is it due to opposing schemes? Somewhat, as BTB shows, Babin was getting a lot of single blocking by Gilbert, so it’s not all on schemes, but teams are sticking to short passes and draws. However, any reasonable football fan knows you have to expect decline from guys 30 and over at some point.

    The real problem – Landri. He’s not the same player as last year, and it’s become obvious why he didn’t get a deal, as a guy off the bench on limited snaps playing with fire he’s much better than he is as a starter where his size is exposed.

    MIA – Hunt. Don’t want to give up on him, think Burgess, Barnes and Clemons, but the real games have been a lot tougher on him than preseason.

    The three key players this season:

    Graham – has to start getting more snaps, he looks 100% back but with more strength than his rookie season.
    Cox – basically a starter, but still learning on the job, like a lot of rookies, his production may jump after the bye week when he assimilates what Washburn is teaching him.
    Thornton – he has improved substantially since game 1, Colon had two holding calls and could have easily have a half dozen called since the only way he could slow down Thornton was to grab him outside the shoulder pads. Thornton doesn’t have a TFL yet but I expect that to change, he’s playing with better leverage and getting off the snap quicker.

    If these three improve, and Graham and Thornton get more PT as the season progresses, it’ll allow them to limit the snaps of the “old men.”

    • Ark87

      Good stuff, I’m right with you on Hunt. Guy isn’t producing with fresh legs. I don’t see what we lose to activate Vinny and get him some snaps vs starters in his place. But I honestly haven’t been watching him on his snaps. No body is getting sacks the way people are game planning us. I wonder how much pressure he is getting, or he is getting taken out of the play completely.

  • http://twitter.com/Balagast Matthew Donaldson

    I think the KO coverage got a lot better this game, as you said. KOR is still a clear issue. Is it complete lack of blocking, trepidation by the KR, some combination there of?

    • TheRogerPodacter

      it could just be a small sample size, too. it was only 3 kickoffs. one was a touchback, one good coverage, one bad coverage.
      if we had bad coverage on 33% of the KOR, we’d be pretty terrible. also factor in that we are far from getting a touchback on 33% of all KO so its hard to take too much from this game on ST.

      • http://twitter.com/Balagast Matthew Donaldson

        Very true. Also now that I think of it, even the one that Anderson made the great play on, it seemed like the KR hesitated and probably should have taken a knee.

  • bdbd20

    As time moves on from Sunday, I’m getting less concerned about the fumbles. Playcalling could be better around the goal line.

    His reading of the defense appears to be getting better. No picks in 3+ games is encouraging.

  • nicolajNN

    I’m not sure how the rotation worked last year, but I noticed this year Babin and Cole have played around 70% of the snaps, wouldn’t it help their effectiveness if we played them a little less? Especially with the way Graham is playing.

    • Ark87

      I know getting Cole to come off that field is a bear. I don’t see why they can’t give a pure speed guy like Babin a few extra snaps off though. He doesn’t seem near as resistant to rest. Loving what graham is bringing to these game as well. Unless anybody has something very nice to say about Phillip Hunt, I don’t see why we don’t activate Vinny Curry who has a better rounded game and could benefit tremendously from limited snaps against starting caliber players this early in his career (with minimal risks).

      • A_T_G

        Something nice to say? Hmm. His middle name might be Herk?

        • A_T_G

          Really? Nothing? Try saying his name out loud and kind of quickly.

          • Ark87

            Oh man the first name works into it too, god I’m going to need a shower after that revelation. Your genius is wasted sir, you could be curing cancer or writing Tommy’s most hated play out of Andy Reid’s playbook. Now I’m going to have to find out what his middle name really is haha.

          • Ark87

            Follow-up: His middle name is Wayne, so he’s back to square one

  • Zach Reese

    After watching EaglesJake’s videos twice, the one thing that really stuck out to me is how many holding calls could have been called but weren’t. Colon (the only OL with a name that doubles as an insult) got 4 holding calls on him during that game, but Babin and Cole look like they were victimized by those OTs on several occasions, without any laundry raining down on the field.

    I understand that holding is a part of football, and happens on nearly every play to some extent. It becomes a judgement call on the part of the refs to determine how much they will allow, but based on the definition assessed on Colon’s holds, they could have called several more on the OT’s. A holding penalty can be almost as detrimental to an offensive drive as a sack. If the DEs keep forcing OTs to step outside the rules of the game, you have to think that those flags will come eventually.

    One last point on penalties: Did anyone notice DJax complaining to the refs about being held early in Sunday’s game? A lot of people don’t like players begging the refs for flags, but it does focus the ref’s attention in that direction. In this case, DJax’s complaints about Ike Taylor could have affected Ike getting flagged for interfering with Maclin a few minutes later. Maybe our DL needs to do some ref-hamming to get more calls.

    • A_T_G

      Double? His name quadruples, also being an organ and a puncuation.

      • Arby1

        Therefore, anyone who gets a colonectomy ends up with a semi-colon?

  • dislikedisqus

    I think the most important point in this post is the one about the quality of the QB’s the Eagles have faced. Eli and Ben have 4 Super Bowl rings. They obviously have a lot of experience in the various methods for avoiding sacks, from playcalling to pass pro schemes to pocket awareness to blitz recognition to stepping up in the pocket to hitting the dumpoff, etc.
    As for the slick conditions, I was at the game and beyond any roof overhang – it did not start raining until the last minute of the first half. I am skeptical the field was slick before then. You may remember one of the Pit receivers slipping just before the goalline at the end of the half, likely turning a TD into a FG. That guy had an excuse. I don’t think Vick did.

    • TommyLawlor

      Thanks for the first hand account.

      Question…seemed like an odd crowd. Was stadium not full? If so, do you think that was the weather or have any guesses.

      • dislikedisqus

        Agree seats were not quite full, Weather was a challenge – 40s and grey, light wind. Then it started to rain just before halftime. Many people, including me in the 2d half, watched game on TVs in the Fed Ex great hall. I would estimate at least 5000 people were doing that the whole second half. As the Eagles started doing better once I went undercover, I stayed there the whole 2d half. Did not want to jinx the comeback! On every make or break play in the Eagles’ final drive, I moved to the exact same spot in the front of the crowd under the TV. It seemed to work!
        There was a good Eagles turnout. I would say 10% of the crowd was wearing Eagles jerseys. Occasionally you’d see a group in which each team was represented. Once or twice I saw someone with one team’s jacket over the other team’s jersey or tshirt.

        • PhillyBirds

          Was just going to mention being at the game as well and how the rain didn’t start until late. It was a very strange crowd I thought…not much excitement in the building. I will begrudgingly admit to knowing the place can get very loud (was the for there debacle in 2004), but it just seemed like a very calm atmosphere. I guess the game didn’t provide much excitement.

          Tommy, any clue what is up with B Graham not getting more snaps? I know his snap count has been going up, but I really think he needs to be seeing the field more. I have nothing against Tapp, but why does he seem to be consistently getting more snaps without really providing much. He’s like a Juqua Parker to me, just serviceable but the coaches seem to love the guy.

          There isn’t any attitude problems or grumblings of such about Graham is there? Was sitting a few rows behind his Dad at the game and he seemed to be getting a laugh every time we kept cheering hoping he’d get more PT.

  • Ark87

    Hey Tommy, I got reported for abuse and thrown off the boards for a while there, but I’m back I think. About the game:I won’t act devastated because i kinda felt the outcome coming, but I’m a little disappointed in the way it went down. The Steelers didn’t look good, honestly it didn’t seem like anyone was wild about the idea of winning that game until the 4th quarter. It kind of reminded me of 2 gentlemen trying to one up eachother in terms of favors until it escalates to fisticuffs. By all means philly, take the first possession. Mike Vick: “no no no I insist that you get the first points, it’s just not proper!”. Then the Pittsburgh receivers dropping passes and straight up falling down with the end-zone in sight. Then the Steelers got generous not just with penalty yardage, but they apparently felt like giving the comish’ a very nice October bonus with all of that helmet to helmet going on. That was maybe what, 30-50 grand in fines? Even the stadium was far from sold out.

    All in all, the game just wasn’t at all what I expected. But hey, you know where I stand. We will improve, the question is how much and how soon. The team’s season is very much still alive. If we can pull out a win vs’ Detroit I think we will be good for the season.

    Back on topic- I also feel like the DL’s reputation is causing the drop in production (teams game plans are focusing on our DL). I do have a football question Tommy. I’m not that good with the x’s and o’s. How do we combat the fast pass to give the DL a little more time. Jam at the line to disrupt the timing? I’ve hardly missed Asante this year. But man he could make a QB pay for forcing that ball out a little too early.

    • TommyLawlor

      Wait…you think you were thrown off here? I have not done that to anyone. I let everyone speak their mind. Disqus flags some comments and I then have to approve/disapprove them, but I’ve not done anything to ban anyone. I want everyone to feel welcome to speak their mind. As long as nothing crosses the line of common decency, all is good here.

      Maybe you said something anti-Funyuns. That would be cause for banishment.

      • Ark87

        I once commented on sugar-free pudding being a godless creation worthy of contempt, but I won’t back down from that now. It’s weird, a few topics back, all sorts of people got flagged, wreaking havoc on your comment count. You could reveal original comments, but replies to other people comments were removed entirely. I thought maybe a fellow user reported myself and others somehow (maybe some Steeler trolls!).

        • TommyLawlor

          Disqus does crazy things at times. I have to go in and check to see if anything has been flagged. Sometimes forget to do that. My apologies.

          • Ark87

            No worries Tommy, was never upset or suspected you were responsible. The comment that got censored actually had a response from you before it got closed up, so I didn’t think you would be like “good point, BAN!” Found out right after the loss, ended up having to share my sorrow with a bottle of…well Mrs. Butterworth and a short stack of pancakes (she really gets me I think??)

          • ICDogg

            I saw a few flags the other day. None of them made any sense. And I also saw a couple of flags on the Phillymag site, which also uses Disqus, that didn’t make any sense either. They were all ordinary comments that it’s hard to believe anyone would take offense to, unless they were like Gyp Rosetti in Boardwalk Empire.

          • TommyLawlor

            Bone
            for
            tuna

          • TheRogerPodacter

            ICDogg is right. i think it was just Disqus being weird. there were a number of very ordinary comments that were flagged.

            i wonder if a user can be flagged from another site and that also flags all of their posts for other sites? i doubt that, though.

          • TommyLawlor

            Any time you guys see something, let me know:

            igglesblitz-at-gmail-dotcom (use normal version of that)

  • Kevin_aka_RC

    About the defense…I just have trouble criticizing a defense for not getting sacks when their last two games they gave up less than 20 points to very good to elite offenses. It wasn’t Mark Sanchez or Josh Freeman that light us up,

  • drichwine

    Here’s my theory behind what happened on Sunday: We got beat by a good (not great) team coming off a bye playing at home in conditions which favor a power running team a bit more than a spread team. I wish we had won because we might need that win later. I wish we had won because it would have shown me something about what kind of team we are. I wish we had won and if Babin had gotten a foot more on Ben, we would have won.
    I can live with the overall play of the team and look forward to a good test against Detroit. A good test in that if we don’t win and win convincingly it will be a real fail.

    • eagles2zc

      Hoping for a big win. Close games are exciting and all, but after four such games, I’m ready for a relaxing and comfortable win

    • Ark87

      It was a close game, but the Steelers didn’t bring their A game. Winnable games at Pittsburgh are rare to come by. We can’t afford to let too many of those slip through our fingers. If the offense shows up at the game 1:00 instead of 2:30, we win all of these games comfortably. I don’t know if we can’t gameplan other teams or what. There is no tape to study because the defenses that play us are a completely different look to deal with Mike Vick. It’s almost like it take us a full first half to see figure out their gameplan, then adjust to finally score some points in the second half.

      Andy “sees something” that he can take advantage of on tape and game plans to take advantage. Except that safety that plays a little too soft isn’t playing the coverage you were looking to exploit. He’s doing a crazy blitz. At this point you can’t say, “this is what this defense does”, you need to say “This is what defenses do against us”. Beat that, and we have a chance to be great.

      • drichwine

        I find it interesting that the Steelers, who had a week to prepare and had some guys coming back and pretty much facing a must win, looked like they didn’t bring their A game. I strongly suspect the Eagles D had something to do with that, similar to how Eli played fantastically against us and still looked bad.

        • Ark87

          I guess i mean there were a lot of bad Pit plays that were attributed to the weather. Dropped passed that looked like sure TD’s, receivers falling down with clear paths to the endzone, that sort of thing. Maybe i need to give some credit to our guys for handling the adverse weather better than their guys. But also some dumb penalties on our last drive that cost them 7 (and some pretty pennies too).

          So it’s not that they looked bad. But they missed a lot of opportunities, and we weren’t able to capitalize. But no doubt, our D is doing some good stuff. Eli played at his elite level and still only pulled out 17 points. Big Ben himself looked pretty good and came away with very few points. Our offense just needs to get it done (especially in the first half).

  • eagles2zc

    Not too worried about the Dline. Ben’s just a poise QB with a good game plan. The issue lied with LBs reacting slowly to some plays I thought. Kendricks will bounce back. High expectations for him

  • ceteris_paribus1776

    I noticed how much stronger Graham seems that Babin. Both 77 and Miller were easily able to “absorb” Babin’s bull-rush. They could take 2 steps back and engage him and he didn’t get any additional push. Graham on the other hand consistently pushed both men into the backfield. Graham’s problem seemed to me to be that he didn’t use his hands particularly well. Once he drives back he can’t disengage. As soon as he tries to turn and run he gets pancaked and taken down.

    I hope they continue increasing Graham’s snap count at Babin’s expense.

  • drichwine

    After watching the video you linked, I have the following thoughts:
    The Eagles force other teams to play a certain kind of game, namely short throws, screens, and draws. This kind of thing leads to a lot of 3rd downs since the Eagles D is basically taking away the big play. A lot of 3rd downs leads to either a lot of 3 and outs or a lot of very time consuming drives. It certainly leads to making the offense against which our D is fighting look bad and sloppy, but it’s the only way they can really play us.
    The trick to me is this defense seems to be disigned to play with an offense which scores a lot of points. If the Steelers were facing a quick deficit, they wouldn’t have been able to be as conservative with their playcalling, since that would have shortened the game and increased the probilility of the Eagles winning. The lead means the opposing offense has the throw and throw deep, meaning our DL can fire off without worrying about screens and draws so much, and knowing the deep routes will take longer to develop.
    If our offense can just get going and score some freaking points, I think you will see a pretty dominating performance by this DL and the defense in general.

    • http://twitter.com/benjabad Ben Hert

      I could not agree more with you. Great point.

    • RC5000

      The DL hasn’t been perfect but I would post the exact same thing in different words. I can’t really get too hung on the DL until our offense starts getting it done in the first half.
      We have not had over a 7 point lead the entire season. We aren’t scoring until late in the 2nd Q. Our long drives are ending in TOs especially in the first half.
      Teams are gameplanning against our pass rush. Field position has been horrible (though that’s not all on STs and offense), I don’t think people realize how few drives we’ve had starting outside our own 30 (like about 10 all year) and how many we’ve started inside our own 20 (over 50 percent).
      Giants chipped the ends and Eli got rid of the ball although I will say in the 4th quarter, we needed to get a little more of a pass rush to help prevent those longer plays. Steelers threw even more short passes.
      Juan is playing almost all straight up , conservative defense up front. They aren’t mixing things up with the pass rush.

  • Mac

    Tommy…RE: your podcast comment about how much playing time each D-line member is getting… Do you think that self-scouting and dialing up the right mix of players is part of the reason for Reid led football teams improving after the bye week (for the second part of the season)?

  • Mac

    Also the LB revolving door to fix special teams continues… welcome Jason Williams to the Philadelphia Eagles.

  • Mac

    Blah, sorry for all the short posts today… Anyone else psyched that we are converting 3rd/4th and short this year?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000462635892 Thorin McGee

    I actually wasn’t worried about the fumble in Arizona because that kind of hit causes fumbles all the time.

    I was more worried about the fumbles in Pittsburgh because 1. the first, overturned fumble just came from Vick landing on the ball, which is an absolutely terrible sign (ou should not fumble when you just fall on the ball, that should never happen). 2. The red zone fumble came from regular contact, not really hat-on-the ball. And 3. In both of those slow-motion replays, i don’t think Vick did have the ball secured.

    I’ve seen many people post that he had two hands on the ball, but that’s not a secured football. Coaches teach specifically how you’re supposed to hold it to get four (or more!) points of contact and make sure no one can knock it out. I saw Vick with two arms on the ball, but it didn’t look like a good, secured hold to me, it just looked like two arms squeezing the ball to his chest, which IS easy to knock out because any pressure makes it squirt out.

    the hit in Arizona was a justified, can’t-help-it fumble hit. IMO, none of the fumbles in Pittsburgh were on fumble-causing hits, they were all just bad ball handling technique.

  • http://twitter.com/corry_k Corry Henry

    I’m not totally worried about the defensive line. When you lead the league in sacks the previous year, opposing offenses are going to take notice and take steps to stop that from happening. They do still need to get home a bit more, but I’m not at the “concern” stage (yet).

    I would like to see them get their hands up though. If know you’re not going to get there and you know they’re going to get the ball out fast, show some awareness and get your hands up. Maybe they should all watch video of JJ Watt. Dude is a beast.

  • JFang

    Tommy
    I’ve been trying to understanding the X’s and O’S of football more and I’m wondering if purchasing All-22 would help me.

  • RC5000

    Steelers also took advantage of their time off and had a good game plan against our DL. I am sure they looked at what Eli and the Giants were doing to stop our pass rush.

  • Avi

    Perhaps this has already come up, but if you want to judge a D line by the number of sacks it records (a flawed metric, but people use it) you have to account for game situation.

    When a team has multi-score lead or a late lead, sack opportunities increase. Opponents become more predictable. Quarterbacks are forced to hold the ball longer as a means of making big plays. Etc.

    The Eagles haven’t had a single multi-score lead this year (at least not to my recollection) and haven’t led by more than six points in any fourth quarter. And so teams are able to chip and run draws and get the ball out hot and do any number of things to keep the pass rush in check.

    If the Eagles can build a large lead in one of these upcoming games, I expect sack totals to increase and for this non-story about the D-line’s ineffectiveness to dissipate.

    • Mac

      +1