More Chances for Barwin

Posted: July 7th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 19 Comments »

Tim McManus wrote a good piece on Connor Barwin and the fact the Eagles might have him rush the QB more in 2014.

Cole dropped 22 percent of the time, which is right near the average for 3-4 linebackers that played a significant number of the snaps last season. Graham was at 21 percent. Barwin, meanwhile, dropped into coverage 42 percent, according to Pro Football Focus — one of the highest rates in the league.

That made the Eagles somewhat predictable.

Ideally, Bill Davis and Chip Kelly would like to have a situation where the offense doesn’t know which OLB is going to rush and which one is going to drop into coverage. In a true fantasy world, you would have both ILBs and OLBs so good at rushing and covering that you could really mix and match them and be extremely creative, while also balanced.

For now, the Eagles would just like to be more balanced. The goal is to keep QBs from making easy pre-snap reads. The 3-4 defense is based on moving parts doing different things. You don’t want defined roles for the players play after play.

Now that Cole and Graham have a year at outside linebacker under their belt, will Barwin be freed up to attack the passer more this season?

“Absolutely,” said OLB coach Bill McGovern. “I think that’s where you hope to see the whole thing start to come a little bit more together…I could put Connor over at Predator, I think I could put BG and Trent over at Jack and they would know what to do. We gave them names, but really it’s a left outside linebacker and a right outside linebacker. That’s what they really are and they can switch it up. Now, when they can start doing the same things all the time and you can bring either one, I think that’s where the whole defense comes together.”

While the Eagles would like to mix things up, they don’t want to do too much of that. Barwin covers the best of the OLBs. Cole is the best pass rusher. Confusing the offense is important, but not at the risk of having players do things they aren’t very good at. Barwin lacks the explosive first step to be a top pass rusher. Cole lacks the instincts to be at his best playing in space.

* * * * *

H2H update.

Jimmy and I want to do new shows. Scheduling them is tricky because of changes in both our routines. I started a new job back in February and that has really affected me.

The new schedule also has me behind on answering emails. I’m working through them to try and catch up with you guys. My apologies for being so far behind with so many people.

I promise to catch up and I promise that Jimmy and I will do some new shows.

_


  • ICDogg

    So does that mean our ILB’s rush the QB more than other 3-4 teams? Or are we just that conservative about rushing the passer?

    • TommyLawlor

      Good question. I need to look into that.

      • Sconces

        Hope this helps: http://i.imgur.com/4ygzUkr.png

        Looks like the answer is yes. I tend to see our ILBs rushing in on timed blitzes a lot. Personally I don’t like it, the offense sees who’s coming in easier and our blitzes usually run into a wall.

        Great for playing the run though.

        • SteveH

          Could be we feel compelled to rush our ILBs more often because we know we lack a stud edge rusher. I’m guessing if we had Aldon Smith or Von Miller manning the edge those numbers would go down.

          • GEAGLE

            I actually don’t think we blitzed our ILBs as much as we would like..remember Chip making some comments about wanting to use Kendricks as a Blitzer more, but he was one of our best LB in coverage.. ..we did do a nice amount of blitzing with our ILBs(Meco had a career year in sacks), Kendricks had the green light for green dog blitzes….either the second half of this season, or by the beginning of 2015 season, Marcus smith will be ready! and adding his ability to cover, will allow Barwin and Kendricks to attack the passer more because Marcus provides an alternative in coverage. Eventually the goal is to have 4 LBs who we are comfortable dropping into coverage or sending after the QB… That’s when it will be hard for QBs and OL to know what we are doing presnap
            ..
            Last year, Barwn and MK were much better in coverage than any of our other options, so they were handcuffed at times not being able to rush the passer…

            Eventually we will start 4 LBs, who can all drop back in coverage, and that’s when we will maximize our disguise and constantly send a different LB after the QB

          • Ark87

            We definitely had trouble getting home without a blitz. I think you’re right about that.

          • GEAGLE

            I’m expecting to see nice improvements in our pass rush this year. While we didn’t add any NFL ready Von Miller type of force, but we haven’t seen the best it gets from our players. We have a lot of players who should be bet

            Cox and Curry IMO will be a 3rd down menace this year. Both Should show improvements. Cox had almost 30 QB hurries last year. Cox improving means that a few of the hurries will turn into sacks this year, and a rw of those hurries will chase QBs into another eagles defender who notches the sack. People like to talk down on Cox sack total, but sometimes pressuring QB without getting the sack is more valuable. For example, Cox didn’t get the sack on Eli but he pressured Eli into throwing a boneheaded INT to Boykin…. We should go back and watch all our INTs from last year, I’d bet Cox or curry were pressuring QBs on most of the INTs we came away with…
            ..

          • Ark87

            I really like Cox and Curry, but I’d like them better if they were used properly. Let them attack a gap once in a while. Curry especially isn’t going to be running through anyone, his specialty is being halfway past you before you even get out of your stance, kills me to watch him have to lean on a guy then read then decide which gap he wants to fill/attack. Such a waste.

            But generally I agree, I think we will get better pressure from non-blitzes. I think it really bothered Billy last year that we blitzed so much. Maybe not THAT we blitzed so much, but why. And really it was because we had no alternative. It was the only way we were getting pressure.

  • http://www.jamesrengland.com/ JEinOKC

    Have you considered recording a podcast by yourself, then sending it to Jimmy where he can just insert stories about his dog’s bowel movements every 10-15 minutes?

  • Media Mike

    Barwin is going to continue to be such a key to the improved play of this D. That signing keeps paying dividends.

  • eagleyankfan

    I think the stats above(and below) are a product of talent. Barwin has been a blessing so far. However, it doesn’t seem like the Eagles don’t have ideal talent at the position. They maybe be great at 1 thing(like pass rush) but lacks talent in other areas. This is like having your fastest guy steal bases and your slowest guy only steal during a passed ball. I do think the D will be better this year but I don’t think they are the finished product of Chip’s vision.

  • mtn_green

    If marcus smith could progress enough to get serious playing time that would be exciting and pay serious dividends.

    • Insomniac

      The sooner Marcus starts the better the defense gets even if he’ll get his fair share of humble pie. I love Cole but he’s not young or natural enough to be a true 3-4 OLB.

      • Sean Stott

        Eh, Trent Cole was looking like a stud in the second half of 2013, and was absolutely in the top 10 3-4 OLB Rankings. The best case scenario for Marcus is that he is a good rotational OLB player. He is not going to be nearly as good as either Connor or Trent in year one, not by a long shot.

        • Insomniac

          Cole feasted on two weak OLs (Bears/Cardinals) during the second half of the season. Smith has the 3-4 OLB fundamentals down already. He just needs to be seasoned and deal with the lumps like Kendricks has been doing.

          • mtn_green

            My point was that IF Marcus could beat out trent or Connor, for some playtime that would be a symbol of good things to come. Fortunately I see Connor and trent doing well next year.

            We will get to see a ton of Marcus in preseason, and he will probably feast on weak 3rd string OL patched together with vanilla plays. Fans will be screaming for him to start, but he won’t. Hopefully he is good enough this year to get some playtime.

          • jpate

            Bears line is one of the better lines in the league now a days. Trestman really solidified it.

    • GEAGLE

      Don’t know how ready he will be to contribute or what his role will be on opening day but after the week 7 bye week, he should be part of the rotation for the last 10 games.. And come December, I expect to start seeing some of that first round ability during crunch time of the season.

      I love the stretch of last 5 games of our season.
      1) Thanksgiving @ Dallas. Chip ain’t losing that game!
      ….
      2) 12/7 home vs. Seattle.. YOU KNOW we will be jacked up for this one, so having this game in December is a nice barometer to see where we are as a team getting ready for a playoff run.
      ..
      3) 12/14 home against Dallas.. Beat em twice in 17 days!! LOVE DECEMBER ROMO!! December Romo is eagles best friend
      ..
      4)’12/20 @ Skins

      5) 12/28 @ Giants.

      This schedule is a dream. let’s us test ourselves late in the year against a top team, let’s us ruin our rivals seasons and go into the playoffs on a winning streak. Like to see Marcus finish this year with 2-3 sacks during this 5 game stretch so he can finish his rookie year strong like Ertz did, turning it up after the bye week

  • GEAGLE

    We are a month away from our first preseason game. That feels so good to type