LBs By the Numbers

Posted: November 12th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 48 Comments »

Kind of a crazy day for me so just a quick post for now.

The 3-4 can only succeed with good LB play. The Eagles got some of that last year, but not enough.

The LBs are stepping up in a big way this year. Let’s take a look at the numbers.


Sacks – 25

TFLs – 21

INTs – 6

PDs – 28

FFs – 7

FRs – 7


Sacks – 23

TFLs – 19

INTs – 1

PDs – 10

FFs – 10

FRs – 2

And remember…those 2013 numbers are based on a full season. The 2014 numbers are based on the 9 games the Eagles have played so far. Crazy.

The one area where numbers are way down is INTs. DeMeco Ryans has one and that’s it for the LBs corps. Prior to a couple of weeks ago, the only Eagle with an INT was Malcolm Jenkins. The back seven is getting hotter so some additional picks will come.

Connor Barwin, Trent Cole and Brandon Graham have all improved this year. That is a sign that the trio has talent, but also is well coached. They are learning the little things that it takes to succeed at a given position.

One key thing to remember is that Mychal Kendricks missed several games due to injury. He is a major playmaker. You can bet the LB numbers would be even better if he had played every game this year.

It really is amazing how far this group has come in such a short time. I was ready to jettison Brandon Graham back in August. The Eagles kept him and he’s playing the best football of his career. Barwin is having a career year. Trent Cole was a Wide-9 DE just a couple of years ago. Now he is a complete OLB. Mychal Kendricks has found a home at ILB and is playing the best football of his career. Heck, Casey Matthews is coming off the best game of his career.

I’m excited to see how this group plays over the rest of the year. Dealing with the Packers on Sunday will be a great test to see just how far the LBs have come.


48 Comments on “LBs By the Numbers”

  1. 1 mtn_green said at 11:45 PM on November 12th, 2014:

    Tommy you forgot something….

  2. 2 EagleNebula said at 11:49 PM on November 12th, 2014:

    The Ints are way down, but so are the PDs, are they not getting targeted as much?

    On the other hand the FF are way up -> nearly the same number of overall turnovers already.

  3. 3 anon said at 1:01 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    think it’s just a function of us getting way more pressure on the qb. those pds are turning into sacks. think last year lots of tipped balls turned into picks, now since we’re getting to qb we see more strip sacks / forced fumbles.

  4. 4 sprawl said at 1:20 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    I’m also curious about the reasons for that drop off. I see a few possibilities but it’s too late to try and figure it out.

    1. Less overall snaps for our defense? We’ve actually managed to get off the field on 3rd down this year.

    2. Offenses are attacking Fletcher/Williams whether it’s because they see them as weaknesses, are just taking more shots deep down the field or have been backed up into 2nd/3rd and 20 type situations.

    3. The most realistic reason I can think of—we’ve had so much success with the nickel and some packages due to having a safety that can actually cover (Jenkins!!) and adding Nolan Carroll for the dime that the number of pass coverage snaps for our LB corps has been significantly reduced.

  5. 5 CrackSammich said at 9:54 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    We’ve been in nickle/dime a lot more. That’s bound to take some passing targets away from the LBs.

  6. 6 Mitchell said at 11:56 PM on November 12th, 2014:

    I’d like to see more Casey Matthews…………… Dear god, what has happened to me?!?!?!?

  7. 7 sprawl said at 12:19 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    Big day for the Matthews family Sunday as Casey tries to play his way into an appearance in one of his brother’s commercials as an actual NFL player!

    Thinking back to last year for a second, that one-handed version of Clay Matthews was pretty awful. Looks like he’s at 3.5 sacks, 1 INT this season so hopefully not too much for our guys to pick up

  8. 8 mtn_green said at 12:57 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    J Matthews will chew him up.

  9. 9 sutherneagle said at 10:06 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    and a FF vs Carolina

  10. 10 Mac said at 1:03 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    Let’s see; Chip likes a defense that generates turnovers and limits big plays. So seems we may have a bit of work to do on the big play limiting end, but I’d say turnovers are working. How many times can our D put Rogers on the ground this Sunday?

  11. 11 Ark87 said at 8:17 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    I expect Rodgers won’t kill us as bad as we fear he might, but their run game could hurt. Much like the game plan vs the saints in the playoffs and the Colts earlier this year. Billy D knows how to respect elite QB’s and keep them in check. But to this point it has come with a trade-off.

  12. 12 Avery Greene said at 8:42 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    We’re better in the middle this year, and better in the front 7. I don’t think it’ll make that much of a difference.

  13. 13 Ark87 said at 8:55 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    The front 7 is much improved, but you can always tell when our game plan is hyper focused on the QB because we won’t shut down the run as we usually do. Even on Monday the gameplan was Cam because that’s all the Panthers had. Absolutely destroyed him but their run game was productive at times. Problem was we were happy to let them chew up clock by running. But you can go back to the Colt’s game, same thing. Andrew Luck did not have a great night, but their run game was great. It was very reminiscent of the playoffs. Our defense rises to the occasion of containing elite passers, but even this year it happens at the expense of our run D

  14. 14 BlindChow said at 10:43 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    We limited the Panthers’ run game to 3.2 yards/carry. A number of their large runs came during garbage time, when the Eagles were set up to limit big plays.

  15. 15 Ark87 said at 11:06 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    They didn’t really have any long runs except the muppet run, just a bunch of 3-6 yard runs to set up easy 3rd downs for Cam to blow. Either way I stand by my point, we have an excellent run D that can be burned by explosive passes, but against elite QB’s (since we sort of found our identity half way through last season) we always do better against the elite QB’s than people predict. But it is usually at the expense of our stellar run D.

  16. 16 mtn_green said at 9:55 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    Nope. No NO repeat. Our base defense destroys olines now.

  17. 17 Michael Roman said at 8:35 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    I heard a stat last night that Rodgers hasn’t thrown a pick at Lambeau since 2012. Of course, he missed a significant amount of time last year but that’s still pretty impressive. We’ll have our work cut out.

  18. 18 Michael Winter Cho said at 9:19 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    Yeah, right now, we’re a “break but don’t bend” defense.

  19. 19 Michael Roman said at 8:31 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    Was it back in 2010 or 2011 that Sean McDermott drew up that unique game plan to slow down Peyton Manning, where we sacked him a few times and got a couple of picks? I’m feeling like we need one of those types of games to defeat Green Bay on Sunday. I really feel like our front 7 is the key to this game. If we can pressure and confuse Rodgers, we have a shot. If not, I don’t know if we can score consistently enough to keep pace.

  20. 20 A_T_G said at 8:42 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    Eh, save that plan for the playoffs. Let’s just try to beat them straight up this week. It will be a good measuring stick, and think of what it will do for player confidence if we beat them by just doing things better than them.

  21. 21 Avery Greene said at 8:46 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    Execution is the name of the game. You are right on!

  22. 22 GEAGLE said at 8:51 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    We are pretty much forced to play them straight up. too well rounded of an offense with a QB THATS perfectly happy taking whatever the defense gives him…
    Coverage needs to be a notch tighter than what usually gets the job done because we are facing a surgeon with ridiculous ability to place balls wherever he wants.

    Schematic Disguise is CRUCIAL this week. If Rogers knows what our defense is doing, he will shred us. Defense has to disguise their intentions well, hold that disguise and not let Rogers force us to tip our hand pre snap… You won’t confuse Rogers too much, but our disguise and our Multi Front Defense should pose some pre snap protection problems for the Packers rookie Center… Disguise, and throwing bunch of different defensive fronts a, twists, stunts, and blitzes at this rookie center is very important this week, after that, guys really need to step up and win the majority of the individual matchups this week

    We have to rough up Rogers on sunday

  23. 23 BlindChow said at 10:40 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    …and think of what it will do for player confidence if we get trounced. We couldn’t even contain Carson Palmer…

  24. 24 GEAGLE said at 8:42 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    It feels like Vinny and B Dot Grizzle are forcing a fumble every game between the two of them. Not only have they gotten really good at zoning in on a QBs throwing arm, so they are starting to sack/fumble instead of just a sack, but BG has also gotten pretty damn good at punching the ball out of the grip of running backs… Hopefully the second half it will continue, and we can start recovering more of those forced fumbles..
    It’s one thing to see our Coverted OLBs pressuring QBs and playing the run really well, but now we are starting to see quality coverage from our former 4-3DEs to the point where we started to se Graham making plays in coverage against Kelvin Benjamin… Coach McGovern has done a fantastic job with our OLBs… Between what McGovern has done with our OLBs and what Minter has done with Ilbs like Casey and Acho,..I see Philly taking the LINEBACKERVILLE Pennsylvania title from the Steelers these next few years
    Man, I’m getting antsy for this showdown with tne Pack

  25. 25 Avery Greene said at 8:46 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    Me too. This team gets no respect. It’s a gimmicky offense, their run defense stinks, their pass defense stinks, Mccoy has lost a step, etc.

    I’m headed to my buddy’s house for this game and it’s going to be a nice win. Po’Boys and watching this team make a national statement.

  26. 26 GEAGLE said at 9:36 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    We damn sure don’t get any respect and while it’s annoying, I know that flying under the radar is a good thing for us…going to be tough to not give us our due if we go into Lambeau and rough Up Rogers and the Pack….

    If we can win this game, next weeks Titans game because another important test. If we go into Lambeau and get a big win, next weeks date with Titans becomes the definition of a “trap game”…last year we lost our trap game to the VIkings.. Curious to see if we have grown to where we can have big success, but still keep the blinders on and sticks our 1 game at a time approach. We have learned how to win this year no matter the adversity…but another important growth aspect is being able to get a big win, and still be able to come back next week, not overlook the Titans, and put a quality week of work in, and kick the Titans ass like we are supposed to on paper.

    This is a big test for us, but it’s also a big opportunity for us.

    They have the better QB, one can even make an argument that GB has a better offense, but no way in hell that they have the better TEAM!… no way anyone can convince me that the Packers have a better team than us..if Aaron Rogers Gets hurt, they are done….if Rogers and the offense has a bad game, they are done…..we have a legit TEAM. We are an offensive team, capable of offensive explosions. But if our offense has a bad day, we have seen our special teams and defense step up, pick up the slack for the offense and find a way to win the game.

    I’ll gladly take the better TEAM over the better Offense any day. And Im happy not being so reliant on one player the way the Packers are,..Rogers is going to catch a beating sunday. They better how he can make it out of this game healthy, because our front 7 AINT screwing around

  27. 27 Mitchell said at 10:41 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    Graham kinda looks like a big grizzly bear out there. He’s just so big and burly and mails the he’ll out of people. He is probably my biggest surprise thus year.

  28. 28 Jernst said at 8:52 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    Assuming MS2 stays inside, does anyone think we won’t bring Trent Cole back even despite his salary. Ideally I’d like to see us keep Cole even w a $10mil cap hit, but ultimately try to get him to take a pay cut, and try to resign Graham who can continue to take over for Cole over the next year and a half. But, I’d hate to have either, Graham as our only ROLB or have neither and be forced to fill the spot in FA.

    With the presumptive cuts of Cary Williams, James Casey, Todd Herremans and at the least a significant decrease in salary for DeMeco, that frees up over $20mil in cap space right there. I don’t see the need to outright cut Trent Cole, who is playing great and has at least another year left in him.

  29. 29 GEAGLE said at 8:54 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    I don’t believe Marcus is staying inside…

  30. 30 anon said at 10:26 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    I think they groom Smith II to be Kendricks. To me makes more sense than putting him outside where he’s in a 4 man rotation with people that are way better than him.

  31. 31 GEAGLE said at 10:58 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    I couldn’t disagree more, actually I think people are friggin nuts when it comes to Marcus. He has all the tools to grow into a quality OLB which is much more valuable than ILB, and because he plays 20 snaps this year at ILB fans are being prisoners of the moment and getting carried away with this ILB talk. No disrespect intended to anyone, but I think this ILB talk is friggin crazy….. After we draft Mykal Kendricks brother to play ILB fans will forget all about this OLB nonsense.

    What’s really crazy is that it’s like Marcus is setting the league on Fire as an ILB. He hasnt made a single play that anyone can point to and say wow that’s how you play ILB, but because he hasnt played OLB in a month, fans are getting carried away with this ILB talk, and I believe it will prove to be complete BS

    This kid has all the potential in the world to grow into a 3-4 OLB that this city adores. Much better suited to play OLB… He is raw enough as an OLB, only playing the position for a few years, no idea why the hell ANYONE would rather see him stay at a position he has about a month of experiwnce playing, especially when the position we drafted him to play, which he is better suited to play, is so much more improtant than ILB
    The problem is fans are just friggin NUTS. marcus has been a bust since Mel Kiper disagreed about his first round value. Fans see a kid struggle to get on the field at the position he was drafted to play, so they view it as a problem and are looking for solutions to salvage the kid since we spent a first round pick on him…but there is nothîng to salvage… Our coaches aren’t stupid, we saw our coaches spend a valuable first round pick on a raw player, that I guarantee our coaches didn’t expect much instant gratification out of…our coaches drafted Marcus to be a stud OLB 3,4 years from now…fans are looking at him as a bust because he isn’t providing instant gratification, but I’m sure the coaches expected this..

    What’s really funny, is that for all any of his doubters know, he may have started to look good already as an OLB in practice. Barwin took him under his wing, he may have improved drastically at OLB already, but because we have 3 studs ahead of him, and have had so many injuries to our inside linebackers, fans are being prisoners of the moment and getting carried away with this ILB nonsense..
    There is personally, not a doubt in my mind that he is playing OLB for us next year

  32. 32 bill said at 11:43 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    The Packers have a similar defensive foundation, and they’ve moved Clay Matthews inside and he’s getting rave reviews there. Davis has been a lot of scheming (successfully!) in generating inside pressure in his scheme this year too. Not saying that Smith is C. Matthews, or even really trying to compare the players at all, but you can possibly foresee a sea-change in the roles of 3-4 ILBs on the horizon. Matthews is by far the star of that defense, and he’s been moved from OLB to ILB – that means something. Given the importance of generating pressure up the middle in the modern game, it looks like 3-4 ILBs are going to take on a more important role. If Smith is a playmaker at ILB, I have no problem with it. I do generally agree that it’s silly the extent that people are obsessing over his performance this year. He was always going to be a project, like many Steelers’ LBs have been over the years. And for complete 3-4 LBs, you’re only going to get projects once you’re outside the top 15 (if not the top 10!). Given the improvements we’ve seen from the defensive players in general from year 1 to year 2 of Chip, I’m willing to give the rookie the benefit of the doubt until he gets his 2nd TC under his belt.

  33. 33 Jernst said at 7:51 PM on November 13th, 2014:

    I agree that MS2 has all the tools to play OLB. Not sure that’s where he ends up though, especially if Graham or Cole comes back next year.

    As for Eric Kendricks (who I really do love) being drafted…I give it a close to zero percent probability that Chip drafts a 5’11” 230 pound middle LB to put next to a 5’11 245 pound MLB.

  34. 34 CrackSammich said at 9:49 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    The reality of our OLB situation is that we are going to have to pay somebody good to great money next year no matter what, whether that’s our guys or someone else’s is the only question. We’ve only got 3 solid OLBs at the moment, and of those, only Barwin is a lock to stay past this year. With that context in mind, I don’t think it’s a stretch to think that Roseman doesn’t mind paying Cole 10mil to stick around. Maybe he’s overpaid, but you know what we have.

    We really, really need Smith III to not be a bust.

  35. 35 Jernst said at 11:58 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    Excellent reply!

  36. 36 unhinged said at 10:02 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    Williams is better against the run than half of the starting corners in the league, in my opinion. I know he’s due a big increase next season, but I don’t know how comfortable Chip’n’Bill will be to let him go. Casey is very good on special teams, and Herremans, when healthy will be old, but still better than his replacement. It’s not easy being green’s GM.

  37. 37 anon said at 10:22 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    i don’t think those cuts are foregone conclusions.

  38. 38 Jernst said at 11:57 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    Completely agree! At the same time we do have some marginal players making significantly more money than their production would warrant. Cary Williams will carry a cap hit of $8.2 million in 2015 (4th highest on the team), DeMeco will be $6.9 (5th highest), Todd $5.2 mil and Casey $4mil (10th and 13th respectively). I don’t think it’s unreasonable, should the Eagles decide they need additional cap room to extend Cox, Kendricks, Boykin, Thornton, Graham, Possibly Fletcher, sign a starting safety, maybe upgrade Cary, possibly replace DeMeco, sign Maclin and even potentially resign Sanchez or go w Foles and sign another backup, that those players will be the leading candidates for cap casualties vs restructuring. (Particularly Cary who I think you could definitely upgrade on for $8mil per year and Casey who makes $4 mil per year to block a half dozen times a game and play some special teams). Just an interesting thought for discussion that we’ll most likely be revisiting some time in feb and March.

  39. 39 bdbd20 said at 9:50 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    Nice post Tommy. What do you think happens with Graham? He seems to be developing into a damn good player.

  40. 40 holeplug said at 10:39 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    replaces Cole as starter next year

  41. 41 sutherneagle said at 1:21 PM on November 13th, 2014:

    he was always a good player, just not used properly

  42. 42 anon said at 10:21 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    PFT on Billy Lazor “During involved conversations with four players (and text exchanges
    with multiple others), all parties made it clear that Lazor’s
    relationship with the players is currently rocky.
    His abrasive tenor with several starters has worn thin on some, and an
    inconsistent identity on offense is internally magnifying the issue.”

  43. 43 James said at 10:53 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    Really? I was under the impression that Miami’s offense is starting to click.

  44. 44 Daniel Norman Richwine said at 10:26 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    Takes a year to learn the system, similar to Steelers. Hope yet for MS II?

  45. 45 anon said at 10:31 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    his college system is very similar to the system we run that’s part of the reason for picking him.

  46. 46 GEAGLE said at 10:43 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    Games are won and lost primarily in the trenches. And That’s how we will have to beat the Packers. let’s start off with our Nasty front 7 that fans finally are realizing is a good unit. Our DL has to kick this offensive lines ass on Sunday!
    This won’t be a cake walk for our front 7. GB has a very formidable OL. Their “Rocks” are the two veteran Guards Josh Sitton (career long Stud) and TJ Lang who isn’t the player Sitton is, but has been solid. Those two veterans are helping rookie Center Corey Linsley who is having a quality season to the point where Rogers is starting to campaign for a probowl nod for the 5th round rookie from Ohio State. This is a pretty darn solid interior Line. The Tackles Bulaga and Sophmoe David Bahktari are solid, but beatable

    RT Bryan Baluga has been getting his ass kicked by Brandon Graham since College, beating,Bulaga for 2 sacks in the Iowa vs. MSU game in 2009

    packers Guard TJ Lang, has witnessed the beast that is BRAMA Bull Barwin since the two used to play each other once a year in detroits high school catholic league.

    Holding our schematic disguise pre snap, without tipping our intentions is crucial this week. it also helps facing a rookie Center that we are a multifront defense that lines Up in so many different crazy ways.. Our playes move all around the line, we throw so many different looks at opponents, often combining all types of twists, stunts combined with Blitzes that can come from everywhere. I expect our OLBs to have a quality day against the tackles, and Cox/thornton/Logan will show just how damn good they have become against a very formidable Interior line…. I believe our front 7 can get the best of this OL, but its not going to be a complete domination like the Panthers and Giant game. going to be a tough test, and this is when Cox,Bennie and Ced really prove how damn good they are against one of the best interior lines since the loss to the Saints.

    Facing a top QB, with a quality running back, all kinds of pass catching weapons and a top 10 OL….big Test for our young Defense, but it’s also a big opportunity for national respect for some of our young players.

    This is the week our Front 7 shows that it can play with anyone. We are going on the road against a playoff caliber offensive line and we are going to kick its ass!

    With that said, I believe our Offensive line will outclass their defensive front by a bigger margin. Our DL against their OL, while I think we will win the battle, it should be a close battle, where as I don’t believe that this Packers DL is much of a threat to our OL. Datone Jones is to be respected. peppers has more left in the Tank than I thought..Thor I’m sure will rush from the outside plenty. Thor/Peppers are quality edge rushiñg tandem, but Lane and Peters should be able to handle them just fine. Both the packers and the Eagles have solid interior offensive lines, but I think our DL can cause them much more problems, than their DL does against Tobin,Kelce and Mathis

    The tough games are the ones where we don’t completely outclass our opponent in the trenches…and this is one of those games. As formidable as they are, I really really really believe that our front 7 is on its way to proving that they can be a menace against anyone, and that should be more evident then ever after we rough up an Elite QB behind a solid OL on the road sunday

  47. 47 mtn_green said at 10:48 AM on November 13th, 2014:

    I think eagles pay Cole and Graham. Maybe restructure Cole to lower overall but give guaranteed money. Pass rushers are about as hard to find as QBs (bust rate in draft high….Bosworth) and you need four of them.

    Graham has really made it through the valley of death before 2013 he was calling himself a bust. This year he looks so violent on the field. In texans game he almost flew like Dawkins.

  48. 48 terrance said at 1:06 PM on November 23rd, 2014:


    tnx for info!!