Eagles Need To Pressure Brady

Without pressure, Tom Brady will have all day to pick a defense apart. That's one more reason why Eagles defenders like Cullen Jenkins (Pictured) talk about bringing the heat on Sunday.

Eagles hope for pass rush to excel against Patriots

   If the Eagles hope to slow down Tom Brady and the Patriots' passing game Sunday, they know they've got to get consistent pressure on the Hall of Fame-bound quarterback. The same kind of pressure they got on the Giants' Eli Manning last week in their 17-10 victory.

   The Eagles blitzed just once in 55 snaps against the Giants, relying on their front four for pressure. Defensive line coach Jim Washburn's unit didn't disappoint. They sacked Manning three times and hurried him a dozen other times. He completed just 18 of 35 passes with one touchdown.

   They clinched the game with 1:25 left and the Giants driving when defensive end Jason Babin sacked Manning from behind and forced a fumble that was recovered by Derek Landri.

   The Eagles, who blitzed early and often under Jim Johnson and Sean McDermott, now mostly rely on their front four and Washburn's "wide-nine" under new defensive coordinator Juan Castillo. With 29 sacks, the Eagles are second in the league in sacks per pass play.

   Brady has been sacked 15 times in the last six games and has completed just 60 percent of his passes in the last three games.

   "We've got to keep pressuring him and not let him get comfortable," said Eagles defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins, who has 5.5 sacks and 15 hurries, including three last week against the Giants.

   "He's a heck of a quarterback, and if you give him enough time, he'll find somebody open. He has a lot of weapons to go to, and we have to try and make him feel as uncomfortable as we can."

   The Patriots don't really have a vertical game. Brady's three top receivers are slot man Wes Welker, who leads the league in receptions and receiving yards, and tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. The Eagles are hoping they can slow Brady's targets at the line of scrimmage with press coverage and give the front four time to get in his face.

   "With most quarterbacks, if you hit them every play, you're going to affect them a little bit," middle linebacker Jamar Chaney said. "You're not going to let them sit back there and throw the ball. If you let Brady do that, he'll go out there and throw for 500-600 yards."

   The Eagles' defensive line has accounted for 27 of the team's 29 sacks, including 10 by Babin. While Babin and the ends have gotten a lot of the "wide-nine" attention, Jenkins and the team's other three defensive tackles - Mike Patterson, Derek Landry and Trevor Laws, have combined for nine sacks and 50 hurries.

   That inside pressure will be critical against Brady. While he's not the fastest quarterback in the league, he's very adept at sidestepping edge pressure. What disrupts him the most is pressure up the middle.

   "That's what we need to do to him Sunday," Jenkins said. "Get in his face and make him hurry his throws. If we can do that, we can win."

   The Eagles need a win badly. With a 4-6 record, they pretty much need to win out to have any shot at a playoff berth.

   "We're just thinking about Sunday and the Patriots," coach Andy Reid said. "It doesn't do any good to think beyond that. One game at a time."

   SERIES HISTORY: 11th regular-season meeting. Eagles lead series, 6-4. The Patriots have won the last three overall meetings with the Eagles, including a 24-21 victory in Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville in February of 2005.

McCoy running well out of two-tight end sets

   --When LeSean McCoy buys season-ending gifts for his blockers, he's going to have to include tight ends Brent Celek and Clay Harbor on that gift list. Through 10 games, 51.7 percent of McCoy's rushing yards (527 of 1,019) and eight of his 10 touchdown runs have come out of two-tight end sets. He's averaging 6.0 yards per carry out of two-tight end formations - 6.3 out of one-back, two tight-end sets. One hundred five of McCoy's 113 rushing yards against the Giants last week, including his game-clinching 60-yarder with a minute left, came out of a two-tight end set. Celek had one of the two key blocks (right tackle Todd Herremans had the other) that opened the running lane for McCoy on his long run. McCoy has rushed for 348 yards in the last four games. Two hundred seventy-four of that, and three of his four rushing touchdowns, came out of two-tight end sets.

   --Defensive end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, the Eagles' third-round pick in the 2010 draft, was signed off the team's practice squad Wednesday by the Tampa Bay Bucs. Te'o-Nesheim played in five games as a rookie, then was cut in the preseason this summer and signed to the practice squad. Asked about squandering such a high pick on a player who now is playing for another team, coach Andy Reid said, "Tampa got a good football player. The sky's the limit for him. I think it would have all worked out (with the Eagles) and he would have been in the mix (next season)."

   --The Eagles have held opponents to 81.6 rushing yards per game and 3.9 yards per carry over the last five games. That's a night-and-day improvement over the first five games when they were gashed for 140.2 yards per game and 5.0 yards per carry. Opponents are averaging just 4.2 yards per carry in the first and second quarters in the last five games, compared to 5.8 in the first five.

   BY THE NUMBERS: 45 - The number of runs of eight yards or more by LeSean McCoy this season out of 188 rushing attempts.

   QUOTE TO NOTE: "I didn't hope. I'm just taking it day by day. You can't guess on these things. You just have to go with what's there as far as symptoms and see what he can do and give him a little bit each day." - Coach Andy Reid on whether injured QB Michael Vick isn't as far along as he had hoped

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