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
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
Brady has been sacked 15 times in the last six
games and has completed just 60 percent of his passes in the last three
"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
- Eagles game chatter
Eagles Need To Pressure Brady
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