Monday, February 8, 2016

Front 4 not enough for Eagles' D

The Eagles did not generate enough pressure with their front four against the Texans, but did have success when they blitzed.

Front 4 not enough for Eagles' D

The Eagles defense allowed 24 points to the Texans during Thursday night´s game. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)
The Eagles defense allowed 24 points to the Texans during Thursday night's game. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)

The Eagles sacked Matt Schaub twice and hit him four times on Thursday night, but overall the Texans' quarterback had plenty of time to throw, completing 22 of 36 passes for 337 yards, two touchdowns.

The Birds were playing without Asante Samuel and Juqua Parker (5 sacks) for the second straight week.

So I wanted to take a closer look and see how often the Eagles blitzed Schaub and how successful they were when sending extra pressure.

And after crunching the numbers, I think Sean McDermott probably would have blitzed a little more if he had to do things all over again.

Schaub dropped back to pass 36 times, and the Eagles blitzed on nine of those snaps. Here's how Schaub's passing numbers broke down against the blitz and on non-blitz plays:

  Comp. Att. Yds. TDs INTs QB rating
Blitz 4 9 41 0 0 58.1
No blitz 18 27 296 2 1 112.5

The numbers show Schaub had a lot more success when the Eagles sat back and didn't send any extra defenders.

Normally, you'd assume that blitzing would leave the defense vulnerable to big plays, but that wasn't really the case here. The Texans hit on five plays of 20 yards or more in the passing game, and all five came when the Eagles did not blitz. Both touchdowns were on plays where they didn't blitz, as well.

Getting Parker back should help the Eagles get more pressure with their front four, and getting Samuel back will likely make McDermott more comfortable in sending extra defenders in the Eagles' final four games.

In case you're curious, here's the breakdown of snaps on the defensive line. The Eagles were in their base defense on about 62 percent of the snaps and in their nickel package on about 38 percent.

PLAYER Pct. of snaps
Trent Cole 76.7%
Brandon Graham 70.3%
Trevor Laws 57.8%
Darryl Tapp 53.1%
Mike Patterson 45.3%
Antonio Dixon 39.1%
Brodrick Bunkley 26.7%
Daniel Te'o-Nesheim 20.3%
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Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at or by clicking here

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