Thursday, August 28, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Man Up: Dixon, Hobbs and Allen

Here's a player-by-player look at the Eagles' defensive performance Sunday against the Titans.

Man Up: Dixon, Hobbs and Allen

Titans receiver Kenny Britt had three touchdowns against the Eagles. (AP Photo/Frederick Breedon)
Titans receiver Kenny Britt had three touchdowns against the Eagles. (AP Photo/Frederick Breedon)

Here's the player-by-player look at the Eagles' defensive performance in Sunday's loss to the Titans after I re-watched the game:

Juqua Parker- He had a costly penalty in the second quarter. With the Titans facing a 3rd-and-10 at the Eagles' 45, Parker and Trent Cole lined up as blitzing linebackers behind the defensive tackles. They creeped up to the line of scrimmage, and Parker was in full attack mode. That was a good thing when he threw Chris Johnson out of his way and got hold of Kerry Collins. That was a bad thing when he slammed Collins to the ground and was called for a personal foul penalty. The throw had been incomplete, but the penalty kept the drive alive. Three plays later, Collins found Kenny Britt for a 26-yard touchdown. As for Parker's play overall, it was OK. He wasn't fooled on play-action on the game's first play from scrimmage, pressuring Collins and forcing him to throw it away. Parker got good pressure on the play where Cole ended up with a sack. And he stopped Johnson after a gain of 1 on a 3rd-and-22 run in the second. Parker also recovered the fumble forced by Quintin Mikell in the first half. He has not, however, registered a sack in his last four games after picking up four in the first three games.

Brandon Graham- His playing time continues to decrease. Graham was on the field for just 18 snaps, a season-low. Part of that is likely because he was listed on Friday's injury report for illness and an ankle issue. He rotated in at defensive end, but was pretty quiet. On the roughing the passer play I described above, Graham was lined up at right defensive tackle as Sean McDermott put six defensive linemen on the field at the same time.

Mike Patterson- The Eagles got a great group effort in limiting Johnson to 66 yards and 2.8 yards per carry. It started with the interior of the Eagles' line - Patterson and Antonio Dixon. Patterson helped stop Johnson for no gain in the first quarter, and he did a good job on a Johnson 4-yard run. Against the pass, he got good push up the middle on a second-quarter incompletion. Patterson played 75 percent of the snaps; only Trent Cole played more among the linemen.

Antonio Dixon- I am pretty confident in saying that he delivered the best game by an Eagles defensive tackle this season. When linebackers and defensive backs show up at the top of the stat sheet for tackles, it can be deceiving. Those plays can be down the field or after receptions. When defensive tackles show up at the top of the stat sheet, it's legit. Dixon had seven tackles (six solo), a sack and two tackles for loss. Against the run, he really could not have played better. Dixon was in on a group tackle of Johnson for no gain in the first. He stopped Johnson after a 3-yard carry in the third. Dixon created disruption in the middle on the play where Ernie Sims nearly tackled Johnson for a safety in the third. He batted a ball down at the line of scrimmage in the third. He stopped Johnson after a 1-yard gain in the fourth. He dropped Johnson for a 4-yard loss in the fourth. And he and Cole dropped Johnson after a gain of 2 in the fourth. Along with Cole, he was the best player on the field for the Eagles - on offense or defense. Dixon played 40 of 60 snaps.

Trevor Laws- The Eagles were in their base defense quite a bit, which meant less playing time for Laws. He rotated inside and got decent pressure on the play where Cole sacked Collins in the second. Laws stopped Johnson after a 1-yard gain in the fourth. And he helped create a 4-yard loss in the fourth. Overall, an OK performance. Laws was on the field for 22 snaps.

Darryl Tapp- This was probably his quietest game since the Eagles started activating him on gamedays. Tapp rotated in at right defensive end for Cole and also played inside. With the Eagles primarily in their base defense, he played just 19 snaps and did not have an impact.

Trent Cole- He was his usual active self against both the run and the pass. Cole stopped Johnson for no gain on the first possession. He also tackled Johnson from behind after a gain of 3 on a screen in the third. Cole and Dixon stopped Johnson after a gain of 2 in the fourth. As a pass rusher, Cole pushed his man back into Collins' face on a short completion in the first. He picked up a sack at the end of the first half. Cole dropped back into covreage in the third and tackled tight end Bo Scaife after a 3-yard gain. He was in Collins' face on the Mikell interception in the first half. Cole was on the field for all but six snaps and appears to be headed for another double-digit sack year.

Daniel Te'o-Nesheim- The rookie was activated for the second straight week and got on the field for three snaps. On the Parker roughing the passer play, Te'o-Nesheim was one of six defensive linemen on the field, and he dropped back into coverage. On the 26-yard touchdown to Britt, Te'o-Nesheim was one of five defensive linemen on the field. The Eagles also blitzed two on that play, sending seven after Collins, who burned them.

Stewart Bradley- As I said earlier, the run defense was a group effort, and Bradley was a part of that. He didn't fill up the stat sheet, but did a nice job on a 4-yard Johnson run in the second and a stuff later in the quarter. On a 3rd-and-6 in the third, either Bradley or Sims was whistled for offsides, giving the Titans a 3rd-and-1, which they converted. The official incorrectly called Laws for the penalty, but replays showed it was one of the linebackers. The same thing happened on another offsides call in the fourth.

Moise Fokou- He was probably their best linebacker, and there's no arguing that the run defense has been dramatically improved since he was inserted into the starting lineup. Fokou did a good job on a 2-yard Johnson run in the second and a stuff in the fourth. He probably saved a touchdown with a tackle after a 12-yard Johnson carry in the fourth. Fokou got pressure on Collins, coming on a blitz in the second and helping to cause an incompletion. He made a good read on a TE screen that went incomplete in the third and broke up a pass intended for Scaife in the fourth.

Ernie Sims- Sims had a pretty good game too. He flew at Johnson for a near-safety in the third quarter. Sims and Dixon combined to drop Johnson for a 4-yard loss in the fourth. Sims blitzed up the middle in the second and got a hand on the ball. The official scorers gave it to Dixon, but I'm pretty sure Sims deserves credit. His hit on Johnson in the first sure looked like helmet-to-helmet to me, but we'll see if the league agrees.

Asante Samuel- He came up with an interception in the third quarter, but as has been the case for much of the season, the opposing quarterback didn't throw much in Samuel's direction. Samuel plays left cornerback, and Britt lined up on the other side of the field over and over again. The Eagles generally don't have cornerbacks switch sides, but it's certainly fair to question why McDermott didn't switch things up after Britt kept burning them. If ever there was a time for an exception, Sunday was it.

Ellis Hobbs- Where do we begin? He was beat by Damian Williams on a 16-yard gain on 3rd-and-3 in the second. Hobbs was called for an offsides penalty on 3rd-and-3 in the second. He was beat by Britt on a 26-yard touchdown on a play where the Eagles sent seven defenders after Collins. The coverage wasn't bad on the play, actually. Britt just made a play on the ball; Hobbs did not. We've seen that happen before this season. Hobbs was called for a costly 21-yard pass interference penalty with the Titans backed up at their own 1. Britt had receptions of 42, 21 and a 16-yard touchdown between Hobbs and Allen. A disastrous performance by those two that really cost the Eagles the game.

Quintin Mikell- Mikell made a pair of big plays early - an interception and a forced fumble/sack. The defense created three turnovers, which the offense turned into zero points. Mikell played up in the box at times, almost like a fourth linebacker. He also got burned by Britt once on a 34-yard completion in the third. Overall, a good performance though.

Joselio Hanson- He was only on the field for 14 snaps. Hanson stopped Williams short of a first down on third down during the Titans' first possession. He blitzed three times from the slot.

Nate Allen- It was a rough one for the usually impressive Eagles rookie. Allen was beat by Britt on an 80-yard touchdown that was one of the game's biggest plays. The ball was underthrown, and Britt came back to it. Allen lost his balance, and Britt picked up about 37 yards after the catch. As I mentioned above, the receptions of 42, 21 and the 16-yard TD in the fourth all happened between Hobbs and Allen.

Kurt Coleman- He was on the field for three snaps as a third safety. One of those plays was the 16-yard touchdown to Britt. Another was a 42-yard completion to Britt. My guess is the point of having him in on those plays was to provide more help over the top against Britt. That didn't seem to work too well.


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Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
About this blog
Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for philly.com. 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 skapadia@philly.com or by clicking here

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