Friday, July 25, 2014
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The Washburn effect: Week 3

The Eagles had three sacks against the Giants, but Eli Manning picked the defense apart, completing 16 of 23 passes for 254 yards and four touchdowns. He averaged 11.0 yards per attempt and had a QB rating of 145.7.

The Washburn effect: Week 3

Trent Cole had one sack and zero hurries against the Giants. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Trent Cole had one sack and zero hurries against the Giants. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

The Eagles had three sacks against the Giants, but Eli Manning picked the defense apart, completing 16 of 23 passes for 254 yards and four touchdowns. He averaged 11.0 yards per attempt and had a QB rating of 145.7.

Keeping that in mind, here is the weekly look at how Jim Washburn's group is performing.

WASHBURN'S ROTATION

As always, let's start with who was on the field - both last week and so far this season.

Player % Snaps last week % Snaps this season
Trent Cole 89.8% 81.7%
Jason Babin 87.8% 68.0%
Cullen Jenkins 69.4% 69.7%
Mike Patterson 69.4% 66.3%
Antonio Dixon 32.7% 36.6%
Trevor Laws 32.7% 32.0%
Philip Hunt 22.4% 8.6%
Juqua Parker N/A 31.4%
Darryl Tapp N/A 9.7%

The Eagles have not really been able to use a full rotation because of injuries to Tapp and Parker. In Week 3, they only had seven defensive linemen active. That meant another heavy workload for Cole and Babin.

Cole has played 89.9 percent of the snaps the past two weeks. When he received a breather against the Giants, it was either Babin or Hunt taking his place at right defensive end.

The defensive tackle rotation has not been affected by injuries, but Jenkins and Patterson are playing significantly more than Laws and Dixon.

Hunt played 11 snaps against the Giants after being on the field for four plays against Atlanta.

WHO'S PRODUCING?

Let's start with just last week. You can find sacks and QB hits in the box score, and the Eagles' coaching staff keeps track of hurries, so those are the three categories we'll go with:

  Sacks QB Hits Hurries
Babin 1 1 0
Cole 1 1 0
Jenkins 1 1 0
Laws 0 0 1
Hunt 0 0 1
Patterson 0 0 0
Dixon 0 0 0

As you can see, not a lot of numbers to analyze.

Three sacks is solid, but the defensive line accounted for only two hurries. In the first two weeks, Washburn's group accounted for 28 hurries.

In other words, they were not getting to Manning on a consistent basis. There are several reasons for that. One is the limited opportunities. Manning only dropped back to pass 26 times. And often times, the Giants often kept in extra blockers - either a tight end or extra offensive lineman Stacy Andrews. I don't have the exact number, but it seemed like they were specifically providing help on Trent Cole's side.

Manning is also good at getting rid of the football. Nine of his 16 completions went to running backs or tight ends.

Here are the cumulative numbers for the Eagles through three games:

  Sacks QB Hits Hurries
Cole 3 5 11
Babin 4 7 6
Jenkins 4 5 3
Tapp 1 2 3
Patterson 0 0 3
Laws 0 0 1
Dixon 0 0 1
Parker 0 1 1
Hunt 0 0 1

Babin and Jenkins are tied for the team-lead with four sacks apiece. Cole leads the Eagles with 11 hurries.

As I mentioned last week, it's really been a three-man show. Cole, Jenkins and Babin have accounted for 17 of the team's 20 QB hits.

As with everything else, it's good to base these numbers on opportunities. Below are percentages on how often each defensive lineman has notched a sack or hurry, based on number of chances to rush the quarterback.

  Sacks+Hurries Pass-Rushing Opportunities Pressure Pct.
Cole 14 81 17.3%
Babin 10 65 15.4%
Jenkins 7 72 9.7%
Tapp 4 8 50.0%
Patterson 3 82 3.7%
Dixon 1 31 3.2%
Parker 1 30 3.3%
Laws 1 26 3.8%
Hunt 1 10 10.0%

Taking Tapp out of the equation since he has only had eight opportunities, Cole has been the Eagles' most effective pass rusher, with Babin second.

You can see the difference among the defensive tackles. Jenkins has had a sack or hurry on 9.7 percent of his opportunities. Patterson, Dixon and Laws are each below 4 percent. That should probably be expected from Patterson and Dixon, who are run-stuffers, but I'm sure the Eagles would like to see more from Laws. He had his first hurry of the season last week.

Hunt has only been on the field for 10 pass plays, and he has one pressure.

WHAT ABOUT THE BLITZ?

The Eagles sent extra pressure on 7 of 26 passing plays last week, or 26.9 percent of the time. Against the Falcons, they blitzed 6.1 percent of the time. On the season, the Eagles have blitzed 16 of 99 dropbacks (16.1 percent).

Manning only completed two passes against the blitz. The problem for the Eagles is they were both big plays - the 74-yard touchdown to Victor Cruz and the 18-yard touchdown to Ahmad Bradshaw. Overall, Manning was 2-for-6 for 92 yards and two TDs against the Eagles' blitz. He was also sacked once.

On the seven blitzes, the Eagles rushed five defenders four times; six defenders two times; and seven defenders one time. The Cruz TD came when they rushed seven; the Bradshaw TD when they rushed six.

Opposing quarterbacks are just 4-for-14 when the Eagles have blitzed, but they have gained 141 yards on those four completions and averaged 10.1 yards per attempt.

The most frequent blitzers last week were Casey Matthews and Brian Rolle, who each rushed the passer three times. Moise Fokou blitzed twice and Jamar Chaney once. Jarrad Page, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nate Allen each blitzed once.

Looking ahead to this week, Alex Smith had a QB rating of 82.9 against the blitz last year. That was almost identical to his overall rating (82.1). He has not been much of a downfield threat, averaging 6.24 yards per attempt in his career and 6.81 yards per attempt this season.

Smith has been sacked 11 times on the season, tied for fourth-most in the league. Only two of the Eagles' 12 sacks have com on blitzes. We'll see if that trend continues Sunday.


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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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