Saturday, December 20, 2014

Man Up: Tapp, Laws make difference

The Eagles' pass rush was the difference in their strong performance Sunday against the Jaguars.

Man Up: Tapp, Laws make difference

Darryl Tapp (No. (91) and Trevor Laws (No. 93) helped the defense hold David Garrard and the Jaguars to just 3 points. (Ron Cortes / Staff Photographer)
Darryl Tapp (No. (91) and Trevor Laws (No. 93) helped the defense hold David Garrard and the Jaguars to just 3 points. (Ron Cortes / Staff Photographer)

Here's the player-by-player look at the Eagles' defensive performance in their 28-3 win over the Jaguars on Sunday:

Brandon Graham- It was really a great group effort along the defensive line. Many of the six sacks were the result of everyone doing their jobs. For example, Graham rushed untouched from the edge, forcing David Garrard to step up into the arms of Trevor Laws for a loss in the second. Graham got good pressure on Garrard in the third, forcing him to scramble. He hit Garrard as he released the ball when the Jaguars tried to block him with a tight end. Graham dropped back into coverage more than any other lineman and got his hand on a pass on a fourth down in the fourth. I'd have to go back and double-check, but I believe Graham played exclusively outside.

Mike Patterson- Sean McDermott rotated the linemen, and the Eagles were in nickel quite a bit, so Patterson played about half the defensive snaps (not counting the final garbage time drive). Patterson hustled to bring Maurice Jones-Drew down on the other side of the field after a 5-yard gain in the first. He also made a good tackle on a 4-yard Jones-Drew run and dropped MJD for no gain in the third.

Brodrick Bunkley- Quiet game for Bunkley, who played only 21 snaps by my count. The Eagles actually dropped him back into coverage on a third-down play, which looked very strange.

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Trent Cole- He was too much to handle for 2009 first-round pick Eugene Monroe. Cole turned in a dominant performance. He pressured and hit Garrard on a third-down completion in the first. Cole should have had a sack on 3rd-and-17, but couldn't wrap up. Garrard tried to escape, only to find Laws, who was credited with the sack. There were multiple other plays where Cole created havoc, including the two in the fourth quarter where he notched sacks. His relentless nature really showed; it looked like Cole's energy level was just higher than everyone else's. He hustled downfield to drop Jaguars wide receiver Mike Thomas after an 8-yard gain. Against the run, he made a couple good plays, including a stop on Jones-Drew on 3rd-and-2 that forced a Jaguars punt.

Trevor Laws- A stand-out performance for Laws. I thought the inside pass rush was probably the biggest factor in the defense's turnaround (OK, that and the Jaguars looked horrible). Laws dropped Garrard for a 2-yard loss in the first, although I'm not sure why he wasn't credited with a sack on the play. I guess the officials ruled it a run? Laws picked up a sack later on 3rd-and-17. He came close to another one on a 3rd-and-16 where Garrard flipped the ball to Jones-Drew at the last second. Laws also deflected a pass at the line of scrimmage and made a good play on a 3-yard Jones-Drew run.

Darryl Tapp- Well, look who was active. On his first play on the field as a member of the Eagles, Tapp, who did not dress the first two weeks, got very good pressure up the middle on Garrard. He was lined up at right defensive tackle. He also lined up at right defensive end at times, spelling Cole. Tapp's sack came from RDE. McDermott used him in some different ways. Tapp lined up like a linebacker, off the line of scrimmage, and then rushed up the middle. He pounced on Jones-Drew after the Jaguars' fumbled flip for a loss of 7 in the second. Tapp got good push up the middle on one of Cole's sacks in the fourth and really could have been credited with half-a-sack there. He played over 57 percent of the snaps (48 percent, if you take away the garbage time downs).

Juqua Parker- He is producing every time he's on the field. Parker got excellent pressure on the play where Tapp picked up a sack. He could have been credited with half-a-sack on the play. He bullied the right tackle for his fourth sack of the season in the third quarter. Parker has a sack in every game. He played inside in the fourth quarter.

Antonio Dixon- He played the least of all the defensive linemen, which is normal. Dixon got decent push up the middle on a couple plays, including one that forced Garrard to scramble.

Stewart Bradley- He makes a huge difference, even if it doesn't show up in the stat sheet. Bradley was rarely the first player to the ball, but he seemed to always be in the right place, taking on blockers and allowing his teammates to make plays. He did a good job getting off his block and bringing Jones-Drew down after a gain of 7. Bradley was called on to blitz three times. He and Ernie Sims switched places with Cole and Graham on one play in the fourth.

Ernie Sims- Once again, he was the most frequent blitzer. McDermott sent Sims after Garrard 12 times. He had a chance for a sack but couldn't bring Garrard down on a second-down play in the third. Sims got his hands on Garrard on a fourth-quarter incompletion. Against the run, he had ups and downs. Sims was blocked by a fullback on a 17-yard Jones-Drew run in the first. He was also blocked on a 12-yard MJD run. Sims did a good job, stopping Jones-Drew after a 1-yard gain. He left the game with an ankle sprain.

Akeem Jordan- His best game of the season. This is the active Jordan I remember writing about at the beginning of last season. Jordan dropped Jones-Drew for a loss in the first. He also stopped him after 2-yard gains on a pair of occasions, and a 5-yard loss in the third. Good play by Jordan in the second. He was coming on a blitz but realized Garrard was going to dump it off to Jones-Drew so he dropped back and got his hand on the pass. Jordan played nickel linebacker after Sims went out with an injury.

JaMar Chaney- He came in during garbage time. I wonder if Chaney would have been the middle linebacker had Bradley gone down? Omar Gaither was inactive.

Moise Fokou- He came in during garbage time too. The Eagles' other option if Bradley is injured is to move Jordan to the middle and Fokou to the strong-side.

Asante Samuel- He had an interception in the third and really could have had another earlier in the second. Samuel was actually called on to blitz twice. I wonder what he'd do if he actually got to the QB. It's very rare for McDermott to call his number. Weak effort from Samuel on Jones-Drew when all he had to do was shove him out of bounds. And he gave Mike Sims-Walker a big cushion on 3rd-and-10, allowing him to pick up 11. The bottom line? Samuel is probably the Eagles' second-best defensive player behind Cole.

Ellis Hobbs- He blitzed for (I believe) the first time all year. In coverage, Hobbs was called for a 38-yard pass interference penalty. He was also flagged for celebrating after the Samuel INT. Sims-Walker beat Hobbs for a 23-yard gain in the third. He made a nice play on the ball and nearly came up with an INT in the first quarter on a pass intended for Sims-Walker.

Joselio Hanson- Didn't notice too much action Hanson's way, which is probably a good thing. He nearly had an interception in the fourth and blitzed a few times from the slot, which is customary.

Dimitri Patterson- He got on the field as the nickel back in the fourth when Hobbs was sidelined. Patterson also played in garbage time.

Jorrick Calvin - He looked pretty good on three punt returns and a kickoff return. Calvin played some corner in garbage time.

Nate Allen- Safety is probably the toughest defensive position to judge off TV, but I thought Allen really played well. He broke up a pass intended for Mercedes Lewis on a third down in the third. It looked like he got his hand on a 2nd-and-15 pass that was incomplete. Against the run, he hustled to bring Jones-Drew down after the 17-yard gain. Allen also did a good job to tackle MJD on the play where Garrard flipped it to him. By my count, Allen blitzed just once, and it was with less than a minute to go when he picked up the sack.

Quintin Mikell- He did an excellent job in run support. Good read by Mikell on 3rd-and-17 in the first. It looked like he was going to blitz, but Mikell sniffed out a screen and tackled Jones-Drew for a loss of 2. He was beat by Lewis on a 7-yard third-down conversion in the second, but Mikell nearly came up with a pick on the very next play. Later he nearly had an INT off an Allen deflection.

Kurt Coleman- He twice came in as a sixth defensive back and third safety. By my count, both were on 3rd-and-17 plays, where the Eagles went with just one linebacker. Coleman also spelled Mikell in garbage time.


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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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