All-22: Front Seven Brings the Pressure Against the Rams

The front seven for the Philadelphia Eagles defense had their best game of the season this past Sunday against the St. Louis Rams. They racked up four sacks, forced and recovered three fumbles, and were in quarterback Austin Davis’ face for much of the day. Defensive coordinator Bill Davis did a good job of dialing up blitzes to free up rushers, and the players did an excellent job of executing and making plays when called upon. Let’s go to the tape…

On this play, Connor Barwin and Trent Cole run a stunt on the left side. Linebacker DeMeco Ryans initially looks like he’s going to blitz, but then ends up covering running back Benjamin Cunningham out of the backfield. This allows Fletcher Cox to be one on one with center Scott Wells as right guard Davin Joseph has his eyes on Ryans. Cole and Cox are able to get pressure up the middle, and this forces Davis to have to scramble to his left where Barwin is there waiting for him. Barwin then does an excellent job of breaking down in his stance and tripping up the athletic Davis for the sack.
01 barwin sack

Bill Davis does an excellent job of disguising a blitz on this play, which gives Vinny Curry a free path to Austin Davis. Cornerback Nolan Carroll shows blitz at the beginning of the play and takes a jab step forward before dropping back into coverage. This leaves Curry unblocked on a free rush from the outside. The Rams have five blockers to match up with the Eagles five rushers, but center Scott Wells ends up blocking no one on this play because he was fooled by the fake blitz of Carroll. Curry finishes the play by attacking the throwing arm of Davis, knocking the ball loose for a fumble which Fletcher Cox recovers.
02 curry sack fumble

Here is a close-up of Curry sacking Davis. Look at how he gets his left hand to the ball to knock it out of Davis’ hand. That is an amazing display of hand-eye coordination.
02a curry attack ball

On this next play, Trent Cole gets a strip-sack of his own. Cole uses his speed and athleticism to explode by left tackle Jake Long with an inside move. Like Curry, Cole does a great job of attacking the throwing hand of Davis while making the tackle. This forces a fumble which gets recovered in the end zone by Cedric Thornton for a touchdown.
03 cole sack fumble

Here is a close-up of the sack so you can see how Cole gets his right hand to the ball to knock it out of Davis’ hand for the fumble. Once again, another great display of hand-eye coordination.
03a cole attack ball

Malcolm Jenkins comes free on this blitz as once again Bill Davis does a good job of scheming to confuse the Rams offensive line. The Rams and Eagles have an even number of rushers and blockers, but the left side of the Rams offensive line ends up having two players blocking one. This leaves Jenkins unblocked. While he doesn’t get the sack, he forces Davis to have to throw this ball before he wants to and off his back foot and the result is an incomplete pass.
04 jenkins blitz incomplete

Connor Barwin ends up being left unblocked on this play and is able to bat this ball down as we’ve seen him do so many times since he was signed last season.
05 barwin bat ball

This play is from the last play of the game. It’s fourth down with 13 yards to go. Billy Davis dials up a blitz that gives the Eagles seven rushers to the Rams six blockers. Cornerback Brandon Boykin ends up being left unblocked as he races towards Austin Davis. This forces Davis to have to throw this ball up for grabs downfield, and it falls incomplete. This was a good aggressive play call from Bill Davis to end the game.
06 last play boykin blitz

Getting pressure will be key in the Eagles upcoming game against the New York Giants. Eli Manning is dangerous when he has a clean pocket, and with the Giants new look West Coast Offense, he’s been getting rid of the ball more quickly than ever. Manning still has a penchant for turning the ball over in the face of pressure though, so if the Eagles are able to pressure Manning like they did Davis, they could force him to make some ill-advised throws.

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Eagles’ Front 7 Getting the Job Done Against the Redskins in Week 11

Don’t be fooled by the box score and the amount of yards the Eagles’ defense gave up this game.  While it wasn’t a complete and all out domination for 60 minutes, the defense, and specifically the front 7, made some big stops at key moments in the game to help lead the Eagles to victory. Here are some of the highlights:

Brandon Graham knifing through the offensive line to tackle Alfred Morris for a 3 yard loss.Graham 3 yard loss

Bennie Logan showing great agility to meet Alfred Morris in the hole and stuff him for a 1 yard loss.Logan 1 yard loss

Connor Barwin with a huge sack and fumble in the redzone.Barwin Sack Fumble

Fletcher Cox and Connor Barwin with a huge stop on 3rd and 2. Cox does a great job here of fighting off his block and filling what could have been a nice hole for Morris to run through.Fletcher Cox 3rd and 2 stop

Najee Goode with a sack on Griffin.Goode sack

Trent Cole with a sack on Griffin. He does a great job here of knocking left tackle Trent Williams’ arms away, preventing Williams from getting his hands to his chest.Cole sack

Cedric Thornton getting a great push against the run, stopping Morris for a 1 yard loss on 2nd and 1. I pause the clip midway through, take a look at how he surges at the end to push the offensive lineman back into Morris once he sees Morris trying to cut back.Thornton penetration

Vinny Curry getting a good jump off the snap and getting into the backfield, forcing Morris to have to cut back into the teeth of the defense. Curry also gets a hand of his jersey, slowing him up a bit. The line of scrimmage is at the 25 yard line. When Curry forces Morris to cut up field, he’s at around the 21 yard line, 4 yards deep into the backfield.Curry penetration

Great to see the front 7 playing aggressive, swarming to the ball, and making plays.  Enjoy the week off fellas, you’ve earned it.