The Eagles’ defensive line is dominating by doing nothing more than showing up

Last season, the Eagles led the NFL with 50 sacks.  Through the first 4 games, they have just 7.  That’s good for just 20th in the NFL. They had no sacks last night.  And yet, they’re having an enormous effect on the success of the Eagles defense by doing nothing more than showing up.

“I think it’s obvious when they dedicate a chipper to each guy on each side all game long,” said DE Jason Babin.  “My left side is bruised and (Trent Cole’s) right side is bruised.  If they’re going to do something like that we know (they have respect for our defensive line).”

Trent Cole agreed.  “We got extra attention alright.  We got extra attention the last three games.  This year is just totally different.  I’ve been playing for eight years and I’ve never been chipped like this.  The TE is hitting you, the back is hitting you, and when you get off that you gotta fight the tackle once he gets on you after being chipped. (And then) you gotta fight the guard too, because the guard comes off (to help out).  We just keep fighting, don’t make an excuse of it, just fight harder.”

I took a look at each of the Giants’ dropbacks last night, and here’s what I came up with, in terms of the number of blockers the Giants kept in to block the Eagles’ defensive line (to the right). As a disclaimer, I should note that I was making sure I was keeping my 7 month old daughter from sticking computer wires, the dog’s toys, and the cat’s tail out of her mouth while watching the tape, so I’m not 100% on the accuracy here, but it’s close enough.

The Giants only kept 5 players in to block just 6 times in 49 dropbacks.

“People know that the defensive line is going to bring pressure, so what happens is, they end up scheming for that,” Juan Castillo noted in the locker room after the game.  “They scheme a couple ways.  They scheme by holding people in (like running backs or tight ends) to chip.  When you’re going to hold seven guys in to block or eight guys, there’s no need to blitz and you put everybody back in coverage and now you can double-team people.”

“When they’re holding seven, it means there’s only three receivers out there, so now we can double cover people and it makes it a little easier.”

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  1. […] Eagles defensive linemen saw a lot of extra attention from the Giants offensive line.  I felt that they dominated simply by showing up, as the Giants kept just 5 players in to block on only 6 of 49 dropbacks.  With so much extra […]

  2. […] Giants Hold Eagles Sack-less, But at a Cost Giants Hold Eagles Sack-less, But at a Cost […]

  3. KByars says:

    Did you happen to note how many times they only sent 4 men? It seemed to me like they’ve only been sending the 4 DL quite a lot this season, but I always forget to DVR the games. If that holds up, and they’ve been predominantly sending only 4 pass rushers, that’s a hell of a lot of respect for the line.

    OT: With the redesign, you have a great opportunity to grow your site.

  4. Todd B says:

    Hey Jimmy,

    Would it be possible to look at the NYG/Carolina game to see if this really was something they did against the Eagles or if it was typical of how they protect Eli?

    If they do this every game, then maybe it doesn’t mean quite as much.

    1. Peter Gorsky says:

      giants kept in their backs and tight ends to block more than any team in the nfl in 2011 regular season

    2. Jimmy Kempski says:

      I’m not sure about the backs, but I can confidently say on memory that they haven’t kept Martellus Bennett in to chip or just outright block as much as did last night.

    3. Josh C says:

      they dont do it every game, just against the eagles
      u mad bro?

  5. Peter Gorsky says:

    if the giants didnt chip so often i think martellus bennett would have had a big game against the eagles. infact i think bennett was open on the play during the last drive where barden was penalized for OPI

    i hope maybe u can do something similar for the giants dline as well if you have time man

    1. Yeah, I’m going to look at how many blockers the Eagles left in on the Giants. I think they had a similar offensive scheme. The Eagles are afraid of the Giants’ pass rush, and I think that’s partly why LeSean McCoy was allowed to carry the ball so much.

    2. ATLeagle says:

      I was just looking at rewind ( not coaches view ) , and Bennett may have been coming open , but it would have been just as tight as the throw that drew OPI. However, Bradshaw was moving into the flat after his chip, and since the Giants only needed a small amount of yards, he could have ended the game yards to the sideline.

  6. that is respect right there.

  7. Benj says:

    I was thinking about this when I read the comments from Babin and Cole. I remember going into the season, and you even did a post on it, worrying about size of the Eagles LB’s versus opposing TE’s. So far, I think we have done a pretty good job against TE’s, and I think that probably had to do with the effectiveness of our DL and the reason’s that Castillo mentioned. I’d be curious to look at targets of TE’s for the Eagles D versus the league average.

    Then again, you have to take into account things like the Baltimore game where the Eagles’ secondary did such a good job that Flacco was forced to throw to his TE’s and RB’s.

    1. You’re right. Taller TEs have not been an issue in the slightest so far. Martellus Bennett had 1 catch for 2 yards. He did have a longer catch and run that was negated by a penalty, but that had nothing to do with height. That was something I thought the Giants might did. And they sort of did. Eli went high to Bennett in the back of the end zone, but he didn’t see DRC, and that pass was picked.

  8. Dave King says:

    Awesome work, Jimmy. Great stats here, I think we all knew the pass rush was still a major factor despite the lack of results.

    1. Dave King says:

      But it’d be great if you could do a similar breakdown for the Eagles OL.

      1. Yeah, I think that makes sense. I’ll take a look.

      2. Benj says:

        I was unfortunate enough to miss the game last night, or maybe fortunate to avoid the years it would have taken off my life, but I would love to see some type of All-22 breakdown for the Eagles OL last night, as you don’t hear much about their performance unless they were terrible. It’d be interesting to see the adjustments made at half-time that caused Shady to be able to move the ball at-will like he did in the second half.

        1. icdogg says:

          They used some I-formation for one thing. Also some no-huddle.

          1. I’m not sure why no-huddle isn’t the default setting, given the wonders it does for Vick and the O-line.

            1. icdogg says:

              good way to get the running game going.

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