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.”