Will Failures of Philadelphia Eagles' Defensive Line Cost Coach Jim Washburn His Job?

By Bryn Swartz
Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Through five games, the Philadelphia Eagles are one of the top defensive teams in the National Football League.

They’ve allowed just 99 points, and only 85 have actually been allowed by the defense. That’s just 17.0 points per game. The defense has stopped Brandon Weeden, Joe Flacco, and Eli Manning from scoring any points on a final minute do-or-die drive, with the only blemish coming against comeback artist Ben Roethlisberger.

But the major weakness on the Eagles’ defense has been what should be its biggest strength: the defensive line.

Before the season, I predicted big things for the defensive line. I couldn’t stop raving about this unit. In fact, I boldly predicted that Trent Cole, Jason Babin, Cullen Jenkins, Fletcher Cox, Phillip Hunt, Derek Landri, Brandon Graham, and company would be enough to guarantee the Eagles a non-losing season.

Yet the defensive line for the Eagles has been as weak as the offensive line. Unlike the offensive line, however, the defensive line is not missing two of its best players.

They’ve had everyone completely healthy for all of their games. Not one defensive lineman has missed a single game this season. That’s pretty impressive.

I just don’t know why they’re not accumulating sacks. They’re not even really collecting pressures either. The defensive line has disappeared for significant portions of games and it’s really costing the Eagles’ defense.

Here’s what is interesting. Before the season, defensive line coach Jim Washburn boldly stated that his unit should top last year’s total of 50 sacks. In fact, he said that the Eagles can fire him if the team doesn’t collect more than 50 sacks.

Well, they have seven this season. Seven through five games.

That means Washburn’s unit needs to collect 44 sacks in the final 11 games, an average of four per game, to better last year’s mark.

Now would Washburn actually lose his job if the Eagles didn’t register 50+ sacks? No, I don’t think so. But they’re certainly not helping him keep the job.

I expect the defensive line to pick up its game. But as for finishing the season with 50 sacks or more? I don’t expect it to happen.

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