Another week, another pathetic pass rushing performance from the Philadelphia Eagles defensive line. The Eagles mustered one sack, late in the game by Fletcher Cox, when the game was already out of hand in an otherwise miserable performance for the front seven.
It has been a theme all year. The Eagles ‘defensive line and linebackers simply can not get to the quarterback. One of the main culprits is Trent Cole. He was to be relied on in Billy Davis’ 3-4 scheme to play the predator position, and the main responsibility for that defensive role is to strictly get to the quarterback.
He hasn’t done it all season. Near the season’s midway point Cole still has not registered a single sack. That puts him at three in his last 24 games. Cole has clearly lost a step or two, and he is one of the many veterans the Eagles head coach Chip Kelly and general manager Howie Roseman would be wise to part ways with after the season.
This isn’t a one man thing, though. Guys like Brandon Graham are struggling to do much of anything in this defense. I certainly expected a breakout year out of him, but it’s been far from it. He has been invisible through eight games.
The change in scheme on defense has done one positive thing by weeding out the players who simply don’t fit in this scheme, while bringing to light who should be kept and brought back. Guys like Cedric Thornton, Cox, and Vinny Curry are thriving in the front seven. Bennie Logan has even impressed in his limited snaps at the nose tackle position stuffing the run and racking up two sacks in spot duty.
There are some building blocks on this defense, especially in the front three. The Eagles are missing that stud young, athletic outside linebacker, though, that can wreak havoc on quarterbacks and offenses by bringing consistent pressure. Only when they get one will they get back to being a dominant defense.