Bennie Logan. Fletcher Cox. Damion Square. Clifton Geathers. Vinny Curry. Cedric Thornton.
At the start of the season, would any of these names have inspired fear in the hearts of opposing offenses? After the Philadelphia Eagles traded Isaac Sopoaga and fully committed to the youth movement, it was a sign of confidence in the young talent ready and willing to make a statement. Now, in the past three games, this group is making a name for themselves with consistent, punishing play.
Cox has bought into this scheme and is starting to thrive. He almost had two interceptions this week and was always in Robert Griffin III‘s face. He is playing like a high first-round draft pick and his natural talent is always on display. Logan has shown the difference between a stationary nose tackle and one playing with passion. He collapses the pocket and disrupts plays in the backfield. Geathers is using his length and ability to give offensive linemen fits.
Then there is Curry. Since he joined the team, he had struggled to get on the field. He battled, remained patient and knew that he would get his chance. This season he has turned into one of the best surprises on the team. All year, he has shown his ability to rush the passer. He lives around the ball. It was his pressure against Griffin that caused the final interception that sealed the win on Sunday.
When the front line can get pressure and handle the run game, it opens the door for blitzes and coverage. When the front line can generate pressure on their own, it allows for even more creativity on the back end. In an interview after the game, Connor Barwin said the line is now two-gapping like a true 3-4 defense. This is dangerous news for upcoming offenses and the chance for Billy Davis to see his scheme realized in this first season that has progressed further than anticipated and can only get better.