Man Up: Barnes, Graham and Gaither
Here's a player-by-player look at the Eagles' defensive performance in their 27-20 loss against the Packers.
Here's a player-by-player look at the Eagles' defensive performance in their 27-20 loss against the Packers:
Brandon Graham- It was not a strong first showing for Graham, who failed to get pressure on Aaron Rodgers and looked vulnerable at times against the run. Graham played both outside and inside. He was blocked by a tight end on a 2-yard Ryan Grant run in the first half. Graham was blocked on a 7-yard Brandon Jackson run in the third. He got caught upfield, creating a hole on John Kuhn's 12-yard run in the third. And a big hole opened up between Graham and Trevor Laws on an 11-yard Jackson run. It wasn't all bad for Graham. He was quick off the ball, rushing from the inside on a 2nd-and-9 in the second, but couldn't finish the play. He got good penetration in the fourth, forcing Jackson to choose a different route before he was dropped for a 3-yard loss by Brodrick Bunkley. Graham played 49 snaps. Only Cole played more among defensive linemen.
Brodrick Bunkley- He might have been the Eagles' best defensive player on Sunday. Bunkley made several good plays against the run, stuffing Jackson in the second and dropping him for a loss on multiple occasions in the third. Really strong game from Bunkley.
Mike Patterson- Didn't notice Patterson much. He got pushed back on the 12-yard Kuhn run, but made a couple nice plays in the second half.
Trevor Laws- He played inside, mostly in pass-rushing situations. Overall, Laws didn't have much of an impact. He delivered a good effort to fight off a double team and pressure Rodgers on a 3rd-and-2 throw in the second, but that was it.
Trent Cole- A usual solid outing for Cole, although it's a bit puzzling to me why Sean McDermott drops his best pass-rusher into coverage so much. Cole dropped back four times, including on a 3rd-and-7 in the fourth when the game was on the line. Cole's pressure in the first helped Juqua Parker pick up a sack. Cole got a sack of his own in the second. Against the run, he stuffed Grant for a 2-yard loss in the first. He made a good play against Jackson in the third also, stopping him after a gain of 1. The one bad play was when Cole got blocked on a 13-yard Grant run in the second. Cole was on the field for all but five defensive plays.
Juqua Parker- He entered the game at left defensive end in place of Graham in the first quarter. Parker also replaced Cole on the right side at times. He picked up two sacks in the first quarter and got good pressure on Rodgers on a swing pass to Jackson. Parker played 19 snaps.
Antonio Dixon- By the end of the first quarter, the Eagles had played all eight of their active defensive linemen, including Dixon. He played only eight snaps, the fewest of any lineman and didn't have much of an impact.
Antwan Barnes- The opener had several surprises, including Barnes' prominent role in pass-rushing packages. The Eagles just traded for him a week ago, but Barnes dressed in favor of Daniel Te'o-Nesheim and Darryl Tapp. He played 28 snaps - more than Laws, and more than Parker. Barnes primarily lined up at left defensive end in pass-rushing situations, moving Graham inside. He stood up at times, and lined up inside on one play in the second. On the first-half interception, Graham lined up at left defensive end, and Barnes lined up to his left. He was asked to drop back into coverage twice. Overall, he was ineffective. Barnes made one nice play against the run, stopping Jackson after a 1-yard gain in the second.
Stewart Bradley- It's hard to believe he was allowed to come back into the game after suffering the concussion in the second quarter. When he was in, Bradley blitzed five times. He had a chance at a sack in the first, getting his hand on Rodgers, but Bradley couldn't bring him down. He had ups and downs against the run. Bradley was blocked out of the play on 13- and 18-yard runs by Grant in the first half. On another play, he lined up with his hand on the ground on the left side as a defensive lineman.
Ernie Sims- Sims was probably the Eagles' best linebacker. He was active against the run, particularly in the first half. Sims chased Grant out of bounds after a 2-yard gain and stopped him after a 1-yard pickup in the second. In the second half, he was slammed to the ground by an offensive lineman on a 12-yard Kuhn run, and he couldn't recover on the play where Jackson cut back and picked up 11. Against the pass, Sims blitzed a team-high 11 times. In coverage, he put a nice hit on Jackson to stop him short on a 3rd-and-2. Sims was the only member of the front seven to play every defensive down.
Omar Gaither- He was a major liability against the run. The 7-yard Jackson run, the 12-yard Kuhn run, the 11-yard Jackson run, the 18-yard Jackson run, the 3-yard Kuhn TD run. Gaither was either nowhere near the ball, getting blocked or missing tackles. Not a good showing for him.
Akeem Jordan- Normally, when Jordan is playing well, you notice him. I didn't notice him much in this one, but to be fair, it's tough to judge his coverage on tight end JerMichael Finley when watching the game on TV. In other words, on many plays, if Jordan had Finley covered, and Rodgers threw elsewhere, the cameras wouldn't pick it up. He ended up with just one tackle and didn't do much against the run, though.
Asante Samuel- The Packers rarely threw in his direction. Samuel made a good read and nearly came up with a pick in the third, but couldn't hang on.
Ellis Hobbs- He got beat by Greg Jennings on the 32-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Hobbs gave up a 7-yard completion for a first down to Donald Driver in the first. He also allowed gains of 11 and 15 to Jennings.
Joselio Hanson - It looked like he got beat by James Jones on a 7-yard third-down completion that resulted in a first down early on. Hanson showed good concentration, coming up with an interception in the first half. Tough to say for sure, but it seemed like he got beat by Driver on the second-quarter touchdown. He blitzed twice, including the play that resulted in a Nate Allen interception.
Quintin Mikell- The Hanson interception would have been his, had Mikell not collided with Bradley. Mikell did a decent job in run support and blitzed three times. He got good pressure on Rodgers on 3rd-and-7 in a critical spot in the fourth. When Kurt Coleman came in as a third safety, Mikell played up at the line of scrimmage.
Nate Allen- He finished as the Eagles' second-leading tackler, although it seemed like most of those came down the field on big runs or completed passes. Allen couldn't close on Jennings after he beat Hobbs on the touchdown. Going back to preseason, good things seem to happen when Allen blitzes. McDermott only sent him twice, but the one play resulted in a Hanson interception. Allen came up with his first career INT in the fourth.
Kurt Coleman- He got on the field for four snaps - every time as the third safety and fifth defensive back. As I mentioned above, Coleman played back on those plays, while Mikell played up at the line of scrimmage.
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