JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - It was as if Darryl Tapp had been shot out of a cannon after sitting inside the barrel for two weeks.
After not dressing for the first two games, the defensive end recorded his first sack of the season on the Eagles defense's first series Sunday against the Jaguars.
Tapp, who was part of defensive-line rotation that corralled Jacksonville all game, sacked David Garrard on the seventh play. He recorded only one other tackle in the game, but set the tone in a 28-3 victory that was important for a defense that struggled in the first two weeks.
So why didn't Tapp play until Game 3?
"You leave the master plan up to the coaches," he said. "That's all you can do. Let them take care of it. And I got an opportunity, and I took care of it."
Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott said the reason was partly because Tapp, acquired in a trade in March, was still adapting to his defense.
Tapp essentially replaced pass-rushing defensive end Antwan Barnes, who was not active.
"We put Tapp up for this game, and what that allowed us to do was have a guy that could also stop the run and the pass," coach Andy Reid said. "We were able to get a little better rotation with that."
It also helped free up defensive tackle Trevor Laws, who notched his first career sack in the third quarter.
"I knew I've been close the last couple of weeks," Laws said, "so hopefully I'll keep getting them."
The Eagles' top draft pick in 2008, Laws didn't contribute much in his first two seasons. But he's getting more time each week playing in the Eagles' nickel scheme.
Laws said being completely healthy had helped his maturation.
"I think it was actually going through my whole first camp healthy, coming into this season healthy," Laws said.
The Eagles surrendered three sacks Sunday, but that was an improvement after the first two games, when they allowed a league-worst 11.
Michael Vick took blame for a few of the sacks, and it is indeed a different task for the offensive line to protect a scrambling quarterback. But there were occasions when the line had breakdowns.
"It's something we need to get better at, just like it would be for any quarterback," tackle Winston Justice said.
Guard Nick Cole played a significant part in two sacks when Jaguars defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, a Temple product, got to Vick. Cole, though, left because his injured knee swelled up, Reid said.
Reggie Wells, who has been getting more first-team repetitions in practice since the Eagles traded for him three weeks ago, stepped in and did a decent job. He was called for holding not long after replacing Cole.
Still, there were stretches when Vick had more time to throw than he or Kevin Kolb had in the previous two games. For instance, on his 16-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin before the half, Vick stood in the pocket untouched for six seconds.
Linebacker Ernie Sims had an ankle sprain, and an X-ray was negative, Reid said. . . . Cornerback Asante Samuel notched his first interception of the season and the 36th of his career. Including playoffs, Samuel's teams are 32-4 in games when he intercepts a pass. . . . Punter Sav Rocca (45.1-yard average) has landed 78 career punts inside the 20-yard line, passing Tom Hutton (77) for fourth place in team history.