5 stellar stats on the Eagles defense this season
Jim Schwartz has gotten his fair share of criticism over how he’s commanded the Eagles defense in recent years. Some of it is warranted, as he still believes the sticks defense is the best answer to a 4th and 15. But he doesn’t deserve all the slander, as he had to utilize the hand he was dealt at cornerback for a number of years.
Schwartz’s defense has been getting dissected by opposing tight ends through the first quarter of the season. The linebacker room is currently full of special teamers that allowed George Kittle to catch a career-high 15 passes on all 15 of his targets last Sunday night.
When you look past that, however, the Eagles defense is a lot closer to being elite than we think:
Disrupting to QB
After a slow start, the Eagles lead the NFL in sacks after 4 weeks:
- Eagles: 17
- Steelers: 15
- Washington, Bucs: 14
- Rams, Chiefs, Packers: 12
The defense has gotten to the QB 13 times over the last two games. Brandon Graham & Josh Sweat lead the way with 3 sacks each. Derek Barnett is close behind with 2.5 sacks of his own.
#Eagles DE Josh Sweat got his third sack in four games on Sunday against a play-action pass where he had to transition from run defender to rusher before turning the corner on Trent Williams. Coverage forced the QB to hold the ball and he drifted right into the sack #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/Air5vHvDV2— Fran Duffy (@EaglesXOs) October 5, 2020
Darius Slay has been worth the money
Through 4 weeks, Slay has given up just 122 receiving yards (30.5 yards/game) to opposing receivers. Granted his matchups have been against Terry McLaurin (with Haskins throwing to him), Robert Woods, AJ Green past his prime, and Deebo Samuel on limited snaps, but that doesn’t take away from how exceptional he’s been this season.
The Eagles finally get a legitimate corner and the team is in shambles. pic.twitter.com/4Bcz8JD4KU— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) September 28, 2020
Stuffing the run
The Eagles are only allowing 3.8 yards per carry this season, good for 7th in the NFL. They continue to be stout against the rushing attack.
Getting off the field
The Eagles defense is currently ranked 5th in the league in 3rd down conversion rate. Opposing teams have only converted 20 out of 54 times (37%) when facing the Eagles on 3rd down this season.
Forcing teams backward
The Eagles have had 107 rushing attempts against them so far this season, getting to the ball carrier behind the line of scrimmage 22 times. That’s good for a 21% tackle for loss percentage, 2nd in the NFL just behind the Steelers.
In a year that Carson Wentz has struggled, the Eagles defense has stepped up in a big way. Even if it doesn’t seem that way at times.
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Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports