By David F. Cohen
Quarterback Carson Wentz and the Eagles productive offense have gobbled up all of the praise after yesterday’s 29-10 pounding of the Cleveland Browns.
But let’s tip our helmet to the defense, which shut down the Browns offense, only allowing them to score 13 points. They allowed 288 total yards of offense and dominated up front.
Fletcher Cox continued to be a disruptive force from the inside as he led the way with one sack and four tackles. Brandon Graham and Connor Barwin each chipped in with sacks as well.
The Eagles front four got after Robert Griffin III on every play. Vinny Curry didn’t get a sack, but he was able to pressure the quarterback as well.
Much has been made about the rotation of defensive ends for the Eagles. The rotation also took place inside. Destiny Vaeao and Beau Allen were mixed in on some series.
Cox and Bennie Logan played most of the game, but defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz was able to keep the fresh and working as a tandem by subbing in Vaeao and Allen.
Watching Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham work together was a sight to see. The two linebackers can cover a lot of ground.
Early in the game, Bradham did an excellent job of closing on Robert Griffin III on one play as he tried to scramble for a first down. Bradham tracked him down before he could get the first.
On another play, Hicks read Griffin’s eyes and came off of coverage on the slant to blow up the running back as he caught the ball in the flat. The screen pass will be a way that offenses will attack the Eagles aggressive defense.
Diagnosing the play and making the tackle in the open field is exactly what Hicks needed to do to force the Browns to punt.
The Eagles trust their corners to cover on an island. It is a trademark of Schwartz’s defense. Fortunately for the Eagles, Rodney McLeod (above) is playing centerfield and is able to help out with coverage over the top.
Jenkins will give the Eagles an added defender in the box. Schwartz sent Jenkins on a safety blitz early in the game, and he forced a rushed throw by Griffin resulting in an incompletion.
Jenkins covered the slot receivers frequently and was matched up with Gary Barnidge as well. Barnidge was targeted a few times but could not register a single reception.
The Eagles defense will be tested next week when they face Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears offense on Monday Night Football.