THE 12: #2 - THE CHANGING OF THE GUARD
LAST year we gave away 48 sacks. That’s an average of 3 per game with no official number on how many additional hits our passers absorbed. Michael Vick was sacked once every 13.53 dropbacks. Nick Foles once every 14.25. As a team the Eagles allowed a sack once every 13.87 dropbacks. Even the RAIDERS only allowed one every 24.29.
By contrast Matt Ryan was sacked only once every 22.96 times.
Tom Brady every 24.74.
Drew Brees every 26.76
Peyton Manning every 29.0
Injuries played a big role in what happened to us last year but blaming injuries alone obscures deeper underlying deficiencies in the kind of talent on this roster. Jason Peters was a blow, but it came with enough time to regroup and sign Demetress Bell who bombed horribly. It’s also time to close the book on the King Dunlap experiment. Todd Heremanns is an able pass protector on Vick’s blindside, but he doesn’t offer much in the way of run blocking due to lower leg issues in recent years. Evan Mathis, Danny Watkins, and Jason Kelce would be nice reserve players, but they form an interior that won’t scare some college teams.
We need to upgrade.
Weeks 1-3 there was a big deal made of the fact that the Eagles weren’t giving up sacks to Defensive Linemen. Sounds good unless you actually watched those games and saw how many passes came off of Vick’s back foot, as he faded back against constant pressure. Also, Linebackers and Safeties were teeing off on our passers. You cannot establish a rhythm and run an offense successfully that way.
Before I get too stuck on the pass, let’s look at the run:
Year Yards Average TD’s 20yd runs 40yd runs
2011 2,276 5.1 20 20 3
2012 1,874 4.5 3 14 2
EVERY single category across the board took a hit.
In 2012 the Offensive Line’s play led to 2 injured QB’s and lower production from LeSean McCoy. If pass protection and short yardage situations weren’t also an issue in 2011, we could chalk 2012 up to an aberration due to injury, and just say bring on 2013. Unfortunately doing that would be deluding ourselves.
We have OT’s. Maybe not long term, but we have them this year. Also Danny Watkins played LT in college, so maybe a position change will help him. Where we need to be better is in the middle of the line. If we use our first 2 picks on the Secondary then the first chance we get to grab a G will be in the 3rd, unless we jump first and try to land a Free Agent like Buffalo’s Andy Levitre.
Better still, we could grab Minnesota’s Phil Loadholt and (wisely) convert him from RT to RG. Personally I’m a fan of that move because it gives LeSean McCoy one of the major weapons that helped build and maintain Adrian Peterson, and it saves that 3rd round pick. I don’t know about you, but I’d love to have a massive, mauler at G for the first time since I became an Eagles fan (1989). With Chip Kelly saying that his offense would be based off the run, I can’t think of a better solution inside.
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