As many of you people on here know I love the Offensive and Defensive line. I probably spent as much time watching McGlynn and Herremans wreck people on screen plays as I did McCoy actually running the ball. I also spend more time watching the DL than anything else on defense, nothing compares to a Sack to me, it's the best way to get in a QB's head.
Now, I'm going to go over our DL, I've wanted to do this for a few days now and I think this is the time to do so.
When you talk about our defensive line you need to talk about the system and philosophy:
The Eagles will be running more of a 1 gap system, the DE's will be in the 9 technique. This is what Washburn does, he wants his players to focus on 1 gap and get through it and "stir the pot" as I say. He wants as much havoc as possible...
In the 1 gap system it's basically just that, you have to worry about that 1 gap. This primarily has to do with the DT's, in the past we ran a 2 gap system which is why Patterson and Bunkley never really collapsed the pocket or got a ton of penetration, they had to watch both gaps for a run play. So a major difference now is that the DT's just have to control 1 gap and get through it, which means the DT's will be collapsing the pocket and will be getting lots of penetration. Another major difference is that in the 1 gap it's more pass first oriented, meaning they pass rush and if it's a run you make the tackle, in the 2 gap it's more of a run first then attack the QB type of system.
The 9 tech... This makes me happy, this is the ideal system for guys like Cole, Babin and Tapp. Basically our DE's will line up roughly a yard outside of the last OLman. All they will have to do is go get the QB, that's it, attack. If it's not a pass they just make the tackle but for the most part they have no containment responsibilities and are pass rushers first. For the 9 tech you need undersized speed guys, Cole is example one of this.
Now this is all fine and dandy, but you also need to look at how Washburn does things. He wants his players relentlessly attacking the QB, all 4 guys beating the shit out of the man across from them and getting to the QB. He demands 1000% on every play and he realizes that he cannot demand something like that for the entirety of a game so he rotates players in and out. Watching the Titans DL over the years, he pretty much plays a guy till he's gassed then replaces him with the 2nd string guy, once the starter is ready to go he's right back in. This allows for the DLman to go all out every play and keep coming. In the trenches it's a battle of attrition, and we're sending wave after wave at them.
The Players and my predictions:
Trent Cole: Cole's going to be a force in this system. He's the ideal fit for this. He's relentless, he's got a high motor (Bring it EvilBanner), and he's a sack artist. Cole is probably the one guy I don't see Washburn taking out of the game, he's to much of a difference maker to take out and Cole being the defensive leader means he stays on the field.. He routinely beat LT's for years using his speed from a 5 or 7 tech, now that we're allowing him to do so when he doesn't have to engage a LT it's going to be something amazing. My prediction is that Cole will have 13 sacks.
Jason Babin: Babin's going to be another guy teams have to watch out for. He's finally found a system where he lives up to expectations and he played very well in it last season under Washburn. Don't go all wild and expect 12 sacks from him this season, that's insane to do and with Cole opposite of him there's no way he get 10. Don't get be wrong I'd love for him to have 10 sacks so don't blast me. Babin's going to have a good year and he's going to get pressure on the QB and that is what we need... My prediction is that Babin will have 5 sacks.
Darryl Tapp: Boy am I excited about Tapp in this system. For some reason I see Tapp having a big year for us. I see him as the primary sub in for both Cole and Babin and honestly I see him splitting time with Babin by the end of the season. Tapp seemed to be in the right place at the right time whenever the Eagles needed something last season and it's not to far fetched to think he will be again. Tapp generated a lot of pressure when he did play, and I feel he'll do so in the wide 9 where he is just free to rush the QB... My prediction is that Tapp will have 7 sacks.
Te'o: Te'o is another player I'm cautiously excited about. Watching is college tape he's a guy who can get after the QB and worked well when he could like up wide and use his quickness to get the the QB. The thing I don't like is that he doesn't have to many moves in his arsenal but in Washburns system when he lines up in the 9 tech that'll help cover that flaw up a little bit... My prediction is that Te'o will have 2 sacks.
Cullen Jenkins: At first I was pissed at this because I mistook him for his brother... Once I straightened that out I was really happy. Jenkins had 8 sacks in 11 games last season. Jenkins being older doesn't scare me because when he plays he goes all out and simply can dominate a game when he gets on a roll. That being said he needs to be used in a rotation in order to maximize his potential.. My prediction is that Jenkins will have 4 sacks.
Trevor Laws: Laws is going to be very exciting to watch. This system is exactly what Laws fits into. Laws was our best pass rushing DT last season and generated a ton of pressure, now that he can focus on just getting to the QB he'll be even better. Still I see him splitting time with the other 3 guys in order to keep him fresh. But I think by the end of the season Laws will be our best inside rusher.. My prediction is that Laws will have 6 sacks.
Antonio Dixon: Dixon in my opinion has Haynesworth potential. He's big, he's strong, he blows people off the line. He's our hidden gem. I'm hoping that under Washburn he can be 1/2 the player Haynesworth is/was and twice the teammate. Still I don't think Dixon's going to have sexy sack totals but he sure as hell can collapse that pocket and force the QB into one of the other 3... My prediction is that Dixon will have 2 sacks.
Mike Patterson: First off let's all keep big Mike in your prayers (if you pray) and lets hope he makes a safe and full recovery. Secondly this is assuming he can play this season... Big Mike is going to be similar to Dixon, he's going to collapse the pocket and force the QB out towards one of the other rabid dogs. And this is a very important role, albeit not a sexy one, but it's needed and he'll do it well.. My prediction is that Mike will have 3 sacks.
What! You predict our DL will have 42 sacks! Are you crazy?!?!?!
Yes, I am predicting 42 sacks.. Last season the Eagles had 39 sacks, and just for a reference the Titans had 40.. 42 is right on the money for our DL. And I know you're going to mention the LB's and DB blitzes and I'll tell you we only had 4 sacks from our LB's last season and only 3 sacks from our DB's.
And I leave you my friends with this.
"Only 7% of drives that contain sacks end in TDs".
This was a statistic from last season.. This is why the Battle in the Trenches is so important. Sacks end drives.