Every Sunday last season the Eagles defensive line put up numbers that terrified the rest of the league such as a league high high 50 sacks. Trent Cole and Jason Babin created a tandem unseen since Michael Strahan and Justin Tuck stalked the streets of New York during their superbowl run in '07. The Giant's defensive line in '07 put up 53 sacks which led the league. One of the Eagles line's main reasons of success has one name the wide-9. The wide-9 is a scheme put in place by D-line coach Jim Washburn. In this scheme the linemen spread apart with the to DEs two or three feet away from the tackles. This creates fits for opposing lineman because of the speed that our guys have to get around them. You may think then, "Why doesn't every team do this?". Well the thing is about the scheme is that when you have weak linebackers, runningbacks are going to have at least a couple highlight plays shown on Sportscenter the next morning. This fuels the critics that say it is pointless when you have linebackers that are insufficient against the run. Some people even go as far as saying that the scheme is pointless to begin with. However, the numbers show how successful the scheme really is.
In the 13 years Jim Washburn has used the wide-9 his teams have only left the top 10 in sacks 4 times (most early in his career). Numbers also show that his team only left the the top 10 against the rush five times. That shows that the wide-9 was not responsible for our teams problems against the run. It was our poor tackling skills and linebacker play that made our team horrible when playing the rush. That leads me to conclude that our upgrading at the linebacker positions will increase the effectiveness of the wide-9. Now with the predicted better play at linebacker and lineman in place that know their jobs we should keep this scheme, right? Yes, well at least until the reighn of Jim Washburn is over. Even though our tandem Trent Cole and Jason Babin are not going to be around we have the the tools and young talent to keep this system going for a real long time. I just hope one day it takes us to the superbowl..one day.
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