After two weeks of Josh Allen in 40mph wind gusts and Mitch Trubisky in... well, he’s Mitch Trubisky... the Philadelphia Eagles’ defense is about to experience a severe spike in difficulty over the next two weeks. First up is one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the game.
While the seemingly ageless Tom Brady is enjoying a solid season and an 8-1 start, it hasn’t all been perfect. If you’re looking at a game for a blueprint, you can point to Week 4 against the Buffalo Bills. The Bills’ defense was able to cast a dark cloud of confusion over not only Tom Brady, but his receiving options as well. With so many routes predicated on what the defense is doing, disconnecting the WiFi between Brady and his receivers was they key to shutting down the passing attack.
The Bills did this by disguising their coverage shells pre-snap before deftly rotating into their actual assignments. Unfortunately, this is not a particular strength of the Eagles, who often let terms be dictated to them in how they predictably check to coverages against motions and shifts. Given the Patriots propensity for giving Brady information before the snap via alignment and motion, the outlook for the Eagles from a coverage standpoint looks grim.
The search for answers leads us to the pass rush. It’s not enough to just pressure Brady, who is adept at subtly moving up into the pocket. The Eagles will need to create quick interior pressure to force Brady off the spot and disrupt the timing with his receivers. Fletcher Cox will play a big role in this, and as we fully know kicking Brandon Graham inside for one-on-one match-ups with guards has been a formula for success in recent and distant history.
Currently Brady ranks 27th out of 30th in QB Rating while pressured (47.9), a far cry from his league leading 95.8 rating in 2017. That pressure will mean nothing for the Eagles if it’s not working in conjunction with their coverage. Despite being Jim Schwartz’s bête noire, he’s shown a willingness to press more in recent weeks which is something that may allow more time for the pass rush to hit home.
Per Pro Football Focus, Brady has only faced pressure 30% of the time (5th best), thanks to his lightning fast release times (2.45, 4th). That’s more bad news for a defense that has seen most of their success come against much less decisive quarterbacks.
We dig more into Tom Brady’s game along with breaking down Carson Wentz’s performance against the Chicago Bears on The QB Scho Show #40! Listen on the media player below or click here if the player doesn’t load. New to podcasts?! Check out our guide on how to listen to BGN! FLY EAGLES FLY!