The Philadelphia Eagles defense is well known for their wide-9 defensive front and their ability to get after the quarterback, but so far this season the defense has managed only 7 sacks through their four games as offenses have been chipping the Eagles defensive ends more than in the past.
“Oh shoot, we got extra attention,” said Eagles defensive end Trent Cole via Philly.com. “We got extra attention the past three games. This year is just totally different. I’ve been playing for eight years, and I’ve never gotten chipped like that. Either the tight end was hitting you, or the back was hitting you, and then when you get off that you’ve got to fight the tackle. He gets on you after you get chipped, and then you have to fight the guard, too. All we can do is keep fighting."
While the Eagles have registered 7 sacks as a team, their defensive ends only have 4.5 of them through 4 games. Left defensive end Jason Babin has been credited with 2.5 sacks so far, while Cole, the right defensive end has 1.5. Darryl Tapp, who rotates in mostly on the right side to spell Cole, has only a half a sack to his credit.
With all of the successful attention that the Eagles defensive ends have received so far this season, you can bet the Steelers will follow the same plan heading into the game Sunday. That means you can expect running backs Rashard Mendenhall, Isaac Redman and Baron Batch to all get their chips in on passing downs if they do not have a blitz to pick up. In addition, tight end Heath Miller also will help in this area.
While the Eagles could blitz more off of the edges to help fight against their ends being chipped, they really would be vulnerable to a big play should Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger recognize it pre snap.
“I prefer not to get chipped, but that’s wishful thinking," Babin said after the Eagles Sunday night win over the New York Giants. "That’s probably not going to happen for the rest of my time.”
I am not sure about the rest of the time, but Babin certainly can expect a ton of chipping Sunday at Heinz Field.