Can Eagles get pass rush going vs. Vikings? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
One game, one sack.
More of the same or just a product of facing a quarterback who unloads the ball quickly?
Brandon Graham said this week it’s a mistake to judge the Eagles’ pass rush on the one sack they recorded against the Lions Sunday.
“The stat line, we only got one, but it’s like, when you look at the game, you watch (Josh) Sweaty, Sweaty won his 1-on-1’s, nobody’s ever counting the seconds that it’s getting out, how fast the ball’s getting out,” Graham said.
“We knew going in (Jared) Goff gets rid of the ball quickly, it’s more about just staying focused, staying with it, don’t listen to the noise, ‘Oh, you guys aren’t generating pressure.’
“Because people don’t watch the film and it doesn’t tell the whole whole tale, they just look at the stat line and it says zero or one and it’s like, ‘Oh, them guys didn’t do this,’ but nobody ever takes into account how fast the ball’s getting out, too.”
But after the Eagles managed just 29 sacks last year – matching their fewest ever since sacks became an official stat in 1982 – it’s fair to wonder if they’ve really fixed their pass-rush issues.
And Kirk Cousins, who leads the Vikings into the Linc Monday night, also likes to get rid of the ball quickly.
“I don’t have any level of concern there,” Nick Sirianni said. “I have a lot of confidence in these guys, a lot of confidence in the coaches that coach these guys and a lot of confidence in (Jonathan) Gannon that we’ll get to the quarterback.
“That’s something that we know we need to do, to affect the quarterback, to affect him and get him off his timing and off his rhythm, and I have a lot of faith in these guys. I’ve got so much confidence in that defensive line group.”
Most concerning was Haason Reddick’s zero pressures and zero hurries in his first game as an Eagle.
“There were a couple things I saw after the game that I wish I would have seen during the game, but now that I know what those things are, I can focus on that and it’ll open up a lot of things for me,” the former Temple Owl said.
“That’s all I gotta do. Just do what I didn’t do last week and everything will be OK.”
The Eagles lost former 1st-round pick Derek Barnett for the season with a torn ACL, and while he’s had a disappointing career – 21 ½ sacks since he was drafted 14th overall in 2017 – the Eagles will have to find a way to fill his reps.
Tarron Jackson, who was inactive last week, is expected to take Barnett’s reps Monday night. The Eagles also added former 4th-round pick Janarius Robinson this past week.
But if they’re going to finally generate some edge pressure, it’s most likely going to have to come from Sweat, Graham and Reddick.
The Eagles go into Monday night with a streak of 10 straight games with three or fewer sacks. That’s third-longest in franchise history behind a 15-game streak in 2012 – Andy Reid’s last season – and an 11-game streak in 1999 – Reid’s first season.
“Just keep working, just keep working,” Reddick said. “It’s Week 1. Nobody should be alarmed about anything in Week 1. It’s Week 1, it’s the first real action, and there’s a lot of things that go into it.
“You can tell how good a team is by what they correct from Week 1 to Week 2 and right now all we’re focusing on is being better than we were last week and fixing the things we did wrong last week.”
If Sirianni is concerned, he’s not letting on.
“How they played that game was the ball was coming out fast, they maxed us up a couple times, so when you see that, you kind of adjust a little bit,” he said.
“I was happy where (pass rush) was, and we want to continue to improve that part of our game, too.”
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