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Why Russell Wilson Was Able To Scrammble and DL Analysis vs Seattle

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The tale of the story for the Philadelphia Eagles defense that gave up 24 points, was time of possession as the Seattle Seahawks had the ball for 41:56 minutes.  The two biggest problems that hurt the Eagles was the inability to get off the field on 3rd down and giving up big plays which they lead the league in. The defense gave up 9 plays of 20+ yards. The Eagles run defense did a good job keeping Marshawn Lynch in check holding him 86 yards on 22 carries (one was for 21 yards). However, they were unable to keep Russell Wilson contained who scrambled for what seemed an eternity to find receivers down the field. He was also able to pick up 48 yards on the ground on 10 carries.

Why Russell Wilson was able to scramble early in the game…

In the first half, Defensive Coordinator Billy Davis used outside linebackers Connor Barwin and Trent Cole in coverage and rushed 3 lineman (image 1).  In image 2 you see Russell Wilson having time to scramble with his 5 offensive lineman blocking 3 defensive lineman. Russell Wilson does a good job of keeping his eyes down the field while running around and in image 3 he completes the pass to wide receiver Paul Richardson for a first down who is covered by Trent Cole. You can’t rush 3 defensive lineman on Russell Wilson and think that your coverage can hold up down the field after 7 seconds.

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Play 2…

The Seahawks are setting up a screen to running back Marshawn Lynch.  Billy Davis rushes 3 down lineman and uses outside linebackers Barwin and Brandon Graham in coverage (image 2a below). Image 2b shows Bennie Logan reading the play and picking up Marshawn Lynch which leaves 2 defensive lineman to contain Russell Wilson. Wilson has plenty of room to find a receiver down the field but because the coverage holds up. However, Wilson is able to find additional time when Fletcher Cox falls on the ground. Even though Wilson has room to pick up yards on the ground he keeps his eyes down the field and finds Doug Baldwin when coverage breaks down (image 2d).

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Adjustment on Wilson…

Defensive Coordinator, Billy Davis uses his outside linebackers to get a rush while using the most athletic player on the defense Mychal Kendricks to spy Wilson (image 1).  In image 2 the Eagles close the gap on Russell Wilson while putting themselves in position to keep Wilson contained with Kendricks in position to run Wilson down. The result of the play was Wilson throwing the ball out of bounds.

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Fletcher Cox (DE)

Fletcher Cox is making a late season push to become an All-Pro. Cox may have played his best game as a professional against the Seahawks. The Seahawks were unable to block Cox and single handily disrupted the run. He led the team with 11 tackles.  Cox has done a great job up learning how to play the 2 gap system of the 3-4 defense.

How to play DE in a 3-4…

The key to playing both gaps as the defensive end is getting your hands extended as you get penetration up field.  This gives you leverage to shed the offensive lineman to either side to make a play in your responsible gap. In the first play below, Cox gets penetration up field while keeping his hands extended putting himself to play either gap (red lines image 1). Image 2 shows Cox getting off the block to the right and making the tackle on Marshawn Lynch in the backfield.

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Play 2… Cox is able to get a good penetration off the snap of the ball. Image 2a shows Cox getting his hands extended putting himself in position to play the run to the right. In image 2b Cox sheds the block and makes the tackle on the running back for a 2 yard loss.

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Cedric Thornton (DE)

Cedric Thornton made one tackle for a loss but outside of that he was ineffective. Thornton must get better at using his hands as we showed in Fletcher Cox. He spent too much time on the ground against the Seahawks.  In image 1 he allows the offensive lineman to cut him instead of using his hands (see Logan below for correct technique).  Image 2 Russell Wilson is able to get outside to make a 20 yard completion down the field because Thornton ends up on the ground and gives up contain.



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Bennie Logan (NT)

Bennie Logan had a solid performance. He finished with 4 tackles in the game. Logan did a great job of fighting off double teams most of the night. In the play below, Seattle’s center attempts to cut Bennie Logan who is being blocked by the right guard (image 1). In image 2, because he keeps his hands extended and moves his feet he is able to stay up right leaving the center on the ground. Image 3 shows Logan fighting off the double team and the attempted cut block to make the tackle at the line of scrimmage.


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