No Run Zone
Going into the 2019 season, the Eagles were looked at as having one of the best and deepest defensive lines in the entire league. However, there have been many injuries to key players on that line including Malik Jackson and Tim Jernigan. These were seen as massive hits to the team and it would be easy to assume teams could run all over them. Clearly this isn’t the case.
The Eagles have let up 248 rushing yards through four games this season, and they have shut down the lead backs of each team they have played. Clearly they have done something right. I want to take a deeper look at why the Eagles have been so successful at stopping the run.
One thing that has been helping with stopping the run has been the great play by the defensive ends, Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett. There have been plenty of plays where either one or both have blown past the line to create a loss of yards or just not let the play develop into any meaningful yards. They may have not got to the QB much this year, but they surely don’t let the RB make any plays.
Another big factor has been the uptick in blitzes called by Jim Schwartz this year. This is the most blitzes that Schwartz has called so far in a season since he started with the Eagles. With their clear deficiencies at corner, they are trying to create more pressure on the opposing offense by sending more bodies than a team can block. These blitzes are tough against the run and can blow up a play before it can even start.
The final reason I see behind this is plain and simple. This team team is built and play calling is designed to make teams pass. The whole defense is designed to put pressure on the QB and make them force the ball and make mistakes. A side effect of this is that teams have a real issue on trying to make space to move the ball on the ground. As long as Schwartz is here, teams will continue to throw the ball and have some success in that part of the game, but they will have issues running the ball against this stout run defense.