Philadelphia Eagles' Defensive Line Woes: An Anomaly or a Trend?

Matt Schreiber@@schreiberstakeAnalyst IIINovember 2, 2012

Sept. 23, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Philadelphia Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans (59) and defensive end Jason Babin (93) during the game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Eagles 27 - 6. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE
Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE

We are now eight weeks into the 2012 NFL season and the Philadelphia Eagles rank 31st in the league with only nine sacks. How is that even possible when you have guys like Jason Babin, Trent Cole, Cullen Jenkins, and first-round pick Fletcher Cox on the line? Not to mention they went out and acquired DeMeco Ryans from the Texans.

I understand they had some issues with their ex-defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, but there is no excuse for this type of talent to be under performing. 

Last season, without a presence like Ryans at the linebacker position, the Eagles racked up 50 sacks. This was tied for first in the league with the Vikings. At the rate they are going, Philly won't achieve half the number of sacks they put up last year. 

Let's just look at the numbers:

Jason Babin: Third in the NFL in 2011 with 18 sacks. Through eight weeks of 2012, he has three.

Trent Cole: Tied for 11th in the NFL in 2011 with 11 sacks. Through eight weeks of 2012, he has two.

Now, up until Sunday when they were able to get to Matt Ryan twice, they went three games in a row without getting a sack. The last time the defense had previously gotten to the quarterback was in week 3 against Arizona, a unit which has given up 11 more sacks than any team in the league (39).

I am cautiously optimistic that the "players only meeting" the Eagles put together yesterday will help awaken the defense and get them back to their usual form. Only time will tell though.