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The Jim Washburn Effect: More Sacks!

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The Jim Washburn Effect: More Sacks!

Getty Images

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 30: Quarterback Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys is sacked by Trent Cole #58 of the Philadelphia Eagles as teammates Mike Patterson #98 and Cullen Jenkins #97 look on during a game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 30, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Cowboys 34-7. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Yesterday, I detailed how Jim Washburn’s coaching resurrected Jason Babin’s career and turned him into a sack machine. But what about other players? How is Washburn and the wide nine formation treating veteran Eagles defensive linemen?

That’s the question I set out to answer, using Pro Football Focus’s great stats. Below is a table calculated based on snap counts and pressure data compiled in 2010 and 2011 for Eagles linemen who have played in both Washburn’s system and Sean McDermott’s.

Jim Washburn Philadelphia Eagles DL

The first column shows change (Δ) in frequency of pass rushes per snap the player is in the game. There are some interesting trends there alone.

Mike Patterson used to be a largely first and second down defensive tackle, but he’s now getting the chance to rush the passer more. The opposite appears to be true for Trevor Laws. Meanwhile, Washburn has smartly eliminated Trent Cole’s occasional coverage responsibilities in 2010.

So, once these players are going for the quarterback, how are they doing? There are clearly some winners and some losers.

Patterson, Cole, and Darryl Tapp are all way up in total pressure per rush (sacks, hits, pressures). Antonio Dixon was too, before his season-ending injury. Juqua Parker seemed like he’d be a good fit for Washburn’s scheme, especially because Babin’s addition would keep him fresh. But that hasn’t happened at all. As for Laws, the numbers don’t match up with my anecdotal memory of his solid performance.

Overall, it’s clear that Washburn and the addition of successful free agents is having a big, positive effect on the Eagles pass rushers. You probably already knew that, but now at least you have the stats to back it up.

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