Jason Babin is just a hair off the pace to tie Reggie White’s record for most single-season sacks (21) as an Eagle. That’s crazy, especially because it was less than two years ago that the career journeyman was kicked to the street by the same Eagles team he now stars on.
I would say that the 31-year-old’s career was revived in Tennessee, but that would be inaccurate. “Revived” suggests that he returned to a former glory, one that never existed. At age 30, Babin signed a one-year deal with the Titans. It was his fifth team in six seasons. After the Texans drafted him in the first round and immediately slotted him into the lineup, Babin only started 10 games over the next five years.
And then came defensive line coach Jim Washburn. Below are the sacks per pass rush and total pressure (sacks + hits + pressures) per pass rush stats, courtesy of Pro Football Focus:
What a huge jump from 2009 to 2010. Babin got pressure and sacks 50 percent more in Washburn's Wide 9 formation than he did the previous season in Sean McDermott’s more typical 4-3 scheme. And that’s despite more playing time on run downs.
I was worried that Babin’s 2010 performance was a fluke, but his numbers have only gone up since returning to the Birds. His overall pressure per rush figure is similar, but he’s actually getting more sacks -- another 50 percent bump. Maybe that’s luck, but maybe not. Considering his only two games without sacks came while Trent Cole was injured, it isn’t much of a leap to suggest that his opportunities are increasing with a fellow Pro Bowler coming at the quarterback.