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Eagles: Pressure key for the D

PFF-headlinesAs witnessed in their dominating performance Monday night against the Panthers, the Eagles’ pass rush has been a key element in the team’s successful 2014 season.

As a team, they have a +31.3 pass rush grade on the year, good for third in the NFL. There were only two games this season where the defense did not grade out positively rushing the passer (Week 2 vs. Indianapolis and Week 3 vs. Washington).

Leading the way for this fierce defense is usual suspect Trent Cole. Cole leads the team with a +14.0 pass rush grade and 10 quarterback hits. Bookend Connor Barwin has really stepped up his game as of late as well, earning  a +8.1 pass rush grade in his last four contests.

It’s not just the notable names contributing for the Eagles: Brandon Graham leads all 3-4 outside linebackers with a 19.7 Pass Rush Productivity (PRP). Vinny Curry has 21 total pressures in just 175 pass rushing snaps, good for a 9.7 PRP (third-best among 3-4 ends). Despite missing four games with a calf injury, Mychal Kendricks' +6.4 pass rush grade leads all inside linebackers by a wide margin.

Philadelphia’s pass rush success is clearly a team effort, and it begins with defensive coordinator Bill Davis. Davis’ unit will face tougher tests in the coming weeks however. With the Packers, Cowboys (twice) and Giants in the final portion of the schedule,they’ll be facing teams that rank in the Top 8 for total pass blocking grades.

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