Eagles’ defense aims to disrupt opposition

Returning defensive veterans DeMeco Ryans, Trent Cole and Connor Barwin have high expectations. Credit: Getty Images Returning defensive veterans DeMeco Ryans, Trent Cole andConnor Barwin have high expectations. Credit: Getty Images

The Eagles offense is going to score points.

And Billy Davis thinks his defense will help keep the offense on the field.

One key way to make a big impact defensively is to get to the quarterback and post sacks, a statistical category lacking for the Eagles in recent years.

With talented linebackers and defensive ends like Trent Cole, Brandon Graham, Connor Barwin and others, Davis thinks they could collect a bevy of sacks by committee.

“I want the defensive unit to disrupt the timing and rhythm of that quarterback and hit him as often as we can,” Eagles’ defensive coordinator Davis said. “Who it comes from, I think we’ve got a lot of guys that have the skill set that they can get it done.”

The Eagles collected just 37 sacks last season, 20th most in the league. And in seven of 16 games, the team had one sack or fewer.

Philly addressed this concern with their first draft choice, taking Louisville’s Marcus Smith.

Smith has been solid in camp, though he isn’t expected to make an impact as a playmaker right off the bat.

Even so, Smith has some tough and knowledgeableveterans to learn from. And according to Davis, another year together has done the pass-rushing unit well.

“They all understand the defense better this year,” Davis said. “I think they will play a little faster and a little more reckless in their pass rush because they understand a lot more specifically. It’s comfortable to them now. I don’t think a year ago early in the season it was comfortable. Now they know they know. They know what their responsibility is. So I anticipate the group as a whole will be better individually and collectively in rushing the passer.

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