The Philadelphia Eagles are coming off their most dominant victory of the season, besting the Detroit Lions 44-6. A lot has been made about how the Eagles dominated on the ground offensively, but their defensive effort was just as strong.
In particularly, the defensive line had their best outing of the season. Javon Hargrave, Josh Sweat and the crew tallied 21 pressures on Jared Goff and sacked him a total of six times. Ryan Kerrigan led the way with five pressures, followed by Sweat with four pressures and two sacks.
They also showed out against the run, holding Detroit to just 3.2 yards per carry on the day.
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Looking at this week’s matchup against a dynamic offense in Los Angeles, there are very few weak links Jonathan Gannon can exploit. With the exception of the right side of their offensive line.
The left side of their line is stout — each starter has posted a PFF overall grade over 75.0 and have placed inside the top-10 at their respective positions. The right side is a different story. Starting right guard Michael Schofield has been average in both run blocking and pass blocking this season, posting a run-block grade 63.4 and a pass-block grade of 66.4.
In his pass sets, Schofield has surrendered four pressures, two hurries, one quarterback hit and one sack on 138 pass blocking snaps. The real weakness on the right side of LA’s offensive line, however, has been right tackle Storm Norton.
His overall PFF grade of 47.1 ranks him 76th out of 79 qualifying offensive tackles this season. Norton’s 36.5 pass-block grade ranks him 77th, and his run-block grade (56.7) ranks him 62nd. Last week against New England, Norton was completely manhandled by Matthew Judon. The Patriot pass rusher accounted for nine pressures, 1.5 sacks, and posted a pass-rush win rate of 24.2%. Norton conceded seven of those pressures — the Chargers only allowed 13 total pressures on the day. His overall pass-blocking grade for the day came out to 26.6, with Schofield coming in right behind him at 47.1.
If Gannon wants to get consistent pressure on Justin Herbert, he’s going to need to target the right side of LA’s offensive line. Whether it’s running stunts on that side or sending the occasional extra pass rusher, this is where Gannon can exploit one of the Chargers’ few offensive short comings.
The Eagles defensive line has underwhelmed for much of the year, only putting together 2-3 solid performances. This week, maybe more so than any thus far, the defensive line needs to live up to their potential. Not only because it’ll obviously help them win the game — on paper, there’s no reason they shouldn’t be able to dominate the line of scrimmage for a second straight week.
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