TAMPA, FL -- Yes, the defensive line was impacted by the change to a more traditional front instead of the proficient use of the Wide-9 technique.
However, the decision had a domino effect on the rest of the defense. Following Sunday's 23-21 thrilling win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, strong safety Nate Allen explained how much the defensive line change helped the back seven. It was a significant one, Allen explained, especially in the run game.
"It was a lot different. As far as run fits, it kind of took a little pressure off of us back there as safeties," said Allen, who had five tackles on defense and two more on special teams. "It gives us time to see things as far as play-action fakes. You can just be patient with everything. That helps a lot because they were trying to hit us with the play-action and go over the top. I think we did a great job with that."
The Eagles have been plagued by breakdowns in pass coverage for most of the season. The stress that the Wide-9 technique placed on the safeties forced them to be out of position on pass plays. Opposing quarterbacks had been putting up record numbers against the Eagles.
In the previous six games, opposing quarterbacks had 16 touchdowns against zero interceptions. In those games, quarterbacks completed at least 64 percent of their pass attempts in each game. On Sunday, Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman completed just 14 of his 34 pass attempts for 189 yards and two touchdowns for a 79.2 passer rating.
The Eagles did allow an individual to rush for 100 yards for the first time in a game this season, as Buccaneers running back Doug Martin gained 128 yards on the ground. But the ability to keep Freeman in check paid off for the Eagles and allowed them to get the win.
"Everyone was on the same page. Communication was good," Allen said. "It was a solid day for us. You have to keep pushing and keep playing."
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