Philadelphia Eagles News

Deep D-Line Already Wreaking Havoc

In a 24-23 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Eagles' defensive line stopped the run and pressured the quarterback all night long.

"One thing we always stress in our room is getting after the quarterback, and I think the defensive line as a whole did a real good job of that," defensive tackle Fletcher Cox said.

The Steelers' rushing attack gained only 131 yards on 39 rushes (3.4 yards per carry), 33 of which came on one run, while all three of the Steelers' quarterbacks were sacked multiple times.

Playing without Pro Bowl defensive ends Jason Babin and Trent Cole because of injury, the depth of the D-line came through.

"We're trying to make a statement every week," said defensive tackle Derek Landri, who had two tackles for loss. "This was no different. We run a rotation as it is. We consider everybody a starter in essence, so with (Cole) and (Babin) down, the next two starters are in and make plays."

"I saw some bright stars there, and I saw what the defensive line is supposed to look like," Cole said. "I think it's only going to get better from here on out."

"I thought we were playing on the other side of the ball," head coach Andy Reid said. "There are times when you have to react to the screens and the draws and get off the blocks, and we can do that a little bit better. But there were just some good things in there by the young players."

Rookie second-round pick defensive end Vinny Curry led the team with five tackles, including three tackles for loss.

Meanwhile, defensive end Phillip Hunt had two sacks and a forced fumble while finishing with four total tackles.

"Phillip Hunt stood out," Cole said. "I liked how he rushed the pass. That's just great what he did, applying pressure."

"You can work hard as a pass rusher all night long and not come out with a sack, but I think the opportunity presented itself and I just took advantage of it," Hunt said. "It was fun getting that experience to take down (Ben) Roethlisberger, and I look forward to doing that in the future."

The Eagles and the Steelers will meet in the regular season on October 7.

Defensive tackle Cedric Thornton and defensive end Brandon Graham each contributed with a sack of their own as part of a seven-sack night for the Eagles defense.

Graham loves the depth and competition on the defensive line.

"Yeah, everybody is looking for that job and I love it," Graham said. "It's the competition out there and everybody is working hard. Basically, shoot, the sky is the limit for anybody on this team because everybody looks good. We'll see on film what we need to correct, but I feel like overall we got the job done tonight.

"The effort was there. Everybody was getting off the rock and doing everything we did in practice. We looked good."

After pacing the team with 46 sacks as a unit last season, the Eagles' defensive line already looks as if it's in midseason form.

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