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Eagles Stuffing The Run Up The Middle

If there's one thing the Eagles have proven on defense so far this season, it's that opposing teams simply cannot run the ball up the middle with any kind of success.

The Eagles currently rank fourth in the league at defending the run up the middle, surrendering a paltry 2.7 yards per carry.

The overall run defense has been exemplary as well. They Eagles have yet to allow a rusher to gain 100 yards on the ground, and the most rushing yards by a single player against the Eagles in their three victories was the 40 yards by Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Johnson.

Why has the Eagles run defense been so stout?

It all starts "with our tackles up front," said defensive coordinator Sean McDermott. "Our tackles do a great job. Not only (Brodrick) Bunkley and (Mike) Patterson, but also (Antonio) Dixon and Trevor Laws inside. We've got a nice rotation going in and each of them provides a different skill set, (each of them) brings different tools to the table.

"It all starts with those two pillars up front."

The two mainstays at defensive tackle, Patterson and Bunkley, have been playing alongside each other for four years now.

"We feel pretty good with each other," Patterson said of the tandem. "We understand each other.

"It's real big to have someone that's been here as long as you and can understand the scheme, and you know how to work with him."

But Patterson and the rest of the beefy defensive line are not going to rest on the performance in only four games. The Eagles fortified their run defense when they brought in middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter, and they will be challenged over the next several weeks by teams that are run-dominant.

"Every week's a different week," Patterson said. "So we know that as the season goes on, the battle is going to get a lot tougher."

-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 11:04 a.m., October 16

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