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Eagles’ defense shines in win over Panthers

Eagles’ defense shines in win over Panthers

Nike Panthers #1 Cam Newton Black Team Color Men's Stitched NFL Elite Drift Fashion Jersey
Nike Panthers #1 Cam Newton Black Team Color Men’s Stitched NFL Elite Drift Fashion Jersey

The Carolina Panthers cloak their offense in various distracting shifts and position changes in order to protect quarterback Cam Newton and throw off opposing defenses. On Thursday night in a loss to the Eagles, a game in which Newton threw three interceptions, took two sacks and got hit 10 times, Philadelphia was able to see right through it.

“It’s hard to focus on him because they do so many things with the football,” Fletcher Cox told the team’s official site. “But I think we did a pretty good job on a short week preparing for a very creative running game. We were physical up front.”

The secret is not over-complicating things. Like the Broncos did in Super Bowl 50, the Eagles pinned their collective ears back and went after the Panthers’ QB. According to Next Gen Stats, Newton was pressured on almost half of his snaps — and on those snaps he had a passer rating of 28.2 (12-of-21 for 91 yards and two INT).

Rookie Derek Barnett was on average 2.93 yards from Newton when Newton was dropping back in the tackle box. For perspective, the average “clean” NFL pocket allows a quarterback about 4.5 yards of separation from the nearest defender.

But Cox was the catalyst, logging 10 pressures or a pressure on almost 25 percent of his snaps.

Much of the praise will continue to be heaped on quarterback Carson Wentz, but what this Next Gen Stats package shows us is how valuable the Eagles defense has really become under coordinator Jim Schwartz. By clogging up the run (Christian McCaffrey led running backs with four carries for eight yards, while Jonathan Stewart carried the ball eight times for -4 yards), they forced Newton into a night-long trap. Even though Newton had 71 yards on 11 carries, those were taxing and almost certainly effected his timing and stamina in the pocket.

Here are other injuries we’re tracking Thursday:

1. Jacksonville Jaguars running back (ankle) did not practice for the second consecutive day.

2. Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman returned to practice for the first time since suffering a fractured rib in a Week 4 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Norman was limited to individual drills in practice. “He didn’t do any team stuff, but he ran around and looked fine to me,” coach Jay Gruden said. “But that’s up to his pain tolerance and what the trainers say about .”

Washington placed rookie defensive tackle Jonathan Allen (foot) on injured reserve. Doctors informed Allen he might be able to return in eight weeks, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a source informed. Allen was initially thought to be done for the season before undergoing surgery in his left foot for a Lisfranc injury.

3. Chiefs wide receiver Albert Wilson is active for tonight’s game against the Raiders. Wilson had been listed questionable due to a knee injury.

4. Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson announced cornerback Ronald Darby (ankle) will practice this week. Darby’s status for Monday night’s game versus the Redskins remains unclear.

Linebacker Jordan Hicks (calf) was limited. Offensive tackle Lane Johnson (concussion) was a full participant.


5. Jameis Winston (shoulder) did not throw during practice, per Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter. Winston is expected to take all first-team reps at practice Friday as he rehabs the sprained AC joint he suffered in last week’s loss to the Cardinals.

Winston told reporters his shoulder has been improving each day but noted whether or not he plays Sunday at Buffalo is a “team decision.”

6. Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater said he didn’t feel rusty in his first practice in 14 months and that he’s “very confident” in his knee. “I wouldn’t go out on that practice field if I wasn’t. … I definitely believe I’ll play this year.”

Wide receiver Stefon Diggs (groin) said his status for Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens is up in the air, though he did say the groin injury he suffered last year was much more severe. He sat out practice again.

Linebacker Anthony Barr (concussion/ankle) was limited and wide receiver Michael Floyd (hamstring) and guard Nick Easton (calf) didn’t practice. Cornerback Mackensie Alexander (hip) also was limited.

7. Cleveland Browns safety (toe) returned to practice after sitting out Wednesday.


8. New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard (ankle) was limited in practice.

9. Tennessee Titans running back Demarco Murray (hamstring) did not practice.

10. Dallas Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith was a full participant in practice after sitting out Wednesday. He expects to play Sunday, though the team is monitoring his back.

11. Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Stephon Tuitt (back), linebacker Vince Williams (hip) and cornerback Adam Jones (back) did not practice. Rookie wide receiver John Ross (knee) was limited.

12. Indianapolis Colts running back Robert Turbin is expected to be placed on injured reserve because of his dislocated elbow, a source informed of the situation told Rapoport.

13. Green Bay Packers linebacker Ahmad Brooks (back) sat out practice. Offensive tackles David Bakhtiari (hamstring) and Bryan Bulaga (concussion) were each limited as was defensive Quinton Dial (chest) and cornerback Davon House (quad). Aaron Rodgers underwent surgery on his broken collarbone Thursday, according to Rapoport.

14. Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen (shoulder) and safety Adrian Phillips (neck/concussion) were each limited in practice.

15. San Francisco 49ers linebackers Reuben Foster (ankle) Dekoda Watson (groin) were each limited in practice.

16. Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee (hamstring) was a full participant in practice for the second straight day and cornerback Chidobe Awuzie (hamstring) sat out practice.

17. Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker (ankle) and center Mike Pouncey (concussion/hip) did not practice.

18. New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (shoulder/foot) did not practice.

19. Oakland Raiders cornerback David Amerson suffered a foot injury and left Thursday’s game against the Chiefs early.