The Eagles' defense faces one of the most challenging offensive weapons in the NFL on Sunday — Russell Wilson has his hand in more than 80 percent of the Seahawks' offensive output. Whether it's leading the team in rushing with 401 yards, rushing for three TDs or throwing for 23, Wilson is more than a dual-threat QB.
What makes Wilson so challenging to defend is his ability to evade pass rushes and look down the field. Wide receivers in this offense adjust to come back and make themselves available better than any WR unit in the NFL. Scramble drill has almost become a regular play-call with Wilson's offense.
Now, how do you defend Wilson's scramble drill?
The Eagles are best-suited to play against a mobile quarterback. Let me explain why. It is very seldom that teams in the NFL have two stud defensive tackles who can collapse the pocket. The Eagles have the ideal situation with Fletcher Cox and Tim Jernigan. Both linemen are explosive and very good pass rushers. They are one-gap players — their only responsibility is to occupy one gap. Both of these players go about this explosively and aggressively.
Defensive coordinator Jim Schartz encourages the D-line to get up the field and reestablish a new line of scrimmage, to push the opposition's offensive line back, which presses the pocket. With this push up the middle of the interior of the O-line, it presses the gap in which QBs have to react and step into throws.
The Eagles also have very good rush ends in Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Vinny Curry and Chris Long. The defensive ends apply constant pressure on most QBs by running the arc.
Running the arc is when the DEs get up the field on the outside and turn the corner toward the QB. Against mobile QBs like Dak Prescott, Cam Newton and Wilson, the DE has to approach the rush differently. Instead of running the arc, they must rush to the same level of the QB in the pocket and press toward the QB. This will box the QB in the pocket and allow the Eagles' interior rushers (D-line) to pressure the QB to the DEs.
This will also keep Wilson at a disadvantage if he stays in the pocket because he is shorter than most QBs and may find it hard to see over his blockers. Keeping Wilson in the pocket and forcing him to be a pocket passer won't be the easiest task, but the Eagles are well-equipped to do it.