When Chip Kelly hired Billy Davis the rumours quickly began to build that the Eagles would transition to a 3-4 defense. Chip and Billy kept the lid on exactly what they were going to run for the majority of the offseason but the general consensus was that the Eagles defense was going to a 3-4. Which begged the question, who is the nose tackle? The Eagles addressed that very quickly with the acquisition of Isaac Sopoaga from the 49ers, a 330 lb 9 year veteran. The Eagles proceeded to spend a 3rd round pick on LSU product Bennie Logan with an eye on him towards nose tackle. Bennie weighed in at 309 at the combine, but likely played more around 290ish at LSU. After going through Chip Kelly's programme this offseason and playing his first NFL season, one has to wonder whether Bennie still weighed around the 309 he was listed at. The kid has incredible quickness and speed and certainly doesn't look like a 300+ pounder out there. He had a very good season. So good that the Eagles decided to jettison Sopoaga to the Patriots in the midseason for a late round draft pick swap.
Unfortunately for Bennie, his last game of his rookie campaign is one he won't long forget. If there is a guy on the Eagles defense you expect to work hard in the weight room this offseason it's Bennie Logan as he has tape to motivate him all offseason long. It's no secret that the Saints exposed him in the game on Saturday night and his complete inability to hold a double team on 3 crucial short yardage plays made a huge difference in the outcome.
Clearly Payton and the Saints identified the undersized nose tackle as a part of the Eagles defense to exploit in short yardage situations. They ran 3 QB sneaks in the game and Brees averaged an astonishing 3 ypc on the QB sneak.
The first one came in the 2nd quarter when the Saints faced a 3rd and 1 on their own 47 yard line. Logan is highlighted with the yellow arrow. The orange line is the first down marker:
Saints double Logan and look how much he gets pushed off the LOS. That's 2 yards off the ball:
That's 4 yards off the ball. Saints easily convert and end up kicking a field goal on this drive.
In the 4th quarter, this was the play the Eagles needed to make. 2:32 left in the game. They have a timeout and the 2 minute warning. Most importantly, they lead the game by 1 and a stop here forces the Saints to attempt a 43 yard field goal. Even if they make it, the Eagles have 2 minutes left to respond. Logan in yellow:
Finishes 3 yards off the LOS:
The Eagles last gasp. Stop them here and you might get 30 seconds with the ball back to get into FG range. Everyone in the stadium knows what the Saints are going to do. Logan in yellow:
Pushed off the LOS:
Finishes 2 yards off the LOS:
In fairness to Logan, I thought Billy Davis could have helped him out a little on that last one. Looking at the end zone view, he has Mychal Kendricks lined up in the A gap on the left side of the center. But look at Demeco Ryans. He's playing off the LOS.
I understand you need to respect the threat of Brees handing off, but you can't leave the A gap on the right side of the line that open given the success they've already had on the sneak. You are essentially freeing up #73 to pound on Logan on a double team one more time.