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Eagles better on defense, but can't sack the QB

Associated Press Modified: October 12, 2012 at 5:16 am •  Published: October 12, 2012
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"It's tough, but it's not going to stop us from trying to move towards our goal," Cole said. "We're going to fight. I don't care if I have to take two guys the whole game. We're out there to try to win games and we're going to fight as much as we can.

"This year has probably been the worst I've ever been chipped, but I'm not really worried about the chipping. I don't care. I'm not paying attention to the chipper. If he hits me, he hits me, but I know I've got to go where I want to go. I want to pass rush the tackle. That's my goal, so I'm not really worried about the chipping."

Using max protect is helping opponents keep their QBs safe from Philadelphia's grasp, but it means fewer receivers go out for pass routes and that decreases production. The Eagles are ninth against the pass, allowing 206.8 yards per game.

"They're honoring your defensive line by giving you, what I consider, blitz protections," coach Andy Reid said. "They're keeping tight ends in, sometimes two tight ends, running back-tight end combination in. Now, you've got to bank on your coverage here a bit to do that. There are a couple things you can do up front to try to give yourselves an opportunity to get your defensive lineman home in one-on-one situations."

With Babin and Cole getting chipped and double-teamed, the Eagles need their interior linemen to generate pressure up the middle. Rookie Fletcher Cox has played well, but has the only sack by a tackle.

While the sack totals don't reflect improvement, Babin insists this year's defensive line is better than last year's unit.

"Watching the way we work together, the way we rush, the way it looks, the way our footwork is, and our second string is, there is no question in my mind," he said. "Do the stats reflect it? Absolutely not."

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NOTES: LB Akeem Jordan practiced for the second straight day Thursday and is expected to return to the starting lineup after missing the last two games with a hamstring injury. Jamar Chaney started at weakside linebacker in his place. ... The Eagles host the Detroit Lions (1-3) on Sunday in Philadelphia.

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