Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (October 9, 2012) –
Roethlisberger wasn’t sacked and was hurried just three times by a defense that’s known for its ferocious pursuit of quarterbacks. Star defensive ends Trent Cole and Jason Babin were shut out. Defensive end Brandon Graham was credited with one of the hurries and ended up with an angry Roethlisberger in his face.
“Yeah, Ben was mad. He thought they were going after his head,” Colon said. “They were cheap-shot artists all day. They were hitting us in the back. I know I lost my cool once or twice. It is what it is. You have to play through it.”
Baltimore Sun (Sept 16, 2012) –
Offensive guard Marshal Yanda and Eagles defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins were both called for offsetting personal fouls in the first quarter after All-Pro fullback Vonta Leach’s 5-yard touchdown run, his first as a Raven.
Then Leach got into a confrontation with Eagles safety Kurt Coleman.
“They take a couple of shots, that’s just how they’re coached,” said Leach, who scored his first touchdown as a Raven on a 5-yard run. “They play dirty. They take shots after the play, a lot of dirty stuff after plays. We weren’t going to back down. We weren’t going to take that. Anytime someone thinks they’re a bully, you got to step up or they’ll keep doing it.”
Yes. But that’s far from a bad thing.
For years the Eagles have been looked at as a finesse team, a team who will look to beat you with speed and deception instead of grinding out ugly games in the trenches. Stories and quotes like the ones from Vonte Leach and Willie Colon can only help the Birds in the long run. If teams think we’re dirty, they’ll only pull themselves out of their own game plan by trying to match that dirtiness.
Besides, all things considered, the Eagles are very much still a finesse team who wants to beat you with big plays early and force you into a passing game against their defensive line. The elements of past Eagle teams are still very much in the current squad’s DNA. Regardless of whether or not we’ve seen the big plays we’re accustomed to so far this year, the Birds are still who they’ve always been. And honestly I can’t think of a downside to adding a little nastiness in the mix. Huge sack totals or not: the Eagles’ line is setting out to be one of the league’s most fearsome units.
And I, for one, welcome the Broad Street Bully mentality.