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Eagles scale back 'wide-9' DL alignment

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Fans who watched the Eagles' defense get gashed against the run much of the first five weeks of the season had to be thrilled when their much-ballyhooed but so far ineffective "wide-9" alignment, which puts the defensive end on the outside shoulder of the tight end, was dialed back in the Week Six win over the Redskins, who tallied only 42 rushing yards. The way we hear it, the "wide-9" won't be scrapped, but rather, it will be used more judiciously. In Tennessee, where DL coach Jim Washburn coached the past several seasons, the Titans featured great linebackers who could cover major space and defend well vs. the run. In Philly, the linebackers are inexperienced, smaller and have been shuffled around. The Eagles still believe that the wide alignment can generate the best pass-rush pressure, and it has done that; just look at DE Jason Babin's seven sacks as evidence. Expect the team to lean on it more in obvious passing situations than as an every-down alignment.

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