Pass Rush Should Be the Difference in Carolina

The Panthers and Eagles have had opposite philosophies when it comes to gettig to the quarterback
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CHARLOTTE - There's a sentiment among NFL personnel that describes successful NFL teams: you either get the quarterback or get to the quarterback.

The latter is likely going to be the difference when the 1-3 Eagles try to knock off the 3-1 Carolina Panthers.

The dichotomy as to how each team goes after the opposing signal-caller couldn't be more divergent coming in with the Panthers second the NFL in blitz rate at 40.9 percent while the Eagles, much to the chagrin of their fans, are deal last when it comes to sending an extra rusher at 10.8 percent.

Perhaps Carolina's greatest weakness as a team in the offensive line where right tackle Taylor Moton is the one plus-level plater and left tackle Cam Erving is out with a neck injury. Moreso, right guard John Miller is dinged up with a shoulder injury.

Other than Javon Hargrave (five sacks) the Eagles' main push-rushers haven't gotten home early this season with only Josh Sweat being credited with a half-sack. It's time for Fletcher Cox, who raised concerns over playing the 4i technique this week, and Derek Barnett, who has taken a lot of criticism for undisciplined play.

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On the other side of the line of scrimmage, the Eagles are going to start their fourth offensive line combination in five games, a continuation of the historic attrition the team faced on the OL last season.

This time around, the injuries have been to Isaac Seumalo (season-ending Lisfranc surgery), Brandon Brooks (pec strain that has him on IR), and Jordan Mailata (set to return from a sprained knee in Carolina). On top of that, the Eagles have had to deal with a personal issue that will cost Lane Johnson his second consecutive game on Sunday.

The projected starters from left to right are set to be Andre Dillard, Landon Dickerson, Jason Kelce, Jack Driscoll, and Mailata.

What that group will be facing is a rush by two athletic edge rushers in Brian Burns (two sacks) and former Temple star Haason Reddick (4.5 sacks) and the near-certainty of the extra man being sent by Matt Rhule and Phil Snow will test an offensive line which has been a game of musical chairs.

Mailata, for instance, is moving from LT to RT in order to get the five best players available on the field while Driscoll slides inside to RG after playing RT last week. Dickerson's first action was also RG more love across Kelce's face.

The best way to handle what is sure to be some uncertainty in the running game may not be of the traditional variety that Philadelphia fans want and more of a QB-driven idea due to the presence of Jalen Hurts.

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John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody McDonald every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on both PhillyVoice.com and YouTube. John is also the host of his own show "Extending the Play" on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.