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Mac Jones, Patriots preparing to face Eagles, ‘best defensive line’ in NFL: ‘A bunch of beasts’

ByGuillermo Garcia

Sep 6, 2023
Mac Jones, Patriots preparing to face Eagles, 'best defensive line' in NFL: 'A bunch of beasts'

The Eagles led the NFL with 70 sacks in 2022. The Kansas City Chiefs ranked second with 55 sacks, marking the first time a club had at least 15 more than the runner-up in the Super Bowl era, per NFL Research. It marked the fourth time a team reached 70 sacks in a season, joining the 1984 Bears (72), 1989 Vikings (71) and 1987 Bears (70).

Philadelphia became the first team in NFL history with four players with 10+ sacks in a season — Haason Reddick (16.0), Josh Sweat (11.0), Javon Hargrave (11.0), Brandon Graham (11.0). Hargrave left in free agency, but the Eagles helped replace him with No. 9 overall pick Jalen Carter.

We’ve seen the Patriots’ offensive line struggle mightily during preseason and training camp, which doesn’t forebode a clean opening week for Jones in his first real action in Bill O’Brien’s offense. The Eagles’ D-line versus the Patriots’ O-line could be one of the biggest mismatches of Week 1.

Jones and the Pats will also face former offensive coordinator Matt Patricia, who joined the Eagles this offseason as a defensive assistant. While New England is installing a new offense, Patricia has institutional knowledge from years of working in the building, including the strengths and weaknesses of Jones and others.  

“It’s a great challenge,” Jones said of matching up against Patricia and the Eagles. “As a competitor, you want to go out there and not think too much. Play fast and play my game. He’s a great coach. He’s coached in a lot of big games and stuff like that. They’ve got a great defense with a lot of great players.”