The smartest career move of Jason Babin’s life: following defensive line coach Jim Wasburn from Tennessee to Philadelphia in the 2011 offseason.
After recording three sacks Sunday against the Jets, Babin now leads the NFL with 18 and has an outside chance at breaking Michael Strahan’s single-season record of 22.5. He has eight sacks in his last three games and just became only the 10th player in league history to record at least three quarterback takedowns in back-to-back affairs.
Since the start of the 2010 season, Babin has 30.5 sacks in 30 games. In that same span, Jared Allen has 28.5, Tamba Hali has 26.5, Terrell Suggs has 24 and John Abraham and Cameron Wake each have 21.5. Only DeMarcus ware has more with 31.5, also in 30 games.
There’s been something about the presence of Washburn, who lit a fire under Babin last year in Nashville. In the first 66 games of Babin’s career, without Washburn, he had 17.5 sacks. In his last 30 games, with Washburn, that number has nearly doubled to 30.5
It’s a shame that he’s already 31 years old (or that he didn’t run into Washburn earlier), because his pace of 48 sacks in only 56 career starts is far ahead of all of the legendary pass rushers the NFL has seen.
But it’s not all about the Babin-Washburn connection. For as much criticism as he’s taken this year, Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo has done something unique with Babin and fellow defensive end Trent Cole, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer:
In the win over the Dolphins, Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo at times used defensive ends Trent Cole and Babin as de facto stand-up linebackers, rushing from the middle.
The Eagles employed the alignment more frequently against the Jets.
“I guess with Trent and I standing up, we are much bigger linebackers,” Babin said. “We like it, and it’s a change-up and keeps things fresh.”
Castillo suggested that the tweaks will continue.
“The packages are growing because everybody is starting to understand the base package,” he said. “And now we can have fun with the guys a little bit and I think they enjoy those packages.”
That’s the case with Babin.
“We keep throwing fastballs and curveballs at teams and see what happens,” Babin said.
To think that the Chiefs, Seahawks and Texans all dumped Babin earlier in his career. Had those teams been a little more patient — or had they hired Jim Washburn — it might have changed the course of their defensive futures.