Five Eagles Numbers That Matter

With two games left, here are five Eagles numbers that matter.

109 – The number of solo tackles by DeMeco Ryans, according to team stats tracked by Eagles coaches. During Andy Reid’s 14-year tenure, only two players have had more in a single season: Quintin Mikell (2008) and Brian Dawkins (2006). Both safeties had 111 solo tackles. Barring injury, Ryans is pretty much a lock to set a new mark in the final two games. He has 15 tackles for loss, which is already the most of any player under Reid. The Eagles have gotten several moves wrong in the past two seasons. Acquiring Ryans from the Texans was not one of them. When he first arrived, the question was: Is Ryans a three-down player? The answer has been a resounding yes as he’s stayed on the field for 99.7 percent of the team’s snaps, according to Pro Football Focus. When discussing the Eagles’ building blocks going forward, don’t forget to include Ryans. He’s only 28 and appears to have plenty of good years left.

5.5 – The number of sacks by Fletcher Cox. According to NFL.com, only three defensive tackles have more – Cincinnati’s Geno Atkins (10.5), Detroit’s Ndamukong Suh (6.5) and Chicago’s Henry Melton (6.0). Cox is tied for the team lead in sacks and leads all Eagles defensive linemen with 62 tackles (44 solo). It’s not even that close either – Trent Cole is second with 52 (30). Cox has already shown that he can be a high-quality 4-3 defensive tackle. If the Eagles switch to a 3-4 in the offseason, he’d likely get a chance to play defensive end. Granted, it’s only his rookie season, but it’s clear Cox has a Pro Bowl ceiling.

121 – The number of times Reid has walked onto the field at either the Vet or the Linc as the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles (playoffs included). As Tim pointed out this morning, barring a monumental upset, Reid will coach his final home game here Sunday afternoon when the Birds host the Redskins. For weeks now, fans have been lectured by the national media about how it’s going to miss Reid when he’s gone. Many paint the picture of an angry, unreasonable fan base forcing Reid out of town.

I don’t think that’s really fair. Here’s the point everyone seems to constantly miss: You can appreciate what Reid has accomplished in his career here while still believing it’s time to move on. As someone who hears from fans through several different mediums – e-mail, social media, our comments section, Birds 24/7 Radio – I really believe that’s how the majority of people feel. They remember what things were like under Rich Kotite, Ray Rhodes and others. They enjoyed several great moments in the last 14 years that included five trips to the NFC title game and one Super Bowl berth.

But they also see a franchise that is 12-18 since the start of the 2011 season. One that has missed out on the playoffs in four of the last eight seasons. One that will have gone four years without a playoff win and has just three in the last eight seasons. It’s been a good run, but unless Jeffrey Lurie plans on letting Reid coach for as long as he wants, now is the time to part ways.

72 – The number of of turnovers the Eagles have committed since the start of the 2011 season. That’s the most in the NFL. Think about that – 2.4 turnovers per game over a 30-game span. We kept wondering whether things would level out a bit, and they never did – 38 giveaways last year, 34 in 14 games this season. The defense hasn’t done its part either. The Eagles’ 12 takeaways are tied for 31st. Overall, the numbers translate to a -22 turnover differential, which explains why this team has struggled so badly.

11 – The number of penalties committed by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie this season, according to Pro Football Focus. That ranks tied for first among NFL cornerbacks. We’ve written about Rodgers-Cromartie in this space quite a bit. After quarterback, he’s probably going to be the Eagles’ toughest evaluation this offseason. I was looking at some cornerback contracts handed out last offseason. Lardarius Webb got a six-year deal for $52.7M ($10M guaranteed) from the Ravens. Brandon Carr got five years, $50.1M ($25.5M guaranteed) from the Cowboys. Cortland Finnegan got five years, $50M ($27M guaranteed) from the Rams. And Carlos Rogers got $29.3M over four years from the 49ers. Rogers was the only one in that group who was 30 or older. Rodgers-Cromartie is only 26. And despite his flaws, he’s likely to get a sweet deal if he tests free agency.

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  • Pomo

    14 – The number of games Bobby April has gone without being fired.

    • Johngiam

      OFF WITH HIS HEAD!!!!! Bobby “mr. Potato head” April HAS TO GO!!! Bring the accountability back to Philadelphia!!!! Would like to see one person fired per week! We want blood! Someone has got to pay!

    • http://twitter.com/pjcostello Paul Costello

      That number would be 30, not 14. April was brought in before the start of the 2011 season.

      • Pomo

        Great insight. Very eye opening. Thank you for this.

      • van

        Wrong. April was came before 2010 season not 2011

      • RJ

        Actually January 2010. So it’s been 47 games. Saved probably due to Desean’s Miracle.

    • xlGmanlx

      Bobby “Special teams guru” April. He is either going to retire or be some quality control coach, I would be surprised if he got a look as a ST coach. But who knows, maybe Reid has his fingers in this, but either way, HUGE mistake.

    • Wilbert M.

      I see a strong resemblance between Bobby April and Rich Kotite. I believe Bobby may be the spawn of Richie the K.

      • Johngiam

        Bobby is the love child of KOTITE and mr. Potato head

  • Mostel

    SHUT UP with the 3-4 talk already. It does not fit our roster and is a weaker manner of playing D against good QBs.

    • Johngiam

      Yeah…We have so much to fix already..switching to a 3-4 would quire such an overhaul and render some of our good players like Dameco Ryan ineffective. Players like Graham, and Cox would be jerked around againa, having to learn brand new systems..Kendrick’s would need to switch roles,.thats just too much IMO. We would also be forced to draft Jarvis jones and get that pass rushing backer. it’s way too much, considering all the improvements we alady need to make, to switch to a 3-4…give the young players who are playing well some continuity!

    • southy

      Just keeping an open mind. Your goal with a new HC is a guy who’s going to be here for a decade. You have to let him install his system and acquire the players for it.

      • JofreyRice

        Yep, agreed. I wouldn’t do it for just any old coach, but if you have a guy that’s got a great track record with the 3-4, and wants to take the team in that direction, I’d go for it. The Colts made the move to a 3-4, and have actually improved their overall defense from last year. The Texans moved to Wade Phillips’ 3-4 the same year the Eagles promoted Juan Castillo to DC, and have been an elite defense ever since (getting Watt & signing J. Joseph helped a lot, too). Going the other direction, Miami went from a 3-4 as 2011’s #6 overall D, to being a 4-3 as 2012’s #6 overall D. It’s about the staff’s teaching ability, the talent, and the utilization of player strengths.

        I’m really not convinced it would be a rebuild, either. Vinny Curry & Brandon Graham were both projected as OLBs by some. Even if Graham isn’t, he can just be a rush LB that rarely, if ever, drops in coverage–like Terrell Suggs. You can plug DeMeco/Kendricks in as Jack/Mike. They’re going to have to draft a Strong side LB, either way, so instead of looking for a 4-3 SAM, type, find a strong side 3-4 OLB in the mold of Ahmad Brooks or Anthony Spencer. Cox and Thornton could bookend the base D. They’d need to find a nose tackle to eat blocks, of course, but maybe that’s what you spend a high draft pick on, if you think the change in system can improve the defense for the future. The entire secondary is going to have to be rebuilt, so that’s not really affected. Trent Cole’s drop in form show’s me he’s not a guy to stick with a front-7 system for.

        As far as the original poster’s comment about it being a worse system for playing against good QB’s…hunh? San Fran seems to be doing pretty well. The Steelers have done pretty well, historically. Green Bay, the early decade Belichick Patriots…4 out of the Top 10 defenses in the NFL right now are 3-4’s, and that’s out of 12 base 3-4 D’s in the NFL, total–a minority (leaving NE off, b/c Belichick now seems to move between 3-4 & 4-3, weekly). No 3-4 D ranks lower than 25th. The bottom 7 spots are all populated by 4-3 based teams. A lot of factors go into those rankings, beyond scheme, but I don’t think it’s accurate to say it’s got some fatal flaw of being unable to stop good QBs.

        • Johngiam

          I’m not all that opposed to a 3-4… I just think we are significantly closer as a 4-3 defense then we are as a 3-4… And if we go 3-4 then we will lose flexibility in the draft and be forced to draft Jarvis jones or one of the outside rush linebackers

          • JofreyRice

            Ah, there are a lot of holes on the team. If they go to a 3-4, and are picking high, getting a nose tackle might be a good pick, and some could argue that they should draft a CB no matter what scheme they employ going forward. I don’t think they’d be locked into drafting anyone. You don’t have to draft a SSLB in the first round to get someone competent.

          • Johngiam

            I don’t dispute anything you just wrote…but I do believe that if you are going to switch to a 3-4, you better have much more then a COMPETANT SSLB. If you are going to make that switch, then you better do it right! I think it’s IMPERATIVE to have much more then a COMPETANT SSLB in that scheme. You need a James Harrison, a Demarcus ware, Terrell Suggs type to wreak havoc if you are going to make that switch….and secondly you need that haolti Ngata type of nose tackle. You also, basically have to go into it blind, having no clue how our current players that we plan on keeping will transitin to it. We can try to project, but we really can’t know, or knw how long it will take to make that switch at a high level.

            like you pointed out in one of your earlier posts…you can’t make that switch unless you are really confident in your next coach and plan on making more then a 4 or 5 year commitment because that type of defensive overhaul will not happen overnight. I really don’t even see how you can make that sort of commitment to our next coach because proven, established coaches like Gruden, Cowher, Peyton simply aren’t signing on to work with Howie. NO WAY THey come here with HOWIE in place..so can you really commit 7 years to an unproven nfl assistant, or a college coach, who I would never even entertain?

            And how about probably the most important question: WHAT THE HELL DOES HOWIE KNOW ABOUT A 3-4 DEFENSE? Im not sold thatwe even knows how to draft players for a 4-3 yet and he has been around it for years now. What the hell qualifies him to drag players for a 3-4? What do our accounts know about the 3-4?

            I’m actually a big fan of the 3-4 defense.. I just think its too big of a project and commitment to make, in my humble opinion

        • xlGmanlx

          I’m not against the 3-4, but what teams in the past 10 years have won with it? I honestly don’t know. Plus with so many teams going to a 3 WR base for a significant portion of their offense, does claiming 3-4/4-3 mean that much when you are going to be in the nickel? I agree with your other points though, staff, talent, intelligence can make a switch from 4-3/3-4. Plus I would think that the talent pool to fit a base 4-3 defense is more prevalent than what you need from a 3-4 personnel.

          • Johngiam

            that nickel crap, is just some crap shoveled to the Philly fans to distract us fromte fact that Akeem friggin Jordan is our third lb

          • xlGmanlx

            Haha, I agree Jordan is probably ST player a best, but most NFL offenses play 3WR sets as their most prevalent package which means nickel.

          • Johngiam

            Don’t listen to anything the eagles say. If you play a 4-3, then you need THREE STARTING CALIBER LINEBACKERS. Yes you will play a nickel a lot in today’s nfl…but we played nickle more then we would had we had a third competent linebacker…Make no mistake about it, for example: not having to go to a nickel set to cover a tightend is HUGE. Having two freak cover guys like Manti and Kendrick’s to shadow backs and TE who go out to catch balls is a huge weapon…..and NOW that these Gronkowskis and jimmy graham tightends are changing the league…it’s going to be even more importAnt to find linebackers who can cover, or teams will start having a field day running against you if yo keep a cornerback on a tightend in today’s nfl?..THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER IS: YOU need BOTH a top nickel corner AND ATleast 3 STARTING CALIBER LINEBACKERS, and atleast two have to be Be able to cover….and let me let you in on a little secret the eagles would never wanto reveal to fans. YOU ARE ALLOWED to have BOTH, it doesn’t have to be one or the other!

          • JofreyRice

            Just out of the past 10 years for SB winners, The Patriots 2x–when they ran a more conventional 3-4 with Bruschi, McGinest, etc–The Steelers, 2x. Green Bay once; and that’s just SB winners, plenty of teams running the 3-4 have racked up lots of regular season wins. Right now, I’d be hard pressed to say there is a better defense than SF’s, and smart money is on them taking it this year. Now, that’s not to say that it’s some miracle system that can overcome lack of talent, but I strongly disagree that something inherent in the system is weak against “good QB’s”.

            Wade Phillips’ 3-4 is really a 3-4 base and Dime defense, w/o a nickel package involved (which is why DeMeco was let go, because they only had one LB on the field for Dime packages–Brian Cushing). If the Eagles were to run something like that, they could slide Cox/Jenkins inside, and put the rush LB’s at the corners, like the Texans do, so that the passrush package would look kinda like the base 4-3 now: Graham/Jenkins, Patterson or Thornton/Cox/Cole.

            There are a lot of options out there, and some think a 3-4 base is a better answer for defending the proliferation of spread concepts on the offensive side, as it allows the edge players better vision, and generally LB’s are a little less plodding than DEs. Also, a smart coach can do a lot of interesting things with overload blitzing and generating passrush from that alignment. Cincy’s Mike Zimmer does a lot of cool stuff out of the 4-3 (and of course J. Johnson did, too), so it’s not like it’s impossible, you just have more multiplicity from a 3-4 front.

          • FMWarner

            Well, the Patriots, Steelers and Ravens have won six Super Bowls since 2001 with the 3-4.

    • Bs2j2

      Right…just look at how much the Niners 34 just struggled against Brady

  • Johngiam

    Dameco Ryan has been a godsend! Fletcher Cox will develope into that freak Albert haynsworth type of talent. B Grizzle has a chance at becoming an impact DE. Kendrick’s has the talent of a future pro bowler. The key to how far we are as a defense is Vinny curry and cedrick Thornton. if those two players can develop into above average nfl starters, then we aren’t that far off. If we still have to invest in DE, then we are screwed!

    If Manti Teo measus out as a top ten talent at the combine, I think we have to have him. if he doesn’t measure out, then I would try my hardest to draft Star Latululei.

    Manti: I have wrote about this extensively. Manti cover skills, would allow him to start for us at the SAM next year, using those freak cover skills to blanket tight ends, leaving Kendrick’s at the Wl, free to fly around and wreak havoc. eagles need to take advantage of having Dameco, and get another young talented stud backer so that Dameco can mold and groom the two young backers into something special..then in three years when Dameco has to move on, you have Manti to slide into the middle and replace him. having two freak cover backers like Manti and Kendrick’s would be a tremendous weapon, covering opponents backs and tight ends when they go out for passes..leaving Meco to do what he does best, focus on shutting down the run, and laying the smack down!

    As for Star Latululei…a halo ti Ngata type who bobbles up blocks, will force opponents to be honest in the way they play fletcher. can’t give Cox too much attention, if he is paired with another beast. A guy like star to gobble up blocks allowing Dameco and Kendrick’s to be free to make plays would be extremely valuable…
    it in a perfect world, we draft Manti or star in the top 7, then trade back into the first round and snatch up Vaccarro, the safety from Texas..to pair with Jarius Byrd WHO HAS TO BE OUR NUMBER ONE TARGET in FREE AGENCY this year! We have learned that the free agent mercanry route isn’t the way to go, that’s why we will target a young stud safety like Byrd who is coming off his rookie contract and is still hungry to make a name for himself. safety tandem of Vaccarro and Byrd would be awesome…Then again, I wouldn’t exactly complain if we brought in two free agent safeties such as Byrd and Dashon Goldston to bring that 49er swag over from San Francisco, because acquiring a second first round pick will be a very steep price, that I don’t know that we can afford to pay with out holes..then again, when Howie is the one making the draft picks..Sometimes I wonder if trading three picks, that howie would most likely screw up anyway, for 1 sure shot impact player, might not be the way to go, If I had ANY FAITH WHATSOEVER in howie, I would never suggest trading three draft picks for 1….but revenge of the nerds Roseman as our “FOOTBALL GUY” puts the fear of god in me!
    All I know is that the number one target of this offseason NEEDS TO be Jarius bYrd. That young stud HAS TO BE AN EAGLE NEXT SEASON!!!

    • http://twitter.com/pjcostello Paul Costello

      In fairness to Roseman, he is responsible for the acquisition of the players whom you love: Ryans, Cox, Kendricks. I don’t know if you see the disconnect between those two halves of your post, so I thought I should point it out to you.

    • http://www.facebook.com/chris.jones.3998 Chris Jones

      Don’t disagree but would like to see us maybe go for Goldson or Rhodes

      • Johngiam

        Rhodes is about to sign an extension with arizona.

        In fairness would be to list the three players that howie got right, as well as the fifteen that he missed on. Cox was washburns pick, so take him out ofthe equation..and only a fool wouldn’t have taken the Dameco trade…so howie, thanks for Kendrick’s! That’s FAIRNESS lol

        • Johngiam

          In a perfect world, I would sign Byrd and Goldston….but if I can only have one major free agent signing at safety, IT HAS TO BE BYRD!

      • JofreyRice

        The Eagles could have traded for Rhodes in 2010 for a 4th round Pick & some chump change. The Cardinals traded a 4th and 7th for him, the 4th they sent to the Jets was 2 picks later than where the Eagles picked in that round, so the Birds could have given the Jets a better deal. The Eagles used the pick on Mike Kafka.

        I’m thinking they didn’t make the move b/c they didn’t want to pay Rhodes’ salary, which was pretty high after signing an extension with the Jets in 2008. He wasn’t a Rex Ryan guy, but the guy can ball out. That was Joe Banner’s “We don’t Pay Safeties” mentality.

        • Johngiam

          Yeah. As a fan who just sat thru Nate Allen and Coleman, that definitely stings. Are you as sick as I am of being the only franchise that de-values positions? Did we really have to learn the hard way that safety’s and linebackers DO MATTER? We had to learn the hard way aka the Greg Lewis way that punt returners matter a few years back. I’m sick of the, WE AREN’T PAYING FOR THIS CERTAIN POSITION MENTALITY! You can find PLAY MAKERS who can change the course of a game for you at every single position on defense, Great players at ANY position, with good coaching can be exploited as a weapon. Kerry Rhodes is a friggin BALLER who flat out makes plays for the defense. Did we really have to learn the hard way that safety’s were important? How could we have not known? Lol We have ti stop paying for position, and start paying for the player. You can’t tell me that you can’t put together a Super Bowl winning defense by paying a top safety good money that he is worth.

          NOT TO MENTION THAT BY THE TIME THE SEASON STARTS WE ARE ALWAYS RIDICULOUSLY UNDER THE CAP!!! That’s the biggest joke of all. A HUGE market team with a 40yr waiting list for tickets, being 20millin under the cap in what’s was allegedly an all in Super Bowl or bust year. Spending money like the jaguars. The gold standard

    • Bs2j2

      No to Manti and Star. Neither are worth a top 5 pick. The only D player worth a top 5 pick that could step right in is Jarvis Jones. Very Von Miller-like

      • JohnGiam

        Jarvis is pretty much worthless if you aren’t playing a 3-4… Star is definitely a stud, who is projected anywhere from number one overall to no later then number six….No way of telling if Manti is a top 10 pick until the combine, but I do know that he is a darn good FOOTBALL who is NFL ready, and will make plays for you all over the field.

        Btw, Vontaze Bufict wasn’t worthy of a top ten pick either, he wasn’t even worthy of being drafted..yet he is a very STRONG CANDIDATE for defensive rookie of the year. Sometimes we get too caught up with combine measurements and projecting a player at the nfl level…and overlook some kids that can just FLAT OUT PLAY FOOTBALL… There are so many athletes with a higher upside then Manti Teo…but there isn’t a single player in college that I can trust more to be a darn good starting pro that will make plays for you then Manti Teo. He is the most sure shot nfl ady player in the draft. At the very least, he will be good! And there is something to say for drafting that yep of security in a prospect..especially in the eyes of a fan who has been jilted by the Mamulas, Jaquain Jarrets, Danny Watkins of the world.

        Picking in the top ten can also be nerve rocking..sometimes I just think, screw it, just get me Teo and I get a player I can plug in and be a guaranteed good starter for the next ten years. I might Missouri on the fak JPP, but I def won’t be left with a bust either!!

  • xlGmanlx

    Great metrics, I was impressed with Meco based on the reaction from players from the texans and things I read about him during camp that made me believe in his leadership. I hope his body agrees to him staying around another 3-5 years, he is Philly through and through.