Three Eagles Numbers That Matter

Here are three Eagles-related numbers that matter:

74 – Oregon’s red-zone efficiency (touchdowns scored) from 2010 to 2012. That was second-best in the nation, behind only Wisconsin (78 percent), according to CoachingSearch.com.

Obviously, there will be adjustments to be made in the NFL, but that’s a promising number for the Eagles. Last year, the Birds ranked 28th in the league in red-zone efficiency, and they haven’t been in the top-10 since the Super Bowl year in 2004. Take a look:

 
Percentage TDs
Rank
201244%28th
201151.52%14th
201052.46%16th
200949.06%21st
200847.89%25th
200745.10%25th
200654%12th
200553.66%12th

I’m intrigued by how Kelly will use his personnel in the red zone. For example, we know by now that DeSean Jackson is not a productive red-zone receiver. And it’s not just about size. His skill set does not include making tough, physical catches in traffic. With Jackson, it’s about stretching the field, and that’s negated when the defense can use the back of the end zone as an extra defender.

Jackson has four catches in the red zone in the past two seasons combined. There’s not really a reason for him to be on the field down there, unless he’s being used as a decoy. Perhaps Kelly will use someone like Arrelious Benn to replace him. Or maybe the Eagles will go to 2-TE or 3-TE sets now that they have Brent Celek, James Casey and Zach Ertz in the fold.

If the team practices red zone during one of the practice sessions we’re allowed to attend, I’ll keep an eye on this.

And thanks to friend of the blog Sam Lynch for the CoachingSearch.com link.

8.5 – The percentage of plays in which the Eagles’ defense missed a tackle in 2012, according to Football Outsiders. That was the highest mark in the league. In 2011, the Eagles’ number was 8.1 percent, which was second-to-last.

The numbers are broken down by individual players too. For example, rookie linebacker Mychal Kendricks missed 15.1 percent of his tackle attempts, the worst mark among linebackers.

And the numbers in the secondary back up what you saw with your eyes on a weekly basis. Dominique Rodgers Cromartie, Nnamdi Asomugha and Nate Allen were among the 10 worst tackling defensive backs in the NFL (no other team had more than one DB listed).

Rodgers-Cromartie missed 20.7 percent of his tackles, third-worst. Allen missed 16.4 percent, fifth-worst. And Asomugha missed 13.8 percent, 10th-worst.

The good news? Free-agent signee Cary Williams was among the best tacklers. He missed just 2.7 percent of his attempts, tied for third-best.

We spend plenty of time talking about scheme, but the basic fundamentals of blocking and tackling simply have to get better with this team.

26.5 – The number of seconds in between plays for the Eagles last year. Chase Stuart of Football Perspective did the leg-work, using time of possession and total number of plays to come up with a metric for tempo. And surprisingly, the Eagles ran the fourth-fastest offense in the league in 2012, behind only the Patriots (24.9 seconds), Saints (26.1) and Ravens (26.4).

Part of the Eagles’ tempo relates to the fact that they were often trailing in the second half. But there were weeks when the no-huddle was a part of the game-plan. Sometimes, it was a very slow-moving no-huddle, while other times the Eagles pushed tempo.

Chip Kelly has been quick to point out that the Eagles might not always go at a fast pace, but they want to have that option in their back pocket.

“I think the game is about making quick decisions,” Kelly said. “It’s a game of 60 to 70 to 80 four‑second plays. So once the ball is snapped, it happens at that tempo. We’re just trying to force them to – everything we do has to kind of be ‑ reflect what the mission is, and the mission is to be prepared to play a four‑second play.  You need to have that kind of (snapping fingers) to get that done, so I think that’s why we’re practicing like that.”

Stuart’s chart also shows that using an up-tempo offense is not a new phenomenon. He goes back to 1991 and shows that four of the five fastest offenses of the last 21 years were teams that played in the 1990s. Three were the Buffalo Bills (1991, 1992, 1993), and the other was the 1995 Patriots.

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  • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

    Pretty disappointing numbers when it comes to tackling. That has to be a reflection of the coaching. It’s absurd to be at this level and not be steeped in the fundamentals of football. Tackling, Blocking at the skill positions and Route Running has long been skills lacking on the Eagles.

    However all is not loss, obviously the raw athleticism of the players have carried the Eagles for a good period being they’ve had one losing season in the last decade.

    • Coach McGuirk

      Last I checked 6-10 is a losing record…

    • Furious E

      I have to agree that the coaching seemed to be an issue. I feel like guys came to the Eagles and got worse at tackling as a result. It would be interesting to see a game-by-game breakdown of Kendricks’ numbers. I had the distinct impression that his tackling got progressively worse as the season went on. Same with Ryans, to a lesser extent though.

      The secondary’s issues are no surprise to anyone, and I think those numbers really put it into perspective. I’m glad we actually might have some semblance of a physical presence there in Williams now. Even if he’s no better in coverage than Nnamdi, I’ll be happy to see a corner at least make a legit attempt at a tackle, rather than just sort of dive in the general direction of a runner as he barrels past.

      • Richard Colton

        have to agree. at the beginning of the year, the ’12 draft looked like a one-two slam dunk with Cox/Kendricks. By the end of the year, he faded a little. I’m really looking forward to seeing what he can do in the new system.

        • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

          I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and suggest maybe the kid hit a rookie wall mid way through the season.

          Let’s hope off season conditioning and strength training remedies that in 2013 in a typical 3-4, he maybe tasked with blowing up gaps and running lanes.

          • illadelphia21

            In any form of the 3-4, which means 4-3 under, Kendricks will not be tasked w/ blowing up anything but qb’s and wr’s, rb’s, and te’s coming across his zone. And yes his play started to dip until the change to will olb but then picked up and dipped again. However strength was never the issues. Kid’s strong as hell. Bad team, bad leadership, rookie wall! Hopefully he does not flash and regress this year

          • GEagle

            I wouldn’t worry about kendricks

          • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

            That’s pretty ambitious for Kendricks, he’s never through his experience in college shown as a pass rusher capable of getting to the Quarterback, nor playing outside on receivers. He managed 13.5 sacks in 48 games in his career at Cal, one season with better than 3 sacks. I think he did pretty good at a different position with greater coverage responsibilities as a rookie in the NFL. He’s demonstrated with sound coverage in 2012 he can be serviceable covering once that linebacker rotates up to rush the passer in the Under. It’s all still the basic principles of an elementary 5-2 with the linebacker covering the flat.

            Kendricks played the Middle at Cal, where he gained a credible reputation blowing up gaps and punishing running backs.

            Converting to a 3-4, where typically the interior linebackers are the enforcers filling the gaps, he’s in prime and a familiar position to return to his traits at Cal as a punishing tackler on the interior confronting the run.

          • JofreyRice

            Are you boxscore scouting Kendricks, or have you actually watched him play at Cal? Kendricks moved to WILB in Cal’s 3-4 in his senior season which had a lot more coverage responsibility & run fit discipline. In that role, he was a heatseeking missile at the second level. His sack numbers might have been down, but he made a lot of plays in the backfield.

            When he was allowed to attack in 2010, as an OLB, he was a very good passrusher. They used him when they needed him as a blitzer, like in the Stanford game, against Andrew Luck. He abused current Patriots LT Nate Solder in the 2010 Colorado game, using Solder’s length against him.

            From everything we’ve heard, the conversion is going to be a 4-3 under with Kendricks playing WILB. He should have the Predator one gapping the tackle on that side, and the 3T one gapping the LG. The NT should be occupying the C&RG. That should let Kendricks use his athletic ability to flow to the ball and make plays. He’s got to be a better tackler, and play quicker, but passrushing & blitzing are absolutely in his skill set.

  • cliff henny

    Kendricks better clean that up, and quickly too. if what we’re expecting is 4-3 under, his roll is to be unblocked and a tackling machine. wont do much good to have everyone doing their jobs and MK missing tackles hand over fist

    • ClydeSide

      Matthews will take his spot.

      • Richard Colton

        pretty sure you just committed a 24/7 faux pas by bringing up that name.

        • theycallmerob

          There should be a disclaimer for the new commenters

          • nicksaenz1

            A quick glance at your picture and I think it’s Allen from the Hangover. Then I realize it’s Kelce.

          • ClydeSide

            I’m not a first commenter. Matthews played in Chip’s Oregon hybrid defense and he was a tackling machine.

          • cliff henny

            just a running joke, nothing personal. i blame reid, casey had no business playing mlb in 4-3 rookie year. kind of like coleman, mean guy sucks, but how could they go thru camps and a professional coach not see these guys were being asked to do more than they could handle.

          • theycallmerob

            my apologies, that was not directed at you personally; we’ve been ripping him forever. I don’t deny what he did at Oregon, and he came on strong last year on ST. However, as cliff mentions below, he was over-matched from the start.

            and more importantly, let’s get to the facts: he has the mane of a lion, the speed of a pregnant hippo, and the lateral agility of my great aunt cheryl. who is diabetic. and is really old.

          • Richard Colton

            in your aunt’s defense – she has a high motor. Doesn’t help matters that her older sister Charlene was by far the better of the two.

          • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

            The issue among those of tackling are that Matthews, and Kendricks aren’t likely to disengage once one of the interior Offensive Linemen engage either of them.

            Both lack strength at this point in their development to handle massive mauling guards and centers at this level. Kendricks considering he shifted from the Middle had a pretty good rookie year and I expect as he bulks up with muscle he will get even better at one of the interior linebacking positions. Both are going to need conditioning and strength to fill those gaps and battle Offensive Linemen targeting them specifically

        • cliff henny

          lol…computer took little bit load new comments…should have known u2 were all over that.

      • cliff henny

        where’s Rob? you’re going to hear an ear-full from him!

        • ClydeSide

          If Kendricks doesn’t tackle, Matthews wil take his spot. Matthews played well for Kelly–IN HIS SYSTEM. Kendricks had better tackle someone–or it will be over quickly.

          • GEagle

            Hahahahaha hahahahah ok clyde

          • Richard Colton

            He’ll take Kendrick’s job when Vince Dimaggio wins the triple crown and Mark Leiter wins the Cy Young. caseymatthews only exists to give good fans someone with whom to compare our next great linebacker.

          • T. Allan

            Kendricks isn’t necessarily him (great linebacker) Richard..

          • Richard Colton

            true. jury is out.

      • T. Allan

        Or possibly someone else..

  • Chris

    We have to remember that Kendricks was a rookie — not that it’s an excuse, but I believe his best days are still to come. Also, that Oregon red-zone stat has me so excited. Watching the Eagles in the red-zone the last few years has been horrifying.

    • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

      Exactly. Kendricks also finished top 10 in rookie tackles last year. He needs to take a step up this year though, because he’s small for Chip’s liking (an overachiever, if you will) and will not keep a starting spot because of his draft status. I hope he keeps it up, big fan of Mychal.

      • theycallmerob

        Not having a bunch of olineman running at you, because the DEs are 10 yards upfield chasing the qb on a run play, should also help.

        • GEagle

          Preach Rob…Im not the least bit concerned with Kendrick’s. he was always a split second off from a spectacular play…Now that the game will slow down for him, and we are playing him in a scheme that he was born to play(WIL backer in a 4-3U)..I expect this kid to turn into a serious BALLER and playmaker for us…
          ….
          Regardless of the missed tackles, and the dysfunctional environment, I think he had a decent year..and he wasn’t even close to put in the best position to succeed..Kendrick’s will be one of the defenders to really benefit from the scheme change going sideline to side line making plays at a furious pace. he is capable of becoming one of the best 3rd down LBs in the NFL, with the ability to cover and Blitz(which we didn’t even allow him to do last year)…I’m expecting a good year from the Kid, but the following year I think he could be special

          • illadelphia21

            G, I love how people always seem to give you a thumbs down no matter what you say. In this case, I 100% agree w/ you. If Kendricks continues to ascend, like I think he will, doesn’t matter whether 4-3 under or 3-4 he’s gonna be a beast on the field. Think of the tandem of Lewis and Ellerbe. Not saying Ryans is or ever will be Lewis, but the ravens used Lewis’s experience and upfield attacking play and balanced that w/ Ellerbe’s youth and athleticism. And that combo showed in the playoffs when Lewis was dominating (look at his #’s) and then in the Super Bowl when San Fran’s speed and spacing got the better of Lewis and Ellerbe took over and came up big for them. Plus people seem to underrate his coverage skills and forget that TE’s used to kill us so much in the past, but last yr w/ Kendricks @ SAM that wasn’t the case. Like you said he was a 1/2 a step away from several big plays, but he was there to either not get thrown at or make the completion a nominal gain. Really the only times I can think of TE’s killing us was when Kendricks didn’t have the assignment. Jimmy Graham v David Sims, Tony Schefler v Brandon Hughes, and Jason Witten v the whole eagles D in 1 of the cowboys game.

          • GEagle

            Thank you kindly

        • chloroformdreams

          Yess!! People seem to underestimate the immense amount of pressure put on the rest of the defense over the last two years so that our DE’s could rack up sacks. Anyone remember Babin celebrating a solo sack while we were getting eviscerated by the Falcons? Yea that was what our D was about.

      • nicksaenz1

        He played at Cal, so he at least has the advantage of Chip being familiar with him. I think he’ll get more than a fair shot from Chip to prove he can do the job.

    • eaglepete

      rookie, scheme, bad players and players quitting on the team around him. That def factors into some of these numbers.

  • usmcnole

    The thought of Celek, Casey, and Ertz package in the redzone gives me a bit a of chubby

    • Richard Colton

      A wise man once said that Big People beat up Little People. That’s especially true on the goal line.

      • GEagle

        Shady should certainly be a factor down in the redzone once again..
        …ENDZONE:
        line up in trips(3wr) to the right with Benn, Celek, and Desean, with Ertz lined up wide, alone on the opposite side..Throw the bubble screen to Desean and let him waltz into the ENDZONE, or fake the bubble and throw the fade to Ertz

        • Richard Colton

          How mad will Kendra Baskett and her husband be if they start calling the fade pass in the red zone?

          • GEagle

            Lol…that’s one intelligent couple

        • devCal

          in your scenario above, i would hand the ball off to shady and have him run to ertz’s side. he’s have to beat one man, and ertz would block his man. T-fn-D, everyday, all day.

          • GEagle

            Works for me

    • Token

      But then you remember Vick will be the one having to make the decisions down in the redzone, and your nuts quickly scurry up into your stomach.

      • morgan c

        +1

    • illadelphia21

      Make it Ertz, Mohmah, Benns, and Casey then I’m excited. I don’t see Celek as a legitimate RZ threat, and he never has really been one.

      • chloroformdreams

        So hard to tell given the way in which TE’s had been underutilized under AR.

        • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

          Great point, it is for that reason I believer people may be prematurely writing off Harbor.

      • Jack Waggoner

        I would be very surprised if Momah makes the team. Seems like a practice squad project to me.

        • illadelphia21

          Momah won’t make it through waivers to get on the practice squad. There’s no way we’re gonna be able to stash him for ‘future development, unless chip does the IR thing.

          • Jack Waggoner

            I think you’re overestimating Momah by a lot. He’ll get a chance to show what he can do, but I just don’t think he’s shown anything to make me think that he’s a player even close to making an NFL roster.

          • illadelphia21

            Overestimating him? I said nothing bout his skills. Just having a guy that tall and w/ that size in the redzone forces the opposing D to account for him whether he’s just a decoy or not. And as far as the practice squad thing, there were 3 other teams ready to sign him before he chose to sign w/ Philly. Whether or not they want to keep a roster spot for him or try to stash him believe me when I say he will not clear waivers. His height weight and speed is to good for a team not to take a flyer. Did I mention he was persued by 3 other teams???

          • Jack Waggoner

            OK… obviously we don’t agree … guess we’ll know more when we actually get to see him in preseason.

            I’d really have to see what he can do. The only WR catches I have seen him make were relatively uncontested. To me he’s sort of like the Big Indian in “One Flew Over The Cukoo’s Nest”, if you get that reference..

          • illadelphia21

            Jack I don’t disagree w/ your wait and see approach. Yet you keep talking bout skills which is not the main requirement for a player who’s never played a down to be picked up by another team. It’s potential and development. If a team thinks that a player has potential and they think they could possibly develop that player then he has a real legit chance to get signed. In order for Momah to make our practice squad all other 31 teams would have to pass on him. Which is not out of the realm of possibility. However w/ 3 other teams ready to sign him before he ‘chose’ the eagles, it makes it less likely. Players don’t clear waivers all the time during off/preseason. It’s the gamble/risk that every team has to take if they want to stash someone on the PS.

    • Jack Waggoner
      • Dr. Rick

        Kinda sorta something similar except the QB may or may not be under center, and there would probably not be 4 wides but 1 or 2 TEs who may not line up like TEs but who might be in the backfield. And this is where the inside zone read, or outside zine read, keeps everybody on the D honest. Are you confused yet? 8^)
        Take a look at fishduck, if you haven’t already, to see what the formations may look like. Not really a run and shoot, more run based.
        Should be fun.

        • Jack Waggoner

          I follow you… though the play above is a 2-TE formation that I think could easily use a 3rd TE as the X. I picture Casey as the U and Celek as the Y, Ertz as the X.

    • Pennguino

      Momah and Cooper as the 2 Wides. Celek and Ertz as the TE’s. Shady single back set. (6’6″, 6’5″, 6’4″, 6’3″)

      Bring Cooper in motion and you have power run to one side. Keep the wides stationary and you have fades in either corner.

      Wides can slant in and pick the DB/LB covering the TE on a shallow out.

      • GEagle

        You need to include Arrelius Benn

  • JofreyRice

    Yeah, Kendricks is going to have to do a lot better. I hate the constant narrative about how the Wide 9 was the worst thing ever invented, but it did put a lot of pressure on the LBs. Kendricks’ play definitely improved after the switch to Brasher’s read & react system. Kendricks just didn’t seem to play with the same violence he showed at Cal. I really think he has a chance to succeed as a run and chase WLB, playing behind Cox & the Predator in this system.

    I’m very surprised to see the Eagles so close to the top of the league in terms of tempo. I wonder though, how those seconds were allocated? Did the Patriots get lined up a lot quicker, so that Tom Brady was able to use a much longer portion of their 25 seconds reading and reacting to the defense he was being shown, whereas the Eagles were using most of their 27 seconds just getting lined up and getting the initial playcall right? Just a thought, I think there could be more to those numbers than just the raw data.

    • nicksaenz1

      I question this pace stat as well. If you go through the stats on the link provided, it’s a stat that needs a ton of context. After reviewing it, and based on what Chip wants to accomplish with an efficient, quick strike, up-tempo offense, NE is the team to key in on. They were 10th or 11th best in T.O.P., but ran far more plays than most of the league. The next closest team is 30 plays away, which is roughly half a game, and 80 more than the 3rd most, more than a game’s worth. NE’s numbers really speak to the kind of efficiency that Chip expects. But this stat doesn’t take into consideration the length of the actual play, or different strategies like trying to run a clock out at the end of a quarter, half, or the game.

  • Corry

    Those red zone statistics make me feel sick. That’s terrible.

    • cliff henny

      sure our defensive stats arent anything better to look at either.

  • Mike

    The tempo stats are bogus as it does not take into account the clock being stopped for an incomplete pass / out of bounds. Bad stat

    • Mike

      By the way, the Eagles were 7th in the league in incomplete passes and 8th in the league in incomplete passes per plays run. So that would skew their ‘tempo’ stats.

      • Broadcasting Wisdom

        Yeah I can’t believe that was actually the methodology used. So 3 incomplete passed in 18 seconds of “game time”, even though we huddled and use the entire play clock, would make us look like an uptempo offense?

      • Frank

        Yeah, this is ridiculous. I can pull random numbers out of my butt too. Can I have a football blog too?

        Please update the post Sheil, the numbers are totally bogus.

        • devCal

          no one is stopping you from starting your own blog.. do well.

  • Evan

    What are the stats on the number of red zone possessions that led to a td by the other team. I think the Eagles may have led the league the past two years.

    • Evan

      It is not as bad as I thought based on http://www.pro-football-reference.com.

      2012
      Phi 2 (99 yd interception return against Saints and 93yd fumble recovery by AZ)
      7 teams tied with 1 (SFO, SDG, DEN, IND, BAL, DET, CHI)

  • nicksaenz1

    The only relevant stat in that awful stat compiled by Chase Stu is when you look at New England’s total plays (1191, 74.4/game). They ran half a game’s worth of plays more than the second place team, and more than a full game’s worth of plays than the 3rd place team. That’s what we’re being told Chip is going to be trying to do here. The rest of that chart is useless.

    • cliff henny

      my favorite is when a run play works and NE runs it 3 or 4 times in a row without a break…chip does that…pepper’s going to need a new pair of shorts!

  • GEagle

    Someone help me make some Sense out of this….
    James Casey does an interview with CSN, asked him what’s the difference between playing for the Eagles and Texans? Well his answer confused the hell out of me:

    Casey: “IN Houston I had to learn the TE and FB position, here it’s a little easier cause I only have to worry about learning the TEs role”…….WTF? How could this be? He is supposed to be our Hback

  • 3rd & 1

    Obviously, we are going to have two offensive teams. The speed team of Vick, Jackson, Maclin, Benn and Avant will drive the team to the red zone. The tall team of Foles (6-6), Casey (6-3), Celek (6-4), Zertz (6-5) and Momah (6-6) will take over and score. The running backs can play on either team.