Three Eagles Numbers That Matter

Time for another edition of Three Eagles Numbers That Matter:

80 – Where Cary Williams ranked last year in success rate, according to Football Outsiders. That’s out of a possible 87 cornerbacks who were targeted at least 40 times.

We’ve discussed success rate before in this space, but for those who need a reminder, here’s how FO defines the metric:

The percentage of passes that don’t manage to get at least 45 percent of needed yards on first down, 60 percent of needed yards on second down, or 100 percent of needed yards on third down.

Williams had a success rate of just 42 percent; only seven cornerbacks were worse.

The numbers on Williams seem to paint a pretty complete picture. He is not a shut-down corner. He’ll give up completions, but he’s a physical player who will limit yards after the catch. Per FO’s numbers, Williams allowed just 1.8 yards after the catch on average last season. That ranked second-best in the NFL.

Clearly, the Eagles looked at their secondary after the season and realized they were too soft. Williams should certainly help in that respect, but there’s no guarantee that he’ll provide an upgrade in terms of coverage.

In case you’re wondering, Nnamdi Asomugha’s numbers reflect what you saw with your own eyes: that he struggled all season long. Asomugha allowed 10.4 yards per attempt, which ranked 86th out of the 87 corners who were targeted at least 40 times. He also allowed 5.0 yards after the catch on average, which ranked 78th.

41 – The pass-tackle stop rate for both DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks in 2012, according to Football Outsiders.

What’s pass-tackle stop rate? It goes back to the success rate mentioned above and is the percentage of pass-tackles that prevent the offense from having a successful offensive play. In other words, tackling a tight end after a 27-yard completion is different than tackling him after a 7-yard completion on 3rd-and-9.

The good news is Ryans and Kendricks ranked tied for fourth overall in this category. The Eagles were the only team that had two linebackers with a rate of 40 percent or better.

In a previous edition of Three Eagles Numbers That Matter, we noted that Kendricks missed a lot of tackles last year. But this shows another side: He was around the ball a lot and has big upside, especially in coverage.

Ryans, meanwhile, made an art out of allowing opponents to catch the ball in front of him, but tackling them short of the first-down marker.

For years, the Eagles failed to identify talent at the linebacker position. But by trading for Ryans and drafting Kendricks in the second round last offseason, it looks like they might have finally hit.

8 – The number of times Nick Foles fumbled last season.

The point here is not to rip Foles. He was a rookie operating behind a leaky offensive line and was playing for a team that was a complete mess overall. But the idea that simply getting Michael Vick off the field will fix the Eagles’ turnover issues is off-base.

Foles fumbled eight times in 468 snaps, or once every 58.5 snaps, per Pro Football Focus. Vick fumbled 11 times in 684 snaps, or once every 62.2 snaps. Both rates are bad, but Foles’ is actually worse.

Sidenote: These are overall fumbles, not just fumbles lost. Fumble recovery has proven to be random.

Vick has long had a fumbling issue. He’s put the ball on the ground 10.7 times per season since 2010. It would be quite an achievement for Chip Kelly to suddenly fix that problem. But whatever work Vick is putting in to improve his ball security, Foles should be doing too. And others like LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown (four fumbles apiece) as well.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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