Eagles Wake-Up Call: Three Numbers That Matter

Eagles Cornerback Bradley Fletcher Helmet off

Welcome to another edition of Three Numbers That Matter. You should know how it works by now.

85 – The number of yards LeSean McCoy needs to average in the final two games to break Wilbert Montgomery’s franchise record for rushing yards (1,512) in a season. McCoy is currently at 1,343 going into Week 16.

“If it happens, it happens,” McCoy said. “I’m sure one of these years I’ll break it.”

Told how many yards he needs, McCoy added: “That’s a guarantee right there. Nah, I’m joking.”

McCoy is going up against the 31st-ranked (Bears) and 30th-ranked (Cowboys) run defenses, per Football Outsiders. Among the 42 running backs who have at least 100 carries on the season, only DeMarco Murray (5.5) has a higher yards-per-carry than McCoy (5.0).

Meanwhile, as a receiver, McCoy needs 86 yards to set a new career-high in that category. More importantly, he’s averaging 11.3 yards per catch. To put that into perspective, McCoy has never averaged better than 7.7. And Brian Westbrook’s career-best in that category was 10.1.

19 – Where ESPN.com’s Todd McShay has the Eagles picking in his most recent mock draft. McShay has the Birds taking Oregon CB Ifo Ekpre-Olumu:

I don’t think the Eagles are going to find the pass-rusher they’re looking for at this point in the draft, so taking Ekpre-Olomu would help them fill their second-biggest need. He is a ball hawk and playmaker with very good anticipation and route-recognition skills, and he’s a fluid, flexible athlete who isn’t afraid to come up and support the run. Eagles coach Chip Kelly has a familiarity with Ekpre-Olomu, having coached him at Oregon. Receivers like Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews and Florida State’s Kelvin Benjamin would fill a need as well, if the Eagles opt to pass on a corner.

We’ll have plenty of time to talk draft in the offseason. But if we’re talking need, outside linebacker, cornerback and safety are all on the list.

The Eagles have decisions to make at wide receiver, and offensive line is a possibility too.

13 – The number of pass interference penalties called on the Eagles this season. That’s the most in the NFL. The defense has lost 200 yards on pass interference penalties. That’s second-most in the league.

The Bears come in with a couple big targets in Alshon Jeffery (6-3, 216) and Brandon Marshall (6-4, 230). But interestingly enough, each wide receiver has only drawn one PI penalty on the season (per Football Outsiders).

This isn’t a case of the Eagles having to keep up with speedy receivers on the perimeter. But Jay Cutler throws the ball up and lets his guys make plays. The Eagles’ defensive backs will have to be prepared to make plays on the ball without drawing flags.

WHAT YOU MISSED

An All-22 look at the continuing education of Nick Foles.

What they’re saying about the Eagles, including one writer defending Chip Kelly’s fourth-down decision.

McCoy says he wants to put the offense on his back against the Bears.

Brandon Boykin continues to be sidelined with a concussion.

T-Mac on anger, edge and the good that can come from Sunday’s loss.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Elizabeth Merrill of ESPN.com looks back at the Riley Cooper situation:

But Cooper’s story is about more than redemption. It’s about a team with strong leadership. It’s about forgiveness. It’s about a young athlete who was seemingly born with everything waking up one day and realizing he was on the verge of winding up with nothing.

Chris Burke of SI.com has the Eagles 16th in his power rankings:

Again, not quite sure how to handle the Eagles. Five straight wins entering Week 15 … and then 48 points allowed to the Vikings sans Adrian Peterson. This defense has improved greatly during the season, yet there remain questions about its ability to do the job when it matters.

COMING UP

We’ll talk to Kelly and have updates from the NovaCare Complex. Plus listen in to Birds 24/7 radio on 97.5 The Fanatic from 6 to 7.

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