Three Eagles Numbers That Matter

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You know the drill. Here are three Eagles numbers that matter.

4 – The number of “close” interceptions by Nick Foles in 2013, as charted by Scott Kacsmar of Football Outsiders (via ESPN Insider). We know that Foles only threw two interceptions in 317 pass attempts during the regular season for a ridiculously low rate of 0.6 percent. But a fair question is: How much of that was luck, and how much of that was good decision-making?


Per Kascmar's research, Foles didn't need a lot of luck in this category. He charted zero dropped interceptions by opponents. The four close INTs included: one that DeSean Jackson broke up against the Cardinals; one that was negated by a questionable holding penalty against Arizona; and one against Green Bay where two defenders ran into each other.

Even if all four of Foles' near-picks were turnovers, he still would have had an interception rate of 1.9 percent; that would have been eighth-lowest in the NFL.

Some might point to 2012 and say Foles' propensity to take care of the football is nothing new. But that's a bit misleading. Foles threw five interceptions in 265 attempts as a rookie for a rate of 1.9 percent. But luck played a bigger role in his first season. In 2012, Foles had eight would-be interceptions dropped by opposing defenders, per Football Outsiders. His adjusted interception rate was 4.2 percent.

Bottom line: Foles deserves credit for real improvement in this area, and Chip Kelly deserves credit for hammering home the "Take care of the football, and let the offense work" message to his quarterback.

1,189 - The number of snaps played by DeMeco Ryans in 2013, according to Pro Football Focus. That was the most of any front-seven player in the NFL.

Ryans, who turns 30 in July, did a lot of good things for this defense. He made the calls and checks before the snap; he was effective against the run; and he is one of the most respected/well-liked guys in the locker room. But ideally, I don't think Billy Davis and Kelly want Ryans on the field as much going forward.

The obvious point is anyone who plays that many snaps could use a breather. But more importantly, Ryans' strength is playing the run, not the pass. He has issues at times in coverage and wasn't particularly effective as a blitzer (although a lot of that is scheme). Ryans is due $6.8 million in 2014. I still think he's back one way or another, but the Eagles will likely tweak their sub packages depending on personnel.

Last season, they played almost exclusively nickel, bringing Brandon Boykin in and taking an interior lineman off. Ryans and Mychal Kendricks always stayed on the field. The Eagles have several options going forward. They could add (or develop) more defensive backs and play more dime (six DBs, one inside LB), or they could add more of a hybrid LB who spells Ryans.

One way or another, the guess here is that Ryans comes off the field more in 2014.

8 - The number of safeties who have started at least one game for the Eagles over the last three seasons. Can you name them all?

OK, time is up: Nate Allen, Patrick Chung, Earl Wolff, Kurt Coleman, Colt Anderson, David Sims, Jarrad Page and Jaiquawn Jarrett.

They've tried every avenue: the draft, free agency and trades. But among the eight names listed above, there's a chance that only one (Wolff) is on the roster in 2014.

We know Kelly has preferred measurables for each position, but what does he want from safety? The two guys the Eagles added last offseason - Wolff and Chung - were about the same size (5-11 and 209/210, respectively). Wolff tested very well athletically at the scouting combine.

A 2012 ESPN.com article indicated that Kelly really wanted size from his defensive backs towards the end of his tenure at Oregon:

The way the Ducks rotate defensive players will allow them to use different combinations to see where their younger and bigger athletes will fit in the future.

By the time the 2014 season comes around, the Ducks could line up a secondary that includes Seisay (6-2) and Tyree Robinson (6-3) at the cornerback spots -- with a combination of Tyrell Robinson (6-3), Reggie Daniels and Oshay Dunmore (both 6-2) at the safety spots.

Size isn't everything, as the Ducks have proved over the years, but if they are able to roll out a lineup in the secondary that looks like that, size no longer would be an issue.

One free agent safety who has some size is Miami's Chris Clemons (6-1, 214). Clemons is 28 and has started every game the last two seasons. He ran a 4.41 coming out of college in 2009.

I need to do a lot more homework on Clemons, but he should cost less than top-tier guys like Jairus Byrd and T.J. Ward. Given his size and experience, Clemons could be a name to watch in March.

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  • GEAGLE

    Dude, dime is so rare. You need to have a quality safety to be able to run dime packages in today’s NFL…Eric Berry handles it well, Lions run it with Quinn…

    While agree we will want to spell Demeco, this is why Van Noy makes so much sense! because he backs up any LB spot, really good in coverage, and shedding blockers…But Meco just set career records for sacks and INTs playing in a scheme that he wasn’t supposed to fit in for the first time…this dude came in here, and balled out in two completely different schemes and sports science could get an extra year then normal out of him..dude is a family man who is a real pro who takes care of his body…Def need to add LB, assuming Knott isn’t some hidden gem, but Meco still has a year, probably two left as the captain of our defense.. IM excited to see what Meco can do, being in the same scheme two years in a row

    Clemons is still going to command 4-5mil per year.. If he is as cheap as you think, Miami would have extended him. I don’t rule him out, but if we gotta give him 5.5per year, I’d rather pony up the extra two mil and get a baller. If we can get him at 4yr 16mil, he would make sense to me..safety is becoming so important and hard to find, that I’m suspect about the safeties teams let hit the market. I can understand why the bills and brown won’t pay that type of money to their super safeties. But I wonder why teams would let reasonable priced safeties walk if they are good enough

    • cliff henny

      Christian Jones too. he would also provide OLB pass rush needed. heck, get Evans in 1st, go KVN Joyner and Jones next 3, and put those 3 out there with dline pups, Kendricks and Byrd on nickle and dimes. let the fun begin!

      • GEAGLE

        Are you trying to seduce me? all this talk of defense gets me hot

        • cliff henny

          Haha, taking those guys 2-4rds would be like 10 viagras to you

          • GEAGLE

            Lol more like the time I took Viagra as an 18yr old boy! You know me, glady win 10-3 every week.

          • cliff henny

            reminds me of my buddy, had a bad back, we got all liquored up and he went home with a coyote girl. he called me next morning, couldnt move. had to take him to hospital, took a viagra and blew his back out to point he needed his L2, L3 and L4 fused. JC did we abuse him after that

          • GEAGLE

            Geez!! By the time I was done performing like superman! I remember standing up and my heart feeling like it would beat thru my chest! and I felt dizzy and lightheaded lol….we also used to throw Viagra in each other’s drinks at Roman Catholic High School(all boys school lol)

      • Tom W

        Christian in the 4th would be wishful thinking but I’d be happy

        • cliff henny

          cbsdraft has him 3rd/4th. in 3rd, after wr and safety, he’s looking great to me. dont think he’s a top 35 guy, and not a 5th rounder. use 2nd 5th to move up in 4th. seems like a perfect fit short and long term.

          • Tom W

            Was yelled out he wasn’t an olb a week ago by a few people here … I think he could be a situational edge rusher for a year at least and move inside down the road but doesn’t solve our edge problem our biggest problem honestly long term. The guy Marcus smith from Louisville will be sitting there in 3d

          • cliff henny

            tape i watched of jones, and live games, wasnt too much ‘wasnt’ to his game. he’d needs time to beef up to play inside. i just want eagles to solve m2m single high safety on offense and get better on 3rd and longs. not worried about offense, ertz, mac,coop and draft wr will cover that. can see jones being rusher or nickel backer on 3rd and longs, or rush passer. versatile guy.
            .
            watched some l’ville games, low comp level, and was mostly focused on TB before foles became foles. smith has physicals, wonder how he’ll play in space, know he mostly played end.

    • Tom W

      Aside from Byrd and ward to a lesser extent, Chris Clemons is a guy I liked last year a lot over Chung and Philips and like again this year on a 3 yr deal or 5 for 23 mil deal for low guaranteed at 6 mil like clover Quinn …. Young big solid safety who can tackle well and cover good…. Not a playmaker and not an elite player .. He won’t transform our secondary alone but make it more solid. Definite improvement over Nate and better than other free agents aside from Byrd or ward or whitner … Dolphins signed the younger safety to big money last year and have a young safety to replace Clemons if he walks

      Still allows us to go bpa in draft but its a must we need an edge rusher like ford attaboy or Marcus smith ..

  • Andy

    Foles had two or three intentional groundings that I’m sure he will avoid in the future also. He probably will throw more interceptions in future seasons, given how historically few he thew this year, but will also probably get better in other areas as well.

    • southy

      Hopefully our D will be good enough that he won’t have to have a historically high QB rating to win games, either.

  • theycallmerob

    Aside from the top 2 names and Stevie Brown as an injury-flier, Clemons is the only other worth FA I see making an impact on this team. Wouldn’t be too upset if they go that route before the draft.

    • GEAGLE

      Yeah, I wouldn’t complain. It wouldn’t excite me, but beggers can’t be choosers and anything will prob be an upgrade

      • cliff henny

        really hope FO makes a sizable investment to upgrade Allen. i’ll be dissappointed if they dont. now, if they trot out anything with chung/coleman combo, just wont allow myself to contemplate this awful scenario.

        • GEAGLE

          I’m with you…even if we were to draft my beloved Pryor, starting a rookie next to Wolff freighters me. Don’t like playing too many young DBs. There are some positions you can go young at, safety and CB isn’t one of them..they really tend to struggle early on.

          • cliff henny

            isnt the hope pryor become ward/byrd? have the money, buy the position and use pick to address another top need. need/bpa will be same in this draft for Eagles. if Fitzgerald was 27 and free agent, i’d say buy him and allow picks to be used on something else.

          • Joe L

            I think Pryor is a good mix of Ward/Byrd. He’s got better size than both players, hits bigger than Byrd and looks like he can cover more ground in centerfield than a thumper like Ward.

          • cliff henny

            like that too. think wolff should get someone to camp battle-like another 5th. after signing Byrd for 45m, sounds like using alot of resources on safety. they arent 1 position away. have all this cap, need to buy at least 1 solution with it. dont like olbs or WR as solution free agents.

          • GEAGLE

            We NEED TO BUY ATLEAST ONE SOLUTION!!! AMEN!!!!!! All this damn money, it shouldn’t be too much to ask to pay to turn one stinking weakness into a strength….I know Billy will endorse Ward, but I have no clue what Chip thinks of Byrd or Ward….id pay for an elite solution and draft a safety in rounds 3-5 for Wolff to battle with, and we would have two promising young safeties to learn from an elite veteran like Ward/Byrd..

          • cliff henny

            how hard id howie’s job. log onto pm 24/7, solutions are right here. or pull up any dallas cap related article, and do opposite.

          • theycallmerob

            s’pose Howie had 1 too many and came on here last summer; think he could get a unicorn for a 3rd and 5th?

          • GEAGLE

            Basically…you would draft him hoping he turns into the next top safety 3years from now, but we can just pay for a sure thing like Ward…can’t even imagine what cool ass Billy Dee can do if he has a pass rush and safeties he doesn’t have to try to hide

          • Wilbert M.

            I’d rather see this solved through the draft. Pryor is a no-brainer (like Earl Thomas at 12 but Andy f’d that up). Big money on FA’s now will complicate re-signing the 2012 draft guys. Allen was adequate this year and Wolff was promising. Show Chung the door. I was really surprised how bad Chung was. I liked the signing initially.

        • Will

          Don’t Don’t even go there… GOD fix the Safeties!

        • theycallmerob

          please, with the current cut-from-magazine letters I’m already sending over some draft guys? you’d better believe Howie would need witness protection if the Eagles start that pair next year

  • Andy124

    Anybody else see this headline

    Ex-Eagles GM Gamble dies

    and do a major double-take?

    • theycallmerob

      ????
      rough day, Pete Seeger is gone too. If I had a hammer…..I’d whack Dan Snyder with it.

      • GEAGLE

        If all you are missing is a hammer, I’d gladly loan you mine

      • Andy124

        Made me think of Tom Gamble for an instant. Apparently it’s Harry Gamble.

        • Explorer51

          Tough day for Tom, losing his Dad.

          • Andy124

            Yeah. The article didn’t say how. Hopefully it was a peaceful, in his sleep, ready to go kind of deal. Makes it MUCH easier in my experience.

      • peteike

        No way Pete Seeger, legend with maybe the biggest heart. Did more for race relations than most, thats too bad.

  • usmcnole

    Donte Whitner

  • NickS1

    Just saw an SBNation article that popped up on Yahoo saying that Jerrah will restructure Romo’s deal this year to save 9.6mil. Even if he accomplishes that, which I didn’t think he could do, yet, they still have just over 10mil to shave off. I love Jerrah.

    • cliff henny

      yup, he can. thought he couldnt till next yr (which he’ll do again). read an article on overthecap from nov. that said the dallas team today will be same Dallas team in ’17, except for Ware, Witten, Hatcher, Murray, and Austin. no major free agency signings, maybe some lateral cheap more, draft turnover picks. have no idea what they do if Romo’s back isnt healed. they have no plan B.

      • NickS1

        Thanks for the link. Not sure where I read it, but I thought a team had to be two years into the deal before it could restructure. Also, good to know about the escalators for the players that play at least 35% of snaps in the first three years or two of the first three years.

        • cliff henny

          sure. there’s couple flaws in article. Jerry’s already added to mess with signing kicker, adding 3m. plus, they cant move on from Orton or Mac Bernadeau, Romo isnt fixed yet and MB played well. that’s another 2.5m. that’s 5.5m they have to find. we toss around 1m here 3m there, Dallas before these changes was squeezing under. really want to here Ware get restructured, sounds like a terrible move. JJ better draft like a madman.

          • NickS1

            For as much as I hope he does restructure him, I also wouldn’t mind him being traded/released. No inclination to see him healthy twice next year or year after, regardless of how old he is.

          • cliff henny

            from the little i gathered, sounds like restructuring make the circling drain period starting in ’16 that much worse, which thinking about it makes me very happy. 0-16 and all 40 point losses in ’17 or ’18, just awesome! on other hand, Dallas still should be stiffest competition for ’14. 8-8, had ton of injuries, couple really bad losses, 11-5 if they played all 16 again with better luck would be concievable. take Ware off that team, will just be dogshit on defense-he was playing very well 1st half of season. think with having to keep orton, mac barn, and nutty kicker signing, he’s cutting him. so, that works too, 3 unimportant players for 1 above average when healthy

      • anon

        could ware be a cap casualty?

        • NickS1

          Very very possible if it were anyone but Jerrah.

        • cliff henny

          almost think they have to now-cant do moves suggested in article. it’s 8.5m dead, clears 7.5, but june 1st’g him moves that to 3.5 m dead and 12.5 cleared. balance 5m goes to ’15. but there in lies the problem. in that article, the cap is far more difficult to navigate in ’15. Bryant and Smith get frachise and tender tags (since Dallas has no cap to sign them to long term contracts). it’s like arguing with a women and she asks you a questions…there are no right answers at this point.
          .
          historically bad defense and cutting best player. long live Jerrah

          • anon

            they should fire their gm.

          • cliff henny

            NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • NickS1

            You take that back!

        • GEAGLE

          Mortenson literally just said no chance to that question, citing 16mil against the cap

    • Anders

      Actually Romo’s deal is made to be restructured this year, but that just means Romo will be on the roster to at least 2018

      • NickS1

        2019 after next year’s restructure.

        EDIT: And I see that now, I was under the impression that new deals couldn’t be restructured until two seasons in.

      • theycallmerob

        howdy Anders, glad to see you ’round these parts.

        • GEAGLE

          RIGHT!! Anders is one of my main Friennemies!!! Good dude, knows his stuff, stop by and say high more often!!

      • cliff henny

        then they have to do it all over again in ’15. sounds like they’ll get out after ’18 regardless, but just how much dead money will be piling up. they have no money to sign any mid tier free agents for 2 or 3 yrs. that’s crazy. it’s same players just getting older or draft picks.

        • JofreyRice

          They’re planning on just forfeiting the ’19 season. Jerry’s new plan, spend 5 years worth of cap in 4, take a season off.

          • cliff henny

            can you imagine 2 more solid off-season moves, 2 more above average drafts, foles getting 90% to where Johnny Geagle promises (heck, 50%)…by ’17, Dallas will be historical mess. NFL wont allow Eagles to carry enough players to call of dogs. up 50 by halftime.

          • GEAGLE

            Oh it’s coming buddy!!!! It’s coming!!!

          • Mr. Magee

            LOL

          • Andy124

            Nah, makes too much sense. I think you’re giving him more credit than he deserves.

    • anon

      I thought they, like the skins get some relief since they’ve been living with cap penalties the last two years

      • NickS1

        I think that’s already factored into these scenarios. Could be wrong on that, though.

        • pjcostello

          You’re correct.

  • Kevin

    I am not an ESPN Insider, but I would love to know what is the average of “Near Interceptions” is for quarterbacks and is Foles projected 8th rank that SK mentions if he was just unlucky, or is it normalized against if all QB’s were unlucky.
    I wish there was some way of generating a stat that would take into account the three possible reasons for an interception:
    QB Decision Making – QB Execution – Uncontrolled outcome
    The worst is obviously throwing a INT because of a bad decision, the WR was not open. The execution portion would be a good decision by the QB but a bad throw (for example, if the throw to Desean in the Green Bay was intercepted, it was a good decision, Desean beat the coverage, but a bad throw). The uncontrolled outcome would be a good choice and good throw, but the WR does something like bat the ball in the air and it is picked.
    My ‘gut’ feeling is that Foles is an above average decision maker and is above average at execution (placing the ball in a good spot). These aren’t traits that wow people, but typically produce steady above average results. And I believe that Kelly values these traits more than mobility.
    If Foles “elite” skill is being able to protect the football and Jaws is correct with his turnover v. winning stat, the Eagles should easily be a 10 to 12 win team every year.

    • JofreyRice

      I remember after Vick’s 2010 season, KC Joyner, “the football scientist”, came up with some metric saying that Vick had gotten really, really lucky with turnovers, and his overall numbers looked a little better than he played. I think most people shouted him down at the time, but it’s interesting to chart Vick’s turnovers after 2010–really did seem like there was something to what Joyner was saying..

      • Kev_H

        I remember 4 or 5 that could have been INTs in the 2010 Detroit game alone!

      • jshort

        I remember reading an article about that. He got that right. Never did forget that …surprised that’s the first time it’s been brought up.

    • jon h

      Thought the same thing. With Foles, guys are always quick to find reasons why his numbers should be lowered including this stat. We don’t look at guys like Kaeppernick, Newton and Wilson and project how many sacks or ints they would have thrown if they weren’t mobile and couldn’t run away. Why not? calculate that if we’re talking hypotheticals when talking about stats. Stats show what actually happened. What actually happened is that Foles didn’t throw picks. I don’t see anyone taking away the one he threw in the snow, so don’t give him ones that didn’t happen. Regardless, I hope people keep saying he sux, so that the guy continues to be motivated to overperform.

  • JofreyRice

    I’d like to see Ryans off the field on passing downs next season. He got smoked so many times. Kendricks has a way to go in coverage, but it’s more about feel than lack of athletic ability.

    Running dime looks in passing situations with Kendricks as the only LB. Would require that in addition to the FA S they have to sign, they draft a solid 3rd safety, they want to bring along. Kind of puts you in a bind, because with so little safety talent, there is really no depth if any one of Wolff, Free Agent, or Rookie gets hurt.

    Run a nickel with the LB’s as Kendricks and Barwin, and they either have to bring Graham as the edge rusher from the left, or have Cole flip sides and use whomever his replacement will be on the right (rookie or vet free agent). This scenario probably gives you more flexibility because of the off the LOS linebackers ability to blitz, and the on the LOS LBs to drop.

    • cliff henny

      ward or byrd, draft KVN or Chirstian Jones (or both-2nd and 4th possibly) draft joyner or ward (3rd or 5th possibly). have dline pup. 3 dbs in c-wills, fletch and Boykin, 3 safety in byrd wolff and Joyner/ward (hybrid cb/safety), and rotate KVN or C-Jones(pass rush specialist-liking this guy in 3rd), barwin and kendricks depending on nickel or dime. this has to be a good starting point.

      • anon

        we need a nt bad. domination at the line will make it better everywhere else.

        • theycallmerob

          I think that’s too emotional a reaction after the NO game. Logan held his own the last half of the season, and the hope would be that the NT comes off the field on passing downs anyway. Need more 3rd down stops and passing play pressures, neither of which is NT responsibility.

          • GEAGLE

            Lol this NT crap is getting absurd. Yous ain’t getting a NT, unless it’s some super cheap veteran backup.. Stop crying over something I promise we won’t get! and get behind Benny Logan, who only anchored a defense that was top 10 against the run.

            By now, if people don’t know that our Nickle defense is what got run on by the saints, and that Logan is replaced by friggin Boykin in Nickle, then there is no getting thru to them.

            News Flash, most Nickle defenses will get trampled by an opponents power set with two blocking TEs in the game.

            Big fat NT aren’t versatile, this you won’t be seeing them here!!! Get over it, move on, and start supporting young Logan, because that’s who the starting NT is next year

          • Tom W

            Was trying to say the same thing the day after the game but got screamed at for a week till sheil revealed what Davis said about the nickel vs double tight a week later. Couldn’t people see that we were in nickel and Boykin was playing so much

          • pjcostello

            Yes, the better question is: Why were they in nickel against a run-heavy offensive set??? I know, I know, they were afraid Brees would burn them. Ugh.

      • Tom W

        Whose the edge pass rusher of the future then? Van noy is more of a ilb or 4 3 olb and I am told that Christian jones is an ilb although good pass rusher … Whose our 10-15 sack guy?

        • cliff henny

          6’4, 235, frame to add weight for sure. not sure why he can be. or, for couple yrs, groom him to move inside, look next yr. replacement for ryans in ’16. look again next yr. not a bad plan. if it was me, i might of been thinking telvin smith, i was getting them confused. think KVN is more barwin, right? again, not a bad plan, barwin is probably another 2 yrs. like idea of stackng guys up.

    • anon

      Who is going to QB your defense? Kendricks?

      • JofreyRice

        I guess. If they prefer to have DeMeco call it in the base D, they’d have to do something to what NE does. They have Mayo & McCourty both trained on calling the D. If Mayo goes out, McCourty gets the green-dot helmet. Give the alt-green dot to Kendricks, or Jarius Byrd.

  • Brad

    Foles’ passes were rarely touched by defenders. He had seven starts where there were one or fewer passes defended (per ESPN box scores). He usually puts the ball where only his receiver can get to it.

    • Mr. Magee

      Wow, is this true?! How does it compare to other QBs? Must be at or near the top…

  • Mr. Wu

    what a list of sh*t safties

  • Kristopher Cebula

    or we could just sign byrd and call it a day. To be honest, I trust whoever chip wants to bring in. Given the birds recent struggles at safety and byrd’s Oregon background and the fact that he is the best available option, I wouldn’t be surprised if they make a run at byrd. Of course, with our luck, he’ll probably suffer some debilitating injury in training camp and Colt Anderson will start at safety game 1

  • Frank

    So now they are trying to diminish Foles FANTASTIC year with “close maybe” interception nonsense. Foles had the #1 NFL QB rating, so now they still want to somehow change that FACT. Hey, even if Foles “close” throws were calculated as interceptions, then you would also have to calculate all the other QB’s “close” interceptions……and Foles would STILL BE #1 in NFL QB rating.

    • Coatesvillain

      They aren’t trying to diminish anything. If anything he’s showing how impressive it is that he only had four throws that were near-picks. That’s phenomenal. They are actually giving him a ton of credit here.