I used part of yesterday’s off day to flip through the Eagles chapter of the Football Outsiders Almanac.
As I’ve mentioned in previous years, the Almanac is always chock full of good information, and it’s a great resource to get ready for the season.
Keeping that in mind, here are three Eagles numbers that matter, courtesy of their findings.
62 – The percentage of run plays for the Eagles when they were leading in the second half of games last year. That ranked No. 1 in the NFL. The previous year under Andy Reid, that number was 37 percent, which ranked dead last. Granted, the Eagles only won four games and didn’t have a lot of leads in 2012, but you get the point.
The Eagles’ run game was successful last year even when defenses knew what was coming. Opponents consistently stacked the box and played with a single high safety. In the fourth quarter, LeSean McCoy averaged 6.0 YPC, per STATS, LLC.
“No one is going to play us in two‑deep because if you play us in two‑deep, we can run the heck out of the ball,” said Chip Kelly.
And it’ll be more of the same in 2014.
54 – The percentage or runs for the Eagles when they were in 12 personnel (one RB, two TEs). The number gives a sense of why Kelly might trot that grouping out more in 2014: It allows for maximum versatility.
The Eagles had almost a 50/50 run-pass split when they used 12 personnel. Overall, they went with multiple TE sets 23 percent of the time – that ranked 25th.
I fully expect that number to go up in 2014. The key will be Zach Ertz. If he can prove to be a problem in the passing game against linebackers/safeties and progress as a blocker in the run game, there will be no reason to take him out of the game.
7.04 – The Eagles’ average yards after the catch as a team in 2013. That was not only tops in the league; it was the highest average of any NFL team dating back to 1992, according to STATS, LLC data.
This one really blew me away. We know Kelly likes to get the ball to his players in space and create one-on-one matchups. But the YAC number really demonstrates how well he accomplished that feat in his first year as an NFL head coach.
WHAT YOU MISSED
“You didn’t notice anything about DeSean Jackson not being here.” What they’re saying.
T-Mac dove into Kelly‘s explanations of his unorthodox ways.
And here’s McManus’ piece on the theory that Jackson opened things up for Riley Cooper last year.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Arrelious Benn is trying to overcome two torn ACLs to the same knee to make the roster, reports Paul Domowitch of the Daily News:
Acquired by the Eagles from Tampa Bay in March of last year, he tore his left ACL in training camp for the second time in 32 months and missed the entire season.
“I had to get over that,” Benn said of the self-pity, of the feeling he was jinxed. “The hard part was the mental part. Physically, I was able to come back because of the body that I have. But the tough thing I had to get over was the mental part. I had to give myself the opportunity. I had to keep fighting.”
The 6-2, 215-pound Benn tore his ACL for the first time late in his rookie season with Tampa Bay. The 2010 second-round pick recovered and caught 30 passes and three TDs in 14 games in 2011.
“It is different. You know, they’re very supportive here. They’re open. Being out on the field, I’ve been hearing certain things, but they’re good things. In Philly, sometimes things could have gotten a little negative. They booed their own players. But here, you don’t really get that. They’re supporting you, they’re out here. I mean, just as many people as [were] here in the morning practice come to our walkthrough practices, so that shows you something,” Jackson went on. “To not really have a practice and people are still sitting here through a walkthrough, they really are big fans and they support us. Every time we come out here, guys are screaming things at me. And that’s just a great fan base to really have.”
We’ll hit you up with some All-22 action this morning. Then it’s off to practice where we’ll hear from Kelly and have today’s session covered from top to bottom.
Don’t forget to pre-order your Eagles Almanac.
PRE-ORDER SPECIAL: $40
Josh Paunil contributed to this post.