From the pass rush to a surprising Nick Foles stat to the run game, here are three Eagles numbers that matter.
29.6 – The percentage of pass plays last year in which the Eagles’ defense generated pressure. That number ranked first in the NFL, according to Football Outsiders. It’s a pretty remarkable stat for a couple different reasons. The Eagles play a two-gap 3-4 in which they focus on stopping the run on early downs. And I don’t think they have a player who would be considered a premiere edge rusher.
Connor Barwin led the team with 14.5 sacks and 21 hurries (coaches’ stats) last year. Those are great numbers, but in many cases, he’s not blowing by (or running over) offensive tackles. He’s savvy and does a great job of anticipating where the quarterback is going to end up. To his credit, Barwin knows how to finish also. Read more »
Photo by: Jeff Fusco.
Happy Fourth of July, everyone. Hope you are all having a happy and healthy one. Some links to pass along in case you need a quick fix:
The Eagles have been the healthiest team over the past two seasons, according to a metric created by Football Outsiders. BGN has more.
Spoiler alert: evidence would suggest Philadelphia’s sports science program has been able to keep the team very healthy. So healthy, in fact, that the Eagles are the healthiest team in the NFL the past two seasons…
Perhaps even more interesting than the Eagles being the most healthy team is the disparity between them and the New York Giants. The Giants have been bitten hard by the injury bug in recent years. Is it just bad luck? Maybe not. Read more »
DeSean Jackson cried foul over the way he was shown the exit in Philly. LeSean McCoy and Tra Thomas brought up race. Cary Williams took aim at the team’s conditioning practices and said the Eagles were outcoached down the stretch last season. Even Trent Cole fired off a tweet exclaiming “No respect!” after being released.
The latest comments from Jackson claiming that he was the victim of a smear campaign in Philly led to the following debate topic on NFL Network: Why do former Eagles continue to take shots at Chip Kelly?
“I think it has in large part to do with, when you are a professional athlete, you are a man,” said Jamie Dukes, who was an offensive lineman in the league for 10 seasons. “And Chip Kelly I think has made the mistake that we’ve seen Nick Saban make, Greg Schiano — who I really like but I think he made the mistake and admitted to it…This college thing. Read more »
Photo courtesy of USA Today
Ryan Day played quarterback for Chip Kelly when the coach was in full-out mad scientist mode. Serving as New Hampshire’s offensive coordinator at the time, Kelly rotated offensive systems in and out at a dizzying pace as he searched for the perfect concoction. Day was the signal-caller in the middle of the whirlwind.
“At that time, we were changing offenses every week. We would go from Run ‘n Shoot to the Wing-T to the Veer. One week we threw it six times, the next week we threw it 65 times,” Day recalled. “Coach kind of had a laboratory there, and it was a lot of fun to be around.”
So much fun that Day found it hard to pull himself away — much to the detriment of his grade point average.
“Coach used to laugh: when I was in college, in the spring I would get like a 3.0 but in the fall I would be around a 1.5,” he said. “I used to spend pretty much the whole fall in there listening to the meetings, listening to some of the game-planning and kind of learning how that went, which is kind of why I became a coach. I just liked it and I got around Coach and he made it exciting for me. Maybe without that, I wouldn’t have gotten into coaching.” Read more »
Rich Kotite (USA Today)
Like many of you, I am a football consumer. And one reason I like this slow period from mid-June to early August is I can catch up on things I’ve been meaning to read, watch, listen to, etc.
So each week between now and training camp, I’ll share three items I find interesting. Here’s the first edition.
1. Bringing the Heat by Mark Bowden has been sitting on my shelf for a couple years. It chronicles the story of the 1992 Eagles, one of the first teams I remember following. The book is filled with colorful anecdotes and really illustrates how much has changed since that era.
Bowden tells one story of Marvin Hargrove, an undrafted free agent wide receiver who made a splash during training camp. Many around the team apparently felt Hargrove was getting a bit too cocky with his success. So one day, athletic trainer Otho Davis decided to knock him down a peg. He “gave him a couple of pills and rigged one of his famous menthol heat balm wraps that set Marvin’s nuts on fire – as intended.” Read more »
Photo By Jeff Fusco
During his first practices as a rookie, Jordan Matthews made a habit of finding the end zone.
Whenever he caught the ball, he would take off in a sprint towards the goal line before eventually returning to the line of scrimmage. Chip Kelly was asked last week about Matthews’ routine.
“In football, the play ends on a whistle,” Kelly said. “So when the whistle blows, stop running. That was the conversation.”
When the regular season started, Matthews had no problem finding the end zone, scoring eight touchdowns as a rookie.
Raymond Summerlin of Rotoworld recently put together a piece on red zone production. He found that Matthews scored on 38 percent of his red zone targets, ranking 16th among all wide receivers and ninth among those who were targeted 10 times or more. Read more »
Photo By Jeff Fusco
From red zone production to play-action passes to the in-season travel schedule, here are three Eagles numbers that matter.
36.5 – DeMarco Murray’s TD rate on carries inside the opponents’ 10 the last two years, according to writer Graham Barfield. Murray scored 19 times on 52 attempts. That’s the fifth-best mark among running backs since 2013.
LeSean McCoy, meanwhile, ranked 35th in this category, converting just eight of 46 attempts (17.4 percent) into touchdowns. While there are plenty of factors that go into this – play-calling, the offensive line, etc. – it seems reasonable to expect that the Eagles could get more from Murray than McCoy when they get into scoring range. Read more »
Photo courtesy of USA Today
Given that the Eagles’ spring program wrapped up last week with the mandatory minicamp, now seems like a good time to take stock of what we’ve learned the past two months.
Below are three items worth taking a closer look at.
1. A lot is riding on Walter Thurmond.
The 27 year old made the transition from corner to safety in the spring and is the clear frontrunner to start alongside Malcolm Jenkins. The Eagles need their safeties to cover man to man against tight ends and slot receivers; play center field in single-high looks; and provide run support. Thurmond has played as a nickel, so he has the first part down. It’s the other two areas where he’ll have to prove himself. Read more »
Photo Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports
Philadelphia Magazine’s Robert Huber went on a journey to find out who Chip Kelly is.
Below are a couple excerpts from his article.
BEFORE I MADE THE TRIP to New Hampshire, I learned some things.
It’s clear, for example, that Chip Kelly doesn’t give a rat’s ass what other people think of him. Which some people find quite discombobulating. An NFL insider who spent hours with Kelly over dinner a few years ago describes a surreal divide: Chip has a brilliant football mind and can talk endlessly about the game — at warp speed, the way he always talks — but doesn’t seem to be there with you in the moments that aren’t about football. He won’t make eye contact. He seems to be daydreaming, and you sit there wondering what he’s really thinking. Usually, of course, getting to know someone is a combination of what he’s saying and how he feels to you, his body language, the little interjected moments of, say, “How’s your steak?” Chip seems devoid of those moments. He shares almost nothing of himself. He doesn’t ask questions. He doesn’t seem normal, says the NFL guy, who was left, after spending several hours with Kelly, with the most basic fear:
Doesn’t Chip like me?
Read more »
Illustration, left, by Viktor Miller Gausa (stadium: iStockphoto/Thinkstock; Kelly: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images). Photograph, right, by Douglas Levy
I am in pursuit. It’s late May, and I’m spending a few days driving all over the southeastern corner of New Hampshire, that plug of land that gives the Live Free or Die state a right-of-way to the sea. Random inlets of crystalline water lap small towns built around proper squares and painted white. Many are older than America itself.
This is where I’m searching for Chip Kelly — a revolutionary masquerading as a football coach — even though I’m sure he’s in Philadelphia, with his team. Read more »