Eagles Wake-Up Call: Five Numbers That Matter
1 – The number of blitzes Juan Castillo dialed up against the Giants in the teams’ Week 11 meeting last season. Eli Manning dropped back to pass 38 times in that game, and the Eagles sent extra pressure just once. They were still able to sack Manning three times and hit him on 10 occasions with their front four. That’s the formula. By my count, the Eagles have blitzed 16 times in the first three weeks. Opposing quarterbacks are 6-for-13 for 109 yards when they send extra pressure. The Eagles also have two sacks (and there was an offensive pass interference penalty). But there’s always risk when you blitz. Of those six completions, three have gone for 20+ yards. DeMeco Ryans has been the most frequent blitzer. He’s gone after the quarterback 14 times, per Pro Football Focus. No other Eagles has blitzed more than five times.
8 – The number of receptions DeSean Jackson has made outside the numbers within 20 yards of the line of scrimmage (per PFF). Even more impressive, that’s on nine targets. I’m no offensive coordinator, but it sure seems like the Eagles could really milk those intermediate routes near the sideline with Jackson. Cornerbacks and safeties are constantly afraid of him getting behind them. If he can get space, why not take advantage? We’re not talking about catches in the middle of the field where he’s taking big hits. And these are throws that shouldn’t require as much protection as the deep balls. Jackson hasn’t dropped a ball through three games.
25 -The percentage of touchdowns opponents have scored on red-zone possessions against the Eagles’ defense. We’re only three games in, but that’s the fourth-best mark in the NFL. Much better than last year when the Eagles allowed TDs 59.57 percent of the time (29th) and 2010 when the number was 78.26 percent (32nd).
10.26 – The average length (in yards) of Michael Vick’s pass attempts. Only Joe Flacco (10.97), Mark Sanchez (10.95) and Tony Romo (10.52) have higher numbers. As we’ve discussed all week, those downfield throws require great protection – something the Eagles might not have with Demetress Bell and Dallas Reynolds going up against the Giants’ talented defensive front. This number goes hand in hand with the note on Jackson above. Maybe this would be a good week to be a bit more judicious with the downfield calls.
77.7 – Penalty yards per game for the Eagles. That’s sixth-most in the league. Last year, that number was 53.3 per game. Evan Mathis leads the team with four penalties. Demetress Bell has three. Seven other Eagles have two. Overall, the Eagles have been called for 10 offensive holding penalties, most in the league.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Marty Mornhinweg is not backing down. He says the Eagles are going to stay in attack mode.
In his always entertaining mailbag, T-Mac checks in on Nick Foles.
With Akeem Jordan sidelined, it looks like Jamar Chaney, not Brian Rolle, will get the start at WILL linebacker.
Here’s a look at the All-22 of the Eagles’ defense.
And finally, Giants linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka says the plan for going after Vick is pretty simple.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Bill Barnwell of Grantland.com takes a look at Vick’s interceptions:
The good news is that the tipped interceptions shouldn’t happen quite as frequently as they have been. Some of those passes have to hit the ground once in a while. On the other hand, the bad news is that it’s hard to imagine Vick’s propensity for being blind to those lurking underneath defenders in zone improving very much. Vick makes plays by making snap decisions on the run and trusting his athleticism to make both throws and runs that other quarterbacks wouldn’t be able to sniff. The cost of doing business with Vick might be a few of those picks per season.
Giants safety Antrel Rolle is uncertain whether he’ll be able to play Sunday after suffering a contusion and laceration to his left knee:
“Nicks and bruises, things of that nature, really doesn’t bother me too much,” Rolle said, per Jenny Vrentas of NJ.com. “But you can’t run without your knees, so that’s a little bit more serious. I’m just trying to make sure I’m able to – if I can give 90 percent, 85 percent on Sunday, I think that will be good enough for me playing the safety position. I’m just trying to get as healthy as I can before that time.”
And finally, if you like the All-22 analysis, check out what Derek from IgglesBlog.com put together.
The Eagles put their final touches on Sunday’s gameplan today. We’ll hear from Andy Reid and will post the cheat sheets for the Giants game.
Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.