The Matchup: Eagles Vs. Giants
Instead of doing a true Eagles-Giants scouting report, we’ll take a look at the offseason/future with this week’s piece.
WHEN THE EAGLES PASS…
Turnovers have been the issue all season. The Eagles have given the ball away on 18.2 percent of their drives; that’s the worst mark in the NFL. Quarterback play has been a problem throughout.
Mark Sanchez is completing 64.1 percent of his passes (13th) and averaging 7.79 YPA (sixth). But his 3.7 percent interception rate is fifth-worst among quarterbacks who have thrown at least 200 passes. Only Kirk Cousins, Josh McCown, Blake Bortles and Geno Smith have been worse.
Asked how Nick Foles’ injury clouds the offseason outlook at quarterback, Chip Kelly said: “I don’t know. I mean, we’ll sit down and thoroughly evaluate everything. But it’s no different than any other position when you look at it. You just tell us what we have available right now we’ll take a look at it, let’s detail it, let’s go through the film again, let’s put our heads together, let’s get everybody’s opinion on it and make valid decisions. I don’t think we can look back and say this clouds this, this doesn’t cloud this. It doesn’t matter how much it clouds or doesn’t cloud. That’s the reality of it. He got hurt, so we have to make decisions moving forward in terms of what we’re going to do.”
Foles’ 59.8 percent completion mark ranked 26th, and his 6.96 YPA ranked 25th. Foles had a 3.2 percent interception rate (ninth-worst). He is under contract through 2015, while Sanchez is a free agent.
Due mostly to a lack of other options, Foles is likely to start in 2015. But expect Kelly to explore all avenues for QB help this offseason.
At wide receiver, there is unlikely to be much turnover. Jeremy Maclin is a free agent, but the guess here is a deal will get done, and he’ll be back. Because of his contract, Riley Cooper isn’t going anywhere. And the Eagles just drafted Jordan Matthews and Josh Huff last season. Maybe there’s room for one more wide receiver on the roster, but that’s it. If the team were to lose Maclin in free agency, the Eagles would have a big problem on their hands.
Overall, the Eagles’ passing offense ranks 16th in DVOA. The Giants’ passing defense is 17th.
WHEN THE EAGLES RUN…
It’s been a disappointing season for this unit. LeSean McCoy has battled, totaling 1,220 yards, but he’s averaged just 4.1 YPC. Darren Sproles has added 324 yards on 56 carries (5.8 YPC).
The key has been the offensive line. The unit was banged-up during the first half of the season. Jason Kelce has been playing injured, and the Eagles have not had an answer to replace Todd Herremans at right guard.
“I don’t think injury is aside,” Kelly said. “I mean, if you ask Jason Kelce, he’s not the same player he is right now. The kid is a flat-out warrior. He had a groin surgery that most people would have been out the season for, and he’s come back and played, but Jason’s not the same player this year that he was last year.”
The Eagles have to decide if they’re going to bring Herremans back on his current deal, restructure or let him walk. Lane Johnson was unable to make the second-year leap after sitting out the first four games. Jason Peters, Evan Mathis and Kelce all figure to be back. The Eagles need to get younger on the offensive line and add some depth.
McCoy carries a cap hit of $11.95M in 2015; that’s second among running backs behind only Adrian Peterson. He will only be 27 at the start of next season. The guess here is he’ll be back, but given what we saw with Kelly last offseason, no scenario is off the table.
Overall, the Eagles rank 17th in rushing DVOA. The Giants are 26th against the run.
WHEN THE GIANTS PASS…
This is the unit that has come up so small for the Eagles down the stretch. Bradley Fletcher is questionable with a hip injury. If he can’t go, it’ll likely be Nolan Carroll II starting opposite Cary Williams.
Nate Allen and Fletcher are both free agents after the season. It’s unlikely that either player will return. The Eagles can part ways with Williams too if they choose to go that route.
The only developmental corner on the roster is Jaylen Watkins, and he couldn’t get on the field as a rookie.
Brandon Boykin figures to play out the final year of his deal in 2015 before looking for somewhere where he can play more snaps.
Ideally, the Eagles find three new starters in the secondary this offseason.
The pass-rush has been a strength with Connor Barwin, Fletcher Cox, Vinny Curry, Trent Cole and Brandon Graham. Of that group, only Graham is a free agent. Cox could get an extension, and the Eagles have to decide what to do with the 32-year-old Cole.
The Eagles’ defense ranks 18th against the pass. The Giants’ passing offense has received a spark from Odell Beckham, Jr. and ranks 12th in DVOA.
WHEN THE GIANTS RUN…
The Eagles have been stout up front all season long with Cox, Bennie Logan and Cedric Thornton. The three young linemen played well and should be around for a long time.
At linebacker, Mychal Kendricks made the leap as a versatile playmaker in his third year. DeMeco Ryans will turn 31 in July and returning from an Achilles’ injury. It makes sense for the Eagles to add a young inside linebacker in the offseason.
The Eagles have been seventh against the run in DVOA; the Giants’ rushing offense is 23rd.
What would this team’s record be without great special teams play? The Eagles ranked second in Football Outsiders’ special teams rankings.
The return units have been great with Sproles, and the Eagles averted disaster with the addition of Cody Parkey in the summer.
Chris Maragos has led the team with 13 special teams tackles, while James Casey has added 12. Carroll has 11, and new additions like Bryan Braman, Chris Proskinski and Trey Burton have all played well.