Posts for eagles

Going Deep: Carson Wentz Could Become a Statistical Star Before Long, and Other Week 3 Fantasy Football Talk

Jim McCormick - September 22, 2017

The Eagles are 14th in the league in points per drive, revealing a middle-of-the-pack offense. Beyond this macro metric, we find the Birds set with some impressive advanced data. They are second in the league with a third-down conversion clip of 55.2%, well ahead of the league average rate of 40.4% through this small early-season sample. They are also sixth in first downs and have the second-lowest rate of three-and-outs in the league through two weeks.

There’s clearly some evidence of an ascendant offense, yet we must also recognize the sluggish portion of Philly’s portfolio; the Eagles have converted just half of their six red-zone trips into touchdowns (tied for 16th in the league)– they were 24th in the league last season with a red zone efficiency rate of 49.1% (percentage of touchdowns per red zone trip).

The Eagles scored a touchdown on 18% of their drives last season, good for 22nd in the NFL and just ahead of the Bears and Jaguars. They have scored a touchdown on 17.4% of their drives this season. That’s just not good enough to earn a meaningful, upper-echelon points-per-drive rate. I think of per-drive production as the on-base percentage for offensive football success; isolating offensive efficiency with a simple formula.

The sample is entirely tiny this season, but in order for the Eagles’ offense to prove potent, red zone efficiency needs to approach league average (was 55.6% last season). That, or they need to hit more home runs in the vertical passing game. I’m thinking verticality is where the ceiling—or best-case outcome—is with this offense.

The fantasy angle threaded into this discussion of Philly’s scoring efficiency comes from Carson Wentz’s right arm—he’s averaging 11.26 air yards per throw, second only to Jameis Winston. Continue Reading

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The Eagles Didn’t Draft a Good Running Back, but Everyone Will Survive

Sean Cottrell - September 21, 2017

The Eagles’ running game has been the topic du jour since the Birds traded for Ronald Darby and partially fortified their undermanned secondary. We deviated for a day or so to bitch about screen passes, but now we’re right back to square one.

Much of the debate focuses on why the running game is struggling – lack of called running plays, poor offensive line play, lack of decent running backs, etc.

As an aside, I am firmly in the “running game is fine, you just need to actually run the ball” camp. Most of the offensive line, from an individual talent standpoint, is a known quantity. The Eagles have had success running behind these guys in the past.

As for the running backs, Darren Sproles is obviously not an issue, Wendell Smallwood has shown he can at least be effective in spurts, and LeGarrette Blount is a nine-year NFL veteran. You don’t play nine years in the NFL with no running ability. I honestly believe that the answer is giving them more opportunity and some patience. In other words, trade everyone to New England!

I don’t want to talk about the actual running game, though. That topic has been analyzed and debated ad nauseam.

I want to discuss another topic that has spurred a lot of recent debate: the Eagles walking away from a “historic” running back class with nothing but a 5’8”, 176-pound change of pace.

With the recent running game struggles, and the early success of rookies like Kareem Hunt and Tarik Cohen, the masses have taken those events, rolled them into a half-baked narrative about the Eagles leaving the draft with only Donnel Pumphrey, and are now passing it around for everyone to take a hit.

Here’s why that’s wrong.

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New York Radio Host Eloquently Explains Why The Giants’ Offensive Line Sucks

Kevin Kinkead - September 21, 2017

The New York football Giants have one of the worst offensive lines in the National Football League.

They’re 0-2 and likely will be 0-3 after your team, your town, your Philadelphia Eagles inevitably lay the smacketh down this weekend.

YES broadcaster and ESPN NY 98.7 FM radio host Don La Greca didn’t want to hear excuses for the G-men’s miserable line play:

 

As a public service, I transcribed the above clip.

Don La Greca: “Did he have to throw the football? Come on, stop it already! Everybody’s coming up with these, ‘well this offensive lineman, only 27% of the time was Eli pressured from his left side on Monday nights when Sean McDonough is the announcer.’ Stop. Stop creating some narrative that everybody knows football better than somebody else. Your eyeballs tell the story. The offensive line sucks, period. That’s my stat. You want a stat? You want Sabermetrics? Don La Greca tweeted last night or said on the Michael Kay Show, that the offensive line stinks. That’s the stat. Give me a break. That’s what we’re going to do now, Michael? We’re going to be accountants now in baseball? What is it, the Pythagorean Theorem? The Pythagorean Theorem said that the their offensive line, that their record should be 1-1. The Pythagorean Theorem said the Giants should record should be 2-0. (random sounds)

Michael Kay: “When I talk Pythagorean Theorem I sound like that?”

La Greca: “No. The people that trust the Pythagorean Theorem, the people that listen to the Pythagorean Theorem, the people that sit there at their desk that only know the naked body through National Geographic that do the math to come up with the Pythagorean Theorem. That’s what they sound like. ‘duh daa duh duh da duhhhhh!’ Quit it. IT’S FOOTBALL. I’VE BEEN WATCHING IT FOR 40 YEARS. 40! 40 YEARS. THAT’S ONE OF THE WORST OFFENSIVE LINES I’VE EVER SEEN. And they have not gone this long without scoring 20 points since 1977-78 when Joe Pisarcik was their quarterback. (???). So take that with your PYTHAGOREAN THEOREM. The Joe Pisarcik theorem. YOU’RE DEAD.

 

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What They’re Saying About The Eagles

Tyler Trumbauer - September 20, 2017

The season’s first loss is a pill that’s never easy to swallow, and the week leading up to the next game always feels just a little bit longer.

This was a winnable game for the Eagles, marred by mistakes, injuries, and questionable coaching decisions. Let’s see what they’re saying about the Birds’ week two setback to the Chiefs.

Philly.com’s Paul Domowitch graded every area of the Eagles on Tuesday and gave the birds a C overall:

Yeah, it was a tough road game that everyone had put an “L’’ next to before the season. With the exception of the long TD run they gave up to Kareem Hunt, the defense played pretty well. But the offense has a number of issues, including a non-existent run game and a continued propensity for third-and-longs.

Speaking of grades, Pro Football Focus broke down the game and doled out their own marks, with Rasul Douglas receiving the highest rating of any Eagle. Carson Wentz received a 50.5 and these remarks:

Carson Wentz struggled mightily against the Chiefs defense, the only real success the Eagles offense passing game had was the last drive where the Chiefs played soft coverage and a lucky 53-yard pass which bounced off a Chiefs defender’s arm into Zach Ertz’s arms. When Wentz was pressured (10 passes) he only completed 2 passes for 10 yards.

ESPN Eagles writer Tim McManus analyzed the shunning of LeGarrette Blount and why it’s a bad thing:

The early returns have not been good, but where can they turn if they turn away from Blount? Sproles is 34 and cannot be used as a workhorse at this stage of his career, Smallwood has not shown himself to be a reliable option to this point and undrafted rookie Corey Clement is no sure bet. Start cutting Blount out, and you run the risk of alienating a veteran presence in the room without a sound Plan B.

The Eagles are in this bind largely because of the front office’s inability to hit on running backs in recent years. The disastrous decision to trade away LeSean McCoy falls on former coach Chip Kelly, as well as owner Jeffrey Lurie for allowing him to do it, but executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman has had a couple of offseasons to try and build the position back up.

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It’s Frank Reich’s turn to answer pass/run ratio questions

Kevin Kinkead - September 19, 2017

Outside of the NovaCare Complex on Tuesday, a couple of Eagles fans held a non-violent protest that would make Mahatma Gandhi proud:

Marijuana and football, that’s what South Philly does.

Inside the NovaCare Complex, Offensive Coordinator Frank Reich answered actual questions about the Eagles’ Sunday play-calling, which he doesn’t do. That’s Doug Pederson’s job. But Reich works on that side of the football, so he was pressed by the Eagles media corps on the hottest topic of the week.

The relevant chunk of Tuesday’s presser is a series of six questions regarding offensive balance. Continue Reading

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The Eagles Running Game Problem is Actually Three Problems

Kevin Kinkead - September 19, 2017

Two weeks doesn’t provide much of a sample size for NFL statistics, especially when you’ve started the season with two road games against two pretty good teams, but let’s jump into it anyway, because we’re 12.5% of the way through a schedule that only features 16 games to begin with.

Secret’s out! The Eagles running game isn’t that great.

How much of that is due to…

  1. …a lack of RB talent?
  2. …offensive line struggles?
  3. …and play calling imbalance?

Have we seen enough to identify the biggest issue?

The first problem isn’t helped by the second problem, which isn’t helped by the third problem, giving us the NFL equivalent of that mythological tail-eating snake, which Google tells me is called an “Ouroboros.”

If you pass the ball 50 times, you can’t find rhythm or balance. And if you can’t find rhythm or balance, you can’t successfully run block. And if you can’t successfully run block, then the running backs have nowhere to go.

It’s like a shitty football version of Reaganomics, where things are trickling in the wrong direction.

For context, here’s where the Birds currently stand in league-wide rushing statistics: Continue Reading

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As Andy Reid Succeeds in Kansas City, The Eagles Lack Direction

Tim Reilly - September 19, 2017

Carson Wentz stood near midfield and hurled a desperate pass toward the end zone. The brief flicker of hope that arose as the ball traveled through the air was quickly snuffed. Wentz’s Hail Mary prayer went unanswered, and the Chiefs prevailed over the Eagles by a score of 27-20.

In the aftermath of the game, two truths reasserted themselves: (1) The Kansas City Chiefs are legitimate Super Bowl contenders; (2) The Lombardi Trophy remains as elusive as ever for the Eagles franchise.

The common denominator that informs both observations is Andy Reid. Since Reid was driven from the Eagles’ nest in 2012 and landed in Kansas City, his Chiefs teams have been a model of consistency. In four seasons and two games in KC, Reid has compiled a 45-21 regular season record, good for a .682 winning percentage. He inherited a Chiefs team that was in total disarray and breathed new life into the franchise. In so doing, Reid has rejuvenated his own coaching career.

Meanwhile, the Eagles’ rebuild seems to be operating on the same time frame as the I-95 construction. It turns out it hasn’t been so easy to replace the foundation that Reid laid over the course of fourteen seasons, particularly when the wrong contractor is hired for the job.

The early days of 2013 were marked with optimism and excitement in Philadelphia. With Big Red gone, the Eagles finally had a chance to soar again. Eagles fans were in such a frenzy that we talked ourselves into Gus Bradley, the putative architect of the Seahawks’ elite defense. The Eagles were apparently ready to offer Bradley the job. A local blogger fed the hysteria by tracking Bradley’s cross-country flight. We were all on board the Gus Bus!

But then, out of nowhere, the news emerged that the Eagles had hired Chip Kelly. Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie marveled at Kelly’s innovative approach. “He has a brilliant football mind. He motivates his team with his actions as well as his words,” Lurie noted in his statement announcing the hire. Continue Reading

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Notes and Quotes from Doug Pederson’s Monday Presser, with Context

Kevin Kinkead - September 18, 2017

It’s a pair of hamstring injuries for Rodney McLeod and Jaylen Watkins.

Head coach Doug Pederson described both players as “day-to-day” at his Monday press conference. The Eagles are waiting for test results and hope to have a full report by Wednesday.

Pederson’s presser was a bit longer this week and he took a number of questions mostly focused on playcalling and the Birds’ running game. Continue Reading

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