Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Numbers Talk


* Donovan McNabb's QB rating is almost 10 points higher this year than last. His yards per attempt is also substantially up (6.86 to 7.72).

* Who here thought that 10 games in Leonard Weaver would have more carries, yards, TDs, and a high YPC than Michael Vick?

* We're running the ball more effectively this year. We averaged 4.0 ypc last year with a long run of 39 yards in '08. This year we're averaging 4.6 ypc. We've got 3 runs of 41 or more yards.

* Last year we really spread the ball around. We had 10 guys with at least 18 catches. This year we've ditched that style. We're feeding the ball to our key players. Only 6 guys have 19 or more catches. There are still 6 games to go, but it isn't likely anyone else will join that list. Leonard Part 6 is next in line with 9 grabs.

* Last year the top 4 WRs (DJax, KC, Avant, Hank) combined for 160 catches and 9 TDs. This year we have a trio of WRs doing the bulk of the work. They have combined for 106 catches and 11 TDs. That puts them on a pace for 169 catches, 17 TDs.

* TEs combined for 64 receptions and 4 TDs in 2008. Celek alone has 50 catches and 5 TDs this year.

* The big dropoff is catches by RBs. Last year Westy and Buck combined for 80 grabs. Westy and Shady have 42 this year. This dropoff doesn't bother me that much.

* DeSean Jackson's big play return ability has hurt him this year. He had 50 punt returns last season. This year he's only got 20 so far. Teams are kicking out of bounds or trying to pin him along the sideline.

* Last year Green Akers was 8 of 10 from 40-49. This year he's 9 of 11. Average distance of a made FG last year was 32.8. This year it's 37.1.

* It feels like Sav Rocca is having a bad year, but the stats aren't so obvious. Last year he had 77 punts and 24 went inside the 20. This year he's got 48 punts and 19 have gone inside the 20. Last year's net punting average was 39.5. This year it is 38.6. Numbers aside, he does have 3 bad shanks that led to opponents scoring points. He also tends to get worse as the weather gets cold. We'll see how the numbers look in January. At the least, he does need serious competition next summer.

* Now to defense. We're on pace to have the same number of sacks and TFLs. INTs are up, FFs are down. Our yards and point totals are down (rankings wise). All the problems at LB have had an effect. Also, it sure seems like we're facing better offenses this year.

* I don't know what to make of Darren Howard. His numbers are similar to last year except for the one key stat...sacks. He's down from 10 to 2.5. There have been a few plays where he was just a step behind Trent in getting to the QB. Is that the only difference? Last year Trent had 9 sacks and 7 TFLs. This year he's got 8.5 sacks and 5 TFLs. I'm glad to see the increased production from him.

* Bunk has been more of a playmaker. Last year he had 2 sacks, 1 TFL. This year he has 1 sack and 4 TFLs.

* Sure seems like we're getting less production from the Safeties. Last year we had 4 INTs, 16 PDs, 6 sacks, 9 TFLs, and 10 FFs. This year we have 3 INTs, 15 PDs, 1 sack, 4 TFLs, and no FFs. The coverage plays are actually up, but we do miss Dawk's presence in the box.

* Chris Clemons, VA, and Trevor Laws are having quiet years. They have combined for 3.5 sacks and 3 TFLs. Inuries have slowed Victor, but production is down.

* Last year CBs had 7 INTs. This year they have 10. We are playing the ball well.

* Check out numbers from the LB corps. 2008: 5.5 sacks, 27 TFLs, 3 FFs, 1 INT, 17 PDs. 2009: 4.5 sacks, 9 TFLs, 2 FFs, 3 INTs, 13 PDs. The one area with great difference is TFLs. I'm not sure what to make of that. Last year Disco Stew had 9 all by himself.


I mentioned yesterday that Trot might be the answer at MLB. I need to clear up some confusion. He could be the temporary answer. We are waiting for Jordan to come back and take over WLB so that Spoon can shift back inside. That gets our 3 best LBs on the field. Trot is a band-aid not a long term solution.

I was doing some reading on WAS. Boy, injuries are out of control with that team. Portis and Betts are both out. They lost another OL Sunday. No word yet on if Big Al will play this week. We probably won't know until game time with him.


Boyboy said...

Numbers don't lie, but liars use numbers. Haha. jk. Interesting read as always.

Tommy, I've been meaning to ask you how you feel about our pass rush? I have a bad feeling that our inability to apply pressure with our front 4 is going to be our ultimate demise yet again this year.

I've also felt for the past few years (not just under McDermott) that our blitzes haven't been as effective. Eventually teams figure out what you're trying to do. Even when you add some new wrinkles, if teams know your tendencies, they'll be prepared for the new twists.

I think back to the CG last year. The Cards picked up every blitz we threw at them early on. And this year, some of our blitzes are just half a step behind. Your thoughts?

Ben said...

DeAngelo Hall may be out this week as well. Him and Haynesworth should both be questionable.

Without both of them, we have a huge advantage. On paper with their injuries there is no way we should lose. But this is a division game, and could also be a trap game. It'll be interesting to see (especially if those 2 are out) if we take care of business and dominate, or under perform and give them tons of extra opportunities, or even worse a W. This is the time of year where the Eagles tend to come alive.

rkell21 said...

Whats up with Chris Clemons. Tommy, what was your original report on him? I remember hearing good things about him on the Raiders but he hasn't done much since he's been here.

I wonder if all the good things I heard was from Dave Spadaro hyping him up.

Tommy Lawlor said...

Clemons had a great year in 2007 as a situational rusher. Last year he was slow to figure things out. We wanted to move him around and do different things. He played much better at the end of the year.

That had me excited about what he could do this year. For whatever reason, Clemons hasn't had a good year. One thing we do have to keep in mind is that McDermott is doing some things differently. It is possible that Clemons has gotten somewhat lost in the shuffle. He doesn't look slow or anything like that. He's playing hard. He's just not making plays. I'll ask around and see if I can find any scoops on him.

Tommy Lawlor said...

@ Boyboy...

Our blitz / pass rush is a complicated subject. It isn't nearly as bad as you might think. We do have 30 sacks and we're among the league leaders. Last year KC had 9 sacks for the entire year. That is when a team has serious problems.

Also, we are highly ranked against the pass. We're tied for 9th in yards allowed. We're 5th in opposing QB rating. Guys that face us have a rating of 74.5 for the season.

The goal of the blitz is do disrupt the passing game. You prefer sacks, hits, and takeaways, but you can live with incompletions and/or short completions. That keeps the chains from moving.

My frustration is with our base 4-3 rush. We don't get enough pressure from that package. We do need to upgrade LDE.

Edward said...

Not that relevant, but i have so much more respect for that kid after watching that.

I know its early to be talking draft but are there any stud LDE prospects this year Tommy?

Tommy Lawlor said...

Derrick Morgan of Ga Tech is someone to watch.

Corey Wootton of NW might be an Eagles target. I'm not sure.

Brandon Graham of Michigan would be perfect, but he's just about 6'1. A lot of teams don't want DEs under 6'2.

There are some good prospects. We won't know the full story until the Juniors declare in the next 6 weeks.

Edward said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Edward said...

Cheers Tommy i'll have a look at those guys.

Whatever moves the Eagles end up making i've got great faith in them with Heckert at the helm. We seem to have made so many good personel decisions with him around. The number of players picked up off our practise squad alone in the last few years is pretty amazing. Studebaker is a great example.

Cliff said...

I'd love to see the day when Trent Cole has an above-average pass rusher opposite him.

It seems like we've invested a lot in the DE position with really lackluster returns. Clemons was an average free agent signing, but Howard was given big bucks to essentially be non-existent the first couple years and now a good back-up. VA was our first selection the year he was drafted and Bryan Smith was a 3rd rounder who went the way of Jerome McDougle. Speaking of... McDougle was sort of the beginning of our DE failures, wasn't he?

Anyway, I'm sure I didn't need to chronicle our DE situation like that. It's blatantly obvious to most of us. Graham and Hughes seems exactly like the kind of guys we'd draft somewhere near the end of the 1st round. I'd be satisfied with either guy.

The Old Buffoon said...

I wonder if McNabb's and the offense's decent stats might be a leading indicator of success to come. If you think about all the injuries to date, especially to key pieces like McNabb, Westbrook, and the OL, you would expect it would take a little longer for everything to gel. McCoy and Maclin look to be on a good trajectory with each start. McNabb can only be gaining in confidence in both his OL and young receivers. Reid's comments today about the OL sounded very optimistic about the trajectory of improvement he sees from them.

As for the defense, it's a totally different story. The goal for the D at this pt should be to level out what has been a downward trajectory from the early season success as new pieces are plugged-in due to the recent flood of injuries.

Boyboy said...

Yeah, I knew we were near the top of the league but still, something just doesn't feel right. But you're right, the 4 man rush is what is most concerning. We saw what happened against Drew Brees. We were afraid to give up the big play and didn't blitz much in the first half. Brees picked us apart.

So I think of that game and the NFC CG and think about how we got carved up with the blitz and without it against two good QBs with high powered offenses. It is really concerning when you figure that we could possibly meet at least one of those two teams in the playoffs.

Kinda funny. Most of the talk in these forums revolve around the offense. We're always discussing McNabb's accuracy, the lack of a running game, clock management, etc. But there is so much firepower on the 'O' that you know they'll eventually get theirs. Sure, there will be clunkers from time to time (Oak), but that happens to every team.

For me though, the defense's ability to generate pressure is by far my biggest concern with this team. And that's really odd to say, especially when you think about the first half of the Reid / McNabb era.

Boyboy said...

Cliff said...

@ Boyboy...

I've started to hear rumblings of how the NFC East isn't "the best division" and how it's overrated, too. I think it's bunk. First of all, the only people who claimed the NFC East was the NFL's best division were the NFL media. Now they're all trying to sound contrarian by claiming it's not even a good division. Well, which is it? They've generated all the hype surrounding the East, now they're trying to cash in on it by trying to be the first to claim otherwise.

As evidence, the writer uses the recent Cowboys-Redskins game. That's not fair. Division rivalries in the NFC East are a different animal. Teams play up and down to each other in such a way that you can't claim a whole division is bad because the division leader played a close game with the division's weak link.

The fact is, the NFC East has 3 teams that can match-up with anyone, but have their own issues. Surprise! So does every NFL team...

What division has 3 competitive teams? The AFC South? Maybe, if you believe in Houston and the Titans. The AFC North? Baltimore's already lost twice to Cincy and beat up on the Browns for their last win. Pittsburgh's lost 2 in a row.

In other words, it's an old trick to get people to read your work: say something that goes against common opinion. The "Freakonomics" books are bestsellers because of the same theme, despite their lack of sound economic theory. What's different here, though, is that the NFL media created the NFC East myth, now they're the ones trying to "de-myth" it as well. Huh?

Boyboy said...

@ Cliff

I totally agree. I just posted that to get some feedback. THANKFULLY, somebody else besides me got online today! =)

Maybe the NFC East doesn't have one powerhouse team, but there's a good chance they're going to put 3 teams in the playoffs -- AGAIN. And you're right, division games are always tough. The Eagles lost both games to the Skins last year. The teams in the divison are going to split some games.

That just shows you that they must be beating teams in the other divisions / conference to be able to build up their record to advance to the post-season. The author of this article is off-base.

The division is as strong as any. If he wants to argue that the Cowboys and Eagles aren't playing up to their potential and that the Giants just aren't what we thought they'd be, that's fair. But to say the division isn't strong, that's just wrong.

Cliff said...

Here's a great link:

It's the Skins game preview courtesy of Football Outsiders via The Washington Post. It's a breakdown of how DeSean Jackson hurts opposing defenses. Pretty cool to watch the animation.

Edward said...

That's a great link. Awesome to see our team from the oppositions perspective. I'm massively excited about this game! Football is so much more interesting from late November onwards!

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Cliff said...

@ Edward...

Especially since it's usually late-November onward that the Eagles get better and the Cowboys fall apart.