Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Where Do We Go From Here? part 1

eagles nation is all riled up. everyone has opinions on what needs to be done to "fix" the problems and make the eagles a contender again, and while that is cathartic, none of us really have any clue what the real problems are. i have my own opinions, but i think a productive start to thinking about next steps is first reviewing the situation -- as always, i'll try to set aside the fact that i hate the worst coast offense and andy reid's finesse approach to football and stick to facts.

the eagles are 5-4-1 and they play in the toughest division in football. while i am horribly disappointed that they got held down and *ssraped by the giants and then threw up another clunker against the horrible bengals, their record right now is not terrible. repeat, 5-4-1 is not terrible. it's terrible only in relation to the expectation that people had coming into this season -- that the eagles would be very good and a likely playoff team.

statistically, the eagles breakdown like this:

- total offense - 6th
- points scored - 6th
- penalties committed - 6th (interesting to note the giants are terrible here... if you ain't cheatin' you ain't tryin' at work perhaps?)
- penalty yards - 11th
- turnover diff - 14th
- third down pct - 24th

- total defense - 7th
- points against - 8th
- penalties against - 16th
- penalty yards against - 23rd
- third down pct - 4th

- total DVOA - 3rd
- offensive DVOA - 11th
- pass offense - 10th
- rush offense - 19th
- yards per drive - 14th
- points per drive - 7th
- TDs per drive - 10th
- INTs per dirve - 9th
- defensive DVOA - 5th
- pass defense - 9th
- rush defense - 3rd
- yards per drive - 5th
- ST DVOA - 18th
- QB - 7th/7th
- RB - 18th/19th
- WR - 22nd/2nd (baskett)
- TE - 15th/3rd (celek)
- OL - run blocking 21st, pass blocking 8th
- DL - run stuffing 8th, pass rushing 3rd

- nfl efficiency - 1st

ok, so the eagles offense stinks on 3rd down, the wideouts suck, and the o-line can't run block. we knew all those things already, but overall, this is the resume of the pretty good team. (also, before people start latching onto it, 3rd down success rate does not tend to correlate highly year to year. last year, the eagles were top 10 in 3rd down conversion pct).

so what does this tell us? by itself, not much unfortunately. one thing it does show is why the eagles think they're pretty close to being a good team -- it seems that they are. so why does their record continue to lag behind their stats? i have a couple of theories...



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll stipulate that I have no clue or genuine insight into what problems the Eagles face, but I think a number of voices here do, and I love hearing everyone's thoughts. It's the charm and fun of being a fan.

On the flip side, I don't believe that only "football people" like Andy Reid, John Madden, and Howard Eskin know the real score. I used to believe in experts and insiders when I was really young. Life teaches otherwise. At some point you realize that we're all pretty clueless deep inside.

Consider reprinting your spider bite chronicles someday. In them I found some insights that were incredibly applicable to this discussion; just one of many examples I could recite.

Fire away with you thoughts on the Birds. I'm one guy who will give them just as much weight as I give to those generated anywhere else.

Ed Wade

9:34 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"none of us really have any clue what the real problems are."

Is it really that difficult TMG? Really? None of us can postulate logically why this team is underachieving? God bless your eternal optimism, but 5-4-1 ain't good, it's average, which is exactly what type of team they have. 5-4-1 puts them squarely in the basement in that tough division, having been swept thus far by all 3 opponents. They just tied the worst team in football! Their coach is so goddamned stubborn and ignorant that he threw 58 times in gale force winds and eschewed running the ball 6 times on 3rd and 1. They trade away their first pick every year with little to show for it (Kolb doesn't play, Laws looks to be another under-sized, average DT) in terms of the first player they chose. They are aging in core areas, including SS, OT, K, RB, and QB. Their QB is good, but not great and he is not a crunch time leader who can make good immediate decisions. Their owners pat themselves on the back until they get whiplash talking about a gold standard, but in reality they are excited to be so far under the cap and they lose zero sleep at night despite being no closer to a Super Bowl today than when they took over.

All of these could contribute to this mess. It isn't that difficult. their players are less talented than the teams in their division, they lack team leadership who pulls them through crunch time and steps up to seize the day, and their coach is a stubborn guy who may not be as smart as he thinks he is and whom his peers seem to be coaching circles around.

Just a few thoughts, but maybe I have no clue.


8:13 PM EST  
Anonymous Big Dog said...

Bull, on the surface you are correct. We see the Sunday evidence, but we don't see what transpires behind closed doors. We don't know how the team respects it's QB. We don't know if the QB has lost his team. We don't know if what the coach is selling the team is buying. We don't know how the "leaders" are guiding this team. We don't know any fiscal plans (i.e. trading Mc5), we don't know any game plans going into any week...the list goes on.

But what we do know is that we are in every game, but have lost or tied 5 by less than a TD...that tells me they are at least competitive. We do know that B Wes is not himself. We do know that Don is a streaky QB that can turn on or off any minute. There are plenty more givens.

I think it's relatively safe to say that we know both offensive and defensive game plans can be head scratchers. We've seen the D smash Pittsburgh then look like crap against the Giants. We can't put up points against good teams like Dallas, then not do squat against the Bengals. I think that this DOES ultimately fall on the head coach. They can't play the game, but as I've said countless times, the number #1 priority of a coach is to put the team in the best position to win!!!

8:50 AM EST  
Anonymous Big Dog said...

that last post should read we can put up points against Dallas...typo

8:52 AM EST  

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