Notes from Yesterday

Just a few notes from yesterday’s game:

– I don’t understand Chip’s decision to dial down the offense in the second half.  It makes complete sense to become more conservative and to take fewer risks when you have a lead (think equation).  HOWEVER, when the opposing team is basically begging for you to take a shot, you should take it.

Early in the game, it was clear the Eagles were going to take shots downfield when they had Cooper matched up one-on-one with a DB with no safety over top.  It almost led to an early TD (Cooper lost sight of the ball).  Anyway, late in the game the Redskins were packing 8 in the box and playing a single deep safety.  That means you’ve got both D-Jax and Cooper against a CB, and the safety can only help on one of them.

Somehow, a situation Chip was hoping for and targeting early in the game lost its appeal.  Keep in mind that this is not a high-risk play.  Throwing it deep to Cooper when he’s in single coverage is very unlikely to produce an outcome worse than an incomplete pass.

Given that we saw this exact same situation play out last time the team played the Redskins, after which Chip claimed he learned his lesson, I’m worried this will be a recurring issue.  Obviously, that would necessitate having big leads, which would be awesome, but it’s still a bad habit.  My only guess as to the reasoning is that Chip still doesn’t fully trust Foles.

– Overall a good win, but let’s remember that the Redskins aren’t a good team.  We’ll learn a LOT more about the team when it faces Arizona and Detroit after the bye week.  To date, the Eagles “best” win came against a Green Bay team playing with its 3rd string QB.  It remains to be seen whether the Eagles rank within the “mediocre” division of the NFL.  They’ve lost against Dallas and San Diego…which would suggest they’re at the bottom of that subset of teams.  If so, they’ll have trouble against the Cardinals.

– Still researching the topic, but safe to say that Nick Foles is at least close to doing something unprecedented.

He now has a career rating of 97.6, with 22 TDs and just 5 interceptions.  He’s also rushed for 3 TDs.

His rating this season is currently 128.  The single-season record is 122.5 (Aaron Rodgers).

Under Chip Kelly, he’s seen significant playing time in 6 games…he’s won 5 of them.

His career interception rate is now 1.2%.  The NFL Record for a career rate is 1.7% (Aaron Rodgers…yeah, he’s really good).

As I showed at the end of last week, few QBs have, at ANY point in their careers, had a career rating that as high as Foles does now.  The fact that Foles has it 15 appearances and 11 starts into his career is a very good sign.

Naturally, it’s a safe bet that Foles won’t maintain this level of play.  The next question, though, is:

What are the odds a “bad” QB could have a stretch of games like this?

How about a “mediocre” QB?

We could probably turn to Bayesian analysis to help out, but for now, it’s enough to know that the odds of either situation aren’t very good.  When you then consider that fact that he’s doing it to start his career, I think it’s safe to say Foles’ odds are now pointing heavily in favor of at least “solid NFL starter” and potentially much higher.

– Last point.  Chip was correct in going for it on 4th and 1.  There’s just not much to gain from punting the ball there, especially in comparison to the relatively high likelihood of maintaining possession.  I was much more concerned about the play-call.  It looked like a delayed handoff, which would be an inexplicable call (especially to Bryce Brown).  However, it may also have just been a miscommunication.  Unfortunately, the announcers had already stopped calling the game and were too busy to bother talking about it.  I don’t think we even got a replay.  I’ll have to review the film, but my first impression was: right strategy, wrong play.


P.S. It’s week 12 (practically) and the Eagles are entering their bye week in first place.


17 thoughts on “Notes from Yesterday

  1. One thing about the dialing back. We had several first downs called back due to penalties or just had some poor execution on some plays. Problem was those penalties or negative plays really hurt as as we often would end up a few yards short.

    • There was only one penalty on our offense in the second half (Holding by Herremans).

      The real problem was the 75/25 run-pass ratio once we scored that last TD. We got very unbalanced, and the Redskins were playing to stop the run game.

      • It’s not just the run-pass ratio, it was straight-up bad playcalling at times. Take this one, for example.

        I get trying to be conservative, but when the D gives you this look you don’t just run Shady to the right otherwise, as Chip now knows, you’re looking at a 5 yard loss.

        I’d actually like to see them mix in some end-arounds earlier in games so that in situations like this you can bring one of the receivers around the back and send McCoy out on the screen to the side the receiver just came from.

  2. If your hypothesis near the top of this (that Chip doesn’t trust Foles yet) is true, is there the possibility that we see a trade in the offseason?

    If there’s a team picking in the top-3 that needs a QB but also has a bunch of other holes, you’d think they’d take a trade of their first for our first and Foles. They get a QB with great potential and still get the chance to beef up their roster with a first round pick and Chip gets ‘his’ guy.

    Not sure how likely that scenario is, but if Chip were to think Mariota is as awesome as many people think he does, then it would kinda sorta make sense.

    • I think this whole “his guy” thing is a philly media straw-man. I think Chip cares far more about winning than he does scheme. Maybe I’m wrong. I hope I am. I mean if a team wants to blow their draft on Foles Fine. But swapping 1sts and Foles at the level he’s playing at seems like a fleecing on the Eagles.

      • I totally agree, and I think Chip is more sensible than that. I still wouldn’t be too shocked if it happened though.

      • Definitely cares more about winning than any specific player. That’s a double-edged sword though. Regardless of Foles’ numbers, if Kelly thinks his offense would be better with someone like Mariotta, he’ll consider trying to get him.

        I don’t think the values are going to match up, so I’d be very surprised at a trade. If things change with the draft class or if Foles keeps this level of play up, things could get interesting.

        The other side is trying to evaluate just how good Foles is playing and how much of it is due to a great scheme. The easy answer is its both, but it has to be pretty tough to evaluate how Foles would play in a different system (though he played well last year under Reid).

        Hopefully it never ends up mattering. Maybe Foles is the perfect guy to run the system and we’re witnessing the start of a long QB/Coach run like we saw with McNabb and Reid….or rather Belichick and Brady

        On Tue, Nov 19, 2013 at 7:32 AM, Eagles Rewind

    • A few weeks ago I would have agreed with you (as far as what the team WOULD do, not what they SHOULD do).

      There’s a few issues though, the biggest of which is the depth of this year’s QB class. Unless a lot of them stay in school, there will be a good number of highly regarded prospects. That means Foles’ value is probably much lower than we’d expect given his play.

      Of course, he’s playing so well right now that I can’t see them making a trade.

      On Tue, Nov 19, 2013 at 4:05 AM, Eagles Rewind

      • Outside of Bridgewater, Mariota, Carr and Manziel I do not see any great prospects. I see a lot of development type QBs tho

  3. I’m curious about your current analysis on what was your projected wins for the Eagles. Are we still on pace for 9 in your estimation or are we possibly surpassing that?

    • Good timing, i’m going to post on that soon. Technically, they’re 1 win ahead of the pace I set. I thought they needed to be 5-6 at the bye week. However, I was being admittedly aggressive with the final stretch. Regardless, 9 wins still looks pretty good.

    • I also peaked back at the analysis for the most overrated and underrated teams heading into the season, and the expected results appear to be there. Atlanta and Minnesota were the two most “overrated” and both have had disastrous seasons. Carolina was by far the most “underrated” and they surging with a 7-3, and appear poised to make the playoffs.

  4. I don’t think it was a lack of trust for Foles – how do you not trust the guy who has 0 interceptions. Honestly, I felt like the dialing things back was more to do with getting comfortable with the lead and expecting to produce some of that Green Bay late game magic of just slowly jamming it down their throats. I think he felt we could start some long clock eating drives to grind the Skins DEF down and if we put up points at the end, the gap would widen, our DEF which was handling Washington would get the ball back and rinse / repeat. Unfortunately it didn’t happen that way and the Skins OFF got a pulse and made some plays. I like running more in the 4th with a lead – no doubt. But you can’t give a division rival life or reason for hope in the second half. Not in professional football and certainly not in the NFCE.

    • Yes, I’ve seen people point to the clock-running in Tampa and Green Bay as a defense of Kelly in this one, but in those games it didn’t start until the 4th quarter. The Eagles were mid-way through the third (just like in the first Washington game!) when they flipped the conservative switch.

  5. Brent –

    Thanks for the reply on my 4th down confusion.

    (And a graceful bow to Anders)

    Let’s just be happy I’m not in the Shurmur box making the “go for it” calls!

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