There has been a lot of dumb in the news lately regarding the Philadelphia Eagles. None of it has to do with the brilliant football mind we call Chip Kelly, but rather the “dumb” team he apparently inherited and a former Eagles QB making a rather “dumb” prediction.
First, a site titled “Cold Hard Football Facts” came to the conclusion that the Eagles were the “dumbest team in football” last season.
Here is an excerpt from the article that starts to explain how they came to this conclusion…
We know the Eagles were the dumbest team in football because we have the Quality Stats that put an empirical figure on team intelligence. They are called Scoreability and Bendability.
Scoreability measures offensive efficiency in terms of what we call Yards Per Point Scored – how effectively teams turn yards into points. Smart teams need only a few yards to score a lot of points; dumb teams, like the Eagles, produce plenty of yards but few points.
Bendability measures defensive efficiency in terms of Yards Per Point Allowed – how effectively opponents turn yards into points. It measures, in other words, the “bend but don’t break” phenomenon. Smart teams might give up a lot of yards but surrender few points; dumb teams, like the Eagles, surrender few yards but a lot of points.
The 2012 Eagles sucked at both: they ranked No. 31 in Scoreability and No. 32 in Bendability.
Scoreability and Bendability are great indicators because each takes into account so many different factors – special teams proficiency, field position, red zone efficiency and turnover differential, among others – and then spits it all out in an easy-to-understand number.
Smart, well-coached teams that play well in “situational” football rank high in both Scoreability and Bendability. Dumb, poorly coached teams that play poorly in “situational” football rank low in each indicator.
The 2012 Philadelphia Eagles ranked low in each indicator. Hence, they earn the dishonor of dumbest team in football.
I like the concept, but I don’t like the title of “dumb”. Not that I take offense to it, because I’ve called Andy Reid, Michael Vick and the Eagles several choice adjectives during the heat of the moment and “dumb” was probably one of them (or some other choice derivative of dumb).
Anyway, the whole “scoreability” and “bendability” that measures yards per point scored and yards per point allowed is an interesting stat.
To dumb it down some, scoreability basically means that the Eagles covered a lot of ground on offense last year in between the 20’s but barely came away with any points.
They ranked 15th in the NFL in total yards, but only 29th in total points.
Conversely, on defense they they ranked 15th in the NFL in yards given up, but gave up the third-most points in the league. Bendability means that opposing offenses didn’t have to cover a lot of ground in order to score against the Eagles.
Therefore, the Eagles’ offense went up and down the field but couldn’t score and the defense couldn’t stop anybody from scoring.
This is directly reflected in the Eagles’ red zone rankings in 2012: 28th on offense and 19th on defense. However, all of this data from “scoreability” and “bendability” can be explained simply by one thing…
The Eagles ended the 2012 season tied for dead last in the NFL in turnovers and takeaways. Dead. Last.
Furthermore, though I can’t seem to find an official stat as of the end of last season, the Eagles either lead the league or were amongst the leaders in red zone turnovers.
So, if they drive the length of the field and then turn the ball over in the red zone, they will have a lot of offensive yards but fewer points, hence their “scoreability” number.
On the flip side of the offensive turnovers, the ones the do not happen in the red zone gives the opposing offense a much shorter field to work with, hence the defense not giving up a lot of yards but giving up a lot of points (bendability).
Of course, the severe lack of red zone takeaways doesn’t help their cause either.
With all that said, it doesn’t mean the Eagles were the “dumbest team in football.” Perhaps the most unfocused and undisciplined team, yes, but not the dumbest. And that’s a long way to go to say what can be summed up by turnover differential.
Speaking of dumb, I like and respect Ron Jaworski, but I was a little taken aback by his proclamation that Chip Kelly’s offense won’t translate to the NFL. In case you missed it, this is what he said:
“It’s going to be interesting to see if this style of offense projects to the NFL,” Jaworski, a former Eagles quarterback, recently said on WPEN-FM, via Phillymag.com. “I’m going to say no.”
“I just don’t see NFL passing concepts in this offense,” Jaworski added. “It’s a movement offense by the quarterback, off the run-action, off the read-action. A lot of short, quick passes, dart routes, bubble screens. Very few plays down the field with NFL passing concepts.”
“I hope it works. I like the innovation, but I think it’s going to be very difficult,” Jaworski predicted. “In the NFL, these guys work 17 hours a day. A day, not a week — 17 hours a day getting ready, so there’s no secrets.”
Jaws is usually the most optimistic analyst out there, especially when it comes to all things Eagles-related. That’s why I was a little stunned by this.
His reasoning is solid, if Kelly runs the same exact offense as he did in Oregon last year. But, that is the problem I have with Jaws’ opinion…nobody knows exactly what type of offense Kelly is going to run.
It’s likely he’ll use some of his familiar concepts that Jaws mentioned, but that’s one of the reasons why he hired Pat Shurmur…so he can add NFL concepts to his offense.
I can’t imagine Kelly won’t mix in the long ball. He’s smart enough to realize that you can’t play small-ball the entire time because defenses will just stack the box. Plus, when you have a deep threat like DeSean Jackson who can stretch the defense, it would be criminal not to utilize that.
Therefore, it’s just silly to say that Kelly’s offense won’t translate to the NFL without even knowing exactly what offense he’s translating.