We are winding down our Q&A series with Bill Barnwell of Football Outsiders.
Q: What are the main factors that have you predicting 9.3 wins for the Eagles?
A: To be honest, Philly just does a lot of things correct. They do a better job of calling a game and balancing the pass with the run than pretty much any team in football. (Trust us: Every imaginable bit of research into what makes teams win suggests that teams don't throw the ball enough. If you don't believe us, look at the offenses of the two teams in the Super Bowl last year.) They have a ton of young talent, and they have a great track record of developing that talent into valuable contributors. We expect the offensive line to be healthier and play better. They just have a formula that's built for consistent, steady success. Outside of Kevin Kolb totally bombing, there's every reason to think this year's team will be as good as last year's.
Q: What has your research said about cornerbacks Ellis Hobbs and Asante Samuel?
A: Our numbers tend to mirror popular opinion about Samuel. He's a very active corner, gambles a lot, breaks up a lot of passes, but is susceptible to the occasional big play and blows a lot of tackles. He was third in the league a year ago, with 14 would-be tackles going through his grasp. Hobbs didn't play enough to qualify in any of our metrics a year ago, but he was never a standout performer in our stats during his time in New England. The Eagles will have to hope that their pass rush is effective enough to protect Hobbs, who could end up being a target for the league's better offenses. Our figures have repeatedly suggested that Sheldon Brown is an above-average cornerback.
Click here to purchase a copy of the 2010 Football Outsiders Almanac.
NATIONAL MEDIA CHECK IN
A couple pieces to share from national reporters who have stopped in at camp.
Mike Tanier writes about the excitement and uncertainty that surround the Eagles as they begin Year 1 of the Kevin Kolb era.
And Pablo Torre of SI.com has a postcard from Lehigh.
DESEAN AND HUMMUS
DeSean Jackson is in a new Nike commercial with several athletes, including Giants defensive end Justin Tuck. Video below.
And download the 2010 MTC app from the ITunes store.