Sunday, December 21, 2014

Five Eagles numbers that matter

Here this week's installment of Five Eagles numbers that matter:

Five Eagles numbers that matter

Eagles WR Riley Cooper averaged 80 yards per game in three starts last season. (Matt Slocum/AP Photo)
Eagles WR Riley Cooper averaged 80 yards per game in three starts last season. (Matt Slocum/AP Photo)

Here this week's installment of Five Eagles numbers that matter:

80 - Riley Cooper's yards-per-game average in three starts last year against the Giants, Patriots and Seahawks. Cooper lacked consistency (four drops), but overall, was productive when given the opportunity, averaging 19.7 yards per catch. He had a 58-yard grab against the Patriots and the game-winning touchdown against the Giants.

Any plans the Eagles have had about utilizing Cooper's size in the red zone have not materialized (just three RZ catches over the past two years). But given his special-teams role, Cooper is still the favorite to be the Eagles' fourth wide receiver next season and fill in for DeSean Jackson or Jeremy Maclin on the outside in the event of injury.

10.1 - Brian Westbrook's average yards per reception back in 2005. LeSean McCoy's career is off to a tremendous start, and in terms of running the football, he's right there with Westbrook. But he is not yet the receiver or blocker that Westbrook was. McCoy averaged just 6.6 yards per catch last year, a career-low. And he's averaged 7.3 yards per reception for his career.

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There will be a lot written this summer about McCoy's new contract and how he's one of the most well-rounded running backs in the league. And that is true. But remember, he's only had two seasons as a full-time player and doesn't turn 24 until July. There are specific areas where he can get even better.

16 - The ranking of the Eagles' punting unit last year, according to Football Outsiders. Chas Henry was average at best in his rookie year, and the Eagles tried out veteran punter Brad Maynard this week, according to Aaron Wilson of Scout.com. Maynard, 38, spent last season with the Browns, whose punting unit ranked 19th.

The Eagles were good on kickoff coverage, and Alex Henery had a promising rookie season, but overall, Bobby April's special-teams unit ranked 18th. Certainly plenty of room for improvement in 2012.

61 - The number of snaps played by cornerback Brandon Hughes in Week 12 last year against the Patriots, according to Pro Football Focus. With Nnamdi Asomugha banged-up and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie inactive, the Eagles chose to go with Hughes instead of rookie Curtis Marsh. Like the rest of the secondary, Hughes played poorly that game, but the point is, the coaches trusted him more than Marsh late in the season.

This year, with Samuel gone, cornerback depth could be an issue. Marsh, a third-round pick from 2011, is probably the most likely candidate to play outside, should Asomugha or Rodgers-Cromartie go down. Hughes should be able to at least compete for that spot though. Rookie Brandon Boykin is expected to compete for the slot position with Joselio Hanson. And deeper down on the depth chart is Trevard Lindley (a fourth-round pick in 2010).

Four of the Eagles' six cornerback spots seem pretty much locked down: Asomugha, Rodgers-Cromartie, Boykin and Marsh. That leaves Hughes, Lindley and Hanson fighting for one or two roster spots.

0 - Number of playoff wins for the Eagles in the last three seasons. The last postseason victory was against the Giants on Jan. 11, 2009.

Much has been written (including by me in this space) about Andy Reid's future with the Eagles. Jeffrey Lurie has seemingly given Reid everything he wants this offseason. After last year's 8-8 campaign, the owner delivered a state-of-the-franchise address, labeling Reid's performance as "unacceptable." Even if the Eagles get off to an outstanding start this season, I'd be surprised if Reid were given an extension currently signed through 2013). And if they fail to win a playoff game for the fourth year in a row, with Joe Banner out of the picture, it will be all on Lurie to determine the direction of the franchise.


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Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
About this blog
Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for philly.com. His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at skapadia@philly.com or by clicking here

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