Monday, December 22, 2014

How the Eagles' red-zone offense stacked up

In their playoff loss to the Packers, the Eagles entered the red zone three times and came away with 10 points. Two field-goal attempts (one miss) and a Michael Vick touchdown run. Not exactly favorable results for an offense that needed to capitalize on every opportunity it got against the eventual Super Bowl champs. While we know the Eagles' red-zone defense was historically bad in 2010, today let's take a look at the red-zone offense, which also could use some work (although not as much). The Birds' offense finished 15th in the NFL in red-zone production (not including Week 17), scoring touchdowns on 52.83 percent of their chances. During the Eagles' first 17 red-zone trips with Vick at quarterback, they scored 13 touchdowns, but that success tailored off. Here are Vick's passing numbers in the red zone: 38-for-68 (55.9 percent) for 190 yards, 13 touchdowns and one interception, for a QB rating of 94.6. Here's a breakdown of how the Eagles scored their red-zone touchdowns:

How the Eagles' red-zone offense stacked up

In their playoff loss to the Packers, the Eagles entered the red zone three times and came away with 10 points. Two field-goal attempts (one miss) and a Michael Vick touchdown run.

Not exactly favorable results for an offense that needed to capitalize on every opportunity it got against the eventual Super Bowl champs.

While we know the Eagles' red-zone defense was historically bad in 2010, today let's take a look at the red-zone offense, which also could use some work (although not as much).

The Birds' offense finished 15th in the NFL in red-zone production (not including Week 17), scoring touchdowns on 52.83 percent of their chances. During the Eagles' first 17 red-zone trips with Vick at quarterback, they scored 13 touchdowns, but that success tailored off.

Here are Vick's passing numbers in the red zone: 38-for-68 (55.9 percent) for 190 yards, 13 touchdowns and one interception, for a QB rating of 94.6. Here's a breakdown of how the Eagles scored their red-zone touchdowns:

Player
Red-zone TDs
Michael Vick (running)
9
Jeremy Maclin
7
LeSean McCoy
6 (2 receiving)
Brent Celek
2


No other Eagle had more than one red-zone touchdown. Here are the guys who scored one: Riley Cooper, DeSean Jackson, Jason Avant, Owen Schmitt, Todd Herremans and Clay Harbor.

And here are overall receiving numbers in the red zone:


Rec.
Yds.
TDs
Maclin
11
104
7
Avant
7
44
1
McCoy
14
43
2
Hall
4
26
1
Celek
4
16
2
Cooper
2
14
1
Harbor
3
12
1
Jackson
4
8
1
Schmitt
2
7
1
Herremans
1
2
1


As you can see, Maclin was clearly the Eagles' most effective red-zone receiver. He had seven touchdowns; no other player had more than two. Maclin's 11 red-zone catches were tied for ninth-best in the NFL.

McCoy's 14 red-zone receptions were second in the NFL behind only St. Louis' Danny Amendola (yes, I'm mentioning him for the second day in a row), but he only averaged 3.07 yards per catch on those plays.

Avant got his chances, but as you might expect, Jackson was pretty much a non-factor (even though he always commands attention from the defense).

Going into the 2010 season, I probably would have tabbed Celek to top this list, but his receiving numbers were down across the board, including in the red zone. It's amazing that he had only four catches for 16 yards inside the opponents' 20. The previous season, Celek had 10 catches for 86 yards and six touchdowns in the red zone.

As for Vick, his 55.9 percent completion percentage in the red zone ranked tied for 13th among NFL QBs, and was several points lower than his overall 62.6 percentage. Vick's 94.6 QB rating in the red zone ranked 16th.

But here are the running numbers for the two Eagles who scored TDs on the ground:


Att.
Yds.
YPC
TDs
Vick
20
87
4.4
9
McCoy
32
99
3.1
4


Vick's legs were probably the Eagles' biggest weapon in the red zone. Without them, the Eagles would have been settling for many more David Akers field goals.

Looking ahead to next season, the Eagles have good enough personnel to be better in the red zone. Maclin, Celek, McCoy, Avant and Vick have all shown they can be effective down there.

And with his size, Cooper could be a nice option too, although if you look at the numbers, smaller receivers can sometimes be just as good. While some bigger targets like Marques Colston (6-4) were effective, the top three wide receivers in terms of red-zone catches were Amendola (5-11), Wes Welker (5-9) and Lance Moore (5-9).

In case you missed it, I took a look at how McCoy stacks up against his peers from the '09 draft class in Monday's post.


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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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Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
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