The Eagles and short yardage

Continuing our preseason series with Bill Barnwell of Football Outsiders...

Q: What did your numbers say about the Eagles in short yardage?

Barnwell: They were slightly below-average. They picked up a first down in short yardage 63 percent of the time, which is slightly below average. In power situations, which we define as carries on third and fourth down with 2 or fewer yards to go, or carries from the 2-yard line and in, they were 19th in the league. Not great, but certainly not something that would hold them back from winning football games.

Q: How did the Eagles' performance in the first half compare to their performance in the second half?

A: They were better in the first half. On offense, they had the league's sixth-best DVOA in the first half of games, but they were 16th in the second half. On defense, they went from third in the first half to 11th in the second half. Does that mean anything? I don't really think so. In 2008, they were third in the league on defense in both halves, while the offense went from seventh to 19th. They were also better in the first half on offense in 2007, but in 2006, they had the league's seventh-best offense in the first half and second-best in the second half. So I don't think there's much to it.

Q: What did you find out about the Eagles’ blitz last season?

A: Well, last year, the blitz wasn't all that effective. The Eagles continued to rank among the league leaders in percentage of the time rushing six or more (second-most in the league, 21.2 percent) and zone blitzes (also second-most, 13.7 percent), but they weren't actually more effective in those situations, as they have been for most of the past decade. Whether you want to chalk that up to Sean McDermott being in his first season as defensive coordinator, a change in personnel, or simply blind luck, well, I think you need another year before you can say.

Click here to purchase a copy of the 2010 Football Outsiders Almanac.


*'s Matt Mosley stopped by last week and has posted his training camp report. Mosley's biggest camp surprise is Brandon Graham and his biggest disappointment is Darryl Tapp.

* ESPN's Adam Schefter was also here on Sunday. He is impressed with the early showing from the Eagles' 2010 draft picks and likes what he sees surrounding Kolb:

The Eagles might have more young offensive firepower than any other team in the league. Quarterback Kevin Kolb and tight end Brent Celek are entering their fourth years in the league, wide receiver DeSean Jackson is going into his third, and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and running back LeSean McCoy are going into their second seasons. This is a nucleus that could be together for the next half-dozen years.

* Much more coming later today after the Eagles' morning practice. And in case you missed it, I posted on Trent Cole and double teams Monday evening.

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