Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Will the Eagles' D reach its goals?

Sean McDermott has a list of goals for the Eagles' defense this season. But how realistic are the marks he set? Here's a look at how the D has measured up the past five seasons in a couple categories.

Will the Eagles' D reach its goals?

Sean McDermott´s goal is to limit the Eagles´ opponents to 17 points per game. (Clem Murray/Staff file photo)
Sean McDermott's goal is to limit the Eagles' opponents to 17 points per game. (Clem Murray/Staff file photo)

Back in May, I talked about the Eagles' Chalk Talk event, where the team invited members of the media to the Novacare Complex to take part in classroom sessions with Marty MornhinwegSean McDermottBobby April and Howie Roseman.

During the session with McDermott, he went over the defense's goals for the 2010 season.

I wanted to take a look at those and see how good the 'D' would have to be to accomplish each one. We'll do a couple today and the rest throughout the week.

The first goal is one the Birds talk about every year: limiting opponents to 17 points or fewer per game. Here's where the Eagles measured up the last five seasons:

Year PPG allowed League rank No. of games <17 pts. Record in those games
2009 21.1 19th 8 7-1
2008 18.1 4th 9 7-0-1
2007 18.8 9th 8 5-3
2006 20.5 T-15th 6 5-1
2005 24.3 27th 6 4-2

Note: The fourth column is number of games where they allowed fewer than or equal to 17 points.

The Eagles have not allowed 17.0 points or fewer per game in any of the past five seasons. Leaguewide, 19 teams over that span have hit that mark. Three teams have done it in each of the past four seasons. In 2005, seven teams did it.

Last year, the three were the Jets (14.8), the Cowboys (15.6) and the Ravens (16.3).

In the past two seasons, when the Eagles have allowed 17 points or fewer, they are 14-1-1. Last year, although they did it eight times, six of those came in the first half of the season. In the Eagles' final five games (including the playoff loss), they gave up an avearage of 27.2 points per game and only allowed 17 or fewer in their Week 15 win over the 49ers.

Keep in mind that these numbers include the Eagles giving up points to other defenses (pick sixes, etc.) and on special teams.

The overall record in the last five seasons when limiting opponents to 17 points or fewer is 28-7-1 (.800).

One of the other goals was to allow 285 yards or fewer per game. Here's how the Eagles measured up the past five seasons:

Year Yds. allowed League rank No. of games < 285 yds. Record in those games
2009 321.1 12th 5 5-0
2008 274.3 3rd 10 6-3-1
2007 311.4 10th 7 5-2
2006 328.1 15th 5 3-2
2005 325.4 23rd 4 1-3

Overall, in the past five years, there have been 16 teams that have allowed 285 yards or fewer in a single season. Only the Jets and the Packers did it last year. And as you can see, the Eagles have done it just once (2008) over that span. In 2008, the Birds actually allowed 285 yards or fewer in six of their last seven regular-season games.

The Eagles' overall record when they reached that goal the past five seasons is 20-10-1 (.600).

Again, later this week, we'll look at some of the others.


The vacation continues in Grand Junction, Colorado. I'm really not a big nature guy, but I will say the four-hour drive from Denver to Grand Junction is unlike anything I've seen. Surrounded by mountains the whole time, the climate constantly changing from sunny to rainy to sunny and great scenery. I've discovered you can't drive 10 minutes in any direction in this country without finding a Starbucks, McDonald's or Subway.

But the journey to west Colorado, with ski towns like Vail and Breckenridge, plus a whole lot of nothingness, is truly unique. A couple highlights: There is actually a town called No Name, Colorado. And a high school bearing the nickname "Gold Diggers." I found this amusing.

One more night in Colorado, and then it's off to Portland for the rest of the week. Thanks again for all the suggestions and recommendations on things to do/see.

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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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