A Step Deeper On Deep Passing
Last year, Michael Vick threw the ball 20 yards or more downfield 13.7% of the time. He had a 52% completion percentage on those throws, registering 3 TDs and 4 INTs.
This year, so far, Vick's attempts are down slightly to 11% and his completion percentage has also dropped to 41%. However, he's already thrown 3 TDs and has 0 INTs.
Jason Avant: Going Downhill?
It seems to me that the Eagles have a problem at wide receiver. Not necessarily with their starters, but with their depth. Jason Avant has been a reliable slot receiver for a few years, providing good hands in traffic across the middle. But he has never proven himself capable of playing on the outside in a pinch, and his stats through four weeks suggest that he may not be getting open in the middle anymore either.
Anything through only four weeks is going to be a small sample size, so take this with the appropriate grain of salt. But given Michael Vick's trouble connecting with receivers down the field, and Jeremy Maclin's injury trouble, one might expect Avant to become a bigger part of the offense. Instead, he's disappeared. While his catch rate has been great and his yards per attempt and catch are within his career norms, Avant's targets are way down in 2012.
Either Vick is having trouble finding his slot receiver, or he's simply not getting open.
Ode To The Blockers
Demetress Bell needs help, and he's getting it from Brent Celek. The Eagles starting tight end is tied for the lead in the NFL in pass blocking snaps. He has pass blocked 47 times and run routes 121 times.
In other news, Stanley Havili played more snaps (28) against the Giants than Owen Schmitt played in any game last year.
Brandon Graham: The Eagles Best Pass Rusher?
One player under tremendous pressure in the preseason was Brandon Graham, the Eagles' former first round pick. And so far this season (other than Vinny Curry), Graham has gotten the fewest total snaps of any defensive lineman. But (small sample size aside), he's actually the only Eagles pass rusher doing better than last year.
Below is a table of Pass Rush Productivity, Pro Football Focus's combined stat that adds sacks plus hits * .75 plus hurries * .75 and divides the total by the number of pass rushes the player has attempted.
Graham's PRP is huge: in fact, he leads the league on a percentage basis. Obviously, the small number of snaps still makes it a very preliminary result, but at least you can say that he has been tremendously productive in his limited reps. Note that Trent Cole and Jason Babin led the NFL in PRP last year among defensive ends with at least 25% of their team's snaps. They scored 14.9% and 13.7%, respectively. Both are down so far this year.
DeSean On Pace For A Career Year
80 receptions, 1332 yards would smash Jackson's previous career highs. Paying the man was a good idea.
Playoffs? Don't Talk About Playoffs
Football Outsiders has the Eagles with a 55% chance to reach the playoffs and a 1.7% chance of winning the Super Bowl. You taking those odds right now?
Photo from Getty.