Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles: Stats That Matter 3 Weeks into the NFL Season

Aug 24, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham (54) pressures Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden (3) in the second quarter during a preseason game at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIRE
David Richard-US PRESSWIRE
Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistSeptember 26, 2012

About 75 percent of people know that you can use stats to skew perspectives. The reality is that they rarely tell the whole story, but I also find that they almost always tell part of the story.

Let's attempt to complete the story by tossing out a few of the key stats regarding the Philadelphia Eagles three weeks into the season.



That's how many running plays the Eagles have run this season, excluding Michael Vick's 21 rushes. Only two teams with a winning record, Baltimore and Dallas, have run less often this season, per Pro Football Reference. But Philadelphia's run 226 plays, whereas Baltimore and Dallas have run 188 and 180, respectively. 

As a result, Vick has dropped back to throw on 145 occasions, which is a league high, according to Pro Football Focus

Even if you include designed runs from Vick, that's 145 drop-backs for throws and only 81 running plays. It's hard to keep defenses off-balance and keep pressure off of a depleted offensive line if you're passing on 64 percent of your offensive plays.

Unbelievably, the Titans have thrown on 74 percent of their plays, and the Raiders, Saints, Browns and Packers also have warped ratios. But those teams have trailed a lot and/or don't have LeSean McCoy on their rosters.   



That's how many third-down conversions the Eagles have surrendered on 42 attempts in three games, which ranks fourth in football. Additionally, the Eagles have given up only 45 first downs, which is the fewest in the league (per and Pro Football Reference.)

What makes this number phenomenal is that, because of all the turnovers, Philly's opponents have run a total 40 drives against them this season, according to Football Outsiders. No defense in the league has had to take the field as often as this unit has.

Last season, while dealing with some major tackling issues, the Eagles allowed opponents to move the chains on 36 percent of third-down attempts, so it's great to see that number drop by nearly 20 percent to start 2012. 



That's how many snaps Demetress Bell is taking per hurry allowed, according to Pro Football Focus. And by my math, that's the second-lowest number in the NFL among offensive tackles who have taken at least 25 percent of their team's snaps.

In other words, on a per-snap basis, only David Diehl has surrendered hurries more often than Bell has.

Bell hasn't been credited with any sacks allowed and has given up only one hit, but he has been a downgrade from King Dunlap at left tackle. His PFF pass-blocking efficiency rating of 89.6 ranks 63rd out of 71 qualifying offensive tackles. Dunlap ranks 29th at 95.3.

It'll be interesting to see what the Eagles do when Dunlap returns. Three weeks into the season, the Philly line has allowed 16 hits on Vick. The next-worst team in that category, Oakland, has given up only 11.



That's Brandon Graham's PFF rating from Week 3 against Arizona, which is the second-highest rating of his career thus far. In fact, based on that metric, Graham has had three of the five best games of his career to start the 2012 season.

Graham's taken just 30 snaps this season, yet he already has a sack, three hits, two hurries, five tackles and five stops, making him the most efficient member of Philadelphia's rotation on the defensive line.

He's outplayed Phillip Hunt and Darryl Tapp thus far, which means he might indeed avoid the bust label. And maybe he'll even be able to join Jason Babin and Trent Cole to create a Giants-style three-headed monster in Philly.

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