Philadelphia Eagles: Stats That Matter Through Week 4

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistOctober 2, 2012

Sep 30, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy (25) stiff arms New York Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara (20) during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field.The Eagles defeated The Giants 19-17.  Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

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 four weeks into the season.



That's how many sacks the Eagles have recorded through four weeks, which puts them on pace to register only 28 this season. On a per-game basis, that's a drop-off of 44 percent from 2011. They're tallying nine quarterback hurries per game after averaging 13.3 last season, per Pro Football Focus.

It's not anyone's fault in particular. Both Jason Babin and Trent Cole have seen their production decline early this season, and I can't put my finger on why that's been the case. They were held sack-less against a bad Giants offensive line, but Eli Manning is good at escaping pressure. Still, I expected more against Cleveland and Arizona.

Fortunately, the pass coverage has been fantastic. And as a result, the Eagles have surrendered fewer yards per play than all but four teams, per Pro Football Reference. Can you imagine how good this defense will be if they start getting pressure like they did in 2011?



That's the percentage of running plays in which the Eagles have been "stuffed" this season, according to Football Outsiders. Only three teams have been stopped at or behind the line of scrimmage more often. 

And yet only two teams have reached the "second level" of the defense (five-to-10 yards past the line of scrimmage) as often as the Eagles, per the same source. 

This indicates that LeSean McCoy is an all-or-nothing back, which isn't surprising when you consider that McCoy broke more tackles than any other back in the game last year, while also running for negative yardage more often than anyone else.

The Eagles don't run often, but they're often too obvious when they do. They have to establish more balance and more consistency on the ground. 



That's how many yards the Eagles are surrendering per kick return, which is the fourth-worst average in the NFL. Against the Giants Sunday night, Philadelphia allowed David Wilson to average 36.2 yards per return, at one point bringing back three straight kicks for 45 yards or more.

Combine that with the turnovers they've been committing on offense, and the Eagles are giving their opponents shorter fields than any other team in the league, per Football Outsiders.

The defense, which has given up a league-low 16.3 first downs per game, continues to save the day.

Later this week we'll be looking specifically at what's ailing the Eagles in kick coverage. If they can get better in that field and continue to improve in the turnover category, things will become easier for one of the league's best defenses.