Philadelphia Eagles' Red Zone Struggle: Is It Really Cause For Concern?

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Philadelphia Eagles' Red Zone Struggle: Is It Really Cause For Concern?
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Probably telling the field-goal unit to get ready in three plays.

The lackluster performance of the Philadelphia Eagles’ first-team offense has some fans suggesting everyone relax and allow time to remedy the situation while others are in complete panic mode and in search of immediate answers.

Maybe it is too early for the Philadelphia faithful to get worked up. The first-team offense has only played three quarters and driven the ball into the opposition’s redzone three times.

The sample size is small to say the last and one can only assume that Andy Reid is not opening up the playbook too much during the preseason.

But I think the cause for concern is legitimate. And to make it even worse, I don’t think there is an end in sight to the apparent field-goal fest that breaks out when the offense drives inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.

When you factor in last year’s redzone statistics and this preseason’s play selection in the redzone, it is easy to see why the Eagles are headed the wrong way down a one-way street.

The stats I am about to discuss are from a website called Fantasy O Matic. And if you want to see a complete list of the stats here is a link to the article: www.fantasyomatic.com/?p=884

In 2009, the Philadelphia Eagles scored 87 percent of the time they drove the ball into the redzone, which ranked tied for seventh in the NFL.

Oh by the way, this number includes field goals and touchdowns.

I don’t think many Eagles fans are concerned about putting points on the board as they are about settling for David Akers kicking 27-yard field goals all the live long day.

That’s why Eagles fans should be alarmed when they hear last year’s offense scored a touchdown only 48 percent of the time when they had the ball inside the redzone, which tied them for the ninth worst mark in the league.

To put things in perspective, here are the top-10 and bottom-10 teams based on touchdown percentage in the redzone.

Top-10 Teams

Touchdown %

ARI

70%

IND

66%

MIN

62%

MIA

61%

SF

59%

NO

58%

WAS

57%

TEN

56%

GB

55%

SD

54%

 

Bottom-10 Teams

Touchdown %

PHI

48%

PIT

48%

DEN

48%

NYG

48%

KC

47%

DET

47%

CHI

47%

CLE

44%

OAK

41%

SEA

40%

BUF

32%

STL

32%

So what gives? What does Arizona, Indianapolis and everyone else in the top-10 do so much better than the Eagles?

That’s where you need to check out a second set of stats. According to the stats from the article mentioned above, seven of the top-10 teams in touchdown-scoring percentage, were in the top-10 for runningback touchdowns in the redzone.

In fact, of the top-10 touchdown scoring teams, all of them scored more touchdowns with their runningbacks than any other position.

You would think pass-happy teams like Arizona, Indianapolis, and New Orleans would light up the scoreboard with their receivers, but that’s not the case. They finished off drives with their runningbacks.

The site does not say if the backs scored on the ground or through the air, but it is safe to assume a majority of the backs were not finding the endzone on screens.

Meanwhile, the Eagles ranked tied for the fifth-worst mark in the league when it came to their team’s runningbacks scoring in the redzone.

Below are the top-10 teams when it comes to scoring in the redzone with their running backs. Teams with an asterisk also ranked in the top-10 in touchdown percentages.

The other column lists teams that were in the bottom-10 for running backs scoring in the redzone. Teams with an asterisk in that column  also ranked in the bottom-10 for touchdown percentage

Top-10 Teams by RB TDs

Total Redzone TDs

Redzone TDs by RB

*MIA

33

22

*NO

41

21

DEN

25

19

*ARI

38

18

*MIN

43

17

HOU

33

16

*IND

35

16

BAL

30

15

*GB

34

15

*SD

34

15

 

Bottom-10 Teams by RB TDs

Total Redzone TDs

Redzone TDs by RB

*CLE

17

7

*SEA

19

7

TB

16

7

*BUF

12

6

CIN

25

6

*OAK

12

6

*PHI

25

6

*CHI

24

4

*KC

18

4

*DET

17

3

*STL

11

3

Basically this means if you’re not scoring with your backs in the redzone,chances are good that your touchdown percentage is going to suffer, which leads us to the 2010 preseason.

Out of the three drives that led the Eagles inside their opponent’s 20, they have run a total of 12 plays (including plays nullified by penalty) and have dialed up the pass eight times. I counted a Kolb scramble as a pass play because it was not a designed run. This is more of a look at what the Eagles are trying to do in the redzone instead of the end result of a broken play.

Running plays were called in only four times, with one play being a direct snap to LeSean McCoy.

If the play calling continues to be as such then one can only assume the Eagles will be mixed in amongst the bottom-10 teams in terms of runningbacks scoring in the redzone. And as last year’s statistics suggest that will lead to a bottom-10 touchdown scoring percentage.

Some of you may be thinking that if your touchdown percentage in the redzone is low then it must mean that all of your position players are having difficulty finding paydirt, which means the runningback should not be the only position monitored.

That's not the case.

Of the 11 teams who were tied for 10th or worse when it came to runningbacks not scoring in the redzone, nine were in the bottom-10 for overall touchdown percentage.

But when you look at teams who were tied for 10th or worse for touchdowns scored by wide receivers in the endzone, only seven of the 12 finished in the bottom-10 for overall touchdown percentage.

It may be wildly early to do this, but I am pressing the panic button for the redzone offense based on last year's data and this year's play calling.

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