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Philadelphia Eagles one of the best teams in NFL at tackling

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The Philadelphia Eagles defense may not be able to cover very well, but according to Pro Football Focus, they're one of the best tackling teams in the NFL. How's that for a consolation prize?

PFF uses a stat called tackling efficiency, which is easily calculated by attempts per missed tackle. The Eagles finished fourth overall.

Rank Team Snaps Missed Tackles Missed Tackles/Snap
1 Cleveland Browns 1188 102 0.086
2 San Francisco 49ers 1072 94 0.088
3 Chicago Bears 1065 97 0.091
4 Philadelphia Eagles 1207 111 0.092
5 Houston Texans 1150 110 0.096
6 Denver Broncos 1100 107 0.097
7 Minnesota Vikings 1109 108 0.097
8 N.Y. Jets 1044 102 0.098
9 Buffalo Bills 1124 110 0.098
10 Tennessee Titans 1169 116 0.099
11 San Diego Chargers 1074 108 0.101
12 Miami Dolphins 1071 110 0.103
13 Carolina Panthers 1056 110 0.104
14 New England Patriots 1111 116 0.104
15 Cincinnati Bengals 1146 120 0.105
16 Baltimore Ravens 1117 117 0.105
17 Seattle Seahawks 1002 105 0.105
18 Indianapolis Colts 1069 113 0.106
19 Pittsburgh Steelers 1010 107 0.106
20 Green Bay Packers 1114 120 0.108
21 Washington Redskins 1060 116 0.109
22 Kansas City Chiefs 1086 120 0.110
23 Arizona Cardinals 1085 122 0.112
24 N.Y. Giants 1076 123 0.114
25 Detroit Lions 1072 124 0.116
26 Atlanta Falcons 1106 132 0.119
27 St. Louis Rams 1077 130 0.121
28 Dallas Cowboys 1054 129 0.122
29 Oakland Raiders 1157 144 0.124
30 Jacksonville Jaguars 1147 144 0.126
31 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1139 152 0.133
32 New Orleans Saints 1092 148 0.136

There isn't a direct correlation between these numbers and the quality of the defense. For example, the Bears finished as the third best tackling defense in the league but were pretty bad otherwise. Chicago's defense allowed an average of 6.0 yards per play, which ranked tied for second last in the league. Anyone who watched the Bears during the season could easily realize their defense was not good.

In other cases, it makes some sense. Look at the bottom four teams in tackling efficiency. The Saints defense was bad. The Buccaneers, Jaguars, and Raiders were all bad teams.

As far as the Eagles are concerned, I can't say I'm surprised to see them towards the top. Philadelphia was so bad at tackling in years prior to Chip Kelly's arrival and that's an area that's significantly improved. Personnel changes have certainly helped. Say what you will about Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher, but they aren't quite awful tacklers as Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and Asante Samuel. Some (or all) of those players didn't even try at times. The current Eagles defense doesn't suffer from a lack effort as much as it does a lack of talent.

Another interesting note about Philadelphia's improved tackling is that the team doesn't really run a tough training camp like Andy Reid used to. The Eagles don't do any live tackling to the ground, save for some Oklahoma drills.