Rather than write a post about social equality or my loyalty to the Eagles, I've decided to go in a different direction and look in to the production of our receiving corps over the years, particularly from 2014 to the current, 2016.
Though it may be a bit early to analyze some of the stats, the production of the Eagles offense currently looks undeniably better than it has in the previous 2 seasons, which notably included 2 different quarterbacks. Now, normally I don't like to refer to stats when debating over a conversation like this because I think the eye-test is really all that is needed, but after looking in to the numbers, the stats were pretty surprising so let's go over them.
**The chart down below specifically refers to our receiving corps, excluding the running game. As you will see, it's broken down in to 3 seasons, 2014, 2015, 2016. Obviously some of our current receivers [this also includes our RBs who are used occasionally as receivers] weren't with us in previous years so their names won't be included -- the 2014 season will not include Nelson Agholor, Trey Burton, Dorial- Green Beckham, Ryan Mathews, or Kenjon Barner. **
Glossary: GP = Games Played | REC = Receptions | YPC/R = Yards Per Carry | YAC = Yards After Catch | TD = Touch Down | Fum/ Fuml = Fumbles and Fumbles lost | Catch % = Catch percentage
**Note: Dorial- Green Beckham's status includes a blue star for the 2015 season because he was with the Titans. Also, I F*d up his name as you see in the charts. My fault, though I blame him because who the hell has two last names nowadays?
The first thing that stands out to me is actually Jordan Matthew's availability. He has dealt with minor injuries from time to time, but overall he's been available, and productive given his role. In fact, as an overall receiver, he's been rated in the top 20 dating back to his rookie season, thanks to his 8 TDs in 2014 and 2015, and so far, 2 TDs this season which puts him at 6th overall out of 427 active receivers. His YAC and low TO rate are also both equally impressive. The downside to Jordan Matthews' however is his drops. It doesn't look as glaring on the charts, but he has had key drops on several occasions through out his career.
For me, this keeps him from truly being an elite receiver. He's above average for sure, but in order for him to make that next leap, he needs to have better hands. Some more of this, and he'll quickly climb the rankings.
Speaking of drops, Nelson Agholor looks much better with the eye-test and the numbers seem to support it. In 2015, he had only 23 receptions on 44 targets and an unimpressive 283 yards. These wouldn't even be good RB numbers. I'm sure his unreliability was why he had the 5th most targets during the 2015 season despite being a 1st round pick. Having said that, things look much better starting the 2016 season. He already has almost half the amount of receptions in just 3 games this season, 11, that he had all of last season, 23. He also has almost half the yards from 2015, sitting at 120 total yards in just 3 games, as opposed to 283 by the end of last season. He already matches his TD total from 2015, 1, and most noticeable, has 0 drops!! Much of his praise coming out college seems to be showing on the field, nonetheless. His speed is already causing problems for most defenders guarding him ...
consequently making Agholor more prone to holds, which is great because that means more penalties should favor us! Something I'd like to see him work on however is his strength. He's been in position to catch several excellent throws by Carson, but passes are easily getting broken up in ways they shouldn't largely in part because of Aggy's weak hands.
Now, it was a bit surprising to see the rather low number of drops for all of the receivers considering that we've seen a few this season already, and many last. I wondered why, especially after seeing Agholor 'drop' one on way to the end-zone earlier this season, but it then occurred to me that, for what appeared to be a drop Not actually Count as a drop, the receivers never actually had control of the ball. Make sense? If not, just ask Dez.
I won't go through the stats of every receiver, but the numbers for guys like Zach Ertz, Brent Celek and Darren Sproles look good. Also really impressed with what I've seen by Trey Burton who was available for all 16 games last season but only received 4 targets. This is why I'm ecstatic to see what he can become along with the other TEs in Doug Pederson's heavy based TE system. Chip just didn't utilize these guys enough despite them being one of the more formidable units in the league, if not the best.
Dorial- Green Beckham is gradually seeing his role increase in this offense as well, which is great because he flashed potential with the Titans.
In Tennessee, his catching % was pretty underwhelming at just 47.80%, but he had more than half of the yards that our number 1 receiver did [Jordan Matthews] at 549 compared to JMatt's 997, with less than half of the number of receptions during the 2015 season [32 vs. 85], as shown in the chart above. He's a big body receiver that just needs to work on body and hand control more, and the leadership and mentorship of our staff seems to be helping that developmental process.
On the contrary, Josh Huff's numbers are on point with what we've seen on the field: irrelevant. In 2014, 8 REC on 18 targets. 2014, 27 REC on 40 targets. So far in 2016, 5 REC on 9 targets with a whopping 19 total yards. Obviously this is a small sample size, but for me personally the kid just hasn't shown anything. His speed isn't legit. His hands aren't reliable. I guess his blocking is exceptional as some have argued, but is that worthy of taking up a roster spot? We'll see if Pederson and the gang can help improve his game as they've seem to have done with Aggy. Having a multi-talented QB can do wonders, really.
Speaking of, so the numbers seem to correlate with the eye-test proving that so far our receivers have been more productive than in previous seasons. Having a mobile, accurate, and confident QB seems to be the root of this success. Just look at the plays Carson has been able to make as a rookie in a professional system against experienced hard-hitting defenders:
This was the first drive of the regular season!! He remained poised in the pocket, his feet were accurately placed along with the beautifully thrown ball to JMatt for the TD. He's just able to place the ball in tight spots but in a way that isn't exactly vulnerable to INTs unless it's thrown towards a really athletic defender. Just look at this throw vs. the Steelers in comparison to a Sam Bradford throw in similar coverage last season:
The ball was thrown just high enough so it wasn't intercept-able by the defender, unlike this throw by Bradford last year:
Carson's ability to recognize pressure and scramble out of it is also impressive for a rookie.
Sam Bradford has the mechanics to be a good QB, but his lack of mobility, to name a few, will always make him an easy target and prone to sacks in ways Carson can escape.
Looking in to the numbers, Carson Wentz has been sacked a total 4 times thus far for 18 yards, while Sam Bradford has been sacked 6 times for 50 total yards with the Vikings. Mobility definitely seems to be a huge factor in these numbers, as Sam typically does not scramble. I'll include two chart sdown below that shows Wentz's stats as well as Bradford's, just to give an idea of how both are fairing out in their roles.
Carson's: **I don't know why it says Carson has 3 fumbles. Am I missing something? A big reason why he's receiving such national praise is partly because of his lack of TOs, so that stat appears to be incorrect.
Notice the Passing Yards After Catch stat... it seems to indicate that Carson is placing the ball in a way that allows his receivers to gain significant yardage after the catch at a more successful rate than Bradford. Remember the hits our receivers would take going up for a Bradford pass [or Mark Sanchez for that matter]?
Anyway, here's Bradford's numbers with the Vikings:
Interesting numbers to look at, especially when considering that Bradford is on a much better team with better weapons.
I'll end my analysis here because there's still so much to dissect on an already long post. Share your feelings about these numbers, nonetheless, and what you expect to see moving forward by our receiving core, including the production of our RBs as receivers.