The Philadelphia Eagles became the darling of the analytics community during their 2017 Super Bowl run, in part due to their hyper-aggressiveness on 4th downs. To aid in those decisions, they leveraged data from EdjSports.
Of course, their use of analytics goes far beyond those “red light, yellow light, green light” decisions. They’ve stocked their cupboard full of analytically minded individuals that impact decisions both on the field and in their roster construction.
Rotoworld’s Hayden Winks recently did a study of the league where he ranked each NFL offense on their leveraging analytics based on several categories, and the Eagles were unsurprisingly toward the top of the list.
Coming in 6th overall, here’s what Winks had to say about the Eagles and Doug Pederson’s nerdy approach to offense...
“Pederson does a lot of things right. He’s aggressive on fourth downs (2nd), uses play action at a high rate (7th), and lets his running backs find space by rushing to the outside (3rd) and from shotgun (8th). Still, there’s some room for improvement. Of course, the Eagles’ receiver injuries affected this last season, but Philly shouldn’t have been 31st in pass rate while trailing in 2019, nor should they be using pre-snap motion at the 26th-highest rate. With more speed at receiver, Pederson could increase the Eagles’ rankings in both metrics, which would vault them into Tier 1 next offseason.” - Hayden Winks, Rotoworld
This should come as a shock to absolutely nobody, but the areas where they can improve are worth tracking. There’s also good reason to believe they’ll make the necessary changes.
For example, the Eagles pre-snap motion ranking of 26th should receive a boost in the arm with the addition of new senior offensive assistant Rich Scangarello. Having spent time with Kyle Shanahan, whose San Francisco 49ers ranked 1st in pre-snap motion, Scangarello’s Denver Broncos also ranked 8th in pre-snap motion last year. Why’s that important? It just works.
Here’s Kyle Shanahan explaining why a 2017 bomb to Marquise Goodwin was successful...
“We hit one on a seam. It was a zone coverage. We motioned to it. You have a safety as a curl/flat player, and you have a linebacker as a hook player. When you motion empty, they have to switch, and so they change two quick responsibilities, and we snap it, and they communicate. If you talk to someone for half a second and you have a 4.3 guy in the slot, and he’s gone, you can’t hesitate. He’s wide open.” - Kyle Shanahan
Now if we can only convince Pederson not to run so much, especially when trailing. Perhaps Carson Wentz ending the season 4-0 while throwing an average of 43 attempts per game is the answer to that.
We delve more into this topic on The Kist & Solak Show #186! Listen on the media player below or click here if the player doesn’t load. New to podcasts?! Check out our guide on how to listen and subscribe to BGN! FLY EAGLES FLY!