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For the last few years, Jeremy Maclin has been poised as a guy ready to make “the jump”. However, after notching 964 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2010 he hasn’t progressed. More importantly, Maclin is entering a contract year and I’ve been arguing with friends about what to do with him for weeks. As a result, let’s a take a look at some comparable receivers who just got contracts to see what kind of contract we could expect for Maclin headed into this year.
To begin, let’s examine this year’s prize in free agency, Mike Wallace.
Mike Wallace is a good fit here because he’s from the same draft class as Maclin (2009) and is a guy who is seen as a top performer, which is why I recently compared him to the odd case of Victor Cruz. So, here’s Wallaces career by the numbers compared to Maclin:
Braydon Coburn has long been considered a solid, consistent defender and has been a fixture on the Flyers’ top-two defensive pairings since he was acquired at the 2007 trade deadline. So consistent, in fact, that during the 2011-12 season, the Flyers jumped at the chance to extend his contract for 4 years at a healthy $4.5 million-per-year price tag. Hardly a small commitment for a team that is perennially bumping its head against the salary cap.
But Coburn’s 2013 season was – and I’m being kind here – a break from the mold.
Oh who am I kidding? It was awful. In order to set up the second half of my analysis, I’ll spend the first half explaining just how awful it was.
Here is a quick recap of Coburn’s career in terms of the standard statistics:
WARNING: Minors, the elderly, and those living with a heart condition may wish to avert their eyes from the row marked ’2013′
|Scoring Stats||Goals||Assists||Ice Time|
Those numbers look bad. Really bad. But the season was shortened to start and Coburn was on the DL for 1/3 of those games, so it may help to break down his 2013 stats in terms of ice time.
Stats per 60 minutes of ice time (with career rank):
Goals/60: .08 (2nd worst)
Assists/60: .322 (worst)
Points/60: .402 (worst)
Plus-Minus/60: -.804 (worst)
PIM/60: 3.3 (2nd worst)
Shots/60: 3.06 (worst)
Even Strength Points/60: .402 (worst)
Yuck. How about a nail in the coffin? In the 33 games in which Coburn played, the Flyers went 13-17-3, averaged 2.64 goals for and 3.12 goals against. In the 15 games in which Coburn did not appear, the Flyers were 10-5-0, averaging 3.07 goals for and 2.53 goals against.
Now, I already trashed Coburn’s lockout season a month ago, but I swear I’m really not trying to pile it on. I am simply attempting to provide some perspective. I went into this study because I was genuinely baffled that such a dependable player could just roll over and die at the prime age of 28. How was this possible? Outside of my private suspicions that Dan Bylsma spent his off-hours poking needles into a Braydon voodoo doll somewhere in the bowels of the CONSOL Energy Center, there was seemingly no explanation for such a precipitous fall…
Unless, of course, you like advanced stats. I’ve recently shown my ardent support for the proliferation of advanced statistics, and this seemed like a ripe opportunity to break them out. As it turns out, the fancy numbers indicate that it wasn’t simply poor luck or bad mojo that led to Coburn’s bad year.
There was another reason:
It’s time to upgrade our thinking – and our platitudes – for the 21st century. Screw inches. Our beloved pastimes are really all games of probability.
And Philadelphia’s teams are finally catching up. It’s about damned time.
The two most recent hires in the big four of Philly sports, Eagles head coach Chip Kelly and now 76ers GM Sam Hinkie, are not traditionalists. The foundations for their respective philosophies, Chip’s playcalling and Hinkie’s talent acquisition, are built on foreign, impenetrable, numerical concepts such as “expected values.”
Many people have a problem with probabilities – and by extension the study thereof, that mathematical voodoo known as analytics. The term ‘analytics’ often conjures a couple of images, and neither are particularly flattering. One is that of the pasty, bespectacled weakling with a pocket protector and a TI-89, jealously crunching numbers as he fantasizes about athletic prowess he’ll never have, cheerleaders he’ll never date, and popularity he’ll never achieve. The other, more sinister depiction is the business executive in a 15th floor office furnished with exotic hardwoods and floor-to-ceiling windows, dispassionately assigning numbers to real people from high on his throne and then buying, selling, or trading them as he might deal in rice futures or credit default swaps. But stereotyping aside, I suspect most fans simply misunderstand the concept.
About a week ago, the Eagles brought former Cowboys (yuck) running back Felix Jones in for a workout. Jones, who had worked out with the Bengals and was reportedly talking with the Patriots, will now compete for carries behind LeSean McCoy.
Jones, who was a first round pick of the Cowboys in 2008, has been underwhelming thus far in his career. His first two seasons were promising as a change of pace back with Marion “The Barbarian” Barber. He averaged 8.9 and 5.9 yards per carry respectively in those two years. However, Jones failed to bloom when given half of the load and ended his career with only 11 touchdowns in five years.
While Jones isn’t a stud, he’s only 26 years old, is a solid receiver (at least 25 catches the last three years), and has experience as a kick returner. All of which points to him landing a role on this team. As we now know, versatility is the key word around town and Jones fits the mold.
In exchange for Jones, the Eagles released former 6th round receiver Marvin McNutt. Though I hope he can continue a career and do some ads with this guy.
The fans and media alike were thrilled for the beginning of the Eagles first stint of organized team activities (OTAs). It was the first time during his tenure that new head coach Chip Kelly allowed the media to view a practice.
It seems they got more insight than they bargained for.
“He looked into a crystal ball and said I have three weeks to live,” said a despondent Ray Didinger before skulking to his car “I need to think for a while.”
Reports indicate that Didinger was one of hundreds of media members that suffered through deeply scarring trauma at the hands of Chip Kelly, who allegedly turned a circus of fun into a horror show of black magic.
An unnamed source who attended the practice from hell claims that reporters were greeted with gift bags containing assorted bird feathers, herbs, and a human ear. Afterward, the media was ushered out to the practice field where 7th round pick David King lay tied upon an altar on the 50 yard line.
The source then goes on to say that Kelly “cackled uncontrollably” as he set the altar on fire and “prayed for the football gods to deliver victory to the chosen people while playing ‘Hero’ from NAS.”
At that point most media members left the facility screaming and defecating mid-run, while other simply stated, “Well, at least it’s not Andy Reid.”
Chip Kelly was asked about the ordeal after practice.
“You know, about this whole ‘sacrifice thing’, it was a complete mix up. I didn’t realize the last names were listed first on my sheet, so I thought David King was King David. Normally we sign undrafted free agents for that type of thing, but I thought the opportunity was too good to pass up. Remember it’s not just the players that are rookies here.”
The media will not be able to view practice again until next Monday…if they dare.
***This story was obviously fictional in ways that you make you palm yourself in the face and say “I can’t believe I didn’t realize that earlier!” (Feel free to palm yourself in the face at this juncture if need be.) It was all solely for entertainment and has no factual value. None.
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There’s no one more annoying than that kid that runs the same plays over and over again in Madden. What’s worse is when those bullshit plays actually work. If you call a defense to stop one of the plays, he has a counter. It may seem simple, but it’s destructive, and you have no chance at ever winning.
Well, Chip Kelly is that kid, and he’s the Eagles’ coach whether we like it or not.
His offense at Oregon was not particularly complicated and it eviscerated most college defenses. With a variety of read options and screens, Kelly’s offense was easily adaptable and constantly created mismatches.
Obviously this move is controversial considering Kelly has no NFL experience and uses all these gimmicks at such an inferior level, with Heath Evans leading the charge against such lunacy.
Surely no coach would ever use such a Mickey Mouse offense against the best of the best in the NFL.
Well, now that I think about it, maybe one or two would… watch this video Hank helped me put together. Seriously. If you think Chip Kelly’s system can’t work at the NFL level, watch and explain to me why.
Produced by Hank Mushinski, Analysis and Commentary by Nick Carroll. The reproduction of game footage herein is for educational purposes only.
Since Hank posted his recap of mock drafters the other day, I decided that it’s time to revisit the draft grades for the Eagles after the 2010 draft. It’s always fun to grade draft classes, and given that 2010 has had enough time to develop, it’s a fine time to see how they stacked up.
The grades (via Bleeding Green Nation):
Pete Prisco: A+
NFL Draft Insider: A-
Paul Domowich: A-
Mel Kiper: B+
Sporting News: B+
Rob Rang: B
Fox Sports: B
USA Today: B-
Rick Gosselin: C
Overall, the grades for the class come out as an A-/B+. Also, if you can recall, this was a bit of a wild class from Andy and Co. that included the curveball picks of Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, Ricky Sapp, and Clay Harbor. Hell, even Brandon Graham was a surprise. The Eagles were expected to draft Earl Thomas when they traded up. As a sum, 2010 had an intriguing level of upside at the time with 13 players selected. How has it panned out so far? Let’s take a look:
Mock drafts are stupid.
There, I said it. You and I know that as much as we all love them, they’re not consequential. They’re not inherently insightful. They’re often nothing more than speculative conversation pieces. At best, they’re educated guesswork.
Now I’m likely to be dragged to the town square and stoned for saying that, but so be it, it needed to be said. I’ll die a martyr for the cause of reasonable, retrospective sports analysis. A worthy ideal, certainly.
Sarcasm aside, I really was convinced that if there ever were a year when I could successfully prove that the draftniks really are all just soothsaying con-men, this was the year. There were no sure-fire top-5 quarterbacks, no stud wide outs or corners. No truly obvious picks. The consensus seemed to be that the real talent in this draft was along the lines, some of the hardest positions in the sport to scout. If there really is such a thing as a “draft guru,” this is the kind of draft that would expose him as either a true expert or a useless hack.
With this hypothesis in mind, I collected an assortment of 14 “final” 1st-round mock drafts published before the draft started last Thursday. As a control, I asked my buddy Frank to submit his own 1st-round mock. Frank watches far more college and pro football than anybody can reasonably consider healthy, but he’s not a paid analyst, nor does he have a support team, league sources, game film, nor any other resources that pro analysts or sports columnists can access.
Here’s what I found out.
There has been a ton of speculation regarding the changes that would inevitably take place once Big Balls Chip Kelly was hired as the head coach of the Eagles. So far, most of the analysis has been fairly shallow.
He’s not a bore at his press conferences, he plays music at practices, he talks a mean game about having a mean team. That’s fantastic, however, still only a few crumbs of food from a king’s feast. The draft finally provided an opportunity to develop a sincere understanding of Chip’s philosophy and the general direction of the franchise.
The key word at the center of this draft is the word versatility. Every player that the Eagles drafted this year (Barkley excluded) has the ability to be used in multiple looks. Lane Johnson can play left and right tackle, Zach Ertz could feasibly be four different positions on the field on any given play, and guys like Jordan Poyer played safety and corner in college. All of this plays to Chip Kelly’s favor and supports his notion of putting players in the position to succeed.
Many times that sentiment is lip service from coaches. Andy Reid had a square peg (Michael Vick) and bludgeoned it to smithereens with a hammer (passed 45 times a game). This attitude of fitting players into a scheme rather than catering to their talents is a disservice to the team, the organization, and the fans.