Comparing Offenses: Chip’s 2013 v. Reid’s 2012 through 7 Games
After 7 games, Chip Kelly’s Eagles are 3-4. Incidentally, through 7 last season, Reid had also earned a 3-4 record. This parallel shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise: Despite a massive overhaul of the defense, the Eagles still can’t stop anybody. We expected this. DC Billy Davis has a long history of putting together middling to bad defenses, and he has very little talent to work with. On the other hand, there are few new faces on offense. Jason Peters returned from injury, Lane Johnson was drafted, and Jeremy Maclin tore up his knee (and nobody sane can call Riley Cooper an upgrade at that spot). All told, 8 of this year’s starters on offense also started last year, and 9 were active on last year’s squad.
So the defense still stinks, the offense is comprised of the same stiffs, and their W-L records are identical. Sounds like a perfect time to compare the two groups! And since we know both defenses were/are crap this deep into the season, I’d rather just focus on the offense. The raw numbers are after the jump, but this graph really says it all.
(A quick explanation of what you’re looking at: For every stat above, 0 represents the NFL average after 7 games. If you’re not familiar with standard deviations and z-scores, just know that in general a score greater than 0 is above average, greater than 1 is good, and greater than 1.5 is close to the top of the league. The reverse is true for negative numbers.*)
|Through First 7 Games||NFL Average||Eagles Average||Eagles Rank|
Even though there are superficial similarities and the squads have equivalent records, Chip Kelly’s Eagles have been far superior. Despite the return of the same core group, this team’s performance on offense isn’t in the same universe as it was at this time last year. Anybody with eyes can certainly see that the offense is playing better, but even acknowledging this, a closer look at the numbers reveals a completely staggering transformation.
It’s notable that the worst category for both offenses is still scoring, although this year’s squad still falls in the top half of the league. The closest category is passing yards per game. Chip’s team is averaging just 16 more yards per game through the air than Reid’s group. Then again, Chip is doing this while asking his QBs to throw the ball much less than Reid ever did. This is reflected in the widely disparate Net Passing Yards average. By the way, if you haven’t noticed, the rushing game is exceptional. After years of screaming for Andy to the run the ball, leading the league in yards and yards per attempt is truly refreshing.
In all, Chip’s results are impressive. His system is working so far, even when you include that sloppy turd of a Dallas game. It is still possible that this 2013 team could collapse just like last year’s club and come up with 1 win (or worse) down the stretch. But it’s apparent from these results that the 2012 team shouldn’t have even won 3 games up this this point. It’s unlikely that the 2013 team will follow in those footsteps.
*Note: For the more statistically inclined, it must be noted that league-wide, offensive efficiency statistics are not quite normally distributed. Each stat generally skews a little bit positive, with the median results sitting slightly below the mean. That said, this skew by no means invalidates these findings.
All raw data taken from Pro Football Reference.