The Day After (The Day After): .500 Sounds About Right

We said it before the season, we said it a few weeks ago and we’ll say it again now: the 2012 Philadelphia Eagles are an 8-8 team. Could they somehow sneak their way to 9-7? Sure. Could they drop 6 of their last 10 games to only reach 7-9? Of course. But they are what they are… a middling, .500 football team, with a penchant for inconsistency.

Their record may be 3-3, but the Birds are VERY lucky to not be 2-4 or worse. The Browns dropped a game-ending interception in the endzone on the Eagles’ winning drive in week one. A phantom offensive pass interference call handed the team a gift against the Ravens in week 2. A bad snap and hold saved Andy’s (literal) bacon in the week 4 Giants game. Sure, they were seemingly one third-down stop or missed field goal away from beating the Steelers and Lions, but that’s five of six games that came down to one decisive play.

If you take away the Cardinals game – where the Eagles had their lunch handed to them – the team’s point differential is -1, giving up 98 points while scoring 97 in those five games. That’s 8-8 football. Factor in the Cardinals game, which the Eagles lost by 21, and their point differential for the season is -22.

For you math/stat nerds, let’s break that down using Bill Barnwell’s favorite metric for determining expected performance: Football’s Pythagorean Theorem(*). Based on point differential, the Pythagorean Theorem is the best tool to accurately predict a football team’s record, and as they head into the bye, the Eagles boast a winning percentage of 0.396, or 6.3 wins. So, good news… They’re currently outperforming their projected Pythagorean Theorem! Yay!

(*)Click here for Barnwell’s excellent explanation of the Pythagorean Theorem and why it’s so important to football.

Taking the 8-8 theme even further, the Eagles are equally average statistically speaking. The team ranks 11th in total offense (yet 31st in points per game) and 11th in total defense. And if you’re REALLY into stats and advanced metrics, the Eagles rank 24th in Offensive DVOA(**) and 6th in Defensive DVOA… But those numbers don’t take into account week 6, so expect the defensive rank to drop. So, bad news… The Eagles stink. Especially on Offense.

(**)DVOA is the Football Outsiders metric that measures a team’s performance against league average after adjusting for the down, distance, game situation, and quality of opposition. Read more about DVOA here. It’s super interesting nerdy!

Between the turnovers – 13 total… 12 by Vick alone! – and the lack of pressure on opposing Quarterbacks – particularly in the fourth quarter – the chances of them turning this thing around are slim. The Eagles are sackless in the last three games, with only seven QB hits… And they didn’t even lay one hand on Eli in week 4!

On top of being mediocre-to-bad, now the team is starting to deal with the inevitable finger-pointing in the lockerroom. Overpaid, overrated Nnamdi Toastugha openly complained about Juan’s change in Defensive philosophy during Sunday’s game against the Lions, particularly questioning why he was taken off of Calvin Johnson (who he had held to one catch over three quarters) in favor of Dominique Rogers-Cromartie. Maybe it’s because DRC has established himself as the team’s best Cornerback… Maybe it’s because Juan’s an Offensive Line Coach masquerading as a Defensive Coordinator… Who knows?

All we know is that this is only the beginning of the dissent, and it’s only going to get worse. The players are undisciplined and their going to express their concerns. It may have been the Lions who recorded 16 penalties on Sunday, but it’s this Eagles team that is horribly undisciplined – hell, rookie Fletcher Cox openly admitted to throwing punches. Even Jason Avant thinks so (via Philadelphia Daily News’ Marcus Hayes):

“It’s just undisciplined. That’s the bottom line,” Avant said. “It’s undisciplined football. An undisciplined team at this point. Six games in, it’s embarrassing. That’s the word. Embarrassing. For coaches. And veteran players. With the mind-set of, ‘Me before the team,’ in certain instances. And we need to address that before we play another ballgame.”

You’re right, Jason, it IS embarrassing. The whole team is embarrassing.

And guess what? That responsibility falls on the coaching staff… Especially Andy Reid. But much like everything else, Andy will stubbornly ignore this glaring issue… You know, aside from telling us that he needs to do a better job(***).

(***)There are seriously only so many more times we can hear those words escape through The Walrus’ crumb-covered whiskers.

Meanwhile, in the 2012 Eagles Fantasy Blame League, Andy took the opportunity during his day after press conference to give both Vickhead and Juan Cantcoachagainstillo a vote a confidence. It’s looking like a tight race to see who gets thrown under the bus at the end of the 8-8 season.

So, as we enter the bye week, the Eagles’ 2012 season has reached a crossroads… 10 games to prove they deserve the preseason hype and a spot in the postseason. 10 games for Michael Vick to prove he deserves $16.5 million in 2013. 10 games for Andy Reid to prove that he deserves to remain the coach of this team.

In reality… That’s 10 more games to 8-8.

And 10 more games to Fire The Walrus.

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