The Eagles were the NFL's dumbest team in 2012, according to our Intelligence Index, which measures performance in situational football. CHFF Insiders know that the NFL's dumbest teams since 2010 went .331 against the spread, including .305 ATS in 2012. Become CHFF Insider and learn how dumb and smart teams can help you make money in 2013.
By Michael Quinn
Cold, Hard Football Facts Pigskin Principal (@PJbleedsgreen)
Can rookie NFL head coach Chip Kelly help the dumbest team in football change its ways in just one season?
We're going to find out in here in 2013, as the Philadelphia Eagles embark on their first season under the former college football offensive mastermind.
We're going to track his re-education of the Eagles each week of the season.
As the Cold, Hard Football Facts reported during the off-season, the Eagles were the dumbest team in football last year in their last season under Andy Reid.
Despite fielding one of the most talented teams in the NFL, the Eagles still fell to 4-12. As if the record didn't speak for itself, we also mesaured the team's efficiency (or lack thereof) using Scoreability and Bendability, two key Quaity Stats.
The Eagles finished 31st and 32nd, respectively, in those two categories. Those numbers quantify statistically what many of us saw with our eyes. The 2012 Eagles:
- were frustratingly inefficient in all phases of the game
- played poorly in situational football
- committed critical mistakes, including turnovers and penalties, at all the wrong times
In other words, those numbers prove that the Eagles were the dumbest team in football.
But that was last year.
With a new head coach, a new scheme and a handful of new players -- it seems like a fresh start.
It's possible that Kelly can instantly make the Eagles a smarter, more efficient team. But it won't be easy.
While they do have a plethora of new players, they also have kept some of the same problem players on board from last year.
Michael Vick will once again be taking the reigns as the starting quarterback in Philadelphia, which is concerning to say the least (15 turnovers in 10 games last year).
Fumble-machine Bryce Brown is still on the roster, and will be touching the ball at least a few times per game. The shoddy poor-tackling safety unit from last year will be returning. However, it seems only one of them will be starting (Nate Allen).
We can only assume those players have learned from their past mistakes, because Kelly wouldn't have kept them around if not. He did just cut former first-rounder Danny Watkins after all.
While there has yet to be a regular season game played, this team certainly looks different. Last year, the NFL average was 64.2 plays per game. In just four preseason games, the Eagles averaged 74.4 plays.
It worth taking note that this faster tempo happened with the first, second, third and fourth team all taking the field. So that means, with just the first team playing for the full 60-minutes, Vick and the Eagles could reach the amazing average 82.8 plays per game of Kelly's Oregon Ducks.
It's starting to look like things are coming together for the Eagles for the first time in a few years. Everyone seems comfortable in the up-tempo offense, especially Vick who finished the preseason with 456 total yards and two touchdowns in just four quarters of play.
The offense seems sound for now, but what about the defense? Well, of 11 starters from 2012, only 5 will be returning to start in midnight green.
Trent Cole gives OLB his first shot, and DeMeco Ryans looks to once again hold onto his ILB spot. Fletcher Cox will once again be anchoring the defensive line, which leaves Brandon Boykin and aforementioned Allen as the only Eagles veterans in the secondary.
With all the new blood, is the defensive unit poised for change?
Only time will tell.
The Eagles team as a whole will be tested early in the season Monday night when they take on the Washington Redskins, a team that this past year, finished No.1 overall in Scoreability.
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