The Most Telling Statistic About the 2011 Eagles

The Most Telling Statistic About the 2011 Eagles

Why were the Eagles an unacceptable 8-8 in 2011? They were second only to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the highest number of turnovers in the NFL with 38 -- 13 fumbles, 25 interceptions.

Yes, it's that simple.

For comparison's sake, the closest team to the Eagles to actually make the postseason is in a three-way tie for sixth place with 30, and it's the Denver Broncos, who also happened to finish .500. They are the only playoff-bound team in the top 10, and we all know they aren't going anywhere.

After that, the Steelers come in tied three ways for 11th with 28. That's still a whopping 10 turnovers less than the Birds, or a difference of more than one every two games. The only other clubs to make the tournament and finish in the top half of the league were the Ravens and the Giants, who tied for 16th with 24 each.

Just look at four of the league's most serious Super Bowl contenders. The Saints are tied for 28th with 19 turnovers, half the Eagles' total. The Patriots are 30th with 17, the Packers 31st with 14, and last, but very obviously not least, the 49ers had 10 all year.

Even if you combined the last three teams, the total comes out to 41, which is only three more than Philadelphia. Stop and think about that for a second. The Eagles  committed almost as many turnovers in 16 games as three other teams did in 48. That, friends, is the difference between winning eight games, or winning 13, 15, and 13 respectively.

By the way, the defenses from New England and Green Bay ranked 31st and 32nd in the NFL.

Nine of the Eagles' giveaways occurred inside the red zone alone. Even if we stay conservative, those plays almost definitely took a minimum of 27 points off the board, basically the equivalent of four touchdowns.

Where might some of those points come in handy?

The handoff was disrupted during a botched trap running play at the four-yard line against the Falcons, who returned the fumble to the Philadelphia 24. Atlanta found paydirt, causing a nine-point swing at the bare minimum in a road game that wound up being decided by four.

Ronnie Brown's inexplicable execution of the halfback option happened on the goal line against San Francisco. The Eagles eventually lost the game by one, so something as simple as not attempting to pass the ball while being hurled to the turf would have led to a decisive field goal.

There were red zone turnovers in four of their losses. Three of those outcomes were decided by four points or less.

The Eagles also committed three turnovers or more in five of their losses, while doing the same in just two of their victories. There were a season-high five giveaways in Buffalo, including an interception returned for a touchdown -- they lost by seven.

Clearly, this was the story of the year. When the offense turned the ball over, the Eagles put themselves at a serious disadvantage. When they protected the rock, the Birds were measurably, practically infinitely, more successful.

But I suppose we can just keep on blaming Juan Castillo and the defense for all of the team's problems. It's not like there's a connection between turnovers and points allowed or anything.

Aaron Grymes waived/injured by Eagles

Aaron Grymes waived/injured by Eagles

Aaron Grymes was making a serious push to be on the Eagles' 53-man roster until the cornerback's right shoulder slammed into the ground at Heinz Field after an interception.

Grymes hasn't practiced or played since and the Eagles waived/injured the 25-year-old corner on Monday.

Before coming to the Eagles this spring, Grymes spent three successful seasons in the Canadian Football League and won a Grey Cup as an All-Star for the Edmonton Eskimos in 2015.

There seems to be a decent shot that the Eagles might want to put Grymes on their practice squad.

After the Pittsburgh game, when he had the interception and suffered the injury, Grymes was asked if he would prefer to be on a practice squad or head back to Canada, where he's already a proven star.

“I’ve thought about both of them," Grymes said on Aug. 18. "Both of them are great opportunities. I know that there are teams in Canada that are willing to bring me in and let me play. But then again, you can’t really compare it with this NFL dream I’ve had forever.

"To sign to a practice squad … injuries happen every day, and I think an opportunity could be there. It will be something I sit down with my wife and talk about, sit down with my agent and talk about. We’ll just make the best decision for us from there.”

Nelson Agholor unlikely to play Eagles' preseason finale, even if he could use the work

Nelson Agholor unlikely to play Eagles' preseason finale, even if he could use the work

Starters typically don't play much if at all in the final preseason game, but what does that mean for the Eagles and Nelson Agholor?

Agholor may be a starter by default, but the second-year wideout has followed up a disappointing rookie campaign with an uninspired summer thus far. More reps might be of value for a young player in Agholor's position.

Doug Pederson apparently disagrees, telling reporters on Monday that Agholor "probably" won't make an appearance in the Eagles' preseason finale this Thursday against the Jets. When pressed for an explanation, the head coach gave a curious response.

"One, I don't want to risk an injury necessarily," Pederson said. "Two, he's right on track with where he needs to be, so I'm not concerned with Nelson."

Any assertion that Agholor is "on track" is debatable. The 2015 first-round pick has just two receptions for 30 yards in preseason action. To make matters worse, he's also dropped three passes, including a costly deflection that went for an interception against the Colts on Saturday.

Minimal production and lapses in concentration plagued Agholor throughout last season, and there's little evidence those issues are behind him. Regardless, Pederson sounds unconcerned.

"Every day he comes out here and puts in a quality day's work," Pederson said. "He works extremely hard, and I've seen what he can do in practice.

"Is there the occasional drop here or there? Yeah. What he did after the drop (against the Colts), you probably didn't notice the blocking downfield, the things he did away from the ball. More than being a receiver — obviously, catching the ball is number one — but we pride ourselves in being physical in the run game and blocks down the field, and the things he did in this football game put him in a really good position going into the regular season."

To his credit, Agholor has shown a willingness to contribute without the ball in his hands. The 23-year-old threw a key block on Josh Huff's eight-yard touchdown run on Saturday.

Of course, Agholor wasn't taken 20th overall for his ability to pancake defensive backs. The Eagles are hoping he can become a viable target in the passing attack.

Agholor has dealt with questions about his production and confidence going back to last year. He knows as well as anybody that he needs to improve, although he doesn't necessarily feel that growth needs to take place in an exhibition game.

"The most important thing to me right now is practice, and I got an opportunity to go out here and practice and progress from the game to today," Agholor said. "We went over some corrections from the game, so that was a step, and now when I go out here, I have to show signs of progression.

"(Coach Pederson's) decision is his decision. For my mind, I need to make sure I go out here today and get better as a football player."

But are Agholor's troubles holding on to the football correctable through practice? Drops are often attributed either to a receiver's hands or his concentration, both of which tend to be difficult flaws to overcome.

Concentration has been more to blame in Agholor's case. If there's a positive, he realizes that. Agholor looks at a drop like the one he had against the Colts that wound up going for an interception and tries to figure out exactly what broke his concentration on that play so that he won't make the same mistake again.

"As a wide receiver, when you watch that, the end result, the drop, isn't on my mind," Agholor said. "It's 'What was my route?' to go to that. Did I do too much to take my focus away from receiving that football? And I felt like I did.

"I felt like my pattern to get to the football — I made man moves and they were actually in a zone — and all those stairsteps made my eyes and my hands not be in the right place to receive the football at the right time."

Nobody is putting more pressure on Agholor to eliminate these mistakes than he is.

"That's what you have to do in this league, and that's what you have to do for a football team, especially when they count on you," Agholor said.

"My teammates count on me to be explosive with the football and without the football. I want to always do it with the football because that's my job. I'm a wide receiver. But as a player on the field, I have to make sure I'm explosive and I have to make sure I make plays without the ball in my hands too."

Perhaps that's why Pederson is showing so much faith in his young receiver. Work ethic has never been an issue for Agholor, and he's going to do whatever he can to become a reliable weapon for the Eagles. When he comes up short, it's not for lack of effort or preparation.

Fortunately, there's still time for Agholor to turn things around. If he can give the offense somewhat steady production in 2016, nobody will remember the preseason or even how he struggled as a rookie. Agholor realizes that too, so he's worried only about getting ready for opening day against the Browns on Sept. 11.

"I have a responsibility because I will be a guy that's out there," Agholor said. "In my mind, my number's going to be called multiple times and I need to answer the phone. That's how I look at it."

Eagles LB Myke Tavarres reportedly changes mind, will stand for national anthem

Eagles LB Myke Tavarres reportedly changes mind, will stand for national anthem

Several hours after telling ESPN that he would join Colin Kaepernick in not standing for the national anthem, Eagles rookie linebacker Myke Tavarres has apparently changed his mind. 

Tavarres' agent told FOX29's Chris O'Connell Monday afternoon that the linebacker will stand for the national anthem Thursday in the Eagles' preseason finale against the Jets.

All right then. 

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson released the following statement regarding Tavarres' decision(s):

For what it's worth, Crossing Broad found this picture from Tavarres a few weeks ago, when he certainly seemed to be pro-America.

Happy Independence Day!! 🇺🇸

A photo posted by Myke Tavarres (@myket14) on