Philadelphia Eagles Rookie breakdown - Part II, Offensive Edition

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

John Breitenbach breaks down the contributions of Eagles rookies late in this season

A lot has changed since we last analysed this rookie class' production. The early season saw some impressive performances on the defensive side that really made fans optimistic of the team's chances. The Eagles now haven't won a game for two months though and some players have really shown their youth. The rookie wall seemed to hit a few guys early and hard. In contrast the offensive rookies have only seen the field recently and produced mixed results. Let's compare their performances with other rookies in this class.

QB, Nick Foles

Foles had a tough start to his NFL career as he struggled in the first two games. The performance against Dallas was much more encouraging, as he made some really impressive throws and showed great poise in the pocket. It remains to be seen whether Foles will be the starter in 2013 but the consensus at the moment is that this draft class is lacking in top quarterback prospects, so he may well get his chance. The one area he must improve is decision making. He's only thrown three interceptions, but he's also had at least three more easy ones dropped. The Arizona product has only seen action in four games, but let's compare his performances thus with other rookies.

Player

Attempts

Completions

Acc. %**

Yards/Att

TDs

INTs

QB rating under pressure

Nick Foles

133

81

74.8

6.0

2

3

64.2

Andrew Luck

503

279

67.6

7.2

17

16

61.2

Robert Griffin III

326

219

80.2

8.2

17

4

92.6

Ryan Tannehill

363

210

72.0

7.0

7

12

72.6

Brandon Weeden

433

247

72.0

6.5

13

15

36.0

Russell Wilson

317

201

75.8

7.4

19

8

60.9

*All statistics courtesy of PFF

** Accuracy % represents completion % on pass that weren't dropped, thrown away, batted down or spiked. Passes where the QB is hit during their throwing motion are also excluded

As you can see Foles compares pretty favourably with the other rookie starters. RGIII and Russell Wilson are clearly a notch above but Luck, Tannehill and Weeden are all worse in terms of accuracy % and rating under pressure. Foles' throw to Celek in the Dallas game (where he took a big shot) was great to see and in general he's been pretty good when the offensive line has let him down. The low yardage per attempt is probably because he tends to go to his check down a little early even when protection is good. As Foles gets more comfortable and the coaches open up the offense that should improve.

RT, Dennis Kelly

Kelly simply never looked right at guard. He was easily confused by pre-snap movement and struggled to cope with some stronger interior rushers. Kelly has been much better since the move outside. In those three weeks he's faced top pass players in the form of Ryan Kerrigan, Charles Johnson and Anthony Spencer and given up just six hurries. The coaches have helped by leaving guys in to chip and for protection but his performances thus far have been very encouraging. Let's see how he compares to other rookie tackles.

Player

Pass pro snaps

Sack

Hits

Hurries

Snaps/pressure

Run snaps

Tackles allowed***

Dennis Kelly

114

0

0

6

19

82

6

Mitchell Schwartz

481

3

9

17

16.6

321

14

Kelechi Osemele

479

7

5

17

16.5

322

18

Mike Adams

293

7

3

15

11.7

204

8

Jonathan Martin

440

5

2

34

10.7

353

17

Bobby Massie

546

13

4

36

10.3

283

13

*** Close to, at or behind line of scrimmage

When comparing Kelly's pass protection to other rookies he really stands out. In three starts at right tackle he's allowed pressure only every 19 drop backs. Even more impressive those pressures have been hurries instead of hits or sacks. Obviously the small sample size is a problem, and the two pressures he conceded in the Dallas game were poor blocks, but it's been a very good start so far in pass pro. One area he must work on is his run blocking. There are times when he looks very impressive but six tackles allowed in just 82 snaps is a little worrying. Still if he can become more consistent, Kelly could prove to be more than a valuable backup.

RB, Bryce Brown

Brown seized his opportunity with both hands when Lesean McCoy went down. He's got great lower body strength, sneaky speed and good vision, three traits essential to any quality running back. When he gets into the open-field he's incredibly difficult to stop as NFL defensive backs are finding out the hard way. Here are his numbers compared to some other rookies with at least 75 carries:

Player

Attempts

Yards

Avg.

YCo/Att

TDs

MTs forced

Bryce Brown

76

482

6.3

4.2

4

17

Doug Martin

236

1106

4.7

3.4

9

47

Alfred Morris

230

1106

4.8

3.0

6

35

Daryl Richardson

85

457

5.4

2.9

0

9

Vick Ballard

127

468

3.7

2.4

1

14

Brown actually leads the NFL in yards after contact per attempt. He also has more missed tackles than all but 17 players, a remarkable feat. When he isn't fumbling, Brown is dominating but obviously poor ball security is a major issue. You could easily make the argument that he's lost the team two games by fumbling at crucial times. Brown also needs to improve in the passing game ...

Player

Targets

Receptions

Yards

TDs

INTs

DPs

MTs

Brown

12

9

33

0

0

2

3

Martin

42

32

374

1

0

7

10

Morris

10

6

42

0

0

1

2

Richardson

25

19

124

0

2

3

1

Ballard

20

14

133

1

0

3

3

None of the rookie running backs have actually performed very well in the passing game so far but Brown especially has struggled to get much going. He's generated few yards per reception and has dropped two passes in just 12 targets. With three forced missed tackles he obviously has talent with the ball in hand; he just needs to make sure he secures it when it comes his way.

The three offensive rookies have all shown potential. Foles has done well under pressure, Brown has broken tackles and Kelly has dominated in pass pro. They all have obvious deficiencies in their game at the same time however. Foles needs to make better decisions and be wary of staring down receivers against zone coverage. Brown can't keep fumbling away games and needs to offer more in the receiving game. Finally Kelly must get stronger and keep defensive lineman and linebackers out of plays for the ground attack. The final four games should give us a clearer picture of where they're at in their progressions.

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