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Offensive/Defensive Tests

Our team may have the easiest schedule in the NFL. Seven of our games will occur with teams who are not fielding a Top-10 overall, passing, or rushing offence/defense. That, however, does not make the season a cake-walk. Ten games are with teams fielding a Top-10 overall, passing, rushing offense or defense. Below, I’ve indicated our opponents that rank in the Top-10 offenses and defenses last season. (When I refer to a Top-10 offense, that offense could be in the Top-10 overall offense or in the Top10 passing offense or in the Top-10 rushing offense. The same as a Top-10 defense.) And some of those teams, as well as others not ranked in the Top-10, have improved significantly.

How significantly? Well, that’s why we play the game. There’s no way to know how a draft class will impact any team. The worst-case scenario would be if our opponents’ draft picks perform at an exceptionally high rate of success (figure 80% become starters). And there is no reason to think of the best-case scenario because we’ll be 20-0 for the year. Our 11 non-divisional games are with three teams who have improved offensively through the draft (highlighted in Green), six improved defensively (highlighted in Blue), and two seemed to focus on both (no highlight). By "improved" I mean, the team took more players in Rounds 1 thru 4/5 from one side of the ball than players from the other side of the ball and those players will perform exceptionally. No team, that I’m aware of, took exclusively from one side of the ball.

On the other, most important, hand, it seems to me that the primary source of improvement rests on providing cover in case players’ fail to recapture their Glory Days. The central theme is to hope that Wentz returns to his ’17 form; the defense returns to its ’19 form. If that is the case, personally, I see a 4-13 season with mighty struggles against the Giants for last place.

To be better than this will require the coaches to step up. Do we have the coaches that can schematically (Turner) and developmentally (the position’s coach) prepare and put Wentz in a position to recapture his Glory Days? That, to me, is a big ask. The problem is the exact same question exists (mutatis mutandis) with our defense. Do we have the coaches that can schematically and developmentally prepare and put our defense in a position to recapture its Glory Days? If anything, this season will be a referendum on our entire coaching staff. More so than usual.

Top-10 Overall, Passing, Rushing Offenses/Defenses

Tests for our Defense

Tests for our Offense

Top-10 Offenses

Top-10 Defenses

Opponents

Overall

Passing

Rushing

Overall

Pass D

Rush D

Jacksonville

Detroit

Philadelphia

X

X

Dallas

X

X

X

X

Tennessee

X

X

X

Chicago

X

Green Bay

X

X

X

Indianapolis

X

X

X

X

Minnesota

Philadelphia

X

X

Houston

Atlanta

NY Giants

NY Giants

San Francisco

X

X

X

Cleveland

X

X

Dallas

X

X

X

X

Washington

X

Number of Games with

4

3

8

4

4

5

Tests of Our Offense: An improvement in an opponent’s defense places a strain on our offense. Eight teams improved their defense through the draft even though 4 of those teams did field a Top-10 defense last year. In addition to those improving teams, we’re facing six teams who are fielding a Top-10 defense but did not focus on defense during the draft; four teams with a Top-10 defense and focused on the draft to improve; and 4 who used the draft to improve their defense.

Tests of Our Defense: We’re facing some powerful offenses. Nine games will feature a Top-10 offense; five of whom sought to improve their offense through the draft. In terms of the impact of the draft, the strong just got a whole lot stronger. While we are facing 8 games with a Top-10 rushing attack, we did field last year a rush defense that ranked 8thin the league. How we will perform against these defenses will rely entirely on Wentz. And that’s coaching.

Am I missing something from our approach, our draft, or something? I’m seeing 9-8 tops with a 4-13 floor.