This is part 1 in a four-part series.
Nobody needs to tell you that the 2015 Eagles were a disappointment. That is utter and complete fact. The offense that once was tearing up defenses with no solution was left stagnant and inconsistent too often The defense continued to be a liability regardless of how long it was on the field. And the special teams, which was the best unit in the league in 2014, fell back into the middle of the pack and offered much less impact than what was expected. And it culminated in the release of head coach Chip Kelly.
Honestly, to see that the team managed to finish 7-9 overall is incredible considering how many things went wrong. By the end of the year, this didn’t exactly look like a team that had the talent to win seven games. It looked more like a four or five win team on most occasions, losing brutally to bad teams such as the Lions and Buccaneers and getting swept by the Redskins, a team that many thought would be the laughing stock of the NFC East. Instead, they went on to laugh at everyone else and earned a postseason berth. I stress again: nothing went right.
I could argue the same stale argument over and over again that Kelly having the personnel control was the wrong decision, as he chose “culture over talent” one too many times. But everybody already knows that that was probably the demise of the Eagles’ 2015 season before they even played a game.
Nobody officially dubbed this team as a similar “dream team” to the one that fell flat on its face in 2011, but it was basically Dream Team II. Just as they did in 2011, they had large roster turnover, bringing in a lot of “top” free agents. Maybe it began when Byron Maxwell, who’d barely been officially named an Eagle, guaranteed the Eagles would win the Super Bowl this year. Well, that obviously didn’t happen.
However, Maxwell wasn’t the only one hypothetically sending the Eagles to Super Bowl 50. Adam Schefter said they’d beat the Ravens in the Super Bowl this year, along with plenty of other people predicting they’d go deep into the playoffs. Were the Eagles doomed from the start with all this hype? They had no idea what to expect from many of their starters at skill positions such as Sam Bradford, DeMarco Murray and Nelson Agholor, all of whom had never played for the Eagles yet. Maybe the pressure was just too much for them and Chip.
The Eagles were able to get by on the league’s lowest time of possession and a sub-par defense because of how incredible its offense was. Just last year it set a record for the most points in a season in franchise history. That was one year ago! However, that all came to an end this year, as the defense got even worse and the offense regressed to average. They couldn’t keep up, and they finished right around the middle of the pack: seven wins, nine losses.
The overall record of Eagles’ opponents this year was 130-126, a .508 winning percentage. Subtract the wins and losses that the Eagles gave to those teams, and their opponents’ combined record against the rest of the league was 121-119, a .504 winning percentage. That’s about as close to perfectly average that you can get.
The winning percentage of teams the Eagles beat this year was .473 and the winning percentage of the teams the Eagles lost to was .535. So, as expected, the Eagles generally beat teams with losing records and lost to teams with winning records, right? Well, the Eagles actually only lost to four teams with winning records…the other five either were .500 or had a losing record. The Eagles only played six games against teams with winning records, two of which were against the Redskins.
What I’m trying to say is that this was overall an incredibly average, or maybe even slightly below average, season. With all the things that went wrong, it could’ve been a lot worse. Stay tuned for my recaps on the offense, defense and special teams, which will be separate posts.
- Analyzing Philadelphia Eagles 53-man roster after final cuts
- Philadelphia Eagles 53-man roster predictions: Version 2.0
- Philadelphia Eagles 53-man roster prediction: Version 1.0
- Analyzing Eagles’ trade to No. 2 overall: Was it worth it?
- Why the Eagles shouldn’t draft any running back in the first round
- Philadelphia Eagles 2015 Season Recap: Special Teams