Eagles Stats: WRs in Playoffs

DeSean JacksonThis morning I felt the need to take a look at the Eagles wide receivers’ performances in the playoffs.  With so much speculation about the receivers available for trade and whether or not the Eagles need them, it helps to evaluate and compare what we have against the rest of the league through every available means.

Specifically, I’ll be looking at the number of times they were targeted and how often that resulted in a completion, interception, or touchdown.  Then I want to compare it to a few other receivers in the playoffs.

The reason for this is that in January almost all of the defenses are pretty good and, although you can never truly separate the performance of a wide receiver from that of his quarterback, I think there is close to consensus that Donovan had a pretty good run in the playoffs.  He wasn’t the best quarterback (Warner) certainly, but he was still good.  So here are the numbers for Jackson, Curtis, and Avant.

MIN: (1/3, 34)  NYG:  (4/7, 81, INT)  ARI:  (6/11, 92, TD)
11/21, 207, TD, INT

MIN:  (4/7, 49, INT) NYG: (4/8, 40, INT)  ARI:  (4/8, 122)
12/23, 211, INT

MIN:  (5/6, 47)  NYG:  (4/5, 43)  ARI:  (2/4, 23)
11/15, 113

The cumulative numbers aren’t surprising.  Avant had the best catch rate in the regular season (for a lot of reasons), and he was an extremely reliable target for McNabb in January.  I’m not sure how wise it would be to wish to see less Avant on the field (by replacing him with free agent/traded wide receiver X).

Now let’s take a look at the numbers for a few other guys.  I only included guys who are #1 or #2 receivers, and who played at least two games.

ATL: (6/11, 101, TD)  CAR:  (8/13, 166, TD, INT)  PHI:  (9/11, 152, 3 TD)  PIT:  (7/8, 127, 2 TD)
30/43, 546, 7 TD, INT

ATL: (2/5, 72, TD)  PHI:  (4/7, 34)  PIT:  (9/13, 84, INT)
15/25, 190, TD, INT

SD:  (2/8, 70, TD)  BAL:  (2/5, 25)  ARI: (10/14, 131, TD, INT)
14/27, 226, 2TD, INT

SD:  (3/3, 55)  BAL: (4/5, 70)  ARI:  (2/4, 43)
9/12, 168

IND:  (4/7, 57, INT)  PIT:  (4/4, 72)
8/11, 129, INT

MIA:  (4/8, 71)  TEN: (5/9, 78, TD)  PIT: (3/9, 41, INT)
12/26, 190, TD, INT

Getting the obvious out of the way, no one is Larry Fitzgerald.  But I felt inclined to include him because, despite the fact that he’s not of this planet, he is still a receiver in the NFL.

Next, for the most part, you can immediately notice that our #1 and #2 guys do not have the catch rate of most of these other guys.

Catch Rate, In Order:
Ward (75%)
Fitzgerald (70%)
Chambers, Avant (73%)
Boldin (60%)
Holmes, Jackson, Curtis (52%)
Mason (46%)

And Their QB’s Completion Percentage in the playoffs:
Warner:  68%
Roethlisberger:  61%
McNabb:  60%
Rivers:  58%
Flacco:  44%

The only wide receiver on the Eagles who out-performed his quarterback’s completion percentage is Avant, the 3rd receiver.  Elsewhere, you have guys like Hines Ward, Fitzgerald, and Chris Chambers who all put up fantastic catch rates.  Even Desmond Mason’s terrible catch rate is better than Flacco’s completion percentage overall.

I don’t think the small sample size of the playoffs and this set of data is some kind of verdict in favor of doing whatever possible to improve the position.  Their numbers aren’t terrible.  And you could argue that both players should get better (Jackson especially).

But I would say is that these numbers reflect something most of us already agreed on:  in the playoffs, the Eagles put out a starting wide receiver duo that isn’t as good as several other teams’ versions.  How much that hurt the Birds is up for interpretation.

Finally a few random observations from the data gathering:

As bad as you might think the Carolina gameplan was against Fitzgerald, the Eagles was no better.  Fitzgerald caught the first six balls thrown his way and his catch rate was better against the Eagles than the Panthers.

Baskett, Brown, and Lewis had no catches against the Giants.

Hines Ward doesn’t catch many balls any more, but when it comes his way it’s usually in a big spot and he almost always makes the catch.

9 Responses to “Eagles Stats: WRs in Playoffs”

  1. GMan Says:

    We didn’t really face any dominating secondaries either.

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