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The following is excerpted from the team chapters of the always-excellent Football Outsiders Almanac. Buy it here as a PDF, or here in print.

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens: It’s not like we expect Joe Flacco to play at an MVP level, but we at least have some higher expectations for the (twice) former highest-paid player in the league. For instance, since he was drafted in 2008, Flacco has never thrown for 4,000 yards, never had more than 27 touchdown passes in a season, and never had a passer rating above 95.0. Since 2008, 24 quarterbacks have had a 4,000-yard season, 23 have thrown more than 27 touchdowns in a season, and 28 have had a passer rating above 95.0 (minimum 200 passes). Maybe the most damning fact is that Flacco has never averaged 7.5 yards per attempt, while 35 quarterbacks have done that at least once since 2008. These are rudimentary milestones that other quarterbacks hit with ease, but not in Baltimore, and certainly not since the big contract (Table 3). As passing stats around the league have improved, Flacco’s have only gotten worse. (Scott Kacsmar)


Cincinnati Bengals: It’s not unheard of for an NFL team to make a surprise run at glory after blowing what looked like its last, best chance. In fact, the Bengals have seen both archrivals do it. The Steelers botched a 15-1 record in Ben Roethlisberger’s rookie season, then won the Super Bowl as a sixth seed the year after. The 12-4 Ravens of 2011 went home when Billy Cundiff couldn’t hit a 32-yard field goal in Foxborough, but hoisted the Lombardi Trophy a year later. Yet given recent history and the offseason departures, it makes sense that pessimism outpaces optimism in Bengals Nation. The 2016 season is fraught with uncertainty, and the looming sense that the team is farther from that elusive playoff win, not closer to it. (Robert Weintraub)

Cleveland Browns: The new regime can’t do worse than the “experienced football hands” who put together recent rosters. The team’s drafting has been abysmal. Remember the Trent Richardson/ Brandon Weeden debacle at the top of the 2012 draft? Or the Justin Gilbert/Johnny Manziel craptacular of 2014? Last year brought defensive tackle Danny Shelton, who was supposed to be a bulwark against the run but underwhelmed. Still, at least he was on the field; Shelton was the lone Browns first-rounder of the last five years to be a regular starter in 2015. Their second pick a year ago was Cam Erving, who was disastrous at guard (he’s now the first-string center, replacing the excellent Mack). Third-rounder Xavier Cooper, another defensive lineman, was pushed around as well. (Robert Weintraub)

Pittsburgh Steelers: The season-long suspension of WR Martavis Bryant would be more significant if Antonio Brown was not on one of the most dominant receiving runs in NFL history. In the 12 games Ben Roethlisberger and Brown played together last season, Brown averaged 9.9 catches for 133 yards. Projected to a 16-game season, that would be 159 catches for 2,132 yards, smashing the NFL’s single-season records. If these two can stay healthy all season, those records are in danger. Do not be fooled by “Bryant drawing the coverage.” Brown finished 2013 with 110 catches for 1,499 yards while Bryant was in college and Emmanuel Sanders, not yet at his Denver form, was the No. 2 receiver. This is the dominant connection in the NFL right now. (Scott Kacsmar)

AFC West

Denver Broncos: Projecting quarterbacks is inherently noisy, perhaps even noisier than projecting other positions. Even if our process is right, there is still a 33 percent chance that Paxton Lynch will have some degree of success in the NFL. But his scouting report resembles those of flops such as Jake Locker and Kyle Boller. Scouts rate Lynch highly on athletic skills, “arm talent,” and size, but lower on his on-the-move accuracy and his ability to get through progressions. (The latter is admittedly more about the Memphis offense giving us very little on tape to see one way or the other, rather than there being clear evidence of Lynch’s limitations.) Lynch seems like much more of a project rather than an immediate contributor, a poor match for a team with a defense ready to win now. That some Bronco-watchers are hoping for 2015 seventh-round pick Trevor Siemian (5.6 yards per attempt as a senior at Northwestern) to challenge for the starting job speaks to the quality of Denver’s quarterback options in 2016, not to mention the endless capacity for all of us to instinctively overestimate the probability of unlikely events. (Aaron Schatz)


Kansas City Chiefs: With cornerback Sean Smith gone, Marcus Peters becomes a promising top corner this year. A host of unproven young players are vying for the other spots. Phillip Gaines, a 2014 third-round pick out of Rice, is the presumed heir apparent to Smith; he’s coming off an ACL tear but played well in limited opportunities over his two seasons. However, buzz out of OTAs had 2015 third-round pick Steven Nelson (Oregon State), who played just 53 snaps as a rookie, impressing enough that he could supplant Gaines. The Chiefs also drafted three corners this year, with third-round pick KeiVarae Russell (Notre Dame) the most likely player to see action. The Chiefs have youth, depth, and upside at corner. (Aaron Schatz)

Oakland Raiders: It’s hard to disagree with anything the Raiders did on paper. By signing Baltimore offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele, one of the best guards in the game, Oakland continued to build space for Derek Carr and got a mauler who can help improve the run game. The weakest area on last year’s team was the pass defense, so GM Reggie McKenzie went out and brought in Seattle hybrid linebacker Bruce Irvin, cornerback Sean Smith, and safety Reggie Nelson. Irvin isn’t a star edge rusher, but can complement Khalil Mack as he grows from star to superstar. Smith has finished in the top 30 in adjusted success rate for two seasons in a row, and was clearly one of the best corners on the market. Nelson lingered on the market a bit because of his age, but he should be an upgrade on the pure castoffs and low-round picks Oakland has been relying on at free safety for a while. Of course, Oakland’s best defensive back, strong safety Charles Woodson, retired after the season, but the Raiders invested their first-round pick to replace him with West Virginia’s Karl Joseph. Other than Woodson the Raiders retain most of their best players on defense, and they’re mostly youngsters. (Rivers McCown)



San Diego Chargers: While Keenan Allen’s breakout season was ended prematurely, Travis Benjamin’s lasted for all 16 games. Benjamin only caught 68 passes for 966 yards and five touchdowns, but he did so with an unsettled, often abhorrent, quarterback situation in Cleveland. Benjamin is a great deep threat with the speed and precision through his routes to easily get open downfield. He will replace retired over-the-top threat Malcom Floyd in the offense. Benjamin is less of a ball winner than Floyd though, so Philip Rivers’s downfield precision will be stressed more. That is somewhat of a concern because there were signs of physical decline from Rivers over the second half of last season. At the very least, Benjamin will perfectly complement Allen’s ability to work the short and intermediate routes with Antonio Gates. Gates is undoubtedly in decline as he enters his 7,000th season as the Chargers starting tight end. He is still a reliable weapon for Rivers and he won’t need to be relied upon as often with the emergence of Allen and the addition of second-round tight end Hunter Henry (Arkansas). Henry is a receiving tight end who should fit perfectly as another possession-type receiver in the Chargers’ passing game. (Cian Fahey)

AFC South

Houston Texans: Even if receivers Will Fuller and Braxton Miller are in some sense limited contributors both in 2016 and going forward, that is not as big a deal as it might be for other teams because of the presence of DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins is a curious figure—not the fastest receiver, not the quickest, not the most precise route-runner, not the biggest. He ranked just 13th in Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement and was just a bit average on a per-play basis by Defense-adjust Value Over Average. The instability and inefficiency at quarterback, plus the lack of other quality options resulting him in being force-fed the ball at times, go a long way toward helping explain the mediocre ranking by advanced and per-play efficiency statistics. Hopkins is incredible in how he adjusts to and attacks the football. That helped erase some of the accuracy problems of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brian Hoyer, especially on deep balls, and should help a lot with Brock Osweiler. He also did what he did last season, finishing third in the league in both receptions and receiving yards, despite coverage tilted his direction. Remaining veteran Cecil Shorts will see his job pushed not just by Fuller and Miller, but also by 2015 third-round pick Jaelen Strong, who played better late in the season and significantly reshaped his body in the offseason. (Tom Gower)


Indianapolis Colts: Improving the offensive line has long been a high priority for general manager Ryan Grigson: Hugh Thornton in the third round, Jack Mewhort in the second, and big free-agent contracts to Gosder Cherilus, Donald Thomas, and Todd Herremans (all three of whom are now playing elsewhere). But while everything involving his arm went to pot in 2015, Andrew Luck did not go down that much. His adjusted sack rate was 5.4 percent—up a bit from 2014, but below what it was in 2013. Part of the explanation is that his throwing shoulder did not affect his ability to move. Part of it is Luck’s size and strength. Part of it may be that Pep Hamilton (fired before Luck’s final game, against the Broncos) did at least one of the jobs he was tasked to do. Part of it may be the natural tendency of a young, improvising quarterback like Luck (or Aaron Rodgers or Ben Roethlisberger, to name two successful examples of the type) to take more sacks and hits than a quarterback who gets the ball out more quickly and is exceptional at protecting himself (like Peyton Manning). (Tom Gower)

Jacksonville Jaguars: Johnathan Cyprien has yet to live up to his potential as the 33rd overall selection in the 2013 draft. He misses too many tackles to be valuable no matter where he lines up on the field (16 last season, 17 the year before). Cyprien is at his most detrimental when playing free safety, especially as the single-high option in Cover-3 or Cover-1 looks. The Jaguars signed Tashaun Gipson in free agency, so they no longer have to rely on Cyprien as their last line of defense. Despite suffering a torn ACL two years ago, Gipson has been a very impressive defender for the Cleveland Browns over the past three seasons. His 21 pass deflections and 13 interceptions stand out, but those statistics are just a product of the consistently intelligent way he plays the game. Gipson understands positioning and how to diagnose plays as they develop in front of him, while also boasting the ball skills and range to take advantage of those traits. He is the type of defensive back who will intimidate quarterbacks with his presence while upholding the integrity of the defense’s design by staying true to his assignment. (Cian Fahey)


Tennessee Titans: Mike Mularkey, who described his philosophy as “exotic smashmouth,” clearly doesn’t recognize the talent that he has in front of him. When he became the interim coach, one of the things he constantly talked about was running QB Marcus Mariota more, though that went against his other stated goal of doing more to protect the quarterback. After he was hired full-time in February, he returned to this notion. Apparently, the “smashmouth” element of Mularkey’s offense consists of DeMarco Murray, Derrick Henry, and the most expensive right tackle in the history of the league, Jack Conklin. (The Michigan State product not only went in the top 10 of the 2016 draft but also cost the Titans first-, second-, and third-round picks to go and get him.) Does that mean that Mariota running around on read-options and bootlegs is supposed to be the “exotic” element? While Mariota is very athletic and showed off his ability to create big gains with his feet against the Jacksonville Jaguars last year, he isn’t a creative runner. He’s much more creative as a passer. Alas, that level of evaluation is likely too deep for Mularkey. He sees Mariota’s athleticism and immediately stereotypes him as a running quarterback like any other quarterback who can run. (Cian Fahey)

AFC East

Buffalo Bills: Cardale Jones is the worst kind of hedged-bet quarterback prospect. He’s famous enough to excite the fan base, talented and streaky enough to cause training camp man-crushes, but unreliable enough to get benched in his final season at Ohio State, squandering a chance to lead one of the most talented teams in college football history. Jones has many of Tyrod Taylor’s strengths but more of his weaknesses; given Rex Ryan’s mercurial nature and Greg Roman’s past history of quarterback swapping, it’s easy to imagine the Bills deciding to “go with the hot hand” if Jones makes a big play or two, but hard to imagine that decision resulting in more wins. (Mike Tanier)

Miami Dolphins: Arian Foster signed with the Dolphins in mid-July. Foster is just two years removed from a 1,200-yard season. He also turns 30 before the start of the season and missed 23 games in the last three seasons with injuries. If Foster has as little left in the tank as it appears—remember, he was available as a street free agent on July 18th—the Dolphins will fold him into a rotation consisting of Kenyon Drake (whose minicamp injury probably sent the Dolphins to market to fetch Foster), Jay Ajayi, Daniel Thomas (a fumble-prone 28-year-old the team parted ways with last offseason but brought back in December) and Isaiah Pead, who played three snaps last year but still managed to fumble once. It’s a uniquely Dolphins patchwork of creaky veterans, semi-prospects, and guys like Thomas and Pead with no real role or purpose. (Mike Tanier)



New England Patriots: Chandler Jones was only traded this offseason in an effort to slough some water off the boat before the Great Free Agent Flood of 2017 arrives. New England has 10 of its projected starters hitting free agency next year, and that doesn’t even include one-year rentals Martellus Bennett and Chris Long or important cogs such as Matthew Slater. Seven of them are on a defense that the Pats have slowly rebuilt from a laughingstock into a borderline top-10 unit. Our total does include Malcolm Butler, who’s only a restricted free agent, but even Warren Buffett would start sweating at the price of cornerbacks nowadays. If the Pats don’t extend Butler after this season, they’ll risk having one of their best defenders hit the unrestricted market and demand huge bucks when he’s 28. On a related note, Chandler Jones is due to become a 27-year-old unrestricted free agent next summer. (Mike Tanier)

New York Jets: GM Mike Maccagnan may turn out to be the wrong man for the job, but the coaching staff on the field inspires a lot more confidence. Todd Bowles had an impressive debut as the anti-Rex Ryan. He defused the Geno Smith punching drama in training camp. The Jets defense played to its reputation for most of the season, and the offense didn’t play like it was an afterthought. The Jets finished fifth in the league in fewest penalty yards, with decreases in look-how-macho-we-are penalties like un- sportsmanlike conduct (five in 2014, two last year) and roughing the passer (which dropped from five to one). Bowles’ Jets were a smart, professional team that won the games they were supposed to win: a huge step up from Ryan’s bluster-and-blunder teams of the previous four years. (Mike Tanier)

NFC North

Chicago Bears: At inside linebacker, the newly formed duo of Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman should be a huge improvement over last year’s tandem of Christian Jones and Shea McClellin, whose main assignment in 2015 seemed to be watching running backs go by them for big gains. In almost exactly the same amount of playing time last season (1,490 snaps for Trevathan and Freeman compared to 1,420 for Jones and McClellin), the newcomers made significantly more total plays than the old guard (228 to 169), with nearly double the stops (149 to 75) and triple the defeats (30 to 11), all while missing fewer tackles (17 to 19). With McClellin off to New England, Jones remains the top backup here. (Vincent Verhei)


Detroit Lions: The loss of Detroit’s all-time leading receiver Calvin Johnson could more than offset any new faces as well as offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter’s Xs and Os. Johnson’s retirement left a gaping hole in the Lions’ offense, and it’s hard to measure exactly how that will affect Detroit going forward. The massive wideout wasn’t just productive but also reliable, missing only nine games in his nine-year career. We should not put too much emphasis on such a small number of games, especially since they came under multiple regimes and quarterbacks, and two of them came in Week 17 when Detroit was resting Johnson for the playoffs. Still, the results are appalling. Yes, Detroit went 5-4 in those games, but they had a negative offensive DVOA in all of them, at an average of -24.0%. And they had a negative pass offense DVOA seven times, at an average of -22.3%. In other words, Detroit without Calvin Johnson has played significantly worse than either the worst offense in the league last year (Tennessee, -15.7% DVOA) or the worst passing offense (Dallas, -14.0%). Again, we shouldn’t take this small number of games as a definitive indicator of doom in 2016, but it’s certainly not a good sign. (Vincent Verhei)

Green Bay Packers: Casey Hayward will likely be the biggest loss for Green Bay. He had the best coverage metrics among Packers cornerbacks last year, and also led the unit in snaps played. He left for San Diego in free agency, once again leaving the Packers with Sam Shields as the top corner on the roster. Shields is projected to partner with Green Bay’s top two draft picks from 2015: first-rounder Damarious Randall and second-rounder Quinten Rollins. That’s a good little starting trio, and Micah Hyde frequently moves from safety to slot corner, but there is very little depth after that. Demetri Goodson, a 2014 sixth-rounder, has no starts in his first two seasons and will miss the first four games of 2016 due to suspension. And after that, the Packers are left with a bevy of undrafted corners with a combined total of eight defensive snaps in the NFL. (Vincent Verhei)

Minnesota Vikings: If all goes well, this season’s offensive line should give Teddy Bridgewater much more time to pass in 2016, and the Vikings could add an element that was missing from their playbook almost entirely last season: the deep ball. With pass-rushers constantly in Bridgewater’s face, receivers didn’t have time to get open downfield, and Bridgewater certainly didn’t have time to try to find them. The Vikings only threw 86 deep balls all season, 30th in the league. They were also 30th with 921 yards gained on deep throws. Even considering the ragged state of the offensive line, that’s kind of shocking for an offense so run-heavy. With defenses frequently loading the box to stop Adrian Peterson, there should have been some opportunities for receivers to beat single coverage for big plays. Instead, Minnesota’s targets didn’t do much of anything positive. Kyle Rudolph was not among the top 30 tight ends in either DYAR or DVOA, and in limited action MyCole Pruitt and Rhett Ellison were no better. No Vikings made the top 40 wide receivers in DYAR or DVOA either. (Vincent Verhei)

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals: Perhaps the most exciting change to the offense was rookie David Johnson taking over when Chris Johnson was injured. Johnson scored 12 touchdowns on limited touches and showed a knack for big plays as a receiver and returner. While head coach Bruce Arians has been upfront about still starting Chris Johnson this year, his history suggests he loves to use a workhorse, and it should be David that sees the majority of touches in 2016. The offensive line is really built more for the running game, led by veteran guards Mike Iupati and Evan Mathis. Left tackle Jared Veldheer ranked third at his position in snaps per blown block in 2015, and D.J. Humphries should take over at right tackle after being the only healthy first-round pick to not play a single game last year. If the new line gels quickly, then we could see Johnson emerge as the star of this offense even more than Carson Palmer this season. (Scott Kacsmar)



Los Angeles Rams: The Rams won’t employ an Air Raid offense for Jared Goff in 2016. This is Todd Gurley’s offense, and the rookie quarterback will just be a complementary piece. Gurley’s presence will take pressure off of Goff and allow the Rams to pick and choose how they use him. Less than 12 months removed from the ACL tear that ended his college career, Gurley averaged 20.3 touches in 12 games started, rushing for more than 1,100 yards with 10 touchdowns. Head coach Jeff Fisher has shown previously that he is willing to run backs into the ground, so expecting the second-year back to carry the ball 400 times isn’t unrealistic. Gurley will be tasked with wearing the defense down, primarily running behind left guard Rodger Saffold as his lead blocker. (Cian Fahey)

San Francisco 49ers: If only 2015 mattered, then Blaine Gabbert has a decent argument over Colin Kaepernick. But it is hard to ignore their first four seasons and how much better Kaepernick was, and how much more physical talent he still has right now. Chip Kelly has almost made it a point to prove a mobile quarterback is not necessary for his system, and what Nick Foles did in 2013 supports that. However, defenses soon caught on, and Kaepernick’s mobility would definitely open up the read-option. While Kaepernick has been criticized as a “one-read quarterback” in the past, Kelly’s system provides a lot of easy throws, and it has helped his troubled passers before. Away from Kelly, the aforementioned Foles was arguably the worst quarterback in the NFL in St. Louis last season. Mark Sanchez was a 55-percent passer who averaged 6.5 yards per attempt with the Jets. Under Kelly, Sanchez completed 64.3 percent of his passes and averaged 7.6 yards per attempt. Last year, Bradford cracked 7.0 yards per attempt for the first time and hit a career-high 65 percent of his passes despite the Eagles tying for the second-most dropped passes in the league. (Scott Kacsmar)

Seattle Seahawks: The bad news for Seattle’s offensive line is that it may have gotten worse this offseason with the free-agent departures of left tackle Russell Okung and right guard J.R. Sweezy, the latter being Seattle’s only main starter to rank higher than 25th at his position in snaps per blown block in 2015. You can expect offensive line coach Tom Cable to go through many games of musical chairs this summer to field a starting five from this depth chart. Garry Gilliam was one of the worst right tackles last season, so it is hard to see him working out too well at left tackle this year. J’Marcus Webb was an ineffective guard in Oakland last year, and he could be the favorite to start at right tackle in Seattle. Justin Britt, a second-round pick in 2014, struggled as a rookie right tackle and then struggled as a left guard last season. Britt was the player swallowed whole by Kawaan Short on Russell Wilson’s first dropback against Carolina in the playoffs. He is now moving to center to compete with Patrick Lewis, with 2015 fourth-round pick Mark Glowinski getting a good shot at the left guard spot. About the only certainty is that rookie first-round pick Germain Ifedi (Texas A&M) will start his career at right guard. A common knock on him is his lack of consistency and patience in pass protection, meaning he should fit right in with this bunch. (Scott Kacsmar)

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons: The Seattle defensive blueprint demands up-the-middle players who can cover and tackle. Atlanta spent its first two draft picks on a pair of players to try to fit that mold. Florida safety Keanu Neal was a surprise first-round pick to fill the void the Falcons had at the position last season. If you want to imagine Neal’s college play, picture Kam Chancellor—and then imagine if Chancellor missed tackles left and right and wasn’t much of a pass defender. There you go, that’s the college Neal experience. All the physical dimensions, little of the production. (Rivers McCown)


Carolina Panthers: In 2016, the Panthers will again see plenty of turnover in the secondary. Gone are Roman Harper, Cortland Finnegan, and Charles Tillman. Kurt Coleman and Tre Boston should see snaps at safety, but except for Bené Benwikere, the cornerback crew looks like it will be all new (at least until the typical August reinforcements come in). And, in a surprising twist, Carolina stocked up in cornerbacks in the draft. The Panthers spent second-, third-, and fifth-round picks at the position—by far the most interest they’ve ever shown in a draft under Dave Gettleman. The Panthers GM insisted he did not “shop hungry,” as he called it. “If he’s a fifth-rounder and we drafted in the third, well then, shame on us. We really worked hard at not inflating the grades on the corners,” he said at a post-draft presser. Gettleman had second-round grades on new corners James Bradberry (Samford) and Daryl Worley (West Virginia), who were absent from most draftnik conversations about this year’s top cornerback talent. (Rivers McCown)

New Orleans Saints: The offseason has also not been kind to New Orleans. Already, 2015 second-round pick Hau’oli Kikaha has torn his ACL and will miss the season. He was penciled in to move down to defensive end with the Saints playing a more standard 4-3 scheme, and that spot is now wide-open on the depth chart. Cornerback Keenan Lewis (leg injury, hip surgery, sports hernia surgery, some other surgeries in all likelihood) hasn’t practiced yet, and Kyle Wilson has already been placed on injured reserve with a torn labrum. Jairus Byrd is still recovering from back surgery and likely won’t play in training camp. Combine that with subpar replacements at middle linebacker and a lack of star power from everyone who isn’t Cameron Jordan, and it’s hard to see many talent advantages for New Orleans without some very unexpected player development. (Rivers McCown)


Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Edge-rusher Robert Ayers is an attempt at papering over another quick-fix signing that didn’t work out: Michael Bennett. Once left for dead as a draft bust in Denver, Ayers finally became a source of rotational pressure for the Giants last year, notching nine sacks with 11 starts. But at age 31, with no previous track record as a full-time starter, it’s fair to wonder just how consistently effective he can be in a full-time role. (Rivers McCown)

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys: As outdated as the whole “three yards and a cloud of rubber pellets” philosophy may seem, Dallas is as well-equipped as any team in the league to pull it off consistently. Arguably the only strength of the offense last season was its ability to hold onto the ball. Often utilizing multi-tight end sets and a snail-like pace, the Cowboys managed to average 3:00 per offensive drive, the third-best mark in the league. That was almost exactly the same figure they posted in 2014, when their 3:02 TOP per drive ranked second. The problem last year was that these meandering odysseys down the field rarely ended well—despite finishing a respectable 13th in yards per drive and 11th in plays per drive, Dallas was just 27th in points per drive. (Sterling Xie)


New York Giants: The Giants will likely be dependent on their stars in the passing game on both sides of the ball. It feels weird that we’ve gone this long into the chapter without really discussing Eli Manning and the offense, but routine stability isn’t nearly as exciting as total overhaul. Indeed, in promoting Ben McAdoo to head coach, New York’s primary motivation was to retain the coach who had reigned in the previously erratic Manning. While no offense with Odell Beckham Jr. in its lineup is boring, McAdoo’s system is inherently meant to limit variance. Manning has cut down on his turnovers, posting identical 2.3 percent interception rates the past two years, well below his 3.4 percent career rate before McAdoo’s arrival. However, his passes have also become significantly shorter as more three-step concepts have worked their way into the playbook. Manning set a new career-high for attempts charted as short passes in 2014 at 47 percent, only to surpass that total in 2015 with 50 percent of his passes charted as short. Last season, 40 percent of his deep-ball passes went to Beckham; when Eli isn’t targeting his All-Pro superstar, he’s most likely checking down to a running back or throwing a short slant or stick route to the numbers. (Sterling Xie)

Philadelphia Eagles: By trading up for North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz, the Eagles have willingly put themselves behind the eight ball in terms of roster construction. Jimmy Johnson’s traditional draft trade value chart pegs the difference between what the Eagles acquired and what they gave up as roughly equivalent to the 44th overall pick. Effectively losing a mid-second round pick is far from insignificant, but it seems like a reasonable cost of doing business when trading up for quarterbacks is involved. However, Chase Stuart’s empirically derived draft-value chart places more weight in mid-round and future picks, and by that standard, Wentz has a very large gap to bridge. Stuart’s chart suggests the net value the Eagles lost in the trade is nearly equivalent to the fourth overall pick, though in reality, Philadelphia’s toll will be much more of a slow bleed. The Eagles will not have a first-rounder next year or a second-rounder in 2018. Philly does not have much cost-controlled young talent on its roster, meaning that Wentz will probably need to compensate for a thin supporting cast early in his career. (Sterling Xie)

Washington Redskins: You don’t even have to believe that Kirk Cousins is the second coming of Nick Foles to raise the caution flag in D.C. Washington’s biggest offseason moves were largely spent on areas which already appeared steady, doing almost nothing to patch its biggest roster holes. There’s a decent chance Washington’s best-case scenario is probably exactly what we saw unfold last season. We can hope that first-round wide receiver Josh Doctson opens up the offense and helps Cousins sustain his second-half form. However, we know the all-too-familiar sight of Matt Jones running into Kory Lichtensteiger’s back will probably return to the offense. Similarly, we can hope that cornerback Josh Norman elevates the pass defense and shuts down the likes of Dez Bryant and Odell Beckham Jr. (As an aside, the new bi-annual Norman-ODB matchups are the strongest proof yet of the NFL being the WWE’s slightly more clandestine cousin.) But again, we know that Perry Riley, Mason Foster, and Will Compton are challenged at shedding blockers and dropping into coverage, and that DeAngelo Hall masquerading as a safety is somehow the best safety on the roster. (Sterling Xie)

Excerpted from the Football Outsiders Almanac, which can be purchased here as a PDF, or here in print. The almanac was written by Aaron Schatz, Bill Connelly, Cian Fahey, Brian Fremeau, Tom Gower, Scott Kacsmar, Rivers McCown, Chad Peltier, Mike Tanier, Vincent Verhei, Robert Weintraub, and Sterling Xie.