CHIP KELLY considers time of possession one of the most irrelevant statistics in football.

"Time of possession is how much time can the other team waste," he was fond of saying during his three seasons as the Eagles' maestro of tempo.

While it's little consolation to him at his new job in San Francisco, where his 1-13 49ers barely can get out of their own way, his old team actually is providing some credence to his low opinion of the value of ball control.

In case you didn't get the memo, the Eagles lead the league in time of possession through 14 games (32:29), seven seconds a game better than the Cowboys. This, of course, comes on the heels of being last in time of possession each year under Kelly.

The problem, of course, is that the Eagles haven't been able to capitalize on all of the alone-time they've been getting with the football. Too many long drives, too few points.

They're only 16th in scoring. They haven't had more than two offensive touchdowns in a game since their 34-3 win over the Steelers in the third week of the season.

Their 27 offensive touchdowns are the sixth fewest in the NFL, behind only the 3-11 Bears (25), the 4-10 Jets (24), the 0-14 Browns (23), the 7-7 Vikings (22) and the 4-10 Rams (20).

In their last two games against the Redskins and Ravens, the Eagles controlled the ball for more than 36 1/2 minutes in each game. Collected nine more first downs than the Ravens and eight more than the Redskins.

But their seasonlong impotence in the red zone and their inability to pick up more than a few yards at a time did them in.

They ran 54 more plays than the Redskins and Ravens, but averaged two fewer yards per play. The good news was they had 10 offensive scores. The bad news was seven of them were Caleb Sturgis field goals. Result: a five-point loss to the Redskins and a one-point loss to the Ravens.

"I think a lot of it is just red-zone football," quarterback Carson Wentz said. "We've been struggling once we get down there (inside the 20). That's something we just have to keep getting better at. Keep getting better at finishing drives.

"We've done a good job of sustaining long drives. But we've got to learn how to finish. Coming away with three points or, in some cases, zero points, it's tough. We've got to find ways to, a) get some big plays; and b) capitalize on those long drives."

The Eagles converted only one of four red-zone opportunities against the Redskins and two of five against the Ravens. For the season, they're 24th in red-zone offense, having converted only 25 of 50 trips inside the 20 into touchdowns.

Wentz was only 2-for-9 for 8 yards in the red zone against the Ravens, which dropped his red-zone completion percentage for the season to 50 percent (40-for-80).

The rookie has no real, dependable go-to guy inside the 20. The Eagle with the most red-zone catches? Would you believe Nelson Agholor (seven for 40 yards, no touchdowns)?

One of the reasons the Eagles jumped at the chance to acquire Dorial Green-Beckham before the season was because they thought, maybe just maybe, the 6-5, 237-pound wide receiver could develop into a dependable red-zone target.

You saw Sunday how that's been going when Ravens cornerback Tavon Young, who is eight inches shorter and more than 50 pounds lighter than Green-Beckham, prevented him from catching a back-shoulder fade from Wentz in the end zone.

"We've gotten in (the red zone)," Pederson said Wednesday. "We've scored points. But we're kicking field goals. They need to be touchdowns."

The Eagles' 50 red-zone visits are the eighth most in the league. But too many of them have ended on the foot of Sturgis. His 37 field-goal attempts and 32 makes both are the second most in the NFL.

The Eagles have been the football equivalent of a station-to-station baseball team this season. Remember those days not so long ago when the Phillies seemed incapable of going from first to third on a single? Well, that's the 2016 Eagles.

They've had 27 scoring drives - field goals and touchdowns - of 60 yards or more. Only five of them have been fewer than eight plays. Thirteen of those 27 drives have been 12 plays or more. They are incapable of quick-strike scores.

Some of that has to do with the horizontal nature of Pederson's dink-and-dunk offense. But the fact of the matter is, the Eagles just don't have the outside weapons to pick up big chunks of yardage in single bites. If the Eagles had an A.J. Green or a Julio Jones or an Odell Beckham Jr., you can damn well bet Pederson would have Wentz throwing it down the field to him.

As it is, Wentz has 59 pass attempts of 20-plus yards in the first 14 games. That's the exact number Sam Bradford had last season in his 14 starts under Kelly. Now, Wentz has completed only 19 of those 59 attempts and thrown six interceptions. But that goes back to the quality of his weapons and his inexperience, not Pederson's offense.

Also, with all of the injury problems they've had in their offensive line, as well as Lane Johnson's 10-game PED suspension, Pederson has been reluctant to let Wentz hang on to the ball too long.

"The changes at right tackle, you have to keep that in your mind," Pederson said. "You have to worry about protection. You need that one extra second to get the ball off (on longer developing routes). It factors in."

Against the Ravens, with rookie guard Isaac Seumalo starting at right tackle, the Eagles' obvious offensive focus was on running the ball (38 rushing attempts) and getting the ball out of Wentz's hand as quickly as possible.

Twenty-four of his 39 aimed passes (total attempts minus throwaways and tipped passes) traveled 5 yards or less. Eleven of those 24 were throws behind the line of scrimmage. Only three of Wentz's 22 completions gained more than 11 yards.

The Eagles have had only 11 run or pass plays of 30 yards or more this season. That's the second fewest in the league. Only Houston, with 10, has had fewer.

"Some of it is red zone, and some of it is the lack of big plays," offensive coordinator Frank Reich said. "You want some explosive-play touchdowns. We need a few more of those.

"But amidst the negatives, leading the league in time of possession after 14 weeks, there's something positive about that.

"It's not good enough, because we haven't scored enough points. But we're showing signs that we can control and possess the ball, and that we can make first downs. Those have to be good signs."

A WASTE OF TIME


The importance — or unimportance — of time of possession is a popular topic for debate. The Eagles lead the league in TOP this season, and it obviously hasn't done them much good. Yet, nine of the last 10 teams to lead the league in time of possession made the playoffs. Eight of those nine won 11 or more games.
A look at the time-of-possession kings since 2006:
Year Team....... W/L....Pct./Gm.....Red-zone pct..Red-zone rank

2016 Eagles.......5-9..............22.6...................50.0.....................24th
2015 Panthers...15-1............31.2...................69.4........................1st
2014 Steelers....11-5............27.2...................51.7.......................19th
2013 Saints.......11-5............25.9...................55.6.......................12th
2012 Texans.....12-4............26.0...................54.7........................14th
2011 Steelers....12-4............20.3...................50.9.......................17th
2010 Chargers....9-7............27.6....................55.9.......................12th
2009 Vikings....12-4............29.4....................62.0........................4th
2008 Giants.....12-4.............26.7....................48.6.......................21st
2007 Steelers...10-6............24.6....................59.3.........................7th
2006 Ravens.....13-3...........22.1....................41.5........................29th

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