WITH 8 games played right now we’re sitting at 4 – 4. We’ve made it all the way to .500. (yay.) We had no business losing to the Cowboys or Redskins and the Panthers gave us every opportunity to win the game against them. We could be 7-1 right now, but the reality is that we have way too many things that need fixing to have realistically hit that mark.
What this half of the Midseason Report will focus on, is what’s broken and how it could be fixed. Tomorrow we’ll get into the feel good stuff, but today we’ll tackle the things that keeps ruining shit for us, and why none of it stands a chance in hell of getting fixed.
The QB: Sam Bradford has no business being our starter and I’ve been making that points for months now. Mark Sanchez would be a temporary patch. While Sanchez is also not a game changer, he at least wouldn’t run the Offense while riding the brake. He’s not great, but he’d be a clear upgrade. You won’t see this change happen though, because if GM Kelly sits a healthy Bradford, he’s essentially admitting that he blew it evaluating talent at the key position on the side of the ball he’s supposed to be a genius at.
Running the ball: While we rank among the top teams running the ball, there is room for tons of improvement. We allow too many hits in the backfield, and sweep/stretch plays are too often bottled up before a RB can get to the corner. The announcers for Sunday Night Football pointed out that even in Week Nine the type of handoffs required in this zone-read system, are still not comfortable for either the QB or the RB. This is fixable by running out of the Shotgun a lot less. That of course won’t happen because leaving the Shotgun to run, tells the other team when you’re running.
The Shotgun: It’s harder to run out of, and no one buys our play-action. Running the entire Offense from under Center would fix this, but that won’t happen. That would require too many changes in how plays are designed, teched, and timed, just to name couple things. Besides that, Coach Kelly believes the Shotgun’s elimination of the drop-back, improves processing time so the ball can come out faster. That would be nice if were true when Bradford scrambles back an extra 8-10 yards before throwing yet another pass to the sideline for a gain of a yard.
The 3-4 front: Guess who’s 21st against the run! Guess who has Miami, New England, Buffalo, and Washington coming up! As in previous years our front seven is starting to wear down. We started out crushing the run, but just in the last two games against Carolina (204 yards) and Dallas (134) we’ve proven less than stout. (FYI: Just to compare Cowboys games (G1: 33 – 109 – 3.3) , (G2: 29 – 134 – 4.6)). As the year goes on it’s only going to get easier to run the ball on us. This can be fixed by going to a 4-3 front, but that won’t happen because while more stable than a 3-4, a 4-3 offers less versatility and flexibility. Offensive minded head coaches value versatility and flexibility as it makes them feel they have options.
Single-High Safety: I have long been an opponent of this system as it invites the deep ball to be attempted down the sideline where the one on one is. Particularly against a 3-4 front. Since this system arrived in Philadelphia we’ve ranked 31st , 32nd , and this year so far 20th against the pass. Incidentally no defense coached by DC Billy Davis has ever ranked higher than 23rd vs the pass at year’s end. So let’s keep our fingers crossed for that #20 spot! (Insert eye roll here). OR we could do something that works. Like going to a Cover Two/Man base. LOL! Just kidding. If we went with a C2M it would be the first step to abandoning the 3-4. We simply can’t play a C2M with how this front is schemed. Telling you why would be an article in itself.
The problems aren’t nearly as big of a problem, as the fact that we’re invested in continuing things that keep us from fixing the problems. So there you are. That’s the bad news. Tune in tomorrow for the good news. And yes, there IS good news to be had.