THERE are things that this team needs to fix. With that in mind, the Eagles needed this Bye Week now, and not a week later. Injuries at Wide Receiver, Offensive Tackle, the Defensive Line, and in the Secondary, have left the coaching staff scrambling every week, to put out solid units. As a result, almost no aspect of this team is running at capacity.
In the spirit of fixing things, popular fan refrains have been “Trade for X” or “Fire Y”. However, the plain truth is that we need to tweak (not wholesale change, just tweak) a few things, to start getting the most out of our players.
While we generally have had the depth-on-hand to plug a player in here and there, there is a difference between a back-up being ready to play this game, and a back-up being ready to play his game. Our Bye allows the coaching staff to step back, and re-imagine what the rest of 2018 needs to look like, for us to make it back to the post-season.
One of the first things killing us, is not running the ball effectively. Some fans and media types people put it on our RB’s. Folks like me have been blaming the Offensive Line. Turns out both of those camps are wrong. It’s the coaches. It’s our alignments. Those are the reasons why we can’t run the ball.
Look at these game shots:
The disclaimer on this is, I had to cull these shots from highlight videos. (I chose the Panthers game.) Since our running game sucks, the rushing highlights were, well… Yeah these are all passing plays, but they’re still our typical alignments.
You may recognize that these alignments with the WR’s tight to the O-line, are typical of our Offense this year. We did some of this last year, but this year it seems to be our Default Setting. Go back and look at each picture, and you’ll see 8 and 9 man boxes. A couple of them “loose” boxes. Again those pictures are all from pass plays, but we run the ball out of these same alignments.
This has been great for play-action, but it means zero room inside, on actual hand-offs. That was fine when we had bruising inside runners, to mask the Offenses true intent, but without a physical runner to help, all our smoke and mirrors are easy to see through. While our Offense puts up 22 points per game (21st in the league, 11th worst), the inability to run, has kept us from being explosive.
The simple fix is to spread our formation during the early part of the game when we want to establish the run, then later on when we need to sit on our lead, and close the game out. Rotate the slot receiver and put him in motion to move that 8th man out of the box. When room opens up inside for the ball carrier to find a crack, hit it, and step on the gas.
At that point we could get around to doing #7 from The 12. The Defense could rest during games, and we could seriously talk about running the table for the remainder of the year. Oh yeah. I said run the table. And YES, I’m aware that the Rams and Saints are two of our dance partners.