Philadelphia Eagles Need To Run Like Hell
When the Philadelphia Eagles parlayed players on their roster in the off season, it was a foregone conclusion that the team would live and die by their running game. And so far, that has come to pass. Or rather, not to pass.
Despite a roster built with excellent veteran runners, who suit up in stark contrast to a receiving corps who have wide receiver Riley Cooper and tight end Brent Celek as the venerable veteran receivers, the team continues to pass more than run. And with passes comes the infamous interceptions. As of the ninth game in the season, the Philadelphia Eagles have scored 11 times through the air, but have tossed 11 interceptions. The passing game, just with that tidbit of information, is somewhat tepid. Sam Bradford has been knocked around, and the quarterback who cannot get injured was in fact injured. Enter new quarterback Mark Sanchez stage left.
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Can Sanchez pass more effectively than Sam Bradford? He’s been with the team a year longer, and he was the quarterback to first work with wide receivers Jordan Matthews and Josh Huff. Will that bond improve the passing game? Or will we emphasize the pass even more, only to be disappointed at a poorly chosen pass that ends up being intercepted as we go in for a score. Nah.. that could never happen. Um… wait. It did already? Yes, it did. As long as this team believes it must pass to win games, marginal quarterbacks will take unnecessary chances trying to force a ball where it shouldn’t go. NFL quarterbacks, at least the current rostered quarterbacks of the Eagles, do not run well. They do not cause any defensive coordinator in the NFL to game plan the “what if” scenarios on the read-option plays. That lets defensive players pin their ears back and bring the rush on passing downs.
Add in a myriad of un-explanable, couldn’t happen at a worse moment, dropped passes and the stage begins to be set for the age old “what are they thinking” analysis that has plagued the Eagles fan for over 50 years. To answer? I don’t know. What I do know is that this team has a stable of running backs who have carried their respective teams to the playoffs. DeMarco Murray, despite the argument that the NFL best offensive line blocked for him, accounted for nearly 40% of the Dallas Cowboys offense last year, and carried them into the NFL playoffs. Ryan Mathews, a strong running back when healthy for the San Diego Chargers, did nearly the same thing when he carried his Chargers into the playoffs. And Darren Sproles, a small speedy running back, ran and received well enough for the New Orleans Saints to help them get to the playoffs. The team is also sitting on the fresh and surprisingly powerful legs of Kenjon Barner. You don’t buy race horses to keep the stables warm. You get runners to run.
This Eagles team is currently tenth in the NFL with 1056 yards rushing. With yardage split almost down the middle between Murray and Mathews of 400+ yards apiece, and an additional 150 yards rushing for Sproles, there is plenty of capacity to up the running game. And with this weekend’s game against the Tampa Bay Bucanneers, a team with a stoudt run defense, the Eagles can discover just how good their rushing offense is.
Weather is cooling off now. It’s the time of year for cocoa, hot pumpkin and apple pie fresh from the oven, and a good football game on the television where the winning team simply dominates the line of scrimmage and forces the running game against the opposing defense. This Eagles team was built for cold weather, for a dominating running game, and to win late in the season and into the playoffs. At 4-5, this Eagles team is at a crossroads. This team can win. But to do so, the Philadelphia Eagles need to run like hell.
Pink Floyd thinks so too. Here’s their advice to head coach Chip Kelly:
"Run Run Run RunRun Run Run RunRun Run Run RunRun Run Run RunYou’d better run all day and run all night – Pink Floyd “Run Like Hell”"