It’s obviously too early to make a serious determination about this, but did losing Frank Reich and John DeFilippo hurt the Philadelphia Eagles more than we thought?
Asking how big of a blow losing John DeFilippo and Frank Reich as coaches was to the Philadelphia Eagles is one of those things that’s impossible to determine. You honestly just can’t find a real measuring stick for any of this. It’s almost like asking if Mike Tyson would have beaten Muhammad Ali if both would have met in their prime.
You can make nice arguments either way. It’s a cool conversation piece, but no one really has the ability to make a definitive answer either way. Still, with all of that being said, let’s ask the question anyway.
Is this Eagles offense struggling because there’s no Frank Reich and John DeFilippo?
Here’s what we can say.
Things are clearly different on offense. The eyeball test alone reveals that there are drops, bad reads, breakdowns in pass protection and what feels like an inability to sustain drives.
Looking at the actual stats tell you that Philly’s averaging fewer yards-per-carry, albeit slightly (4.4 in 2018 as opposed to 4.5 in 2017). Their yards-per-reception average has dipped (9.5 in 2018 as opposed to 11.6 in 2017).
They’re also converting 40 percent of their third down attempts as opposed to 41.7 percent in 2017.
What’s most alarming is what they’ve done (or haven’t done) in the red zone. As we mentioned earlier, Philly converted just one of four red zone trips into a touchdown.
For the season, they’re converting at a 57 percent clip as opposed to 65 percent in 2017.
Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles both missed time as well, but that shouldn’t matter when you have a capable Corey Clement and an improving Wendell Smallwood. Jason Peters has missed time, and when he returned, he, at times, appeared to be old and tired.
Might Philly be missing the production of LeGarrette Blount more than we originally imagined?
Here’s what we’ve determined (we think).
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Alshon Jeffery just returned to the lineup on Sunday. Prior to that, Philly was trying everything from promotions and demotions from the practice squad. They tried moving Nelson Agholor to the outside. They’ve even brought back Jordan Matthews after losing both Mack Hollins and Mike Wallace for the season.
At some point, this offense needs to be given the opportunity to gel.
Then, there’s the defense and the penalties. Nobody can win consistently with the amount of penalties and the yards that this team has given up on a week in and week out basis.
All of that contributes to what we’re seeing. Some will say that losing and Reich didn’t mean much. After all, they didn’t call plays right? Believing that’s all there is to being an offensive assistant in the NFL is a misnomer. Plus, they both seem to have elevated both of their new teams with their presence, and Philly seems to miss them both.
We’ll never know what Philly would have looked like in 2018 had Reich and DeFilippo stayed. What we do know is the current struggles are a combination of all the areas we’ve mentioned. Let’s hope all of this gets fixed sooner than later. If not it’s going to be a long season.