The Philadelphia Eagles’ opponent might be without a key player.
After a surprise win versus the New Orleans Saints, the Philadelphia Eagles are back in the NFC East’s race. Some fans are ready for the NFL Draft. Others want to see these young guys go on a magical run and make the playoffs. Regardless of what side of the argument you’re on, these guys are getting paid. They play to win. That’s the main focus right now.
This week, the ‘Birds’ head to the west coast for a showdown with Arizona Cardinals. They are led by Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins. The man running the show is head coach Kliff Kingsbury. With him running the spread offense, Arizona was expected to be an offensive juggernaut this year. However, they’ve been slowed up in recent weeks. Heading into Week 15, they sit at 7-6 after starting out 6-3.
They might also lose a key piece this weekend. Running back Chase Edmonds has not practiced this week. Even if he does suit up, it’s hard to imagine he’ll be 100 percent. While Kenyan Drake is the starter, Arizona likes to use Edmonds as a change of pace back. In each of the past six games, Edmonds has played more than 40 percent of the offensive snaps.
How much could Edmonds’ absence impact the Philadelphia Eagles defense?
In that change of pace role, he’s been effective with 83 carries for 404 yards (4.9 yards per rush). Perhaps his biggest impact is in the passing game with 46 catches, 347 yards, and three receiving touchdowns. Arizona will even line him up at wideout sometimes. While they don’t run a lot of 21 or 22 personnel (two running back sets), they will use it every so often. They did it a few times last week versus the New York Giants.
While Drake can be part of the passing game, it’s difficult to predict whether or not he can replace Edmonds’ production as a receiver. Drake only has 18 catches on the season. That aspect of his game was used a decent amount during his time in Miami but it hasn’t been the same story in Arizona this year.
Behind Drake and Edmonds, only one other running back has a carry this year. That running back is D.J. Foster who has one carry for two yards and is currently on the practice squad. Jonathan Ward is listed as the team’s third running back on the depth chart but he has been limited in practice this week. If he can’t go, rookie Eno Benjamin would have to step in. He has been a healthy scratch every single game this year.
Edmonds’ potential absence could be bigger than expected for this Cardinals’ offense. With the Eagles depleted secondary, they already have enough to worry about with the spread offense and four-wide receiver sets. If Edmonds can’t go, it would be one less player for Philly to worry about. If he plays, it’ll be an issue for an Eagles linebacker core that has really struggled in pass coverage. Hopefully, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz can put together a strong game plan regardless of who is out there.