Eagles Offensive Woes: A Closer Look

Eagles Quarterback Michael Vick & Offensive Coordinator Marty MornhinwegRun the ball! Every Eagles fan has yelled something like that at their TV at one point or another. Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg‘s play calling has frustrated the fan base almost as much as the infamous “putting the team in a better position to win” phrase. Running the ball more often seems to be an easy fix for the offensive woes, but it’s not that easy. Believe it or not the Eagles run/pass ratio is about 45/55 since the Arizona game.

In fairness, the game against the Giants spiked the Eagles overall run total. LeSean McCoy absolutely dominated on the ground in that game. McCoy could definitely use more touches as the Eagles move forward, but when it comes to running the ball the Eagles should focus on quality not quantity. The Eagles could hand the ball to McCoy 25 or 30 times a game, but if it’s not working what’s the point? They are too predictable in their play calling at times. If I can identify a running play before it happens based on the formation, I’m sure the defense that studied film for countless hours during the week can figure it out too. This team has remarkable talent at the skill positions. McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Brent Celek would start on almost every team in the league. The one glaring flaw, other than turnovers, for the Eagles is their offensive line.

I think at this point it’s fair to name Jason Peters the offensive MVP. Without Peters, the offensive line fell apart immediately. The Eagles are second in the league in QB hits with 52, but the run game has positives and negatives. They have the second most negative rushing plays (11). In run power, a combination of 3rd and 4th down success rates with two or fewer yards and all goal line attempts within two yards resulting in touchdowns, they rank ninth. Ninth is much higher than I expected, but when you have a top five back in McCoy, they can be better. The real problem on the line is experience. They have a combined 173 games started between their current starters(King Dunlap, Evan Mathis, Dallas Reynolds, Danny Watkins and Todd Herremans). Of those 173 starts, 98 belong to Herremans. It’s tough to be successful with that much inexperience.

Inexperience along the offensive line might be what’s causing the play calling issues. If the line is having trouble pass and run blocking, Reid isn’t left with any options. Obviously there’s no excuse with the talent on the outside this team has, but looking at the numbers makes it more understandable. Maybe this team just can’t be as good without Peters.

The Eagles can easily improve their offense over the rest of the season. Aside from the Cowboys, 4th in total defense, the next best defensive team the Eagles will face is the 18th ranked Cincinnati Bengals. That’s a pretty favorable schedule for a team struggling to find an offensive rhythm. The Eagles are 3-3. Their offense has been horrible, yet they’re still in the playoff race. Reid and his offense have 10 games to turn it around or some of them won’t be back next season.

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Matt Plunkett

Matt Plunkett is a Philadelphia native currently living in the South Jersey area. As the former Temple University mascot, Hooter T. Owl, his perspective on sports is always an interesting one. If you love Philly Sports and have a sense of humor follow him on Twitter @MattPlunkett.