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Why The Eagles Have Problems Running The Ball and RB Analysis vs Packers

mccoy image

The reality…

The offense is not as good as what you thought after last week but it is not as bad as what you thought either after the Packers game. The Eagles offense was put in a bad situation from the beginning of the game. The Packers offense led by Aaron Rodgers scored at an alarming rate against the Eagles defense. In the first half, the Packers scored on every possession (4) they had, putting up 30 points at halftime. The Eagles offense playing in one of the toughest road venues in the NFL at Lambeau Field had to score every time they touched the ball just to keep pace which is a daunting task on the road.

In the first half, the Eagles had success moving the ball into Packer territory on 3 out of the 5 possessions but failed to finish drives which resulted in 6 points. The story of the second half was turnovers as they turned the ball over 4 times (McCoy Fumble, Sanchez fumble, 2 Interceptions by Sanchez). The positive thing is that they continued to press-on and found the end zone twice in the second half and finished the game with 20 points and over 450 yards on offense. The offense has some things to correct such as running the ball, limiting the turnovers and finishing drives which we will analyze all in the next 3 articles but the good thing is that they are all correctable.

Running Game…

This offense works off of the success of the running game which sets up play action. Even tough the Eagles offense found itself down 7 more additional points with every possession credit must be given to Chip Kelly for sticking with the run. For most of the game the Eagles offense had a 50-50 run/pass balance. They finished the game with 44 passes and 31 rushes. LeSean McCoy found little running room the whole first half but credit to Chip Kelly for making adjustments which opened the running game in the second half and the Eagles finished with 109 yards on 31 attempts. Is LeSean McCoy to blame for the running woes? NO

Why the Eagles are struggling to run the football?

Execution

Play 1…The Eagles are running inside zone. Packers outside linebacker Julius Peppers crashes down inside into the hole where McCoy is running and pushes Brent Celek back into McCoy (image 1)which makes him bounce the play to the outside.  Image 2 shows, Jason Kelce missing his block #50 which makes McCoy stretch the play even more and then Jason Peters falls to the ground which allows his man to force McCoy out of bounds.

play 1a

play 1b

Play 2… The Eagles are running inside zone. The blocking looks good for McCoy to pick up a big gain with everyone locked on a man (image 1). Right guard Matt Tobin (yellow arrow) seems to have a good block on the NT but in image 2 the defender sheds Tobin to make the tackle for a 1 yard gain.

play 2a

play 2b

Play 3…The Eagles are running off tackle. McCoy wants to run just outside of right tackle lane Johnson and inside of Matt Tobin who is pulling from the right guard position (red lines in image 1). However, McCoy is forced to bounce the play to outside because center Jason Kelce gives ground to the NT (image 1). Image 2 shows McCoy with no where to run and trying to get back to the line of scrimmage with 4 Green Bay defenders closing in.

play 3a

 

play 3b

 

Defenses are reading and reacting fast…

Defenses have started to figure how the small selection of running plays the Eagles run. The last two weeks the Eagles have faced some of the best linebackers in the NFL in Luke Kuechly and Clay Matthews. What separates these guys from the rest of the league are the ability to recognize, read and react on the play which they do very well. I showed you last week how the Carolina linebackers were running down hill before McCoy took the hand off (see first image) well this week the Eagles got the same with the Packers.

mccoy 3

 

Play 1… The Eagles are running outside zone which calls for the center Jason Kelce and left guard Evan Mathis to pull around the edge. Image 1 shows, Clay Matthews reading Kelce and Mathis and is in full stride before LeSean McCoy fully has ball. Image 2 shows, Clay Matthews blowing up the play before McCoy can even get to the line of scrimmage.

read 1a

read 1b

Play 2..The Eagles are running the power with center Jason Kelce blocking down to double team on the defensive end with right guard Matt Tobin (blue circle image 1) opening up the A gap.  The Safety who reads the play from 10 yards and linebacker Clay Matthews are coming down hill with Sanchez 3 yards from handing the ball off to McCoy.  Image 2 shows the safety meeting McCoy in the hole to make the tackle for a 1 yard gain.

read 2a

 

read 2b

 

How were they able to run ball in the second half?

Halftime is all about adjustments. The Eagles ran the ball in the second half with an average of over 5 yards per carry. In the play below, The Eagles run the same off tackle play above where Kelce was blown off the ball by the nose tackle.

Image 1…This time Chip Kelly lines up Lane Johnson inside of Jason Peters on the left side (yellow circle), Kelce releases to block the inside linebacker, right guard Matt Tobin blocking down on the nose tackle and Evan Mathis pulling around the edge to block Clay Matthews. Image 2 shows, how everyone is accounted for which allows McCoy to pick up the first down.

adjustment1

adjustment 2

LeSean McCoy (RB)

LeSean is taking a lot of the blame for the running woes but as I showed you above he is doing his job. When the holes are there he is getting the yards. He finished the game with 88 yards on 23 attempts and 1 reception for 18 yards. However, he did make a costly error when he fumbled the hand off from Mark Sanchez to start the second half which was recovered by the Packers. The Eagles have to stick with McCoy and correct the blocking problems.

Darren Sproles (RB)

Darren Sproles does deserve some more carries as his ability to hit the hole fast actually helps the offensive line who struggles at times to hold blocks. However, he is not the sole solution to the running woes it is the offensive line. He finished the game with 2 carries for 21 yards.

 

UP NEXT…MARK SANCHEZ

 

 

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