July 12, 2013

Could The Eagles Lead The League In Rush Yards Next Season?

<span style="font-size: 10.0pt; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-font-family: "Times New Roman";">Last season was a down season for Shady McCoy. On top of struggling he ended up getting injured and missed several games. Prior to last season McCoy was a back that was on the rise. Unfortunately for him he was saddled with a coach that would rather he’d pass block and ignore the facts that his team would win if McCoy got 20 carries or more.  It wasn’t all Reid though. McCoy’s cutback run style proved to be relatively ineffective combined with the Eagles injury riddled offensive line. He tried to make too many jukes and cut behind the line of scrimmage. His line wasn’t talented enough to hold its blocks. So when Bryce Brown cam in for McCoy his north/south running style fit better with the lines inadequacies. Brown become such a splash player that some people even now think he’s made McCoy expendable, but Brown has his own issues. Due to his inexperience as a runner he lacks ball security skills. He is kind of a one handed rusher tending to keep the ball in his left hand and holding it away from his body even during contact. Until Brown learns how to hold a football he will be more of a liability than a help to the offense. It should be noted that McCoy himself also has a tendency to hold the ball away from his body far too often. Despite all this the Eagles boast a talented trio of backs between McCoy, Brown, and Jones. Felix Jones is a guy who when he’s healthy can gouge defenses for big gains. He’s a back with solid hands and is excellent on screenplays. Both he and McCoy have are very solid pass catching running backs. The Eagles haven’t had a trio of backs this solid since they had Duce, Buck, and Westbrook. Unlike that great trio, these three have a coach who is more than willing to let these guys run the ball. As Kelly stated he’s “an equal opportunity scorer” so I wouldn’t be surprised to see games where McCoy gets it over 25 times, but the next week Brown running it for double digit carries and the same for Jones. I get the feeling Kelly will play the hot hand. For a team that has marginal talent (as far as we know to this point) at the quarterback position the Eagles are going to need to rely on the run game to protect the quarterback. Of course Kelly may want to only use his run game and short pass system, but he’s going to have to occasionally challenge the defense as well. This could mean the reemergence of Desean Jackson as a viable deep threat. When safeties come up to assist against the run Jackson could end up getting that one on one coverage from the past he used to decimate an NFL secondary. As long as the line stays healthy (and out of trouble) this teams rushing attack could be the key to leading the Eagles back to respectability. The top 4 teams in rush attempts last season all made the playoffs. Seven of the top ten was a playoff team, and although the Bears didn’t make the playoffs they won 10 games.  Conversely only the Atlanta Falcons made the playoffs in the bottom 10 of attempts per game. If Chip Kelly was smart and from what everyone seems to say I think he is, he’s going to rely on his very talented backfield to protect both his quarterback and his defense.

6 Comments:
  • season begins soon and we will then find out
  • What I really like is the offensive line that will be coming back healthy. I think they have some great talent on the edges that can open some holes for these running backs. I think the yards are there to be had. It's only a matter of the players working hard to protect the football.
  • [not displayed: comment from locked account]
  • I know I'm hoping the line doesn't implode like it did last season, but I do think that we have some solid replacements now. If Dennis Kelly doesn't start he really could play every position on the line but center. Center could be the weakest link on the line. I am hoping guys stay healthy, but if Kelly is installing a system of getting rid of the ball quickly and he uses a quarterback who understands how to quickly read a defense and get rid of the ball he will also help out his offensive line.
  • With a healthy line, why not especially if Brown holds onto the ball and McCoy stays healthy also. Vick starting would probably bump the rushing stats up also but what good would that extra yardage be on the ground if he is turning the ball over along the way and not making the quick reads that Kelly claims his QB needs in his system?
  • Everything you wrote was true and is exactly why I didn't mention Vick. Could he boost the rushing stats? Yes he could, but like you mentioned how many guys in the backfield do we need that have trouble holding onto the football? With that being the case Chip Kelly is going to have to choose a quarterback. Hopefully he makes the right choice.
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