As my co-host, Len, will tell you, I’m one of the most optimistic people within the Eagles fan base. Whether it was my 12-4 regular season prediction or consistently driving the Chip Kelly hype wagon, I always see light at the end of the tunnel and believe the Eagles can persevere. Well, after the two pathetic games we’ve witnessed, I’m no longer in tune to the belief that the current strategy on offense can yield any optimism. Offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland and Kelly need to get back to basics for this team to win a game. The team is 32nd in the league in rushing yards totaling 70 on the ground. Yes, 70 total yards!
Overall, here’s how the offensive and position stats look:
- Sam Bradford: 2 TDs, 4 INTs, 72.3 PR
- DeMarco Murray: 21 attempts, 11 total yards
- Ryan Mathews: 4 attempts, 4 total yards
- 3rd down conversions: 5 of 23
- Time of possession: 22:01 average
These numbers are reflective of blocking, and lack thereof, by the offensive line, which has been atrocious beyond belief. Two Pro Bowlers, Jason Peters and Jason Kelce look lost. So does top-10 lineman from a year ago, Lane Johnson. Why is this happening? Conventional wisdom says these three fantastic players are overcompensating and attempting to correct mistakes being made by the left and right guards, Allen Barbre and Andrew Gardener. Kelce doesn’t appear to have any comfort level with two new guards beside him. Gaps are not being covered properly. Assignments are flat out missed. Bradford and the running backs barely have enough time to make any kind of decision because defenders are in the backfield almost immediately. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not just the guards. Peters, Kelce and Johnson certainly have to be accountable for their sloppy play as well.
Time and time again I’ve said, offensive lines are the foundation of success in the NFL. There’s no way position players can be productive without solid blocking. The proof is in the pudding over the past two games. Getting back to and fixing the fundamentals is what I’m expecting Kelly and Stoutland to focus on this week before the Eagles vs. Jets game this coming weekend.
The other question is; can this be corrected? I believe it can, but not with the current offensive strategy. Sure, we can talk about history and how teams have pulled it together to win seven or eight in a row. That’s all fine and well, but until we see a true fix in technique and players who are well prepared for game day, it’s not safe to assume the potential for a successful season is in front of us. Guys, get back to basics and then you can utilize the offense weapons you’ve accumulated.
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