Jesus. What just happened? I thought this team was supposed to compete for a championship. Now, we’re just hoping to win a damn game.
The 49ers? Are you kidding me?
I could go on and on about the problems this team has.
On the surface, you could pick on the linebackers, safeties, offensive line, or the play calling. You could blame the rookie kicker for missing two chip-shots. Unfortunately, the problems go much deeper than just these things.
At the heart of this teams issues, is the philosophy, and game planning developed by Andy Reid. Let’s take a look…
The Eagles offense (and defense) is based on the big play which is all fine and well, but what happens if the big play isn’t there? What happens if the safeties are 40 yards off the ball and DeSean Jackson can’t get behind them? What happens when you send everyone out on routes, leaving an unblocked blitzer for Michael Vick to deal with? What happens when the head coach calls predictable plays? What happens when you have an under-sized, rookie center and a scrap-heap right guard? What happens when you go 3-and-out, and put your defense right back out on the field before they can even catch their breathe?
I realize this is a passing league and that passing the ball wins games. I get it. Many teams have proven that and I don’t want the Eagles to not throw the ball.
And I don’t expect Andy Reid and the Eagles to go out and run the ball 35-40 times per game. I don’t know if I want that, but there is a common denominator in all successful teams, and that is that they are well balanced, and can run the ball when they need to, and more importantly when they should.
The Eagles and Andy Reid do none of the above. As soon as the running game gets going, they move away from it. At times in the game when they should run, they almost always pass.
LeSean McCoy is a top 5 running back, and leads the NFL in first downs. Use him. Running keeps Michael Vick off the ground, let’s your defense catch it’s breathe, and wears down the opposing defense. It also keeps the ball from the other teams offense, and allows your offense to set up play-action. Those are five huge benefits of having a consistent running game. Betting on big, explosive plays to win you games is a is more risk than reward.
Early in the third quarter, after blocking David Akers’ field goal, the Eagles were up 20-3. Now at this stage in the game, 31 out of 32 other teams in the NFL would start running the ball, especially playing a team with such a poor offense in the 49ers.
But not Andy Reid.
In their first 4 possessions of the second half, sitting on a 17 point lead, 19 of the 24 plays were passes, 16 from the shotgun formation.
Shotgun? With a 17 point lead? Against the worst offense in football?
I’m not sure why Andy Reid continues to do this, game after game. All it takes is a few 3-and-outs, and you give the other team that many more possessions, which is exactly what they did on Sunday. The 49ers have the worst offense in football. With a 20 point lead, why would you still try to hit big plays down the field?
This philosophy affects more than just the offense. Not only is the offense dependent on the big play and the passing game, but the entire defense is built around it too.
It’s no secret that the Eagles defense is built to play with a lead, which puts tremendous pressure on the offense to score points early. This is nothing new, and something that has actually worked for the Eagles in the past (and other teams).
However, what happens if the offense can’t get you that lead early enough? When your offense goes 3-and-out and put’s your pours defense back on the field this philosophy is rendered useless.
What happens if your defense can’t stop the run, therefore keeping your offense off of the field altogether?
As of this article, the Eagles are 30th in the league in run defense. And for good reason–they have absolutely no attitude on defense, and lack fundamentals. When is the last time you saw an Eagles defender wrap up a ball carrier? You’d have to go back a few years.
The point is, you can blame Juan Castillo, the linebackers, or whoever else you want. At the end of the day, it’s Andy Reid and his offensive philosophy that is root of all their problems. Think about it.
Love to hear your thoughts!