Fans of the Philadelphia Eagles are exceedingly aware of head coach Andy Reid’s penchant for throwing the ball as opposed to attacking defenses on the ground. The lack of a balanced offense has been a point of contention for much of Reid’s tenure with the Eagles. His apparent aversion to running the ball borders on the absurd at times. For instance, All-Pro running back LeSean McCoy received a grand total of FOUR carries in the first half of last week’s game against the Arizona Cardinals. Then, in a move I’m still trying to figure out, Reid decided to focus on the run in the 2nd half, down multiple scores and with time running out quickly. McCoy finished the game with 13 rushes for 70 yards, averaging 5.3 yards per carry for the game.
“Shady” finished the 2011 season 5th in the NFL in rushing and is averaging 4.5 yards per attempt this year. Even if Reid does not want to run the ball, he has to start to utilize McCoy as a receiver more frequently, as he is one of the better receiving backs in the league. He has 11 catches on the year for 135 yards (12.3 average). In the Eagles’ offense, the screen pass to the running back is essentially a running play, but the team hasn’t even been using that play very often.
With all of the talk about needing to keep Michael Vick healthy, his best chance to play all 16 games is for the Eagles to establish a rushing attack. He’s not getting hit when he hands the ball off. He’s less likely to get hit when dumping off a quick screen pass to McCoy out of the backfield. If the team establishes the rushing attack early, it would force defenses to actually respect the rush and bring less pressure on Vick; also resulting in fewer hits on the injury-plagued QB.
If the Eagles hope to have any success in 2012, they must get their run-pass ratio to be more symmetrical. Otherwise, they are wasting McCoy’s talent and putting their quarterback at an increased risk for injury.