While it wasn’t all positive for the Philadelphia Eagles last night, one aspect of the Eagles that has stood out in each preseason game is their dominance on the ground. Once again, for much of the game the defense seemed to have no answer for the running game as Bryce Brown and Chris Polk, in particular, gashed the Jacksonville Jaguars on the ground.
It has been a while since the Eagles had this effective a running game and this impressive a stable of running backs. You would have to go all the way back to the early 2000’s when Brian Westbrook, Correll Buckhalter, and now running backs coach Duce Staley formed a great 1-2-3 punch in the back field for an Eagles team that consistently won games on the ground.
The Eagles’ offense seems to function best when they strike a balance between run and pass. This did not happen early on in the Jaguars game. Chip Kelly had Michael Vick drop back and throw a ton in the first half. Part of me believes this is Kelly testing out his passing game, and seeing Vick’s strengths and weaknesses in that area.
It is crystal clear that Vick is infinitely more effective when given the opportunity to run a balanced offense. If he drops back 30 plus times a game like he did all too often last season, the blitz will come and he will commit turnovers. This is exactly what happened last night as he took his biggest beating of the preseason, while committing a turnover and holding the ball too long. This also leaves him vulnerable for injury.
Kelly then has witnessed the strength of this football team. It is the running game which boasts three impressive young backs. If they can have a solid run/pass ratio and limit Vick’s drop backs, this can be a run and gun offense that will light up the scoreboard this year.