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Some NFL teams can get away with being a pass-happy team that throws the ball 65 to 80 percent of the time.
The Eagles aren’t one of those teams. They have a quarterback who holds the ball too long, doesn’t understand when to throw the football away and is a very fragile quarterback.
Michael Vick can be a top-five quarterback when he has a running game to back him up. He should not be the entire offense. When you don’t give him balance, you are going to see multiple turnovers by Vick alone.
Last week was a perfect example of this. Vick passed the ball 37 times, ran the ball four times (which were all scrambles and not designed runs) and was sacked five times. That means there were 46 designed passing plays against Arizona. LeSean McCoy had 13 carries for 70 yards and Bryce Brown had four carries for 28 yards. That means the Eagles had 17 designed running plays.
That adds up to 46 passing plays called out of 63 offensive snaps. That is a ratio of 73 percent passing plays to just 27 percent running plays being called.
Last season, LeSean McCoy had 17 touchdowns on the ground and finished the year with 1,309 rushing yards. Why not give one of the best players in the NFL more than 13 carries?
The Eagles promoted Bryce Brown as their No. 2 running back. He may be just a rookie, but he has a great combination of power and speed. Why not give him more than four carries a game?
The Eagles also kept Dion Lewis (who was a healthy scratch) and undrafted Chris Polk. Why keep four running backs if you don’t want to run the ball at least a third of the time?
This falls on both Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg. They have to come up with a more balanced game plan on offense. Seventeen running plays are not enough for this offense to be efficient and explosive at the same time. We all know that Reid loves the passing game, but this is getting ridiculous.
Ideally, McCoy should get at least 20 carries, Brown should get five to seven carries, the third running back should get at least one carry and the fullback, Stanley Havili, should get a carry or two as well. That adds up to around 30 running plays for this offense.
What a more balanced offense does is slow down the pass rush and takes the pressure of Vick. It also decreases the amount of turnovers and controls the pace of the game. This doesn’t mean the offense has to be boring. You can be still be creative. The offense can run counters, draws, tosses, sweeps, direct snaps and your basic inside runs.
The Eagles will not beat a good defense this season when they don’t run the ball at least a third of the time. Balance is the key for Eagles’ success on offense going forward.