Panthers vs. Eagles: How Philadelphia Can Avoid a Monday Night Embarrassment
Andy Reid is one embarrassment away from losing his job.
Or at least he should be.
His Philadelphia Eagles host the equally embarrassing Carolina Panthers on Monday Night Football, a game that has lost all of its preseason luster with the team's combining for five wins to date.
While some have opined that Reid needs a break from football, I find it hard to believe that he would actually like to be fired, so here's what he needs to do to avoid another humiliating defeat on the national stage in front of the relentless fans in Philly.
Run the football
Those Eagles fans have been screaming for this to happen more frequently all season, and Andy Reid has rarely listened.
OK, he has given LeSean McCoy an average of nearly 22 touches per game, but in a variety of critical situations, the Eagles head coach relied on the pass to no avail.
Even with McCoy out with a concussion, Reid can't go bonkers with Nick Foles' attempts.
He's thrown it an average of 39 times in his two starts and has a 58.9 QB rating to show for it. With the porous offensive line in front of him and far from anything resembling a good rapport with his pass-catches, Foles shouldn't be put into a situation to carry the team.
Bryce Brown will step in as the feature back tonight, and though he's only been given 32 carries on the season, he does average 4.4 yards per rush.
Carolina's run defense allows 4.2 yards per carry, and last week, Doug Martin went for 138 on the ground on a mere 24 rushes.
To keep Foles out of turnover trouble and to mask the offensive line deficiencies, Reid must run the football and run it often.
Also, a more balanced attack will—say it with me—keep the defense fresh.
Mix in the blitz against Cam Newton
Cam Newton has drastically regressed in his second season—call it the famed "sophomore slump" if you will.
His completion percentage is down, and he's on pace to account for more turnovers than he did a year ago.
Although it's not a sure-fire way to stop Newton from having a huge evening, blitzing Newton frequently will be in the Eagles' best interest.
According to Bleacher Report's own Scott Kacsmar these are Newton's stats this season against five or more rushers:
@christrapasso Blitz (2012): 51/96 for 707 yards, 5 TD, 3 INT, 81.4 PR, 9 sacks— Scott Kacsmar (@CaptainComeback) November 26, 2012
It's also worth noting that Carolina has allowed Newton to be sacked 26 times this season, including nine times in the last two outings.
However, blitzing often will go against another Eagles norm.
According to ESPN's Pat Yasinskas, "no team has rushed four or fewer defenders more often than the Eagles, who have used that tactic 80.5 percent of the time over the past two seasons."
Philadelphia shouldn't blitz on every passing down, but they can't go away from it either.
The more flustered Newton is in the pocket, the better the chance he thrown an incompletion, or better yet, turns the ball over.
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