Andy Reid Must Lean On the Run, or Kevin Kolb and the Eagles Will Fail

Bob Cunningham@BCunningham215Senior Analyst IApril 13, 2010

FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 22: Kevin Kolb #4 hands the ball off to Ryan Moats #23 of the Philadelphia Eagles during a preseason game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on August 22, 2008 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Throughout Donovan McNabb's career in Philadelphia, he was always relied upon to move the offense flawlessly through the air. If he didn't, it was nearly impossible for the offense to have any success in Andy Reid's scheme.

But now with Kevin Kolb taking over the offense, Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg must alter the way they approach each game.

Kolb will most likely not be able to handle the heavy burden that was handed to McNabb, at least not yet, so Reid and Mornhinweg must do all they can to help the transition. The best way to do that will be to lean on LeSean McCoy and the newly-acquired Mike Bell by running the ball more than they ever have.

Now before you roll your eyes and laugh at me, don't forget that Reid and Mornhinweg did the same thing for Jeff Garcia when he assumed the starting role in 2006 after McNabb's ACL tear.

In the weeks following McNabb's injury, Brian Westbrook ran the ball nearly 100 times and Correll Buckhalter chipped in with another 30โ€”an astonishing number for this duo of pass-happy coaches.

But even though the rushing attempts were still low by most standards, it was enough to take the pressure off Garcia and allow him to go do what he did best: win. Anyone could tell he was relaxed, he trusted the guys around him, and it made him much more effective.

And now Reid and Mornhinweg must do the same thing for Kolb, but they must take it even further and get closer to a 50-50 split of pass-run ratio. Somewhere around 60-40 is probably the best we can hope for, but 55-45 would probably be enough for Kolb to succeed and help the team transition.

It also helps that the running game could be just as good, if not better, than it was back in 2006. Back then Westbrook was still in his prime, but Buckhalter was coming off serious knee injuries and, as usual, the Birds didn't have a reliable fullback.

In 2010, the Eagles will have a young up-and-coming star in McCoy, a very good backup in Bell, and perhaps the best fullback in football in Leonard Weaver. It's a trio of players Reid and Mornhinweg should feel comfortable leaning on, but it's probably all a pipe dream.

What's more likely is that they will come out thinking they don't have to change a thing. They will probably give Kolb the same workload they gave McNabb, even though he's not ready for it as evidenced by a sub-par showing against the New Orleans Saints.

He was forced to throw the ball 51 times and, as a result, threw three interceptionsโ€”something McNabb did only three times in his entire career.

In a perfect world, McCoy would see between 250-300 carries with Bell seeing nearly 100 carries of his own. But, of course, there is no way that happens with Reid and Mornhinweg calling the shots.

Hopefully I'm simply underestimating Kolb and he'll be able to handle the heavy workload, because that's exactly what he's going to get whether it's best for the team or not.


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