The Bye Week could not have come at a better time for the Eagles. They will play their eighth game with a 3-4 record and an Offense that has shown flashes of brilliance in what has otherwise been a disappointing season filled with inconsistency and error. Chip certainly had his work cut out for him this week but will have been very aware about what does and what doesn’t need adjustment. There should be some sharp changes present when the team lock in with Dallas next weekend but here are the top three that fans want to see.
Running back Revamp
By this point in the season it’s clear that the more efficient running back in this Offense is Ryan Mathews. We have written countless articles on how his style benefits the team and how Murray is having to almost mirror Mathews to succeed. Last years leading rusher averages just 3.5 yards per carry on his 88 carries whilst Mathews has 6.1 yards averaged on 56 rushes. When Murray has played, Mathews hasn’t rushed the ball more than 9 times in a game which is staggering considering how physical his style has become and how he’s able to cut in and out to break into space as opposed to Murray’s reliance on the Offensive Line.
We could talk all day about stats but the bottom line is simple. We want to see Chip Kelly forget about the money spent for now and do what’s best for the team. Fans are already aware that the team should not have forked out that much money for a North/South back but it’s done..so move on from it and give more carries to the more effective running back.
Address the drops
It’s easy for fans to say stop dropping the ball, it’s easy for a coach to say stop dropping the ball. The question is, how are they going to stop the drops? It’s not as if you can plaster their gloves in glue or stick velcro pads on the ball. At this point, it’s a mental thing but until it gets fixed, Chip and co have to change things around.
The main problem is Matthews. We have addressed this many times but Bradford looks for Matthews more than anyone else which causes a mess. Why? Because even if he doesn’t drop it or miss the pass, 7 times out of 10 there are other receivers wide open. Bradford struggles to make more than one read and often just throws to the hot route receiver which is why Matthews is struggling. The Defense can read Bradford’s eyes and just place all their pressure on the Eagles number one.
We can’t say FIX THE DROPS!!! as a change because it’s largely down to the players. From a coaching stand point, it would be nice to see some pressure lifted off of Matthews’ shoulders. Give Ertz and Celek more targets, perhaps give Ajirotutu a shot..if Cooper and Austin are proving to be more reliable then search them out. Don’t just find Huff on Bubble Screen routes. Spread the ball around, lose the predictability and whilst it would see a loss in the “number one” receiver so to speak, it would see an emergence in an overall package..because every other wideout and tight end would be targeted, giving the struggling receivers more opportunity to get open and less pressure.
Run less predictable routes, search out the open receivers instead of head hunting Matthews and as opposed to screening with running backs, aim down the field for the more efficient receivers..this is a Dallas team we need to beat..Eagles fans will not settle for two losses in a season to their bitter rival. Last time out the Dallas Defense were so, so reliant on Bradford’s poor reads and eyes that his own arm became his worst enemy because of the predictability…it’s time to change things up and spark a fire.
The Eagles pass rush has been a tale of two halves this season. The incredible performances of Jordan Hicks and the Monday Night blackout have symbolised just how dominant this unit can be whilst the injury woes of Mychal Kendricks and Kiko Alonso have left the unit down to bare bones but still performing way above expectations. Then there’s the under performing Connor Barwin..the problem is that the unit has so much talent, but a few pieces are injured leaving room for the likes of Hicks to shine and others aren’t performing but are too dominant on a good day to sideline.
This is more of a personal note but obviously with Kendricks and Kiko returning, Jordan Hicks is likely to take a dip in snaps. As opposed to that, I’d like to see Chip stay with the hot hand and perhaps rotate the linebackers based on performance since every player in this team is supposed to be versatile. Could you imagine the damage a line of Alonso, Kendricks, Hicks and Ryans would do if they could all adapt?
It’s not really a necessary change and this really isn’t much of an issue since the Eagles linebackers as a whole are easily one of the biggest positives of the season, but it would be nice to potentially see some rotation once all players are back to full health.