It’s almost certain that Mark Sanchez will lead the Offense against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Linc on Sunday and it will be the first full game he’s played since last season. With a week to prepare, just how different will the Offense be with Sanchez at the helm compared to what we’ve seen with Bradford?
Read Option Rampage
Last season Mark Sanchez seemed to favour the read option, perhaps a little too much. In the 33-10 demolition of the Cowboys for instance he ran the ball 7 times for 28 yards in what was arguably his best performance as an Eagle so far.
But the problem is that LeSean McCoy was a legitimate threat in that game, running for 159 yards on 25 carries. Against the Dolphins, Bradford was taking many of the read options and not handing them off in a game where the running backs failed to pick up steam. The result was a mix of panicky runs and accurate passing. Bradford was able to use it to escape the pocket and then throw down the field as everyone stormed towards him, it worked a charm.
When Sanchez runs however, he will be looking to slide for extra yards which as all Eagles fans will be aware isn’t the most reassuring thing to read. The read option will undoubtedly play a huge part of the Sanchez gameplan, but if the run game struggles to get going as it has done previously then Sanchez is going to struggle.
We have a whole article dedicated to the bromance between the Sanchize and Jordan Matthews and it’s almost inevitable that the two re-ignite their old flame to spark the Eagles Offense. This week might be the first week of the season in which we recommend starting Jordan Matthews. Purely because he’s going to get a lot of targets. Six of his eight touchdowns came from Sanchez last season and one in every 3 games he had 100 receiving yards…#Sanchews will be looking pick up where they left off and come back with a bang.
I mean…look at them…#justeaglesthings
Speed, speed, speed!
Lane Johnson has already alluded to it, the Offense will play faster under Mark Sanchez, it always has. The speed between snaps is about 3 seconds quicker when Sanchez is at the helm and it’s that pace of play which makes this Offense so dangerous and that wears the Defense down. We may even see (dare I say it) the highest scoring game of the season for this Offense based on that reason alone.
Spread it like peanut butter Sanchez
The ball spread so far has been problematic for the Eagles. One minute Jordan Matthews is getting everything over the middle whilst Agholor beats Revis off the line constantly, the next it’s both Tight Ends having more targets than the wideouts. There was no balance and with Sanchez that’s going to change.
Reports came out before the Miami game that the Eagles simplified the playbook down to help Sam Bradford. That’s obviously going to limit the ball spread and with Sanchez it won’t be an issue since he has been in this Offense long enough to know it better than he knows the exact dimensions of Brandon Moore’s booty. (Sorry, I had to.) With the playbook re-expanded (if that’s the right term) the Eagles will basically be running as hotly and as sharply as they were in 2014 one would think.
The ball spread should increase as the versatility of the Offense increases and with a different Quarterback at the helm, you can experiment with a lot of different things. It will be interesting to see how ball distribution plays into this weekends home stand.
Running game to either increase/decrease massively
The Eagles had a real inability to run the ball under Sanchez last year at one stage and it cost the team dearly as there was far more pressure on his shoulders than there should have been. (Sound familiar?) The same has happened to Sam Bradford this season and with Sanchez already tripping over Murray and missing him completely on a pass, it could be set to continue.
The running game is either going to be the majority or minority in this game..there’s no 60/40 or 50/50 middleground. If Murray can get rolling early it will be absolutely crucial to the success of a much faster Offense under Sanchez. If not, then we could very well see a performance close to week one where close to 50 passes are thrown by the Quarterback. The class of 2014 share a lot more chemistry with Sanchez so it will be interesting to see if they ease him in with a heavy run presence or drop him at the deep end and make him throw heavily to kick things off.