After the opening three weeks of regular season football, we’ve learned a lot about the Philadelphia Eagles Offense. From how it operates, to what works and what doesn’t. The Eagles lead the league in time of possession which is a direct contrast to what we saw last year, while they also surprisingly rank second in points per game. But this is only the tip of the Iceberg for Pederson and his scheme.
The level of complexity and intuitiveness shown by Pederson have already enabled the Eagles to cause a few surprises for Defensive coordinators and players alike. Here are three things we can expect to see in the Offense after the bye week.
More three tight end sets:
What looked like a key part of the Offense became minimal following the displaced rib injury sustained by Zach Ertz. In his absence however, Trey Burton shined. Receiving for 68 yards and a touchdown, the chemistry between Burton and Wentz flourished in the two weeks he stood in for Ertz.
But with number 86 returning in week 5, Burton’s workload won’t be anywhere near as heavy..but that doesn’t mean he’ll remain on the sidelines. The three tight end sets proved to be extremely efficient in the rushing attack when used in Kansas City and showed the same level of success during their brief implementation in the preseason and week one.
Pederson has now seen what Burton can do and how reliable he can be as a receiver however..which opens up an entirely new realm of possibilities. Not only will Celek, Ertz and Burton often line up in the same play to aid the run game..but the trio could be used to challenge the middle of the field and attack the Secondary.
Week 5 will be the first time that all three tight ends will be active on gameday (barring any hurdles) which means we get our first real look at how Pederson plans to use all three of his powerful weapons.
Pederson is an extremely creative coach and has shown this already. Just because Zach Ertz is returning, don’t think Burton is going to spend the rest of the season on the sidelines. If anything, the Eagles have even more firepower to fuel the rushing attack and contribute in plays designed to keep Defenses on their toes, making tough catches over the middle/
Dorial Green-Beckham has seen an incline in his snap count through the opening games of the regular season, and naturally an increase in targets. DGB has been targeted by Wentz eight times in the last two games and with a Bye-week falling at a perfect time to ensure he gets the rest of the playbook down..that number could be set to rise a lot higher.
Bryce Treggs, the undrafted receiver who was claimed off waivers by the Eagles is yet to see an Offensive snap however. Joining the team so late and dealing with a mild injury limited how much action he has seen with the team on the practice field, but like DGB, will use the Bye-week to get to grips with the playbook and ready himself for the long haul.
DGB will naturally see a heavier role than Treggs, but the mismatch nightmare will soon become a reality for opposing Defense as their familiarity with the scheme increases and the chemistry builds.
At 6’5, DGB is a formidable redzone threat and arguably one of the team’s best natural athletes. Treggs on the other hand is scarily quick and will fill the void left by former Rams wideout Chris Givens after he was released. He may not see an awful lot of playing time, but that makes him even more dangerous to plug in and target deep down the field.
The more games Carson Wentz plays, the more he begins to trust his receivers and spread the ball around much more evenly and the more dangerous this Offense becomes. The trend is already setting in. Wentz wasn’t as reliant on Jordan Matthews as he was in the opening week and without Zach Ertz, has been forced to look elsewhere..which bodes very well for guys like DGB and Treggs who are looking to carve their role in Pederson’s shceme.
There was a lot of emphasis on whether or not Pederson would enter the 2016 season with a fullback on the roster. Surprisingly after an experimental offseason and training camp, the Eagles decided that they were in a comfortable position to roll into week one without a fullback..but that hasn’t stopped them using one.
Beau Allen surprisingly saw a few snaps on the Offensive side of the ball in week one and now that Ertz back in the lineup, it means Trey Burton can potentially use his versatility. Burton understands the role after taking snaps as a fullback during his Collegiate career at Florida, but was never really used in the position over the Summer.
From Dillon Gordon to practice squad member Andrew Bonnett, the former NDSU fullback and teammate of Carson Wentz, the Eagles do have options at the fullback position..and some more enticing than Beau Allen.
The Eagles haven’t really used a fullback as much as people thought they would so far..but as the season progresses and the Offense continues to expand, expect Doug Pederson to spring a few more surprises in the backfield.
Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles may be the lead running backs..but from a rushing perspective, neither have set the world on fire so far. Both running backs ended with negative yardage against the Steelers and failed to punch through the holes as successfully as they had in previous years.
The ankle of Ryan Mathews was said to be an issue and it wasn’t until Sproles was utilized in the screen game that the Eagles backfield really began to take shape. Sproles ended week 3 with 128 receiving yards and a touchdown..but that wasn’t where the story ended.
Wendell Smallwood and Kenjon Barner carried the heavy workload on the ground against Pittsburgh, totaling 109 yards on 25 carries and giving Carson Wentz room to breathe.
The lead backs have been less than stellar on the ground and with Sproles finding success as a pass-catcher under Doug Pederson, the backfield could be set for a few changes. The committee effort could now see Smallwood and Barner each receiving a much higher snap percentage in the coming weeks, reducing the workload for Mathews and allowing Sproles to be used primarily as a pass-catcher without fatiguing as quickly.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
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