The Eagles announced yesterday that they would be reuniting with Marty Mornhinweg, who was with the team in multiple capacities from 2003 – 2012. The former Baltimore Ravens’ OC also reunites with Head Coach Doug Pederson. The two coached together in Philadelphia from 2009-2012, while Mornhinweg was also Pederson’s QB Coach in Green Bay, back in 1996.
This time, he will join the team under the title of Senior Offensive Consultant, an ambiguous title that carries with it an equally ambiguous role. Eagles’ insider Chris McPherson indicated that Mornhinweg’s duties would be focused around the “big picture” of the offense.
That would make sense, as Mornhinweg brings with him 23 years of NFL coaching experience and a track record of success as an offensive mind in the league. He began coaching receivers at Montana in 1985 and has since coached running backs, offensive line, tight ends and quarterbacks. He has held positions from quality control to head coach. Still, fans are rightfully confused as to just how the melange of offensive minds the Eagles have collected over the past month will exist in harmony.
Philadelphia’s coaching staff now includes a promoted Press Taylor manning the Passing Game Coordinator position, newly hired Andrew Breiner as a Passing Game Analyst and Duce Staley and Jeff Stoutland reprising their roles as Assistant Head Coach and Run Game Coordinator, respectively. Matt Burke was also tagged as a Run Game Coordinator after taking over the Defensive Line.
So what is it exactly that Marty Mornhinweg brings to the table?
1) Scheme Familiarity
Both Doug Pederson and Mornhinweg have worked under Andy Reid, who’s coaching tree is extensive. Reid has based his success off of his West Coast style passing attack, which has been morphed and manipulated over the years but remains true to its roots. Therefore, you shouldn’t expect many changes to come for the offense. Short passes and spacing will still be at the forefront of the Eagles offense.
However, despite Mornhinweg’s nickname “Air Marty”, his offenses feature fairly nuanced and creative rushing schemes. Westbrook and LeSean McCoy were the features of the offense in his last stint with the Eagles. He also had fantastic success running the football in San Fransisco, New York, and Baltimore.
He has habitually run a zone scheme very similar to Pederson’s own. While the Eagles have been plenty successful running the football under Coach Pederson, there have been times he’s strayed away from the run game without much resistance. Similarly to his adherence to the run game under Andy Reid, hopefully, Mornhinweg will remind Doug to trust the run.
Nevertheless, his offenses have always been predicated on passing the football.; and not simply chucking the ball, but focusing on timing and high completion percentage. As he has famously stated:
In this league, you need to pass the ball very efficiently to score points.
He has always been detail-oriented. It’s necessary when running an offense facilitated by precise routes and spacing. In the West Coast offense, there will always be short routes and check-downs available to the quarterback to ensure that the offense continues its forward momentum. The Eagles have been electric on third down, many times because they have failed to gain positive yardage on early downs. For a West Coast offense to be truly successful, small gains on 1st and 2nd are a necessity.
Using the short pass as a staple of the offense, bigger gains can be harder to come by. Thus, the offense requires some juice from their receivers after the catch. This should help Miles Sanders, who has already proven his proficiency with the ball in his hands. The same goes for Boston Scott. Both will get their fair share of opportunity through check-downs and outlet passes. Another player that may benefit is Dallas Goedert, who has shown glimpses of just how lethal he can be after the catch.
Still, it won’t all just be 5-15 yard passes. Mornhinweg has not been afraid to throw the ball deep in his time in the NFL. The Eagles were top-10 in deep passes in his last two years as OC and he has had plenty of success throwing the ball downfield with a capable quarterback and deep threat available. Luckily, the Eagles will have DeSean Jackson coming back from injury. They may also very well add another deep threat in the draft.
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