Fresh off of a disappointing loss in Dallas, the Philadelphia Eagles return home to host an old friend in Andy Reid and his Kansas City Chiefs. The gulf between the two teams will be huge and for the Eagles to shrink that, they will need to focus on some key areas.
Stopping the run
The Dallas Cowboys gashed the Eagles run defense on Monday night, feeding off of what has been a concerning trend to start the season. What doesn’t help is the fact that Clyde Edwards-Helaire is coming off of a very impressive game against the Chargers that saw him eclipse 100-yards rushing for the first time this season.
The Eagles were absolutely exposed by an old foe in the way of Ezekiel Elliott, and a much more explosive opponent awaits in the way of CEH and a very impressive offensive front.
We’re not really used to seeing that in Kansas City, but after the Super Bowl loss lived rent free, the front office really put an emphasis on beefing it up during the offseason and it’s already paying dividends. This means that guys like Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave will have their work cut out, and any pesky penalties by Derek Barnett will prove to be even more punishing.
The linebackers cannot afford to let CEH juke them out of their cleats, and the defensive line cannot afford those gaping holes to be opened which force the deficient group into a problematic one-on-one. If stopping the run was a ‘must’ on Monday, it’s do-or-die here.
And on the other side…
The Eagles have a pretty banged up offensive line right now. There will be two backup guards starting in place of Isaac Seumalo and Brandon Brooks, and Andre Dillard will once again fill in for the injured Jordan Mailata.
Facing the Washington State product this week will be none other than Frank Clark. His sack production may have declined in each of the last three years, but that’s not what worries me. Clark is a bruiser. He’s a powerful edge-rusher who makes his living through ripping past his opposition violently. For Dillard, a more agile lineman who has often struggled against sheer power, this is a concern.
Dillard has graceful feet but a tendency to be knocked off balance very quickly when defending bull rushes and this will leave Clark licking his lips. The Eagles will need to try and take the pressure off of their tackle by getting the ball out quick and rushing to the right hand side behind a much more dominant Lane Johnson….if they even rush at all.
Run the damn ball
It sounds obvious and that’s because it is. The Philadelphia Eagles seem to have an intrinsic fear of running the ball, regardless of who the coaches or running backs are. Miles Sanders getting only two carries on Monday night is inexplicable. If it happens again this week, there need to be some serious questions asked of the coaching staff.
The Kansas City Chiefs rank 31st against the run this year. They rank 32nd in rushing touchdowns allowed. 39% of rushing attempts against them have moved the chains.
If Nick Sirianni, who prides himself on building an offense to the strengths of his players, does not run the ball at least 50% of the time against the Chiefs, it could yield disastrous results.
Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)