Nick Sirianni needs to avoid repeating Mike Groh’s biggest mistake

NFL: OCT 18 Ravens at Eagles
PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 18: Philadelphia Eagles Running Back Miles Sanders (26) carries the ball in the first half during the game between the Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles on October 18, 2020 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

The Philadelphia Eagles aren’t as bad as their 1-3 record suggests, but they could be a lot better. There are many reasons for their rollercoaster start to the season, but one of the more perplexing has been the lack of attention to running the ball. The more time passes, the more questions arise, and the more signs remind fans of an era they’d hoped to have forgotten by now.

We all know the problem that Nick Sirianni has right now. He doesn’t seem too sold on the idea of running the ball and even found a way to scurry around doing so against the league’s worst rushing defense in week 3. When the running backs were deployed, there was a heavy emphasis on receiving the ball. In fact, the running backs had just as many targets as they did carries…and that’s excluding routes ran into the flat where Hurts went elsewhere.

This has proven to be an issue for many very logical reasons that don’t need explaining, but more importantly, for the growth of Miles Sanders. The Eagles drafted the Penn State product in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft and are failing to get the most out of a truly explosive running back. There was one point during the loss to Kansas City where after a big gain, Sanders spiked the ball down in front of his Head Coach, showing his displeasure at the lack of carries.

Nick Sirianni preached today that while he wants to get Miles Sanders in possession of the rock more often, there’s only one football. Hearing that sentiment brought back a very chilling memory.

Not too long ago, an Eagles team on the cusp of making the 2018 playoffs decided to trade for Golden Tate at the trade deadline. While Tate was the missing piece of the puzzle on paper, getting the ball to him and two other slot receivers wasn’t going to be easy, and offensive coordinator Mike Groh stated as much.

The growth of Nelson Agholor stagnated that season and Jordan Matthews endured a sharp decline while the team tried to force the ball to their new acquisition. The truth was that the Eagles front office made a move and the offense became so rigid that getting the most out of Golden Tate was always going to be impossible with the time they had left. This scenario, however, doesn’t have to be doomed to fail.

The simple solution is running the ball. It’s Nick Sirianni following through on his word and building his offense around the strengths of his players, with Miles Sanders being one of the more dangerous weapons at his disposal. It’s bringing balance to the gameplan in a bid to help Jalen Hurts as opposed to throwing him to the wolves and hoping for the best.

All good coaches should be so sold on their philosophies that come rain or shine, they stick to them. But if the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, a trip down memory lane should serve as a reminder of how the wheels can very quickly fall off if he continues to beat the same drum.

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire