Eagles coaching staff needs to climb out of play-calling funk

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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – AUGUST 27: Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni during the National Football League preseason game between the New York Jets and the Philadelphia Eagles on August 27, 2021 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)

Most franchises in the NFL would be ecstatic to trade places with the Philadelphia Eagles right now. At 9-1, the Eagles have used good defense and excellent quarterback play to get off to one of the best starts in franchise history.

While excitement and positivity should run rampant in Philadelphia, there is one major concern with the offense, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the players.

The turnover battle has appeared to even out over the last couple of weeks, but the play-calling and adjustments made by the offensive coaching staff have been quite alarming over the last three weeks. Whether it’s the league catching up to the RPO game, the lack of adjustments with key injuries, or just a lack of preparation, holes have slowly started to open up in Philadelphia’s armor.

Has the Eagles’ RPO formula been figured out?

The Texans were probably the first team that showed an ability to stop the RPO in key situations. Washington was also very strong against the Eagles’ bread and butter. The key to stopping an RPO is to press the receivers at the line of scrimmage, and have multiple waves of defenders keying on Hurts and the running backs.

Indianapolis did a superb job of that throughout the contest. If it wasn’t for Hurts playing like an MVP candidate, the Eagles would have probably lost that game. Changing a set offense is always difficult midway through the season, but the lack of adjustments has been alarming, particularly when regarding the RPO game.

It doesn’t help when the OL is downfield on most of the plays, but it feels like the Eagles are getting far too comfortable relying on the RPO which directly shows how frustrated the offense has been over the last couple of weeks.

Trust goes a long way

There were three main keys to the Eagles’ offensive struggles on Sunday: the overabundance of the RPO, mental mistakes in execution, and a lack of trust.

It’s crazy to think, but throughout the game, it just seemed that the Eagles coaching staff didn’t trust Jalen Hurts to make the plays with his arm as opposed to his legs. This is, of course, more complex than just that simple statement. The Eagles trusted their QB to make key plays throughout the game with his legs and it was Hurts’ leadership that pulled Philly out with the win.

But Hurts has shown the ability to win games with his arm. There’s no reason for the Eagles to limit themselves with him ONLY throwing RPOs and not letting him work the pocket.

Trust goes a long way. The Eagles trust Jalen Hurts to be the leader of the franchise and make plays with his legs. It’s time the Eagles’ offensive staff trust their quarterback to win games with his arm as well.

Is it just a midseason slump?

Slumps happen throughout an NFL season. Some teams have their slumps early in the year, some go through a late-season collapse. For the Eagles, their offensive woes over the last few weeks have matched the previous history of the franchise.

In the Andy Reid years, mediocre Novembers on offense would see the group stall and drop multiple games, only for the team to pick up their play late in the year for deep playoff runs.

The Nick Sirianni Eagles aren’t immune to slumps. The offense is clearly in one now, but it’s completely up to the coaching staff to fix them. Turnovers, bad penalties, and bad play-calling all go back o preparation and thinking too much. If the Eagles play more freely with the football and go back to what worked in the early slate of games, the success of the offense should come back in full force.

Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire