Eagles offense will get the jump-start that it needs under new OC Kellen Moore

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith celebrates after scoring with quarterback Jalen Hurts during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants Monday, Dec. 25, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Perhaps the biggest buzzword coming out of Eagles’ minicamp was “freedom.” It was tickling the tongue of every receiver questioned about the revamped system under new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. Expect a lot more mesh concepts, motion, misdirection, and “dirty bunch” formations to jump-start what was considered a stale offense in 2023.

“I think it’s going to be great,” DeVonta Smith told reporters. “Get a new style of offense around. Let guys be able to do things that we weren’t allowed to do. Move guys around, things like that. Overall, it’s always (good) to have a fresh start.”

Eagles’ head coach Nick Sirianni didn’t deny big changes were on the horizon, although he disguised everything under the topic of evolution. He and Moore are growing the offense in tandem heading into their first training camp together. (Remember, Jalen Hurts let it slip that “95 percent” of the Eagles’ offense is new).

“You’re constantly trying to evolve as far as what you’re studying,” Sirianni told reporters on June 6. “When you study things, usually, and you’re a staff that’s together again, you have to go outside and study. Well, when we’ve studied things this year, yes, we’ve went outside into different places to study things and talked to different coaches, but we’re able to — Kellen naturally is able to learn some things about the way we did it before, I am able to learn some things the way Kellen — that’s major growth, when you’re in there — you’ve got the guy who, you know, Kellen being responsible for that, you get to grow together and ask those questions that sometimes quite frankly you don’t have that opportunity. You might have a couple days at a place or they come in here. But we’re together all the time.”

New Concepts, New Playmaker: DeVonta Smith

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) catches the ball and runs for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Kellen Moore has been praised for finding ways to get his best playmakers open. For example, he was a master at scheming Keenan Allen open last year in Los Angeles. Whether it was sending Allen on go-circle routes or having him sit down in the middle of the zone, Moore kept introducing new wrinkles to get his star receiver the ball including sending other guys on double screens.

Oh, it worked. Allen finished the 2023 campaign with a career-high 108 receptions for 1,243 yards with seven touchdowns in only 13 games. He was virtually unstoppable, targeted all over the field in a multitude of ways. Look for Moore to use DeVonta Smith in a similar fashion. Why him? Because he’s the Eagles’ best route-runner and a match-up manipulator, plus A.J. Brown can use his massive frame and raw strength to shed defenders whereas Smith needs to out-think everyone. He’s the compass point.

“When you’re getting bunches and things like that, guys don’t press as much,” Smith said. “And it kind of confuses the defense so it gives you more space and opportunity to do things.”

Pounding the Rock: Balanced Offense for the Eagles

Philadelphia Eagle’s Saquon Barkley talks to the media during a press conference after signing with the NFL football team, Thursday, March 14, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Everyone might be looking at the Eagles’ passing offense to soar to new heights under Kellen Moore’s guidance but one of his calling cards has been an unwavering commitment to the run. That’s right. Moore ran one of the most balanced offenses in the NFL, especially during his tenure in Dallas where they ranked No. 9 in run-pass ratio in 2022. He prefers to lean on outside zone runs … then again, he’s not afraid to switch it up to a GT counter and get his guards pulling if the defense figures it out. He showed a real willingness, almost defiant stubbornness, to pound the rock.

Moore, armed with superstar back Saquon Barkley, is probably salivating liked a starved dog at the possibilities with the Eagles. His Cowboys team ranked No. 5 in third-down efficiency (45.2%) and No. 1 in red-zone touchdowns scored (71.4%) in 2022 based largely on his mentality to attack in short-yardage situations.

“Kellen has a brilliant offensive mind,” Eagles’ HC Nick Sirianni said. “Has a great, unique way of explaining it to his coaches and to the players. And just again, like I said, really excited about where we are and some of those tweaks are really awesome. Looking forward to, you know, seeing him as this practice goes today, and then as the year goes.”

AP Photo/Chris Szagola