After watching another weird Eagles game where it looked like the Eagles purposely tried to do all the wrong things, I couldn't help but think that they should try and play more like the Texans over teams like the Packers/Patriots/Old Colts. We simply do not have that personnel and we aren't playing to our cumulative strengths. The Texans provide probably the closest model to what the Eagles have and should emulate. The Texans this year are 3-0 and look quite convincing.
The Eagles offense right now is focused on Mike Vick primiarily over McCoy/Running Game. Vick has a lot of talent and he does have weapons around him. However, unlike the Pats or the Saints, the Eagles don't really have any big possession type receivers that can be relied on to constantly get yardage. The Eagles instead rely on getting separation and then Vick finding a receiver. The speed of the receivers makes this possible but it is hard to constantly hope for seperation. If the defense plays it well, Vick doesn't have an option to just chuck it towards a specific receiver and hope for the best as none of the Eagles receivers are really going up to get the ball type of receivers. So often Vick is just stuck waiting for someone to get open.
McCoy benefits mostly from plays that go outside the tackles as the defense usually keeps at least one safety very deep to account for DJax and the Eagles general speed. Vick's speed also helps as it forces the defense to keep containment. McCoy is a home run back but is also quite good at getting the yards given to him.
Well, most of this stuff everyone knows and sees.
The Texans Offense
The Texans also have a similar big time running back in Arian Foster. McCoy is a better runner than Foster (slightly worse in the passing game). Foster has the best backup in the NFL in Ben Tate. That's the only main difference in the teams. The Texans WRs are mediocre apart from Andre Johnson. However, Andre Johnson like the Eagles WRs has always been more of a yards than a TD machine. Matt Schaub is a very solid QB. Accurate and can make smart passes. The passing game could easily be the main staple of the team. However, it is used as a deadly secondary option.
The Texans run the ball like crazy. Their style of running is different to the Eagles as they use a lot of zone blocking. They play possession football which sets up the playaction game. The Eagles with their deep threat speed would hugely benefit from this type of football. The bootleg playaction plays run by the Texans absolutely torched the Broncos because the defense was so worried about the running game. Against the Eagles, it is always running game second. Below is a result from yesterday's game and a bootleg play -
The defense bit on the fake and the big play receiver got separation. Should be perfectly possible with DJax/Maclin. Vick has much better arm strength than Schaub and the speed is obviously there as well. Bootlegs should give Vick enough time for the play if the run game is established.
The Texans have a great defense but so do the Eagles. While the Texans employ a 3-4 versus the 4-3 they get a lot of pressure from their D line. The same is true of the Eagles. The Texans have been amazing on third down and have been able to get the ball back to the offense by getting good pressure on the QB and being quite solid in coverage. The Eagles defense has been trending in the exact same direction.
The main difference is the defense is allowed to set up the offense instead of the other way around. The way the Eagles play, they try and use the offense to set up the wide 9 defense and pass rush. However, I believe, right now we have more than enough talent to play in any sort of situation. This was shown in the 2nd half of the Ravens game, Browns game and even some of the Cards game. The defense is not going to be beaten unless the Eagles offense helps or a very very nice play is made.
Overall, I'm not sure if its possible to change the identity of a team from a pass first, rush the QB, to a run first, play smart football team but something should be done. The offensive line looks terrible in pass protection but solid in run protection? Why not emphasize these strengths?
I think the Texans overall provide the best model for the Eagles to follow. Rather than being the 2000s Colts, why not play to the rest of the talent on the team?
Yeah, it's a lot of stuff that has been said before in terms of what the Eagles should do. Do you think there is a better model out there for the Eagles to follow?