FanPost

How Can Chip Kelly Fix the Eagles Red Zone Problems?

A lot of people seem to think that picking up a big wide receiver will help to solve the Eagles red zone issues. I think that is a lazy answer and that people do not look at the other possible solutions. It seems that there are many different solutions to how to operate in the red zone: throwing the ball to your big receivers, utilizing your tight end, running the ball, and any sort of combination of these. We will look at the different teams who have similar starting wide receivers (6 feet and under) and how they find success in the red zone. Also, what I believe Chip Kelly will do in the red zone this coming up season.

Firstly, I believe the best things to have in the red zone are: (in no order)

- A mobile QB

- An athletic tight end

- A big strong receiver

- A big power back

You do not need all of these but if you can get at least 2 of them and build your red zone offense around it, you can be successful.

First lets look at how the Eagles did in the red zone last season:

Keep in mind all stats are for the red zone only.

Eagles- (22 RZ TDs)

Player

Attempts

Comp

Comp %

Yards

Yds/Att

TD

INT

Vick

44

20

45.5%

140

3.18

9

2

Foles

27

11

40.7%

75

2.78

4

0

The Eagles were a pass heavy team in the red zone passing 71 times to running it only 54 times. Their most effective target was Jeremy Maclin catching 8 passes on 16 targets for 55 yards and 3 TDs. Lesean McCoy was also pretty effective in the red zone catching 6 passes on 9 targets for 33 yards and 3 TDs. Running the ball, Lesean was much less effective, rushing for 31 yards on 23 attempts a 1.3 ypc average, 2 TDs and 1 fumble. Bryce Brown had a little more success rushing for 41 yards on 15 attempts a 2.7 ypc average and scoring 3 TDs. The Eagles’ tight ends didn’t pitch in much going for 10 catches on 21 targets for 3 TDs between Celek, Harbor, and Moore. Not only did they fail to drive in the red zone, but they also turned the ball over 8 times.

Luckily for the Eagles, Chip Kelly at Oregon was very successful in the red zone. In 13 games Oregon had 73 red zone drives with 59 red zone TDs and only 7 red zone field goals, a red zone scoring percentage of 90%. In the red zone they had 36 rushing TDs to 23 passing TDs. In college it appears Chip wants to run a lot more in the red zone than pass. I feel this is exactly what the Eagles need to do.

The Eagles are not the only team without a prominent big wide receiver. Lets look at other teams with 2 starting WRs that are 6’ tall or under. These teams are the Steelers, Rams, Panthers, Colts, and Patriots.

Steelers- (27 RZ TDs)

Player

Attempts

Comp

Comp%

Yards

Yds/Att

TD

INT

Roethlis.

67

37

55.2

216

3.22

19

0

The Steelers have a very similar WR corps to the Eagles with the exception of Mike Wallace being a little bigger than Desean Jackson. But the Steelers had a great compliment to their wide receivers in Heath Miller. Miller had a great year catching 12 receptions on 19 targets for 64 yards and 7 TDs. The Steelers also look very Eagle-esque passing the ball 73 times to only 53 times rushing.

Jonathan Dwyer was pretty effective in the red zone rushing for 65 yards on 24 attempts but only 2 TDs which ties with Isaac Redman and Chris Rainey.

Rams- (18 RZ TDs)

Player

Attempts

Comp

Comp%

Yards

Yds/Att

TD

INT

Bradford

60

33

55

210

3.5

13

3

The Rams WR corps is not only similar to the Eagles WRs, they are the Eagles castoff WRs. They also threw the ball a lot more than they ran it without much success. The Rams WR corps is different in that they have 2 big backup receivers in Austin Pettis and Brian Quick. These guys still didn’t produce much with 5 receptions and 4 TDs for Pettis and only 2 receptions for 1 TD for Quick. Both Amendola and Brandon Gibson had 3 TDs in the red zone.

Surprisingly the Rams did not run very much in the red zone, throwing for 61 times and rushing for only 39 times. The Steelers were able to get away with throwing this many times with their small receivers because Heath Miller stepped up in the red zone. Sadly, future hall of famer Lance Kendricks had another down year. Sadly, I think this team most represents the Eagles in the red zone last year. No red zone TE play and no red zone run game.

Panthers- (26 RZ TDs)

Player

Attempts

Comp

Comp%

Yards

Yds/Att

TD

INT

Newton

57

20

35.1

161

2.82

8

2

While the Panthers receivers are like the Eagles receivers, their QB is not. Cam is the perfect QB to be rushing in the red zone and the Panthers played to his strengths. The Panthers were surprisingly even worse than the Eagles at throwing the ball in the red zone, but they ran a lot more than they passed. The only prominent receiver for the Panthers was Greg Olsen who had 6 receptions on 12 targets for 54 yards and 3 TDs.

With 57 pass attempts to 75 rushes they are a very run heavy team and it worked out for them. Cam ran for 7 TDs, Tolbert ran for 7 TDs, Deangelo Williams ran for 3 TDs, and Stewart ran for 1 TD. The Panthers had a total of 18 rushing TDs to 8 passing TDs, 4 more TDs than the Eagles had in the red zone despite the Eagles only having 7 less plays.

Colts- (26 RZ TDs)

Player

Attempts

Comp

Comp%

Yards

Yds/Att

TD

INT

Luck

69

35

50.7

247

3.58

15

2

The Colts were pretty balanced throwing the ball 70 times to rushing it 61 times. Their wide receivers did most of the work in the red zone with Wayne having 7 receptions on 17 targets for 4 TDs, Avery having 5 receptions on 14 targets for 3 TDs, and Hilton having 5 receptions on 8 targets for 2 TDs. Their tight ends chipped in a little with Dwayne Allen having 3 TDs and Fleener having 1 TD.

The Colts most effective runner in the red zone was Andrew Luck who had 5 TDs on 14 attempts, followed by Vick Ballard who had 74 yards on 25 attempts and 2 TDs.

Patriots- (49 RZ TDs)

Player

Attempts

Comp

Comp%

Yards

Yds/Att

TD

INT

Brady

81

49

60.5

370

4.57

24

1

The gold standard for how offenses should play ESPECIALLY in the red zone. I doubt the Eagles will be able to find the next Tom Brady, or the next Gronkowski, or even the next Aaron Hernandez. But despite all of the receiving targets that the Patriots have they were actually more of a running team in the red zone. They ran the ball 115 times to 81 passes. Leading this rushing attack was Stephen Ridley who had 163 yard on 58 attempts (2nd most in NFL to Adrian Peterson) for 12 TDs. Stephen Ridley is a pretty big RB at 5-11 220 pounds. Now where could the Eagles find one of those? Could it be the 6-0 223 pound Bryce Brown who also runs a 40 about .3 seconds faster than Ridley?

The Patriots also have a number of great receivers for the red zone. Gronk led the team in TD catches with 8 TDs on 10 receptions out of 17 targets. Welker also pitched in 5 TDs on 12 receptions and 16 targets. Aaron Hernandez had 7 receptions and 12 targets for 4 touchdowns.

Analysis-

Of these 5 teams we see different ways on which to operate in the red zone. A good red zone TE like Heath Miller or Gronk can be a nice reliable weapon for the QB. Other than 2009 Celek has not been very effective at scoring TDs and I don’t see much in Harbor who physically is a little smaller and faster than Brent Celek. I think a nice TE to go after in the late rounds of the draft would be Joseph Fauria 6-7 255 pounds. He is faster than his size may indicate and is still developing as a receiver but was a big threat in the red zone and had 12 TDs last year for UCLA.

I would like the Eagles to keep their two starting receivers, rather than trying to add a big receiver. Jackson and Maclin can really stretch the field and make big plays, which gives more room for the RBs to run the ball. But I really hope Chip Kelly runs the ball more than Reid did in the red zone. In 2011 McCoy had 50 rush attempts for 14 TDs in the red zone. If we could bring that back and pair it with Bryce Brown, the run game can be great in the red zone.

Obviously, the running game is not only made of one person, the O-line needs to get a really good push especially when the defenders are so close together like they are in the red zone. One really cannot stress the importance of a dominant O-line, which I believe is part of what helped the Patriots run the ball so much. Last year a lot of the O-line was hurt which may have been part of the reason why the Eagles passed a lot more in the red zone. But there are many good OTs in free agency and the draft. If we could grab one good OT it will give us insurance if Peters doesn’t come back healthy, and give us flexibility to move Herremans back to guard if the Eagles cannot find a suitable RG.

Another aspect that can’t be overlooked is the Quarterback. Foles and Vick did not look to good in the red zone last year but you wonder whether it was more on the QB, his receivers, or even the O-line.

Final Solution-

Improving the O-line and running the ball more would take some of the onus off of the QB and receivers to perform in the red zone. A big tight end that could perform in the red zone would also be a big help for the QB.

All stats courtesy of: http://fantasynews.cbssports.com/fantasyfootball/teams/redzone/playerstats/PHI/philadelphia-eagles

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Bleeding Green Nation

You must be a member of Bleeding Green Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bleeding Green Nation. You should read them.

Join Bleeding Green Nation

You must be a member of Bleeding Green Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bleeding Green Nation. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker