Random thoughts heading into a pivotal game

It seems like forever since our last game, which is a relief in some ways. After watching the Tampa Bay game, I think we all needed a long break.

In getting ready for the Raiders game, I watched their game against the Broncos, and came away fairly impressed. They are just a solid squad that spreads the ball around on offense and generates pressure with their front four on defense. They have some quality wins this year, and didn't seem impacted by the issue with Gruden leaving. So far this season, they pass the ball really well and can't run, and can't stop the run and defends the pass fairly well. If there was ever a time for the Eagles to unleash the run game, this is it.

Some things I want to see on offense:

1. More empty backfield. Having a mobile qb is effective if you put the defense in conflict. Constantly running RPOs or read options doesn't really do this, since the space they are operating in is limited. The ball has to get out early, so the defense can crowd the box. Spreading things out gives the offense more options. Hurts can run, throw a quick pass or sit back in the pocket and let a play develop. Plus, Goedert and Sanders/Gainwell can flex out wide and create issues.

2. QB runs with a RB as a lead blocker. The Ravens run this play all the time and it is effective, as is most of their running concepts (including designed qb runs from an empty backfield.)

3. Jet motion. We have so much speed on offense, and we really don't use it enough. Sending a players like Watkins into motion at least presents a threat of a jet sweep. And with Smith and Reagor at the other wr spots, the defense has to respect those players as well.

4. More snaps under center. Being constantly in shotgun makes the running game too predictable. I have no idea if Hurts can take snaps under center since I have never seen it, but if he can, he should.

Will these solve all the issues? Probably not. But at least it presents the defense with some new looks. Like it or not, we aren't going to be an offense that moves the ball with any consistency until we can run the ball with consistency. And we can't do that if a defense knows that our range of runs is limited to basically three or four plays.

On defense, I thought we changes things up on defense, and I am hoping to see more of that against the Raiders. Davion Taylor and Genard Avery have made a case for more snaps, and I like what they did in terms of games from the defensive line.

Overall, this is looking like a game that will be a solid test for the team on both sides of the ball. The Raiders are a team that can run somewhat hot and cold. But they moved the ball well against the Broncos, which is a solid defensive team in its own right.

I am hoping that the team approaches this game as a chance to reset the offense. If we start off with the same RPOs and screen passes that we have run every week so far, I will be despondent. Let's see some new twists to make opposing defensive coordinators at least have to break a sweat to earn their paycheck.