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Eagles News: The problem with “Run The Ball”

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 12/7/23.

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NFL: OCT 14 Buccaneers at Eagles Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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PSA: If the Eagles don’t run the ball a lot in a game they lose, it doesn’t automatically mean that they lost because they didn’t run the ball a lot - PhillyVoice
If we’re looking at the Eagles objectively, they’re just not running it well right now. Jalen Hurts injured his knee against the Dolphins and then again later against the Cowboys. The run game hasn’t been the same, because opposing defenses aren’t forced to pay as much attention to Hurts, negating the Eagles’ numbers advantage on gives to the running backs. Since that Dolphins game, the Eagles are averaging just 3.7 yards per rush attempt. If they ran it with that efficiency over the course of the entire season, they’d rank 29th in the NFL in yards per carry right now. So does that mean they just shouldn’t run it anymore? God no. It’s part of their identity, and if they can’t run it, they won’t have much of a chance to win the Super Bowl. They have five more regular season games to figure things out before the playoffs, and they damn sure shouldn’t become a team that aspires to throw it 40 times per game, even with two star receivers in A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. So, you know... run the ball. But also, let’s save criticism for not running the ball for games where it’s deserved.

What’s behind dramatic drop in Jalen Hurts’ rushing stats? - NBCSP
What’s down dramatically are yards per carry and, more importantly, explosive runs. As a rookie in limited action, Hurts averaged a 10-yard run every 4.6 rushing attempts (not including kneel downs) and a 20-yarder every 20. In 2021, those figures were a 10-yarder every 4.4 runs and a 20-yarder every 18, and last year it was 5.6 and 20.7. This year? A 10-yarder every 10.1 carries and a 20-yarder every 111. Over the 2021 and 2022 seasons, Hurts had the 6th-most 10-yard runs in the league (55) and 20-yard runs (14). This year, he ranks 34th with just 11 yards of at least 10 yards and 53rd with one 20-yard carry. In six of 12 games this year, Hurts’ rushing average has been under 3.0 yards per carry. That’s more than he had in 2021 and 2022 combined (five) and sixth-most in the league this year.

Eagles Film Analysis: All-22 offense takeaways from the 49ers game - BGN
The Eagles offense is becoming a little predictable for my liking. They lined up with 11 personnel on 81% of all snaps and only used 21 personnel on 3 occasions. I don’t get it! I feel like I could write a book about this game and how the Eagles approached this one, so I’m going to try and be as concise as possible There is going to be a lot of ‘Jalen Hurts vs. Brian Johnson - who is to blame?’ talk this week in Philadelphia. I think both had bad games. Hurts in particular, just did not see the field well at all. I think it’s becoming clear as the season goes on that Hurts throws certain concepts well, and seems to trust some players over others. If this is Dallas Goedert on the corner route, I think he throws it. Despite saying that, you can’t make excuses for Hurts on some of these plays. This is just a straight-up miss and it should be quite a simple read too because he is staring at the safety who is coming downhill!

On the Shane Page #8: Offensive and defensive takeaways from Eagles Week 13 loss to the 49ers - BGN Radio
Shane Haff and Jonny Page share their offensive and defensive takeaways from the Eagles Week 13 loss to the 49ers.

Game Review – SF 42, PHI 19 - Iggles Blitz
It is hard to totally criticize Johnson because Jalen Hurts was so up and down. He held the ball over and over, looking for big play opportunities. The offense gained 333 yards and scored 19 points against a Top 5 defense so it isn’t like they turned into the Jets or Patriots. But the offense wasn’t efficient. It wasn’t good. It felt random. Jimmy Bama wrote a piece on Hurts and showed some plays where he didn’t make good reads or throws. Nick Sirianni said the Stoll non-play was for a reason. Stoll wasn’t part of the read on that. Still, there were a lot of plays where Hurts was hesitant and didn’t make good decisions. The Eagles needed a great game from him. They didn’t get it.

Week 14 NFL Picks Against the Spread - The Ringer
Since 2000, there have been 58 teams with at least 10 wins through the first 13 weeks of the season. Among that group, the Eagles’ plus-41 point differential ranks 56th. Only the 2019 Seahawks and the 2022 Vikings were worse. The Eagles saw a lot of their issues get exposed during last week’s blowout loss to the 49ers, but my biggest concern right now is their pass rush. The Eagles can’t get off the field on third down, and there’s a big reason for that: They’re not impacting opposing quarterbacks nearly enough. The Eagles’ sack rate of 5.3 percent on third down is the lowest in the NFL. That’s tough to swallow, given how many resources general manager Howie Roseman has poured into that group. The Cowboys, meanwhile, continue to look great on offense. Dak Prescott carved the Seahawks up last week and is playing the best football of his career. He’s tied with Brock Purdy for the best MVP odds in the NFL going into Week 14. This Eagles team hasn’t faced a lot of adversity in the past two years, but the offense has been uneven in recent weeks, and the defense has glaring holes. Coming into the season, I thought these two teams would split their two games, and I’m sticking with that. The pick: Cowboys (-3.5)

Can Eagles get back on course after stunning loss to 49ers? - ESPN
Every team has flaws, even the very good ones. And despite some recent turbulence, the Eagles still boast the best record in football. They have to travel to Dallas and Seattle the next two weeks, but finish with a friendly slate that features a pair of games against the New York Giants and a home game against the Arizona Cardinals. They remain in strong position to secure the No. 1 seed. However, the sound defeat against the Niners magnified some real problems. They’ve made a habit out of starting slow on offense. They move away from the ground game too early at times. And the defense has been subpar in situational football, generating takeaways and defending the pass. Those areas need to be shored up as December turns to January if the Eagles want to avoid an early playoff exit.

Week 14 NFL picks: Steelers over Pats on Thursday night; Cowboys unanimously chosen to beat Eagles - NFL.com
Why Gennaro is taking the Cowboys: Jalen Hurts’ health has become such a topic of consternation in Philadelphia that it feels like we’re overlooking the alarming development on the other side of the ball: The Eagles’ defense has become a sieve. The unit has given up 400-plus yards in four of its past five outings. In 20 games last season, including the playoffs, that happened once — in a December defeat at Dallas. That’s a particularly ominous coincidence as the Eagles approach this December’s duel at Jerry World. Not only is Philly struggling on defense, but Dallas is scorching earth on offense, averaging a league-best 32.3 point per game with QB Dak Prescott emerging as a top MVP candidate. It’s a formula for more home-team hijinks with the Salvation Army kettle.

Paving the Lane: Lane Johnson is a mental health trailblazer - PE.com
We know Lane Johnson as the ultimate Eagle – tough, team-minded, and one of the very best ever to play the right offensive tackle position. He was a first-round draft pick in 2013 and his career accomplishments speak for themselves: Three times he’s been named an All-Pro player and four times he has been voted to the Pro Bowl. Johnson has won a Super Bowl and he has for many seasons been lauded as the premier player in the NFL anchoring the right side of the offensive line. But there is a whole lot more to Lane Johnson, the Eagles’ 2023 Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee. For as much success as Johnson has had on the field, the strides he has made off the field are just as impressive. Years ago, he made public his battle with an anxiety disorder, opening the eyes of countless others who previously resisted the need for counseling and therapy. It was a courageous move, one very much in the spotlight, and only part of the story of Johnson giving back to others in his very significant way. “When I came here as a young player, I had mentors who showed me the way, who showed me how important it was to connect with the community,” Johnson said. “It’s something they demonstrated every day – how important relationships are in this world and how much kindness and impact in the community means not only to the organization but to your community in general.”

Fantasy Football WR Report: Man, zone coverage performance ahead of NFL Week 14 - PFF
Philadelphia is surrendering an explosive play on 13.9% of zone coverage snaps, which is tied for the ninth-worst mark in the league. CeeDee Lamb has been dominant versus both man and zone coverages this season, earning 0.47 fantasy points per route run against zone (tied for 14th) and 0.87 versus man (fourth), making him a high-end fantasy option in Week 14. Brandin Cooks has been a solid WR2 option over the past two weeks but should be expected to finish outside that range in Week 14, as he’s managed just 0.26 fantasy points per route run versus zone (tied for 78th). Cooks has been better in that regard against man (0.52), but that has been the Eagles’ coverage strength. Cooks’ lower target rate could limit his production.

NFL issues another memo regarding non-player conduct during games - PFT
Less than three months after sending a memo to all teams regarding the behavior of non-players during games, the NFL has issued another memo. The latest message, a copy of which PFT has obtained, comes three days after an incident that resulted in the mutual ejections of 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw and Eagles head of security Dom DiSandro. “The Playing Rules of the National Football League, and our Game Operations Policies, clearly prohibit non-player personnel — coaches, trainers, equipment staff, security officers, or others — from making physical contact with, taunting, or directing abusive or insulting language toward opposing players, game officials, or others involved in a game,” the memo explains. “If an altercation occurs, club personnel are to allow the coaches and game officials to manage the situation, with the officials assessing appropriate penalties, with assistance from the League Office as needed. Under no circumstances are club personnel to engage with or make physical contact with another club’s player(s) or other personnel.”

The Potential Pay Raises From 2023 Pro Bowl Honors - Over The Cap
Unlike Waddle, DeVonta Smith might have a more difficult time getting named while playing alongside AJ Brown, but this is the last season he has a chance to get a boost to his fifth year option.

Dallas Cowboys 2023 opponent preview: 2 Eagles to keep an eye on - Blogging The Boys
Haason Reddick has been a star since joining the Eagles via a trade with the Arizona Cardinals and he will be a problem that Terence Steele and company will need to deal with all night long. The last time these two teams met, Steele gave up four sacks with one of those coming from Reddick. The Eagles surely smell blood in the water with Steele on the right side and the ‘Boys will need a plan for Reddick and the crew this week.

Evan Neal ‘stepped out of the womb’ as an offensive tackle - Big Blue View
Is Evan Neal’s future at right tackle or at one of the two guard spots? The second-year New York Giants offensive lineman left no doubt how he feels about that while speaking to a handful of reporters on Wednesday. “To be honest, if you want my opinion, as soon as I stepped out of the womb, I stepped out an offensive tackle. And that’s how I feel,” Neal said. “You asked Joe the question. He gave you his analysis on where he felt like he sees me, so there you have it.” Neal was referring to general manager Joe Schoen, who said “I don’t think so” when I asked him during the bye week if the Giants need to consider moving Neal to guard.

Washington Commanders Tank Tracker 2023 – Week 14 - Hogs Haven
Most fans remain fixated on the possibility of adding elite talent to offensive line. Thanks to the trades for Montez Sweat and Chase Young, the Commanders’ current draft war chest provides ample ammunition to pick an elite OT prospect with the 3rd (or up to 7th) overall pick, with two more picks in the top 50 to address other positions of need, such as iOL, EDGE or CB.

Zach Wilson’s reluctance to play is making Jets QB situation even weirder - SB Nation
That’s a new one. There’s no doubt that there’s been an enormous amount of pressure on Wilson. He’s been under such a harsh spotlight in New York, and his play has been so poor, that there must be part of him that finds it kind of freeing to stay on the sidelines. It didn’t work out for Wilson and the Jets, it’s not going to work out, and everyone involved is ready for a change of scenery. Wilson’s reluctance has now been put out into the world, and it’s set up the Jets for a completely bizarre situation: do they ask Wilson to start on Sunday against the Texans when they know his heart isn’t really in it? For his part, Wilson reportedly would play if the Jets asked him to start

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