Thoughts and analysis on the Philadelphia Eagles

Will we "Run the Damn Ball?"

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The early signs seem to point yes. Andy has repeatedly re-affirmed his commitment to running the ball in the offseason. We've seen some evidence of that in the preseason as the balance between run and pass has been good. Plus, the naming of Marty Morningwheg seems to have also had a positive effect as far as running the ball goes. As offensive coordinator in San Fran, Marty's offense twice led the NFL in rushing. "“Marty brings the attitude that we're going to run the ball" said Brian Westbrook this week.

Speaking of Westbrook, I've been very encouraged by the brashness we've been seeing from him lately in terms of lobbying for more carries and for the run to be featured more. It's a very uncommon thing in the Andy Reid era to see players criticizing the gameplan(aside from TO of course), and demanding more touches(again.. aside from TO). Westbrook had this to say:
"Last year we were definitely trying to get the ball to T.O. a lot," Westbrook said. "And its tough when you're a running back and you don’t get into the flow of the game early on. If you go into the second quarter and you still haven’t really touched the ball very much because you've gone three-and-out, it’s tough for you to get into the flow of the game. And that kind of affects the rest of the game. "
He went on...
"You have to get in there early and get some work, so you can see what the defense is doing and set them up for later in the game,” Westbrook said. “Even if you only get one or two yards, maybe you're going outside on one play a couple times and then on the next one, you cut it back inside and surprise them. You don't have the opportunity to do that when you run the ball once or twice a quarter.
Then he flat out said what we've all been screaming to Andy from the stands..

It's going to translate into wins, he said. “When coach Reid sees he's having success running the ball, he'll be more in tune to call more running plays.

“We've been practicing it a lot. It's going to be tough going out and passing the ball 40 times and winning. You're better off running the ball and keeping the defense off the field so it doesn't get worn down playing 45 minutes a game.”

Yes Brian! We couldn't agree with you more. I love this attitude from Westy. He's a veteran on this team now, who is secure here with a long term deal and is an important part of the offense. This is how a leader acts in my opinion. He says what's on his mind and he wants the ball, but he doesn't do it in a negative way. He says that the coach is going to see how well he plays and that he'll prove to the coach why he needs to run the ball. He praised the philosophy of his offensive coordinator. He spoke his mind and he did in a way that was focused on helping the team as a whole.

Plus, it looks like Correll Buckhalter is back and is going to be relied upon with a plentiful workload in game one according to Andy. Reid also said that we should expect to see Buckhalter and Westbrook on the field together occasionally.

One more interesting note on the running game came out of the final preseason game. We saw the mammoth center Nick Cole, who was a bit of a surprise to make the team, work as a fullback on the goal line. Whether he ever plays that role in an actual game remains to be seen, but having a guy the size of Cole plowing a hole is an intruiging idea...

An interesting note not related to the run game is that newly acquired WR Donte Stallworth will start Sunday against the Texans. The word from practice is that he's having no trouble picking up the playbook and is familiar with most of the terminology from his days in New Orleans. It makes you wonder what was wrong with Jabar Gaffney that he couldn't pick up the playbook seemingly at all in an entire offseason and Stallworth is doing it in 2 weeks...

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