Sometimes A Strength Can Become A WeaknessBREAKING NEWS, Coaching Staff, Eagles, News Monday, September 24th, 2012
Coaches around the National Football League sing the praises of Eagles head coach Andy Reid and his offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg because of their ability to put together tremendous offensive game plans. I’ve seen them take apart outstanding defenses and render them null and void with adept game planning.
They’ve been able to put together game plans for all types of quarterbacks. For years they designed plans which had Donovan McNabb on his way to the Hall of Fame and Kevin Kolb considered to be a future Pro Bowler. They did such a good job of camouflaging McNabb’s weaknesses and game planning to utilize his strengths, football fans and experts all had McNabb just a step beneath Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.
Nearly every quarterback who has played for Reid and Mornhinweg has played his best football while wearing the midnight green. Think about it, the Eagles were in the NFC Championship with McNabb as the quarterback and his wide receivers were Charles Johnson and Torrance Smalls, then James Thrash and Todd Pinkston.
Remember how they used to proclaim that a good NFL offense didn’t need good or great wide receivers? It took former Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens one season to prove that statement wrong. They could be a good football team without good receivers, but they didn’t go to the Super Bowl until they had a great receiver on the roster.
There’s no doubt, that Reid and Mornhinweg are ingenious when it comes to game planning, specifically in creating passing offense. That’s definitely a strength of Reid’s coaching staff, but unfortunately it’s also become a weakness when they rely on it too much and refuse to abandon the game plan or adjust it for the situation facing them.
Yesterday, Reid and Mornhinweg had crafted a game plan which they felt would slice up the Cardinals secondary and chances are that they would have been right, if the Eagles hadn’t laid the ball on the ground early and the offensive line could have successfully blocked Arizona’s pass rush.
The Eagles went into the game concerned about the way the Cardinals defensive front matched up against the offensive line. The Cardinals have two dominating defensive tackles in Darnell Dockett and Calais Campbell and a number of fast, playmaking linebackers. From the time the game started anybody watching knew the Birds “O” line couldn’t consistently pass block this defensive front.
That should have led Reid and Mornhinweg to dial things back with their passing game, and let running back LeSean McCoy keep the Cards defensive front honest by running the football more often. Instead they were so anxious to exploit weaknesses in the Arizona secondary, that they did nothing but throw the ball in the first half.
I know Vick is a tough son of a gun, but there’s not a human being on this planet who would be affected by those kills shots the Cardinals defensive front was delivering. Vick never got into any rhythm throwing the ball until the half was almost over, then the Arizona defense put a nail in the coffin with that play to end the half.
Ironically, the Eagles came back in the second half and ran the football more, but the Cardinals were now sitting on a 24-0 lead, and they didn’t care if the Eagles had some success running the football because they knew the clock was on their side.
This was a step backwards when it comes to employing a balanced attack. They had been more disciplined against the Ravens, but they must have been drinking some of that “pass-happy juice” on the flight out to Arizona. If you can’t protect your quarterback it doesn’t matter how many guys are running open downfield.
They’ve tried to protect McCoy by not running him too much, they need to start thinking that way about their quarterback.
I also disagree with what Mornhinweg said last week about “having to trust” your players. Maybe they’ve trusting this turnover-prone offense too much the last two seasons. The Cardinals had Kevin Kolb on a short leash. They told him to get rid of the ball early and if he got in trouble take the sack rather than throw the ball up for grabs.
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