Eagles Notes: Running the Ball, Safeties and Offensive Line Banged Up
If the Eagles want to have a shot at beating the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, they are going to have to at least try to run the ball. The Chiefs rushing defense has been abysmal through three weeks this season, giving up 160 .3 yards per game on the ground, the second-worst in the NFL.
Running the ball, or the lack thereof, seemed to be a big theme at the NovaCare Complex on Wednesday.
"It's a pivotal part of this offense," Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts acknowledged.
"I do need to do a better job running the football," Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni stated. "There's no question about that. We need to be able to do that to help us be a balanced team and help us win football games."
The team ran the ball just three times with their running backs on Sunday against Dallas, with Miles Sanders getting just two carries for 27 yards.
"I do believe to have a successful offense you have to run the ball," Sanders explained.
"Does he need more than five touches? Of course," acknowledged Sirianni." The way the game went, he didn't get that."
"As far as Miles getting touches, there's no doubt, we've got to get our playmakers the ball. He's a playmaker. He's shown that he's a playmaker, whether it's in screen game, whether it's out of the backfield or getting the ball."
However, Sirianni explained that the Eagles rushing attack is heavily reliant on RPO's, which are run-pass options, meaning that while a running play wasn't called, the quarterback has the option of handing the ball off based on what the defense shows him.
"There were some times there are going to be RPOs where we're reading somebody," said Sirianni. "So, one time we're expecting to hand it off, but the guy does something a little different than what we thought, and we pull the ball. That's going to happen; I get that. But as far as checking out of plays, we had some things that we were at the line of scrimmage doing, and there wasn't a lot of those, either."
McLeod close to return?
The Eagles have a walk-through on Wednesday, and some good news, safety Rodney McLeod was a full participant. With K'Von Wallace out for 3-6 weeks with a separated shoulder, the team could use McLeod back in the lineup. Wallace was placed on injured reserve earlier this week and will miss at least the next three weeks.
Marcus Epps, who replaced Wallace in the game, was listed on the Eagles injury report as a limited participant with a shoulder injury.
Eagles offensive line banged up.
All five members of the Eagles offensive line that started on Week 1 are either already out or on this week's injury report.
Brandon Brooks is already on the I.R and will miss at least the next two games and likely more time. His replacement Landon Dickerson was on this week's injury report on Wednesday as a limited participant with a hip issue. Left tackle Jordan Mailata missed Week 3 with a knee injury and did not practice on Wednesday. Meanwhile, both Lane Johnson (ankle) and Jason Kelce (foot, resting player) sat out practice on Wednesday.
How will the line look on Sunday against Kansas City? Nick Sirianni wasn't ready to reveal that on Wednesday.
"We've thought through every different scenario," admitted Sirianni. " At this time, I think it's a competitive advantage for us not to discuss who's going to play where, especially for this week. People will figure out who we're playing where obviously after this week. But as far as when Brandon gets back, we've got some time to think about that because we've got a little bit of time before Brandon – obviously losing Isaac hurts because he's a good player, he's a good teammate, and we'll miss him out there."
One scenario is to move Dickerson over to the left side, since Seumalo is out for the year, to allow him to settle in there. Nate Herbig played mostly right guard last year and could slide over there next to Lane Johnson.